What is a naturopathic doctor?

A naturopathic doctor is a licensed primary care doctor who has graduated from an accredited, four-year, post-graduate program in the United States or Canada. In order to become licensed, they must also pass a rigorous, two-step national licensing exam and be approved by their state board. In the USA, 22 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands have licensing laws, with licensure pending in several states.

A naturopathic doctor's focus follows the six pillars of naturopathic medicine (taken from Naturopathic.org):

  • First Do No Harm: Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient: 1.) Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; 2.) Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; 3.) Acknowledge, respect, and work with the individuals' self-healing process.

  • Identify and Treat the Causes: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.

  • The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.

  • Doctor as Teacher: Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.

  • Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.

  • Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

What makes a naturopathic doctor different?

In addition to the listed pillars above, naturopathic doctors dedicate their office visits to working collaboratively with their patients in order to create a path to wellness that is customized to an individual's unique needs. People are often surprised at how long an office visit is, or how many questions their naturopathic doctor asks. Dr. Dean likes to think of herself as a detective, searching for clues that will help to unblock your wellness potential. While she believes that every field of medicine has its place on the path to wellness, Dr. Dean feels that by treating the "root cause" (rather than symptoms as they present themselves), you can achieve maximum health goals.

Though there are key differences between a naturopathic doctor and a conventional doctor, naturopathic doctors are licensed to provide much of the same care! In Arizona, where Dr. Dean is licensed, naturopathic physicians can order labs and imaging, prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, and make referrals. In addition to these, naturopathic physicians in AZ can choose to perform minor surgical procedures (removing moles, cysts, etc.), perform acupuncture, recommend therapeutic diets tailored to your specific needs, prescribe nutritional supplements, prescribe herbal medicine (supplements, tinctures, teas), order and administer IVs, and much more! In Indiana, however, naturopathic doctors are not licensed at all (see note below).

At this time, Dr. Dean lives in Indiana, and is not currently seeing patients or clients.

Why choose Dr. Dean?

Dr. Dean focuses her care on working collaboratively and truly listening to your needs. She feels that it is easy to become discouraged if you are always told what to do, or are constantly told you are doing something wrong. Instead, she works to educate and inspire you to fulfill your health needs, and to create a path to wellness that suits your lifestyle, budget, and goals. 

Unfortunately, at this time, Dr. Dean is not providing naturopathic care.

A note about Naturopathic Medicine and Naturopathic Care in Indiana:

At this time, Indiana does not recognize licensure or registration for naturopathic doctors. Dr. Dean carries a license to practice medicine in Arizona, where she practiced as a physician for a number of years prior to moving to Indiana. She does not hold a license in Indiana because, well, one doesn’t exist.

A word of caution about seeing a naturopathic provider in Indiana: because the licensure is not recognized, the care a naturopathic practitioner provides is not regulated. As such, there is no naturopathic medical board in Indiana to hold practitioners accountable, and naturopathic providers cannot directly carry medical malpractice insurance. Additionally, the words “naturopathic,” “naturopathic doctor,” “naturopath,” etc. are not a legally protected to mean anything specific, and anybody with any level of education can use them to describe their care. While this doesn’t necessarily mean anything nefarious, levels of education can vary amongst providers. If you are looking for a doctor of naturopathic medicine who attended an accredited, 4-year, post-graduate, clinical-based program who has passed a two-step national licensing exam, please visit naturopathic.org or inanp.org. Ask your naturopathic provider where they got their education and if they hold a license in another state.

If you would like to support the licensure of naturopaths in Indiana (which could potentially allow licensed naturopathic doctors to order labs, make diagnoses, perform physicals, have insurance coverage, etc.), please contact your local legislators to let them know you value naturopathic medicine.