On Mentorship, Solidarity and A United Front

Dear Colleagues,
It is with great enthusiasm that I am writing to share with you the ways that our California community continues to grow and flourish, is working to create opportunities that support collective growth for our profession at large, and how you can help.
We are so thankful to have had over a decade worth of very dedicated leadership that has helped us get to where we are: A CNDA staff of three full-time hardworking employees, seven active committees with thirty-eight volunteer committee members, ten widely attended webinars per year, an active insurance advocacy and scope modernization effort, and a steady growth of in-state and out-of-state membership.

We have successfully built one of the strongest state associations in the nation equipped with a well-seasoned legislative team, stellar professional development team committed to ensuring excellent quality CE events, and a membership committee and Board of Directors that is brainstorming ways to engage more of our profession's vast talent.

Here's the news…

CNDA Mentor Mentee Program Update
The CNDA has recently launched a mentorship program designed to pair newly licensed doctors with mentors who can provide guidance and support on clinical cases and practice management – we currently have ten doctors paired with nine mentors. We have had an excellent response to this program with good feedback on how to continue to improve and grow this program. Our goal is to ensure that every doctor in our community is supported and given the tools necessary to succeed and thrive.

New CNDA Speaker Mentor Program
As Co-Chair of the Professional Development committee, I love reading all the positive comments on our conference and webinar reviews, specifically touting the high-quality content, professionalism and the original and cutting edge presentations we offer. With the unfolding of our mentor mentee program, it got us thinking about how wonderful it would be to support new speakers from within our profession who are experts in their field, despite having never presented at a conference. It dawned on us that training more ND speakers who are field experts but are not yet trained speakers is an excellent way to raise awareness of the tremendous expertise that exists within our profession.

For Merging Medicine XVI, our conference on Integrative Approaches to Neuro-Psychology, we decided to experiment with reaching out to new speakers. We approached Dr. Alethea Flemings, ND of Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, WA to request she submit an abstract on naturopathic approaches to dementia and it was a huge success! Although it was her first time speaking at a naturopathic conference, her reviews were fantastic and confirmed my belief that it is important to give exposure to talented doctors who have yet to get their foot in the door as conference presenters. Here are some of the reviews we received for Dr. Flemings' presentation:

“Alethea is so down to earth and absolutely charming as a speaker. I was enthralled by her presentation.”

“One of the best presenters at the conference.”

“My favorite speaker of the day. More like her, please.”

“Very articulate, well spoken. High caliber presentation.”

“She was in many ways my favorite speaker. Was not rushed, was genuine, and even a bit understated.”

“Alethea was a revelation. I appreciated her calm, serene and witty delivery. She's an expert in an area that most NDs need more education on.”

Not only did the audience appreciate her perspective on naturopathic approaches to dementia, but Dr. Flemings valued the experience of presenting at a CNDA conference. In response to her experience as a premiere speaker, Dr. Flemings has recently expressed to me,

“The experience of being invited to speak at the CNDA conference was a pivotal one at this point in my career. I am good at what I do, passionate about my chosen career subset, and desirous of sharing my information, experience and enthusiasm with my peers. However, left to my own devices, I likely would have waited another five years before daring to submit a proposed talk at a state organization or the AANP before putting myself out there as an expert speaker. The overwhelming support and positive feedback (as well as a bit of useful gentle criticism) I had from the actual speaking experience itself was tremendously helpful for my confidence. I have done this once and now know that I can easily do this again, and do it well. It also pushed me to do more writing, as another way to get myself out there contributing to our profession. I'm grateful to the CNDA for giving me this opportunity (and making it fiscally possible) and I only hope I get asked again at some point in the future!”

We hope other associations reach out to Dr. Flemings for speaking engagements! With the forethought of supporting growth in our profession and the desire to continue to create original and high-caliber presentations, we would like to announce a CNDA Speaker Mentorship Program. If you are a seasoned speaker who is interested in providing mentorship and guidance to aspiring naturopathic experts OR you are a naturopathic expert who has been thinking about starting your speaking career, please send an email to We would love to support more naturopathic doctors in becoming expert speakers and introduce fresh perspectives to our very rich and eclectic profession!

New CNDA State Association Support Program
It is exciting that the time is upon us where all states are collectively working towards lofty goals that include growing their leadership, scope advocacy and legislation, insurance inclusion, and PR efforts. That said, we realize that not every state association has broad volunteer help and adequate funding to hire staff. We are very grateful that the success of our webinars and conferences has made us well poised to lend support to new(er) state associations, which is why we have recently created a new State Association Support Program, which allows members of other state associations to receive CEUs from our conferences and webinars at the members' rate, AND 15% of the revenues collected from those registration fees goes back to their respective state association to support each state's efforts! The intent of the program is to raise the revenue we need to support our California goals while also financially supporting other state associations in their endeavors to grow internal infrastructure, legislative efforts, advocacy and public awareness work. Here is some of the feedback we have received so far:

“On the one hand, partnership with the CNDA has the potential to become a source of income for state associations, especially small ones. More importantly, however, the CNDA provides a model for a well-run organization. As the MDANP grows and expands, we will be looking to the CNDA as a guide in setting our course.” ~ Kristaps Paddock, ND, President of the MDANP

“Naturopathy's future relies on professional unity, both within each state, and among them. The CNDA affiliate program is a win-win for all, and helps create an awareness for our medicine on a greater scale." ~ Peter Bongiorno, ND, President of the NYANP

“Affiliation opportunities for state associations are vital for the expansion of Naturopathic Medicine in the US. The CNDA deserves a lot of credit for sharing their successful CE program and making possible a significant impact on our new associations growth and credibility.” ~ Christina Woolard, ND, President of the TNNDA.

Closing thoughts
Now is the time to take action and unite. This is the time to become a member if you aren't already, to donate to the scope bill fundraising campaign (only $25.5 k of our $100,000 goal to go!! (pledge here)), to visit your local representatives and educate them about naturopathic medicine (find out more here), and to join a committee. This is the time to reach across state lines and tell your friends about our upcoming CE events, speaker mentoring opportunities (contact Karen for more info) and the state association support program (contact Larry for more info). I sincerely thank you for partnering with the CNDA. Together with a united front, our future is bright!

Yours in health,

Setareh Tais, ND

Dr. Setareh Tais is President of the CNDA. She also Co-Chairs the Public Affairs and Professional Development committees. For more information about her private practice, please visit You can contact her at





Naturopathic Advocates

The CNDA is working to educate state legislative and insurance agencies as well as the public on the benefits of naturopathic medicine. We will continue to build relationships in the naturopathic community in an effort to optimize the impact of the naturopathic doctors in our state.