The impact of his leadership

From Pamela Snider, ND; Jared Zeff, ND, LAc; Joe Pizzorno, ND; James Sensenig, ND (in memoriam) Stephen Myers, ND, BMed, PhD; Roger Newman -Turner, ND, DO, LAc; Don Warren, ND; Thom Kruzel, ND; Kelsang Tenpa; MA and Amy Neil, MS, MAP  Executive and Senior Editors, Production Editor, Medical Editor, Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Institute

Dr. Jim Sensenig’s contributions to the restoration of the naturopathic profession and advancement of truly curative medicine were immense. Our profession and the human community owe him a debt of gratitude that can never be adequately expressed and honored.

Jim was relentlessly committed to the foundational principles of curative medicine. He was inspirational to students and young doctors who came to naturopathic medicine because they wanted to cure their patients rather than follow the easy path of palliation and simplistic symptom relief. When he saw too many drift into green drug medicine, he recruited thought leaders to help get the profession back on track. The monthly calls he initiated became a welcome safe space for the many physicians who realized that lack of understanding of the true causes of disease lead to short term apparent relief while allowing, and even aggravating, the real reasons people were suffering.

Few realize how critical Jim’s leadership in the late 70s was to the resurrection of our profession. He brought together diverse leaders to create the infrastructure required to bring naturopathic medicine from the fringes as an oppressed profession to the huge growth in numbers, 4-fold increase in state licensure, widely recognized thought leadership, and respect we enjoy today: 

  • Founding the national association that continues through today to represent us nationally (AANP), 
  • Creating the first federally-recognized accrediting agency for naturopathic education anywhere in the world (CNME), 
  • Creating the first state/province licensing board organization (NABNE), 
  • Establishing high level educational standards for North America with a national examination to facilitate state and provincial licensing (NPLEX),
  • Co-founding the public facing arm of the profession (INM),
  • Advancing codification of the medicine through his unique and seminal scholarly contributions to illuminate Henry Lindlahr’s original theory of practice,  distill the unprecedented naturopathic medicine metaparadigm, bring forward the discussion on Laws of Nature, and provide pearls of wisdom for clinical therapeutics and least force necessary treatment (FNMI), and, 
  • Most dear to his heart and to the thousands of his member physicians and students, developing clinical mentorship in the heart of the medicine (NMI)

The impact of his leadership is long and impressive. To those of us who had the privilege of working with Jim on the FNMI project, one of its co-founding Senior Editors; his commitment to the vitalistic principles espoused by Henry Lindlahr and his predecessors in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries gave great encouragement to us all that we must consolidate the pathway to a medical system working more in harmony with the Laws of Nature. His determination to bring the North American profession back to that path will continue to reverberate throughout the global naturopathic community as his wisdom becomes more widely disseminated.

Our profession and everyone seeking health and healing were blessed by Jim’s life.

Rest in peace friend, colleague, healer and visionary leader.