Home Go to Homeopathy
A Conversation With... Dr. Todd Rowe
President and Director of the American Medical College of Homeopathy
Interviewed by Christine Breen, ISHom, ATH Co-Editor of Homeopathy
Dr. Todd Rowe
Founder, President & Director of the
American Medical College of Homeopathy
Michelle Gregg, ATH Senior Editor: Hello everyone, I'm Michelle Gregg, Senior Editor of All Things Healing, and I want to thank you for being here with us today. In just moments, we'll be embarking on A Conversation with Dr. Todd Rowe. Yes, the Dr. Todd Rowe -- who is a homeopathic physician and the Director and President of the American Medical College of Homeopathy, which we'll be talking about today. Dr. Rowe is a healer, a teacher, an author, and is involved in all things homeopathy. He's been involved in the world of homeopathy for more than 20 years and has one of the finest reputations of anyone in his field. A wonderful, warm welcome to you, Dr. Rowe. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Michelle: Great. Great. And interviewing Dr. Rowe is our lovely and talented Christine Breen. Christine is a practicing homeopath, a writer, and one of our longest standing and most experienced Co-Editors here at ATH. She's a representative for Kent Homeopathics, and she loves to write and research about homeopathy. And she also does "Wednesdays with Rajan.” You homeopaths out there listening will know who he is. She was also very fond of David Warkentin, who I believe was a friend of Dr. Rowe's. One of my favorite things about Christine is that she lives on the west coast of Ireland, where she has a magnificent garden that she loves to fuss around in, but she's joining us today from London. Welcome to you, Christine. Thanks for being here to speak with Dr. Rowe today.
Christine Breen, ATH Co-Editor of Homeopathy: Thank you, Michelle. I'm glad to be here and to get this wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Rowe.
Michelle: Very good. So alright, I'm handing over the mic to you two. Let's go ahead and get started.
Christine: Well, hello Dr. Rowe. So here are my questions -- You've had a remarkable career in medicine and homeopathy, you're a medical doctor and a psychiatrist with a successful private practice for over 20 years, you've written several books, conducted many important new provings, and you were the past president for the National Center for Homeopathy. Why was it important for you to co-found the American Medical College of Homeopathy? What was the impetus behind it?
" ...my primary love in homeopathy is teaching and education. And if I could choose only one thing that I could do in homeopathy, I think that's what it would be."
Dr. Rowe: So, we embarked on the project roughly 12 years ago, and there was a perception that there was a need for more homeopathic practitioners in the community, and there was a concern that many of the practitioners didn't feel they had adequate training. It was like a seminar-based or weekend-based and they were looking for a more comprehensive kind of training program. So we met with members of the local community here and discussed this and came to the conclusion that we were ready to start a homeopathic school. And we did indeed start back in 1999. I think what fueled it for me is that my primary love in homeopathy is teaching and education. And if I could choose only one thing that I could do in homeopathy, I think that's what it would be. And then lastly, I think our goal was to try to raise the standards of homeopathic education, and we worked at that consistently and I think that's what finally led us to the formation of our homeopathic medical school in the last year.
Christine: I read one of your articles in Homeopathy Today, the one where you discussed, "Is being a good homeopath enough?" and I think that's a really interesting topic. And it opens with a quotation by Dr. Osler, who I think we call the father of modern medicine: “We should aim to cure sometime, to relieve often, but to comfort always." I think that's really wonderful. I wonder if you would share some of your thoughts about how this applies to the vision of the American Medical College of Homeopathy because I think it's safe to say, it's not always how it is in the medical profession.
Dr. Rowe: Very true. I think one of the things that define us as a community of healers in homeopathy is a concept that I would call "humanism." And that is what it is to be human at our best as a species, becomes a critical part of what it is to be a healer. There are times in my work where being a homeopath is just not enough, and I'm called on to become more of a healer than I am a homeopath and of course vice versa. And so one of the things that we've been interested in -- in our school, is how can we develop not only good skills as a homeopathic practitioner but also skills as a humanistic healer as well. And so we actually founded a department of humanism at our school which is devoted to courses and materials that develop those aspects of our students. I think in addition to humanism, there's also a quality of green medicine... and I've always believed that homeopathy is one of the greenest forms of medicine on the planet, and that it's our responsibility not only be a good homeopath but also to run a green practice and to engage in green methods in what we do. And so there's also, as one of our core values at our school, trying to teach green medicine, and green practices, sustainability, and that kind of thing.
