Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Open Letter to Dr. Weil

The following open letter was written as a "public argument" assignment during a course at the University of Arizona. A copy of the letter was sent to Dr. Weil at the Center and to The Daily Wildcat (the UA's student paper).

A True Integration of CAM and Homeopathy:
Educational Outreach Programs for College Students

An Open Letter to Dr. Weil, Founder and Director 
of the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine

Dear Dr. Weil,
          I admire your success at incorporating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into the University of Arizona (UA) College of Medicine’s curriculum twenty years ago. It has been an excellent resource for UA medical students to explore all aspects of healing. But why stop there? You have a unique opportunity through the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (“the Center”) to develop an on-campus educational outreach program for rest of the UA students’ benefit. I salute your commitment to uniting CAM and conventional medicine through the Center. However, to move toward true integration—which means going beyond the limitations of educating only health care professionals—requires reaching out as well to non-medical students who may be unaware of CAM’s many benefits. Most of them would greatly benefit from knowing about CAM’s uses in acute care and first aid; homeopathy, in particular, is an incredible system for addressing both prevention and healing.

The Substance of Homeopathy: Fact or Fiction?

I am pro-homeopathy. The following paper was written as a controversy analysis for a course at the University of Arizona; in this particular context, it provided me with the opportunity to take a look at both sides of a long-standing controversy within homeopathy: placebo or not. As far as I'm concerned, homeopathic remedies are effective and are not placebo. 
Did you know that Arizona is home to a college dedicated to the study of homeopathy, a controversial medical system? To elucidate briefly, homeopathy is a two-hundred-year-old medical system, using highly diluted natural substances as its medicines. In the United States, homeopathy falls into the category of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as designated and regulated by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is under the governmental direction of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Homeopathy is, however, taught and used in other parts of the world; Great Britain, Denmark, Germany (the home country of its founder), France, Cuba, and India all currently teach and use homeopathy in various forms to a much larger extent than done here in the United States. The three prime reasons for its continued use around the world are that homeopathy is nontoxic, effective, and ranges from costing little to being relatively inexpensive depending upon how it is used and by whom.