The Pennsylvania Association of Naturopathic Physicians (PANP) was founded by Gere Reisinger, ND and Jeff Feingold, ND in the early 1980’s. Gere Reisinger, ND was the first President of PANP and Michael Reece, ND, a recent Bastyr University graduate, assumed the role of Vice President in 1983. Early board meetings were held at Dr. Reece’s home in New Holland, PA.
The PANP incorporated in 1999 as a 501(c)(6) with the US government and as a non-profit organization with Pennsylvania State. At this time the PANP was set up as an affiliate to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians with similar by-laws and approval by the AANP House of Delegates.
The PANP began seeking state licensure for naturopathic doctors in 2000. Their first bill, HB 1070, was introduced in the 2001-2002 legislative session by Republican Representative Rod Wilt (R). Without a lobbyist, the bill never made much progress and the PANP decided to take the time to organize and gather more before reintroducing another bill.
Four bills were introduced between 2007 – 2014:
- HB 1998 was introduced in the 2007-2008 legislative session by Representative Jim Wansacz (D) and was stalled in the House Professional Licensing Committee.
- HB 1784 was introduced in the 2009-2010 session by Jim Wansacz (D), and again the bill never made it out of the House Professional Licensing Committee. At this time Heidi Weinhold, ND assumed the role of Legislative Chair, a position she still holds today.
- HB 1717 was introduced in the 2011-2012 session, with Representative Mark Mustio (R) as prime sponsor. Again, the bill stalled in committee.
- HB 612 was introduced in the 2013-2014 session. Mark Mustio (R) continued as prime sponsor of the bill, and in October 2013 the bill passed the House by an overwhelming margin. This time the bill stalled in the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.
- HB 516 was introduced in the 2015-2016 session with Rep. Mark Mustio (R) continuing as prime sponsor. A companion bill, SB 621, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jay Costa (D). The bill passed the House by an overwhelming margin in the winter of 2015, and finally passed the Senate in late October 2016. Governor Wolf signed the bill into law on November 3, 2016.
In existence for nearly forty years, the PANP has grown from a small group of naturopathic doctors meeting in a living room in New Holland, to nearly fifty naturopathic doctors who live and practice from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and many, many points in between.
There were many people who helped the PANP along the way; people familiar with the legislative process that gave us advice and counsel. Thanks go to Barb Dively, Terry Stark, Jill Miller, Tim Potts, and Maureen Tighe who helped us in those early days. Thanks to Heidi Weinhold, ND, who gave so much of her time travelling and meeting with the House and Senate member as Legislative Chair. Thanks to Lanny Pilardi, for his support in the last legislative session. Thanks to board members both past and present for giving their time and expertise in support of NDs in Pennsylvania. And thank you to all past PANP Presidents: Gere Resinger (founder – 1999), Michael Reece (1999 – 2008), Renee Awad (2008 – 2012), Michelle Niesley (2012 – 2016), Marie Winters (2016 – Present).