The Problem With Unsung Heroes: What Happens When Patients Can’t Find You

Hi, my name is Sarah Byam, and I’ve been working in marketing with non-profits and mission based small businesses for 25 years.  Over the past year we have been working on an effective strategy for promoting your medicine and bring more patients into your practices. The pieces of this strategy include:

We’re starting an archive with the advent of, both for the credibility of the profession and also to have illustrations for the public of how Naturopaths are unique in their approach and service to medical traditions.

  • The website and the Vital News web magazine, which we launched in the spring of this year
  • A brand new website, which is more modern, more dependable, and will make it easier to navigate and find what you need.
  • A new website, which is an ND directory for the state of Washington, which will work on computers and smart phones. We will need an update on all of your profile information by the end of November at the latest for the site upload, and will be contacting you shortly to get that process moving along
  • A new public web-magazine,, which you can submit articles to, and also forward to your patients as naturopathic educational materials if you don’t already have a newsletter developed of your own.
  • As well as a series of webinar classes to assist you with marketing your practice starting next month.

One of the features that I will be calling for in the coming months, as we start to ask about your profiles for the new directory, is going to be run under the heading “Unsung Heroes and Undiscovered Legends”. The naturopathic medical field is pretty decentralized, and I truly believe you are all heroes, so I am not looking to single out super human docs. I am more looking for nominations or the stories of people who have inspired you along your way, with their professionalism, their commitment, their caring, their innovation – or whatever you found special about them or learned from them. We all have such people in our professional history, but Naturopathy has yet to archive the stories of many of ours,

We’re starting an archive with the advent of, both for the credibility of the profession and also to have illustrations for the public of how Naturopaths are unique in their approach and service to medical traditions.

And then, there is another, more personal reason. As a marketer, I know that human interest stories motivate the market. And I very much want you to succeed.

The Unseen Costs of Too Much Humility

I knew a woman who died at 52 of multiple organ failure, prematurely aged almost beyond recognition. Are there similar stories in your family that inspired you to get into naturopathic medicine? What could that possibly have to do with marketing?

That woman never found you, and she was looking for you.

I learned from her example. I managed a food coop back in the day when they weren’t fancy ways to spend a lot of money on gourmet organics. We were just trying to obtain whole wheat flower at all. We all volunteered to make the space work, came in and packed food for ourselves and each other – and back in those days, our cupboards were pretty basic.

By the time I was 27, I was already manifesting the symptoms of a handful of my own disabilities. At my worst point, I was awake less than 4 hours a day, and all of those hours had to be spent in productive labor in order to survive.

What could that possibly have to do with marketing?

I couldn’t find you either, and I was in marketing and  trained to look!

Oh, it’s not that I didn’t find people. But without going into a long story, I wasted years before I came to a credible, licensed ND. Once I did, I was 90 % symptom free w/in 2 years, body healed and healthy.

When rest of my vitality returned, though still technically disabled, my MDs have declared me symptom free, or miraculously “cured” of things which theoretically were never going to go away.

What could that possibly have to do with marketing?

Of all the costs of our health care crisis, the sheer waste in human potential is the one that bothers me the most. There are an alarming number of people, and the number keeps growing, under stress and made more ill by traditional medicine, who are bravely fighting to contribute to their community and are just losing ground every day. The insurance/health care system is only the tip of the problem. As you well know, the problem starts with how we approach health to begin with.

But these responsible, hard-working people would be happy to be responsible for their healthy, if someone showed them an effective way to do so. Studies show that even people who have never been introduced to the concept of naturopathic care improve under the care of and ND,  given a practice plan which works within their lifestyle.

Consider the sick people who have something to give, and could otherwise be well, and are not able to make a full contribution to their communities. I’ve seen them living with unnecessary pain, and dying early, all because they don’t know where you are.

From my experience, that’s the worst part about being chronically ill.

When naturopathy gave me the ability to contribute to society again, it looked pretty obvious to me that the very biggest investment return I would get on the hours of my life would be to market naturopaths and help make them as successful as possible.

In other words: Help a naturopath, save the world.

Let’s face it; there is a lot of work to be done. I am not Jewish, but I was always fond of the Jewish tradition of taking responsibility for “repairing the world” of our inhabitation of it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel called to clean up some part of the mess, some corner of it that is within their reach.

But who has the time? Who has the strength? Who has the energy?

I do. Since I’ve been seeing a Naturopath.

The WANP is producing a public education campaign, which is going to include a public health education web magazine, as well as a bright new, smart phone friendly ND directory. We’ll be calling you to let you know about filling out new profile forms for the website, about some of the material we’ll need for contributions to the magazine, and to chat about participating in membership and the classes we’re giving to get you a little more active in the community without extending more time and money.

All I ask is that when you answer the call, think about where you want to start promoting yourself and your profession, within some pretty modest starting places, so that we can bring those patients into your practice.

So that people like my mother can find you, much, much sooner.

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