Christine: So when you say "green medicine," do you also mean environmental sustainability, or how else do you describe green medicine?
Homeopathic medicines are "green" in that they preserve the essesnces of substances that are becoming endangered or extinct...
Dr. Rowe: Well there're many facets to it. Part of it is sustainability and that is: how do we create sustainable practices, and one of the problems for many homeopathic practitioners in the world today is making a living doing homeopathy. And so how do we create sustainable income so that practitioners can survive on a long-term basis? I think on an educational level, most of our schools tend to be single-teacher dependent and when that teacher is gone, often times those schools close. So how can we create more sustainable long-term schools as well, so we move forward. And then lastly of course, in terms of our medicine, I think our medicines are incredibly green and how can we work to keep the essences of those substances in life that are becoming endangered and extinct by preserving them through a homeopathic record and homeopathic history and homeopathic provings.
Christine: Oh yes, homeopathic provings -- that leads me on to my next question. Do you think you could, before I ask you about some of the provings you've done in the desert world, can you explain to the listeners who won't know what a proving is -- what it is?
Dr. Rowe: Sure. Homeopathic provings are the way that we have homeopathic practitioners conduct research. They're a method to learn about the healing potential of new substances in life. Basically any substance in life can become a homeopathic medicine. And so what provings do is they help homeopathic practitioners identify what are the indications for using these new substances in their practice. And so when you conduct a proving, you typically gather together a group of healthy individuals and you give them a substance that you'd like to learn about from the natural world and then they record the symptoms that they develop over a period of time. The proving director is responsible for gathering all of this material and forming a cohesive picture of this new medicine -- what symptoms it can treat, and is indicated for. And then the proving director gives this material to practitioners out in the field and when they see someone who walks into their office with these symptoms and picture, they then know that they can give that new homeopathic remedy successfully in their practice.
Christine: Going just slightly off-topic, but not too far off-topic: when I was doing some work with David on -- you know -- the provings in his software program ReferenceWorks, he wanted me to write up little summaries of them to send out in a newsletter so that more homeopaths were aware of what the new provings were. And so I picked four of yours to do, and I just was amazed at how complete and concise they were compared with say, some of the other provings that are out there. Your provings are spectacularly researched and delivered and it's really a credit to you and the school I think. You know, these new remedies you have: prickly poppy, and giant cactus, and roadrunner. I don't think people would know that roadrunner could actually be a remedy!
" ...we've been interested in exploring what is 'desert' from a homeopathic perspective and the healing potential of various desert medicines. Because many Native Americans that live in the desert describe the tremendous healing potential and power of desert medicines."
Dr. Rowe: So thank you. Thank you for that compliment. We typically do one new proving a year. They take a lot of work, a lot of energy, and a lot of investment to do well. Our goal is, rather than just simply doing a proving... to do a proving that is clinically useful for someone out in practice, that's the center of it for us. And so it's very important to us, in our write-up, that we be as clear and concise as we can... so that someone who is out there in practice can quickly access the heart of the proving, or the essence of the proving, or the keys to the proving so they can more quickly determine whether this is a useful substance for a given case or not. The other thing that we've been interested in doing -- which is a little off-topic here -- but it's been fascinating for us.. is that we've done research on what I would call "macrobiotic choices" for homeopathic remedies. And macrobiotics, for those listeners who are not familiar, is a concept of using something from your own local environment to heal. And macrobiotic foods -- that includes using foods from your local backyard kind of thing. In homeopathic terms, this means investigating and researching new homeopathic medicines that also come from your backyard. We've been very interested in doing desert provings here at the American Medical College of Homeopathy in part because there's been so few desert remedies historically that have been identified. There's just been a handful, so we've been interested in exploring what is desert from a homeopathic perspective and the healing potential of various desert medicines. Because many Native Americans that live in the desert describe the tremendous healing potential and power of desert medicines.
