NDI Guiding Principles
NDI works to promote and provide job opportunities in international health for naturopathic physicians and CAM providers. We believe that natural medicine has a strong place in international public health policy and that all practitioners of natural medicine should have an active voice in that global dialogue. We are committed to developing natural medicine programs within public health systems. NDI provides charismatic speakers and position papers in the field and encourages research in international natural medicine.
NDI does not support medical tourism – the short-term, band-aid delivery system of healthcare that many international relief organizations utilize to help the poor. The medical tourism system often does not empower patients, but sees them as the ignorant poor in need of saving. There is often inappropriate use of medical students to provide care, no follow up, use of expired medications, poor fluency in local language, and misunderstanding of local customs that affect healthcare. We also do not support unregistered trips - it is a model that reinforces imperialism and puts everyone at risk - patients, doctors and students. Regardless of the organization you choose to work with - it is your right to ask to see the permission that allows that group to work in the country they are serving. Otherwise you risk being jailed.
NDI Global Health Courses occur within the context of long-term community involvement. NDIs long-term placement program of primary care natural medicine physicians allows NDI doctors to become informed providers of healthcare and enmeshed into each community. Our full time clinic in Nicaragua is a demonstration of what is possible when this model is implemented - it has been running for over a decade.
NDI believes we must respect each community we serve. In medical work, respect translates into working in cooperation and in compliance with local healthcare systems and providers. NDI works to comply with standards of each host country, including securing the legal right to practice medicine - unlike any other organization of its kind. In each of our clinical sites, it is our philosophy to always treat patients and community members from a position of equality and mutual learning and exchange, rather than superiority. We respect local customs and beliefs about medicine, health and the body. Every older natural medicine practitioner who dies is a library that burns. NDI works to promote and preserve traditional natural medicine practices, including research into indigenous cultural use of local plants and worldwide natural medicine history and practice, from a position of respect rather than exploitation. The oceans, rivers, forests, mountains, and deserts are the sources of our medicine and health. NDI is committed to defend and improve the environmental conditions in each community we serve. We endeavor to grow, ethically wildcraft, and make our own medicine whenever possible. NDI physicians practice preferential use of local plants, natural medicines, and foods in health promotion whenever possible. They emphasize understanding the relationship between individual, community health and the natural environment.
In order to truly help others in solidarity, one must make a commitment to become a part of that community, to learn its values and belief systems, and to understand and respect the choices it makes. In medicine, NDI has found that we MUST develop permanent clinics in countries we serve to ensure these types of relationships. NDI commits to have a permanent presence in each community we serve, and not just enter a community temporarily.
NDI believes that the first step to positive change is education. NDI works to connect consumers with “where things come from.” What had to happen so that you could buy that piece of clothing, that herb, or that cup of coffee? NDI stimulates participants to consider these questions, igniting further activism. NDI doctors are doctors working for global justice. We commit to going where there is need by preferentially working with underserved communities and educating people about the effects of globalization, trade agreements, and international development policy on healthcare. NDI doctors work to create a new model of social justice healthcare that re-ignites the value of service in medicine.
Crossing borders to promote cross-cultural solidarity, respect, empowerment and social justice through natural medicine.
- Respecting Cultures
- Honoring Roots
- Giving Voice
- Long-Term Committment
- Defending Mother Earth
- Promoting Equality
- Fostering Change Through Activism
- Holistic Health is a Human Right for All