29 December 2021
As 2021 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year we’ve had. It’s no secret that these last couple of years have brought significant transition to the WANP – not to mention to our profession and to the world. Even in the midst of such turmoil, our organization has continued to move forward – working hard to meet the needs of our members and advance naturopathic medicine.
We experienced some incredible successes in 2021: record-breaking conference attendance, record-breaking number of continuing education offerings, and record-breaking corporate sponsorship – all of which resulted in record-breaking revenue for the year. Despite being unable to bring our community together in person in the ways we had hoped, we managed to accomplish some big things this past year.
In January, we began offering monthly continuing education webinars to provide a wide variety of opportunities for our community to earn CE credits. Under the leadership of Dr. Teresa Richter, Chair of our Continuing Education Committee, we committed to providing more than enough continuing education credits to meet all of the current CE requirements for Washington NDs. All of these webinars are available for "on-demand" purchase through wanp.org, as are the entirety of presentations from CONNECT 2021 and CONNECT 2020 – our two most recent annual continuing education conferences.
In February, we hosted a virtual social event to try to foster community and have some fun. Membership Committee Chair, Dr. Allison Apfelbaum, put together a fun evening with loads of excellent prizes.
While we did not achieve the outcome we hoped for in terms of moving our prescriptive authority bill forward this year, we made some incredible progress in engaging our community and gaining legislative champions during the 2021 legislative session, which ran from January to April.
Under the leadership of Board Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair, Dr. Eva Sofia, the Board revised and updated its Financial and Investment Policy and – in line with this policy – made the notable decision to quite literally invest in the future of this organization. On hiring a fiduciary, the Board placed significant savings in a long-term investment portfolio in April. This investment has already made many (many many) times over the pennies in interest it had been earning in a very low-yield savings account for many years prior and truly represents the forward-thinking of this current Board.
The spring and summer found our focus on developing and launching our brand new website and on-boarding Alex Crenshaw to help out around the virtual office. We also initiated a first ever evaluation process, allowing our Board of Directors to evaluate their own performance, the performance of our Association, and my performance as the Executive Director. Under then-Governance Committee Chair, Dr. Kara Menzer, the Board underwent quarterly training on good governance – learning how best to care for our organization and ensure its long-term success.
In August, our modernized website finally launched and we held our first ever membership drive shortly thereafter, introducing new members to the value and benefits of belonging to the WANP.
We welcomed our newest Directors in September with our second annual virtual Board retreat. The Board came together to get to know each other, to set goals and vision for the future, and to approve our 2022 organizational calendar and operating budget – all under the visionary leadership of Board President, Dr. Kelsey Klausmeyer. We also hired a new lobbyist in September and got to work on our legislative agenda for 2022.
October saw CONNECT 2021 - our second virtual conference - go off without a hitch, breaking our prior records in attendance and providing enough Category 1 and Pharmacology credits for attendees to meet ½ of their biennial CE requirements.
In November, the Board of Directors underwent facilitated training in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as part of its effort to function as an anti-racist organization that values and embraces diversity.
December has had us focused on another rapidly approaching legislative session and the TWO bills we will be bringing forward next month. We will do our absolute best to FINALLY pass our prescriptive authority bill and we will work to educate our legislature on why naturopathic physicians deserve insurance pay parity – all under the leadership of interim Governmental Affairs Committee Chair, Dr. Amy Hobson.
Additionally in December, I developed a CE credit tracking tool for WANP members to help you all monitor your progress toward meeting the current CE requirements (find it in the Members Area at wanp.org!) and Alex is hard at work loading quizzes and certificates into our website to ensure we are prepared to grant CE credits for those purchasing any of the 87 courses we currently have available once the quiz requirement returns on January 1, 2022. The Board closed out the year using a portion of this year’s net revenue to make an additional deposit into the WANP’s new investment portfolio and making a charitable donation to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dear to many hearts in our naturopathic community: Blankets for Cancer.
As we move forward into 2022, we continue to have our sights set on how to be of service to our members and this profession. As I just mentioned, we will fight hard to expand prescriptive authority for naturopathic physicians as well as to get our doctors paid on par with our conventional colleagues. These two significant legislative efforts are aimed at increasing job opportunities for naturopathic physicians in Washington, as well as at helping address the healthcare workforce shortage facing our great state.
Along those lines, we hope to co-host some job fairs with Bastyr in 2022, as we continue to collaborate with the University on ways to connect new grads and practicing physicians alike with the jobs they are seeking.
We will continue offering monthly physician-level educational webinars throughout the year. Mark your calendars for the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7 pm! You won’t want to miss the speaker line up that is developing. In addition, we are already planning CONNECT 2022 and look forward to welcoming you to it next October.
We hope to be able to bring some of you together in person for regular socials – whether for networking or case studies or just for fun – and would love to host another member party this summer, COVID permitting. (Save the date for August 13, 2022!)
We plan to release another membership survey in 2022 to help us get a better understanding of the composition of our membership as well as how we can best support you, given how much things have changed throughout this global pandemic. We will also be evaluating our membership structure, dues, and benefits to ensure that our offerings are competitive and accessible to our members, while also allowing the organization to remain sustainably solvent.
From an operational standpoint, we are on the grow! I am delighted to announce that Alex will be transitioning from her current very part-time position of Executive Assistant into a nearly full-time position of Operations Coordinator. Alex will take an increasingly larger role in the day-to-day operations of the WANP, which will free up my time to focus on bigger picture issues facing the Association. Much of my focus this coming year will be on governance: ensuring that our organization has the right policies, bylaws, and best practices in place to protect the overall health and longevity of the WANP. I will also be working on our Association’s relationships with our corporate sponsors and exploring ways to maximize these partnerships to the benefit of our members, the WANP, and the companies that choose to partner with us. Collaboration continues to be a key theme for the current Board of Directors, and I will continue to explore relationships both within and outside of the naturopathic community to help advance this incredible profession.
We have a lot to be proud of looking back on the past year, but we also recognize that there is still work to be done to help our doctors gain the recognition and respect they deserve. We want you to know that we’re here, working for you.
We are so grateful for you, our members, and we send warm wishes of peace, good health, love, and calm in the midst of chaos.
s/ Angela Ross, ND
WANP Executive Director