Christine: I often thought of that actually living in the west of Ireland when I was doing my training with Nuala Eising at the Burren School of Homeopathy. You know in Ireland, they have a lot of heart complaints... and all around me was crataegus and foxglove, and I was thinking how important that is. That's kind of what you're talking about when you say "green medicine" too, isn't it?
Dr. Rowe: Exactly.
Christine: The environmental and ecological ways that you're approaching remedies from the desert world -- or desert remedies I think is what you call them...
Dr. Rowe: Yes, very much. And just to extend what you just said around heart remedies, perhaps another group of medicines that are enormously useful for heart attacks and cardiac disease are the cacti remedy, which of course are associated with the desert and well-known to be useful for angina and cardiac hypertrophy and a variety of other heart problems.
Christine: It's very exciting... I wasn't aware of this... this grouping according to an environmental or ecological system, you know the way that Rajan is doing the Kingdom's Approach, and then we have - of course - Jan Scholten before that with the Periodic Table. And now what you're doing, it's just fascinating. And to me, that's why homeopathy is so exciting, because it's just continually evolving. And we don't have to stop with the kingdom approach, we can just keep including more...
"And I also believe with substances in life, that they are determined not only by their nature, but also by their nurture, by the history of that substance in life, by their environment, by their ecology."
Dr. Rowe: I agree a hundred percent. And nothing in my work contradicts or interferes in any way with, you know, the work of these other brilliant people out there that are doing work in kingdoms and that kind of thing. It's just that for me, it gets back to the basic question of nature versus nurture. And that is just really to understand anything in life, not only do you need to understand it's nature -- and that is its biochemistry or its taxonomy (kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, species kind of thing) but it's also important to understand its nurture. With children, we now know that genetics plays an important role, but so does upbringing. And I also believe with substances in life, that they are determined not only by their nature, but also by their nurture, by the history of that substance in life, by their environment, by their ecology. And it's possible to do a systems analysis environmentally just like you do with taxonomy. And so instead of kingdom, phylum, class, order kind of thing, there is a system that you can use which starts with the concept of biome. And there are seven terrestrial biomes in the world today, and one of those is desert. And you can make that concept analogous, if you will, to the kingdom concept. And then underneath biomes, there are various other sublevels of community and ecosystem and that kind of thing. And so it's possible to look at each substance in life and classify it not only from a nature point of view, but also from a nurture point of view.
Dr. Rowe: Some. That's a bit more advanced and we mostly provide undergraduate education here although it's a concept that I talk about in postgraduate seminars.
Christine: Oh right, okay. Can you tell us what the most important difference is then about the American Medical College of Homeopathy and, if there are any potential students out there listening, what would you like them to know?
Dr. Rowe: So, a number of things -- I would say that one very important thing about us is that we are a medical school and that we are the first homeopathic medical school in the United States. We're a four-year, full-time program that offers a doctoral degree and there now is licensure available, here in Arizona, for graduates. And what it's not -- it's a different model than other programs, which are more certificate-based. We do offer a certificate program as well, but we felt that this idea of creating a more comprehensive training program at a doctoral level was very important and there are many medical schools, homeopathic medical schools, around the world today that do that kind of thing. And another thing that makes us somewhat unique is that we do a lot of online work, so all of our programs are available not only as a classroom-based program, but also as a synchronous online program. And those students from around the country and around the world can listen in to our classes in real-time, interact directly with the instructor and other students in our classroom, which has been a real boon to students who do not live in areas that they can quickly access homeopathic education in any other way. And then I would say another distinction about us is that we really focus on research, that's very important to us. Not only do we do provings, but we conduct a lot of other types of research here at the college that helps to grow and promote homeopathic medicine.
