Codification of Naturopathic Medicine

The Nature and Impact of Codification

  • • We are the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project — this encompasses a series of goals and products, in addition to a 2000-page textbook (project accomplishments are described in other materials).
  • • We are a team of more than 300 contributors from 11 international jurisdictions, 12 colleges, and 11 agencies, working collaboratively to agree upon a diverse range of content spanning topics from philosophy and research, to clinical practice models and global health.
  • • We are codifying our knowledge – a process defined as identifying, synthesizing and demarcating the knowledge and theoretical framework of the naturopathic profession and, importantly, demonstrating how that knowledge is applied to clinical theories, models, and practice. The editorial strategy required for this process is detailed, complex, and lengthy. Comparable size seminal medical texts, which are not codified, such as Cecil’s Textbook of Medicine (2832 pages), requires 3-4 years just to update.

What is Codification of Knowledge?

  • • “.. Publications that represent pioneering, formative, and pivotal works within a discipline, profession, or system of thought; specifically works that import specialized knowledge from diverse sources into the framework and lexicon of a particular profession.
  • • Codified works include seminal, synthetic, and collaborative scholarship that significantly contributes to the profession.

A profession’s framework is defined by

  • a) its epistemology, i.e., its philosophy, principles, and theory of practice; and
  • b) its scope of practice, diagnostic, and assessment structure, and its
    therapeutic modalities.

These frameworks demarcate the profession’s identity and function as “boundaries” of knowledge (i.e., “This is who we are, what we do – how and why we do it.”).

Snider, P. Neil A. and Stargrove, M. Benchmarks of Professional Formation Table.
In Neil A. & Snider, P. Naturopathic Medicine Professional Formation -The Journey of an Emerging Profession © 2018-2022 (in press) Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Institute. Snoqualmie, WA

So explain more about what it means to ‘codify’ your knowledge?

The challenge of translating knowledge (from both research and from practice experience) into practice is an increasing challenge for the field of medicine. A 2002 analysis of knowledge management in health care, for example, suggests, “…there have been a number of problems and challenges in practice, not least a considerable naivete around the issue of knowledge transfer and ‘knowledge into practice’ within health care organisations.” (1) Importantly, however, codification of naturopathic medicine extends far beyond knowledge management. Its main goal is to amass, synthesize and articulate the research, scholarship, theories and models underlying its understanding and key concepts explaining a defined healing process in living organisms, and to demonstrate how that knowledge is implemented in practice. In the FNM textbook, this involves ‘knowledge mapping,’ described by Landry (2006) as, “…locating, accessing, valuing and filtering pertinent knowledge; extracting, collecting, distilling, refining, interpreting, packaging and transforming the captured knowledge into usable knowledge.” (2) 

How does this textbook differ from other seminal medical textbooks?

This textbook focuses on the central philosophy and unifying theory of naturopathic medicine – that living organisms, including humans, have an innate healing process affected by laws or regularities in nature which govern both health and healing that can be supported in order to restore and retain health, thereby preventing disease or dysfunction. We investigate contemporary theories in systems biology and other natural sciences that are increasingly elucidating new evidence that this process exists. This is a textbook about identifying disease and prescribing targeted treatment. It a textbook about discovering underlying causes of dysfunction and applying methods to recover health, and to promote and maintain healthy function. 

What is important about this textbook that it should deserve support from my organization?

There exists a global decline in health and in healthcare provision, while the costs of health care continue to soar. The conventional medical profession has been appealed to consequently, to articulate its philosophy, in order to improve its practice (3) in support of health creation. This textbook begins with the articulation of naturopathic medicine’s philosophy and unifying theory and applies it to clinical practice. It is about how health is restored and maintained, and how this approach reduces healthcare costs and improves global, individual, and planetary health. This book moves beyond the status quo of treating disease, once dysfunction has occurred. It will take us to a new future in medicine and to a healthier world.

(1) Bate et al. Public Administration 2002 80(4):642-663

(2) Landry et al. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2006; 84: 597-602.

(3) Pellegrino. The Philosophy of Medicine Reborn. 2008. U Notre Dame Press.


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