In June I had the opportunity to visit the Center for Homeopathic Education (CHE) in New York City. The visit, which coincided with our holiday to the Northeast US, was part professional curiosity and part excitement for the first school of homeopathy to open in New York. Since my education and practice in the field have exclusively taken place in Ireland, I know very little about the various schools and state of the profession in the US.
I was welcomed initially by Michele, the Center’s secretary, who invited me to visit the school during a monthly teaching weekend and gave me directions to the classroom/clinic in Manhattan. Not having been to New York in nearly 15 years, I was quickly overwhelmed and on sensory overload by the vast traffic and crowds of the city – especially coming from Dublin! The classroom was a haven of order and quiet, with students filing in with their textbooks and giant Starbucks cups of coffee, with a sense of purpose and eyeing me (the unknown visitor) with curiosity.
Michele introduced me to Marcus Fernandez, the co-director of the Centre, who commutes between London and New York. Marcus also runs the Centre for Homeopathic Education at the London School of Homeopathy and has a private practice in London. He has been involved in the field for 15 years working with the NHS and has also given his time and expertise to charitable causes such as the Gambia Project. In 1997 he set up the Healthy Living Centre in Islington, London, which is a clinic that provides a range of alternative therapies. Marcus, who was preparing for a first year seminar, shared his vision for the New York Center, which is finishing its second academic year. He was very open in discussing both locations in London and New York, acknowledging that many of the differences between students were more than likely cultural. He is very optimistic about the future of the New York Center and the field of homeopathy in the US, confirming that more and more Americans are looking for alternatives in health care and potential practitioners are looking for professional training.
I then had the privilege to meet co-director Sue Anello, who was setting up the second year clinic next door. Like Marcus, Sue commutes between the UK and New York City for monthly teaching weekends. Sue’s training was in the UK with post graduate certification at the Orion School in London. Sue is a member of the North American Society of Homeopaths and the Council for Homeopathic Certification in the United States, where she practiced for 6 years before returning to Oxford 5 years ago. She now has a private practice in Oxford.
Sue is deeply committed to the New York Center and runs a highly efficient and professional student clinic. She is forthcoming, honest and open with her students in her vision for the Centre and has high expectations both academically and professionally in the clinic. Much of the morning was spent on the many issues that arise in a student clinic around patient scheduling, follow up logistics for on-going treatment, remedies, and confidentiality, among others topics. I was impressed by the professionalism of the students in the room, who were committed to their studies with many already established in other fields of health care. I excused myself before the first patient arrived in the clinic, as I didn’t want to compromise confidentiality or potentially interfere with Sue and the students in any way.
I have no doubt that the New York Center will be a great success by creating a solid foundation through excellent training, and that it will continue to grow in student enrollment numbers, ultimately providing further courses and programs for post graduate training. It is an exciting time to be a part of the profession as good, professional colleges and schools are vital for the growth and sustainability of the field of homeopathy, not only in training new practitioners but also in supporting and maintaining the competence of homeopaths who are currently in practice.