New England School of Homeopathy

Dr. Amy Rothenberg’s Thank You Speech on the Occasion of Receiving The 2017 AANP Physician of the Year Award

July 15, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ Annual Conference

Thank you so much for this award.

Thank you Dr. Beeson for such a generous & colorful introduction and Drs. Schoenbeck, Shevins, Bloom & Traub for your additional kind remarks.

Thank you to the AANP for putting on another amazing convention and for bringing us all together.

I am grateful and humbled to join the growing list of previous recipients, amazing people all, and many who have put time and energy into me and my own evolution as a doctor, teacher, writer and advocate of this profession.

When I was going through chemotherapy a few years ago, I would often leave Mass General, walk up the hill to the State House, don my wig and spend a few hours lobbying. Part of what inspired me to do so was that I knew I was going to get better. And I knew I was going to get better because of the combination of conventional & naturopathic medicine.

It is a powerful story to share.

My point here is that we all have powerful stories to tell and so do our patients. It’s the stories that will help put naturopathic medicine further on the map and to its rightful place in the medical landscape. What we have is too good, too essential and so desperately needed: everyone’s unique experiences and individual voice matter– in order for us to grow, promote and make more prominent our beloved profession.

I have loved being a naturopathic doctor from the minute I landed in Omaha, Nebraska to practice as a young newlywed, freshly minted from NCNM in 1986—and because there was no one else there to do it, right away, I started to teach & I started to write.

Sometimes I fell flat on my face, was awkward, missed the mark— or was just plain bad. One lecture stands out on the problem dairy creates for many people, to a group that turned out to be mainly dairy farmers.

I learned to not be afraid of failure and to re-frame failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. The MA legislative effort is just one, decades-long example of that. The concept of resilience, regrouping, reassessing, being creative and being dogged, these are all things failure has taught me.

Fast forward 31 years, it was not always easy & it was not always fun, but the work to get our bill passed this last two year session was imminently more palatable with my supportive & hard working MSND board: Dr. Lisa Arnold, Dr. Allison Willette and Dr. Anne McLennon. Please stand! We also had the perfect, aptly named lobbyist Mary Ann Hart, a former nurse, who was able to build off decades of work & progress and who helped us capitalize on the sea change, the cultural shift toward natural medicine. It did not hurt that she knew everyone at the State House.

This law would never have passed without the vision and strategy of my brilliant husband & collaborator, Dr. Paul Herscu. He took the baton of legislative chair from Dr. Shiva Barton last session—Shiva had worked on this effort for decades and laid essential scaffolding.

On the first day of this last session Paul & I unrolled butcher block paper on our long dining room table and created the time line and necessary steps that had to be done by certain dates, which lawmakers we had on our side, & whom we had to convince.

The camaraderie on our board & unanimous support of the NDs in state, a rare commodities both in this profession of rugged individuals, made this win possible. Add to that the support of industry donors, ND schools & organizations, and the AANP state alliance, especially coming down the home stretch, was unprecedented and I hope will serve as a model for all states going for licensure.

I am also indebted to a number of individuals—Drs. Michael & Kyle Cronin have been ongoing fans and supporters especially at key moments of doubt, David Schleich was an early and generous supporter, Drs. Jacob Schor & Rena Bloom modeled for me persistency in Colorado, Maryland NDs got it done so quick, it made us all want it even more, the Montana association blew us away with a generous donation to our state association and effort, Dr. Lorilee Schoenbeck, Laura Farr of the OANP & Dr. Paul Mittman each helped us make key connections with powerful people in times of need. Mike Jawer at the AANP was always helpful, I had him on speed dial toward the end. Also everyone who gave money, for those Rosie the Riveter pins, as it enabled us to finance this effort. I would also like to thank my 3 grown kids who have always shared me with patients and students and colleagues who are now leaders in their own fields pursuing their own dreams and remain strongly supportive of all my work.

I am over the moon happy about Rhode Island—their bill laid before the Governor yesterday. Working with the irrepressible Dr. Marcy Feibelman and Dr. Sheila Frodermann, basically doing a brain dump of our Massachusetts campaign, and then being an avid cheerleader and helper with strategy, over this past year gave me the immediate opportunity to pay it forward and extenuate what we learned in MA. You will all be asked to take action to get Rhode Island over the finish line—I hope you will!

We have momentum now—licensed states will soon go like dominos—for the ultimate improvement of health across this beautiful country. Small plug here—please move to MA we want you and we need you!

We have an incredible commodity. This award inspires me to keep pushing— to help all the patients I am lucky enough to treat, to continue to hold up our vitalistic traditions by teaching homeopathy and naturopathic medicine wherever I am asked, to keep writing for all kinds of audiences and to keep contributing to naturopathic medicine advocacy. My hope is that we all stay inspired and energized to contribute to the profession in all the many ways needed, to the best of our interests, talents & abilities at any given time.

Clearly, this is our time and we are the agents, so … push yourself, be brave, make connections, forgive grievances, let go of disappointment, be creative and tell your story. As we have always said, there is no stopping an idea whose time has come.

Thank you very much for this award, I will cherish it as a reminder to keep up the good fight. Lots of love to you all!