Dr. Terry K. Crowe, director of the UNM School of Medicine Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, and Dr. Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, UNM Vice President for Student Affairs, conducted an 11-day course focusing on traditional Mexican medicine in Oaxaca, Mexico this summer. Ten students with majors in occupational therapy, social work, medicine, Latin American studies, Spanish and anthropology participated in this graduate course.
The professors and students worked with five Mexican healers both in the capital city of Oaxaca and on the coast of Oaxaca. Laurencio Lopez Nunes, a botanist who has been studying the medicinal properties of Oaxacan plants was the primary instructor for the course.
The students studied plants focusing on their healing elements while walking in the high-altitude mountains, made medicines from plants, and visited the local market to learn about buying medicinal plants. The students lived with Mexican families and studied Spanish in the mornings while staying in the capital city the first week.
"The highlight of the course was participating in a traditional healing ceremony (limpia) and a traditional steam bath in an adobe tezmascal on the Oaxacan coast," Crowe said. "The course ended at a coffee plantation in the jungle. We studied medicinal plants growing in the jungle, learned how coffee was grown in the shadows of the trees, participated in Mexican family life and learned therapeutic massage techniques."
According to Crowe, the students and faculty were enriched by this special learning experience. The Mexican healers were extremely generous with their time and knowledge. As a result of this course, the health professional students will be more sensitive to people's views of illness health and wellness and choices of intervention.
Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322