Regarding article ‘A New Doctor’s Office is Coming to Town’ by Sienna Boucher on 02-02-2022

We are delighted that Heather Christiansen PA and Dr. Fishaut are going to be offering much needed services in our community. However, we were shocked and hurt by you completely ignoring other front line primary care providers and woman owned small businesses in your article, who have been offering much needed primary care during the pandemic.

In its first sentence, the article incorrectly states that there are only three medical clinics currently in operation on San Juan Island. The article overlooks that fact that there are currently at least two practicing naturopathic physicians on the island, of which I am one. My medical clinic, Living Medical Arts, has been in operation since 2012 and has provided care to thousands of patients. We were also the first clinic in San Juan County to provide support for a COVID-19 testing program in a county school as well as the first to support an at-home testing option for patients. There is also Island Naturopathic Clinic with Dr. Leyardia Black, ND who has been in practice and served the San Juan Island community for many years. Both doctors devote time, love, and care to all of their patients to provide the best care possible.

Despite a biased perception that naturopaths aren’t “real doctors”, we are in fact considered primary care providers in WA state. We are licensed by the state, have advanced graduate training, have nearly the same prescriptive authority as conventional MDs, and offer comprehensive and integrative medical care. By overlooking these medical practices in your article, you inadvertently contribute to bias toward our profession and ignore our contributions to public health.

Discover Naturopathy | Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (

Mandy Gulla ND, LMP

Friday Harbor