Which Association ?

By Geneve Grasso

LifeSmart Pty Ltd

Last year, I graduated from Naturopathy at Nature Care College and decided to set up practice, meaning it was finally time for me to join an association. For me this was an important decision, as an association bridges the gap between myself and the industry and I needed to find one that would cover as many of my needs as possible.


First up, I was looking for an association that covered multiple modalities as I am accredited in Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Nutritional Medicine, Remedial Massage and Ayurvedic Consulting. ATMS covers over twenty modalities, but more than that, it also seems to respect all modalities and values each practice. Naturopathy as a holistic practice looks at mind, body and spirit and it was important to me to find an association that appreciated all these elements.


Secondly, I was looking for an association that could bridge the gap between me and health funds. ATMS could assist with my applications for all the modalities which were covered by health funds, saving me a huge amount of time and energy. I had heard a practitioner had to apply to each fund individually and the funds would charge between $50 to $100 for each application. That wasn’t the case, and the ATMS office made the process super easy and were extremely helpful.


The third criteria for me was a broad offering of continuing education opportunities. There is always a variety of topics to choose from, featuring top industry experts through a range of mediums and locations. Last year some of my colleagues went to the Endometriosis Symposium – they came back buzzing with new information and inspiration. I won’t be missing the next one.


With my practice and modality needs met, my final criteria were on the business end of my practice. Given the current political environment and the threat from the government to remove natural therapies from rebates, I was also looking for an association that was politically active. 


I could see that ATMS were engaging in lobbying from all angles:


  • Running an active campaign on social media “I Support Natural Medicine and I Vote”
  • Organising direct meetings in Canberra with the Health Minister and Small Business Minister, as well as key Cross Benchers
  • Engaging members actively with a social media campaign and providing easy-to-use templates to send letters to our MP


They were helping us to use our voice.


My final criteria was based on good leadership and management. I looked for an association that had a management team I could respect; they had to have a good reputation, understand our changing needs within the wider environment and have a solid business background.


The ATMS Board and Directors covered all bases. It also appealed that the Board has nine elected Directors and the option to appoint two independent Directors. Independent Directors with appropriate skills are considered best practice in corporate governance. As an ex-senior corporate manager, I know these things are important to ensure the ongoing strength of the association, our industry and ultimately my practice.


ATMS won my vote and my membership.