The American Medical College of Homeopathy's (AMCofH) new four-year doctoral program is the first of its kind in the country and will provide the most comprehensive homeopathic medical training in North America. The college will matriculate its first freshman class for this unique program beginning in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. On December 29, 2010, the AMCofH had the distinguished honor of being recognized during the Closing Bell Ceremony at the NASDAQ Broadcast Studio in Times Square, New York.
Those who graduate from the doctoral program will be qualified to diagnose illnesses and treat them with homeopathic medicine. This represents another major step forward in the establishment of integrative medical training in the United States. Arizona is already home to the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine, the Gladys Taylor Mcgarey Medical Foundation, and the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. With the addition of AMCofH this certainly places Arizona as a leader in the field of green medical education.
AMCofH first opened its doors in 1998 as the Desert Institute of Classical Homeopathy. It achieved non-profit status in 1999, first obtained Arizona State licensure in 2000, and changed its name to the American Medical College of Homeopathy in 2006. AMCofH first obtained Arizona State licensure for its full-time program in 2007, and its new four-year doctoral program is provisionally licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.
Not to be confused with holistic or herbal medicine, homeopathic medicine is a specific form of holistic therapy based upon the principle of similars. That is, a substance capable of causing a symptom pattern similar to the symptoms of the sick individual can be used, in diluted homeopathic form, to treat that condition.
Poison ivy, for example, is well known to generate itching and blistering. Homeopathic practitioners use homeopathic dilutions of poison ivy (aka Rhus tox) to treat ailments such as chicken pox, shingles, herpes, and eczema, which can exhibit a similar pattern of itching and blistering. This principle of similars can likewise be applied to a wide variety of both acute and chronic physical, mental, and emotional health problems.
Homeopathic medicines have been FDA approved and regulated since 1938, and all official homeopathic drug products are listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States. Until now there had been no adequate classes in regular medical schools designed to educate physicians, nurses, and physician assistants about their proper use. The new AMCofH doctoral program helps to fill this vacuum.
I spoke with Todd Rowe, M.D., president and founding member of the AMCofH, about the mission of the college. He explained that:
The homeopathic medical school will help to grow the practice and quality of homeopathic medicine in the United States. It will be a center of excellence for homeopathic education, homeopathic research and homeopathic clinical care.
Homeopathic medicine is the second most common form of alternative medicine in the world today and one of the greenest forms of medicine on the planet. The growth of homeopathic medicine will help to meet the growing need for primary care practitioners in the United States.
We have fund raised over a million dollars to date towards the establishment of the medical school. We are seeking an additional $500,000 in the next year in this effort."
There are a number of contemporary homeopathic medical colleges and hospitals in various countries around the world, including Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. Although the U.S. lags behind this trend toward embracing greener forms of medical training and practice, it is very encouraging to see headway being made on this front.
The historical significance of this event should not be underestimated. By the late 1800's there were twenty-three homeopathic medical colleges in the U.S. that trained physicians. Many of these colleges later became our modern day conventional medical colleges. Among them were the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia (incorporated in 1855), the Homeopathic Medical College of the University of Michigan (1873), the University of Minnesota College of Homeopathic Medicine (1888), and New York Homeopathic Medical College (1860). (1)
Homeopathy experienced a decline in the early 1900's largely due to the consolidation of political power by the American Medical Association, but it has been enjoying a revival since the 1970's. Although there are currently several other reputable post-graduate homeopathic training programs around the country, the AMCofH program is the first full-time homeopathic medical school in the U.S. since the early 1900's.
Some other programs and projects of the AMCofH include a combined-degree research track in collaboration with Arizona State University, and the provision of homeopathic education for doctors and nurses in Haiti in partnership with Homeopaths Without Borders. There is also a combined degree program in homeopathic medicine and acupuncture with the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture.
The college offers a variety of part and full-time educational tracks tailored to individuals who seek different levels of technical proficiency. They even offer a 35 hour Green Medicine online program. This is a remarkable accomplishment for everyone at the American Medical College of Homeopathy, and I'm sure that I speak for the entire homeopathic community when I wish them the very best.
(1) Julian Winston, The Faces of Homeopathy: An Illustrated History of the First 200 Years. Tawa, New Zealand: Great Auk Publishing, 1999, p. 222-23
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt is the author of GREEN MEDICINE: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care, published by North Atlantic Books and distributed by Random House. He has been a practitioner, educator and leader in the field of holistic medicine for more than 20 years.