Going back to its founding in 1956, the National University of Natural Medicine has a long, rich history of producing many of the profession’s luminaries. The tradition continues with naturopathic graduates like Tabatha Parker, ND (’04). A visionary committed to social justice and international healthcare change, Dr. Parker is the co-founder and executive director of Natural Doctors International (NDI)—the world’s oldest naturopathic global health organization. NDI developed the first permanent naturopathic clinic in Nicaragua, which to date has seen 20,000 patients and given away the equivalent of $500,000 in medicines. Using the Nicaraguan clinic as a model, NDI plans to work with its many partners, including the World Health Organization, to build additional clinics, helping bridge the gap between conventional medicine and indigenous healers. In 2011, Utne Reader magazine recognized Parker’s work by presenting her with a Visionary of the Year Award, placing her among an elite group of the world’s leading innovators.
In addition, she enthusiastically joined her alma mater this year to co-chair NUNM’s new Master of Science in Global Health program, the first global health degree offered at a naturopathic medical school. She also serves as the director of education at the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, the leading provider of education and certification of health professionals in integrative holistic care.
Parker strives to use her activism in natural medicine to inspire both students and doctors to join her in bringing natural medicine to underdeveloped countries in overwhelming need of care. She has worked with the World Health Organization on the WHO Benchmarks for Training in Naturopathy, and along with Dr. Michael Cronin (’80), this year became the first NDs to attend the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization.
Then, at the second annual International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine held in Paris in July 2014, Parker was a key leader in discussions that resulted in the historic formation of a new organization, the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF), which will unite and advance the naturopathic profession globally in a way that has not been possible before. Parker currently serves as co-chair of the WNF interim committee. worldnaturopathicfederation.org