" ...we are working towards the formation of a homeopathic hospital here in Phoenix, we're excited about that, that will be the first homeopathic hospital here in the United States."
Dr. Rowe: It's hard for me to answer that without at least three or four hours to talk about it. (laughs) Some things we would like to do, just to mention a few: we are working towards the formation of a homeopathic hospital here in Phoenix, we're excited about that -- that will be the first homeopathic hospital here in the United States. And we believe that it's helpful for our students not only to be exposed to more... milder conditions -- outpatient conditions -- but that there's real value in seeing serious pathology cured using homeopathy.
Dr. Rowe: And often that's done in an inpatient environment. We're also working on opening a number of clinics in specialty areas like an HIV/AIDs clinic, a woman's health clinic. So that's an important direction that we're moving towards. We are working on obtaining NGO status, with is nongovernmental organization status. We'll be the first organization in the United States to get that, and that will help open us up to be more accessible to the international community. And so we're very excited about pursuing that so we can participate more effectively in disaster relief and assistance and also open us to international funding for NGOs, which will be very helpful. We're working on a national homeopathic research network project, which we're very excited about, which will provide an opportunity to do large-scale clinical outcomes research and cost-effectiveness research here in the United States. And the idea is that many of the schools and clinics around the country will be participating and using common forms and a common database that we can all use together to describe long-term clinical outcomes. And I think that this will be really helpful in demonstrating to the conventional community how effective homeopathy can be and also to the insurance industry how cost-effective homeopathy can be to make homeopathy more accessible ultimately to the national community. And then lastly, we're very interested in pursuing methods to promote legalization of homeopathy here in the United States. There are many states in the country where it's not exactly legal to practice homeopathy and so we are very supportive and work hard to promote legalization and professionalization of homeopathy not just locally but on a national level.
Christine: Oh, my goodness. That's fantastic... it's very exciting to talk to you and maybe you'll accept volunteers, and I can come visit!
Dr. Rowe: We have about 75 volunteers right now. We're looking for more and those volunteers do not need to be local. They could be national or even international and there are many ways that they can assist us in our work.
Christine: Oh, excellent! I'd love to find out more about that. Well, thank you very much Dr. Rowe.
Dr. Rowe: It was a real pleasure chatting with you today.
Michelle: Wow, thanks so much to both of you. What fantastic information! All of the things you have planned with the American Medical College of Homeopathy sound amazing. We'll have to be sure to follow you and see how all that develops. Readers and listeners, I know you've enjoyed this as much as I have and you can find out much more about the American Medical College of Homeopathy by visiting their website at www.amcosh.org. And for those of you interested in pursuing a career in homeopathy, you'll definitely want to visit the "program" section of their website to find out specifics on what the school offers. Once again, readers, listeners: thank you for joining us. Thank you, Dr. Rowe. Thank you, Christine. And until next time, please be well.
About Dr. Todd Rowe
Todd Rowe earned his doctorate of Medicine at Rush Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his psychiatric training at the University of Vermont. He graduated from the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy in Albany, California and is a licensed homeopathic physician in Arizona. Dr. Rowe teaches extensively and has written several books on classical homeopathic education including Homeopathic Methodology, The Desert World and The Homeopathic Journey. He is the past-president of the National Center for Homeopathy and serves as the president of the Arizona Board of Homeopathic and Integrated Medicine Examiners. He is the president of the American Medical College of Homeopathy.
About the American Medical College of Homeopathy
At AMCH, we provide a collaborative, inspiring learning environment that provides a solid foundation for practice. We have a community of exceptional and dedicated healers and provide a student-oriented faculty. We strive to create an intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying environment of inquiry.
We offer a 4280 hour doctorial program (campus based and online), 1100 hour homeopathic practitioner certificate program (campus based and online), 40 hour acute care program, 40 and 50 hour distance learning programs, and finally a 35 hour green medicine distance learning program.
We provide both high quality academic and clinical education. Central to our curriculum philosophy is clinical training that comprises much of our curriculum. We also place strong value on individualized learning, humanism, self-awareness and community as integral parts of the education of being a healer.