Response to Whig Standard and Udo Schuklenk

Udo Schuklenk, Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics and Public Policy at Queen’s University, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Whig Standard about “pseudo-science”. In it, he writes that “the association of naturopaths is lobbying the provincial government to regulate them as if they were a body made of professionals”, and that their “homemade” colleges are accredited by “a body made up of colleges like themselves”. Curiously, a quick google search makes it clear that Naturopathic Doctors have been licensed by the Ontario government for nearly 90 years, the issuing of which requires successful completion of continent-wide examinations (NPLEX) and subsequent Ontario government board licensing examinations. The Ontario government accepts the status offered by the American-based accrediting body, which itself falls under the jurisdiction of the US Secretary of Education. Thank goodness Ontarians are protected by such stringent government regulations and that Naturopathic Doctors, in their completion of at least 8 years of rigorous post-secondary education, are so well trained to provide a variety of scientifically-sound medical and healthcare options. How did Mr. Schuklenk get his facts so wrong?

I find it hard to believe that a man who has achieved such an otherwise respected position of authority did such poor research as to be so genuinely misinformed. What was his real motivation in this article?

Also concerning for me in Mr. Schuklenk’s article is his statement that Naturopaths are “overwhelmingly deeply skeptical of mainstream science”. Which Naturopaths, exactly? Naturopathic Medicine is not in competition with mainstream medicine or its scientific foundation. Strict educational standards and continuing education requirements for Naturopathic Doctors substantially encourage a profound respect in our profession for mainstream science and, in my opinion, a more well-rounded appreciation for the limitations inherent in the medical science that is inevitably influenced by culture and politics.

The misinformation continues in his confusion about Homeopaths versus Naturopathic Doctors, the scientific evidence used by Health Canada to issue NPN numbers to all natural health supplements, and the medical understanding of how the body does in-fact heal itself, (not to be confused with people who decline professional healthcare advice for any number of reasons).

I’m curious about Mr. Schuklenk’s true motivation in this article and am disappointed in the Whig Standard’s choice to publish a piece that could grossly mislead the public. I invite Mr. Schuklenk to visit our healthcare facility and actually speak to regulated healthcare professionals who are qualified to offer information about “alternative” (better known as “integrative”), medicine.

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, license no. 1571
Clinic Director, Kingston Integrated Healthcare