The Birth of the NWNPC

Until 1956, each state and province held their own annual meetings and educational seminars. With the reduction in size of each association’s membership, due to attrition, it became impractical to maintain quality continuing educational training. It was decided that the three associations should conduct one annual educational seminar, and at the same time conduct state/provincial annual meetings. Thus the first Northwest Naturopathic Convention came into existence.

The initial convention involved naturopathic physicians from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.  Currently, naturopathic physicians from all Canadian associations, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, California, and Arizona are notified and invited to each convention. Our colleges are also notified and reduced registration fees are offered to students.

For several years, the convention site was rotated between British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.  Naturopathic physicians in all other jurisdictions were notified of time and place.  Many of them took advantage of the educational seminars. The Alberta association asked to be a part of this gathering and hosted an excellent convention to coincide with the famous Calgary Stampede. Unfortunately, geography presented a problem as the greatest concentration of naturopathic physicians were on the West Coast and attendance suffered. This resulted in a financial loss. However, the individual members – less than ten – made up the loss out of their own pockets. Idaho asked to affiliate and eventually hosted three conventions in Twin Falls . The last one failed to develop an adequate educational program so the convention sites were again rotated between Washington, Oregon, and B.C.

The Northwest Naturopathic Physicians Convention

The first convention was held in Nanaimo, B.C. in 1956. The organization of this inaugural conference was done by Doctors Joe Boucher, Doug Kirkbride, and Gerry Farnsworth. It was very successful with about seventy doctors in attendance. There were two days of educational seminars. The third day was devoted to allowing each association to conduct their business meetings, and the other half day was a joint meeting where the doctors were apprized of ongoing events nationally, as well as state and provincially. Common problems such as legal, legislative, and collegiate issues were discussed. Subsequent conventions in Canada, and occasionally in the U.S., combined the national associations’ annual meetings with the Northwest Convention. These meetings were never held in conflict with the Northwest Convention, but rather were piggy-backed a day before or after the convention so as to reduce the travel demands of the membership.

One of the most important aspects of the Northwest tradition has been to emphasize the camaraderie within the profession by arranging unique social events. As a professional, academic ability is not enough to preserve and advance the profession. The value of sharing our knowledge, new and old, is important.

Meeting old friends and colleagues, establishing a camaraderie, and improving the profession’s cohesion are important aspects of professional advancement. Hence, in addition to the academic C.E. hours, the Northwest Convention strives to allow time and the right environment to ensure socialization among the members.

The NorthWest convention has been scheduled as a spring convention, usually being held in the latter part of May. The initial convention was notable in that Dr. Kirkbride personally financed a formal dinner for the entire attending physicians and their spouses. My brother and myself supplied boutonnieres for the gentlemen and corsages for the ladies.

Oregon arranged for a scenic Willamette River cruise and maintained the tradition of a Saturday banquet dinner and dance. Alberta hosted a convention to coincide with the world famous Calgary Stampede. British Columbia chartered a DC-6 to take a sight-seeing tour over the Vancouver area, the Gulf Islands, and the Gold Coast of B.C. Washington has hosted a number of successful entertainment events: a cruise to the salmon bakes with entertainment by a barbershop quartet; a morning brunch and bus tour to Falls City; an exciting and entertaining casino night.