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‘Walk for health equity’ brings health fair to Norris

Among those participating in last Sunday’s (Aug. 27) health fair in the Norris Lions Club Pavilion were, from left, nurse Teri Langheld, Roy Langheld, naturopathic doctor Dennis Godby, Debbie Grinder, and Norris naturopathic doctor Deborah Langheld. Godby, of Sacramento, California, is on a “walk for health equity” across the continental United States. (photo:G Chambers Williams III )
A California-based naturopathic doctor who is walking across America to promote “health equity” teamed with some Norris health-care workers to conduct a health fair at the Norris Lions Club Pavilion on Sunday.

Dr. Dennis Godby of Sacramento was to begin the second leg of his five-part “Walk USA for Health Equity” in Knoxville yesterday (Aug. 29), with a planned stop in Clinton today.

But in preparation for that, he spent Sunday with friends in Norris, including Dr. Deborah Langheld, who is also a naturopathic doctor.

And along with others, they held the event Sunday afternoon, offering free health screenings, exercise demonstrations, and talks by Langheld on different aspects of health care as taught by naturopathic doctors.

Langheld, whose mother, Teri Langheld, is a registered nurse, said that naturopathic doctors are not recognized nor licensed by the state of Tennessee, but they are licensed in 26 other states, and in most of those states, they can even serve as primary-care physicians.

In Norris, Langheld works as a certified health education specialist, and she also is a licensed massage therapist.

“I have a master’s in public health, but I can’t call myself a doctor in Tennessee,” she said.

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges, “Naturopathic medicine is a distinct health care profession that combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.

“Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as primary care providers who diagnose, treat and manage patients with acute and chronic conditions, while addressing disease and dysfunction at the level of body, mind and spirit.”

Langheld, who worked as a civil engineer for 16 years before attending a naturopathic medical school, said she now works with clients, as well as doing public speaking, conducting health fairs and maintaining her YouTube channel.

As for his walk for “health equity,” Godby said he’s doing it to bring attention to this cause. He believes everyone deserves to have “a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”

“This requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences,” he said.

He’s making the cross-country walk in five legs. The first leg began in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and brought him to Knoxville.

From Knoxville, he will make the second leg of the trip to Milwaukee, where he intends to arrive by Sept. 27, he said.

The goal is to make plenty of stops along the way to meet and greet people and discuss both the ideas of health equity and naturopathic medicine.

He plans to end the walk in Seattle sometime in 2026, he said.