WMU News

Leelanau Institute offers unique way to study holistic health

April 10, 2003

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- People across the country interested in holistic health care are expected to take advantage of a rare educational experience available in Northern Michigan starting July 27.

Called the Leelanau Holistic Summer Institute and offered by the College of Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University, it will allow participants to immerse themselves in intensive week-long residential classes while living in a community of like-minded classmates and enjoying Michigan's beautiful natural surroundings.

"The Leelanau Holistic Summer Institute is a different and refreshing way to learn," says Gay Walker, a member of the holistic health care faculty, "It takes place in a beautiful environment with a community of interesting people, all who have the intention of deeply exploring holistic subjects."

This year's institute program will be offered in two sessions of two classes each, with students allowed to take one class per session. The courses will be taught by experienced members of WMU's holistic health care faculty, including one of the authors of "Seeds of Awakening," a popular book on the subject of holistic health.

Courses to be offered during the first session, which runs from July 27 through August 2 are: Introduction to Holistic Health Care, taught by Charlene Brown, and Healing through Visual Art, taught by Walker. Offered the second session, which runs from Aug. 3 to 9 are: Holistic Methods I, taught by Dr. Edo Weits and Holistic Health and Spirituality, taught by Dr. Paul Ginter.

Both sessions will feature small, highly experiential, non-traditional classes, which are designed to give students an opportunity to sample a holistic lifestyle while on campus. A variety of complementary and alternative approaches, techniques and resources will be presented, including meditation, yoga, massage, time for reflection, group discussion, beach activities and guest presentations.

The institute will take place at the scenic Leelanau School, a private 50-acre boarding school in Glen Arbor, Mich. The campus is located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the coast of Lake Michigan and is 25 miles west of Traverse City, 260 miles northwest of Detroit and 340 miles northeast of Chicago.

Students enrolling in the institute may take courses for personal enrichment or apply them toward WMU's popular 18-credit-hour graduate certificate program in holistic health care, which also is offered in a weekend format at the University's main campus in Kalamazoo, Mich., and at its regional centers in Grand Rapids, Lansing, St. Joseph, Traverse City, and Battle Creek, Michigan.

"It is hard to put into words the experience I had in the program," says Katie Alkema, director of the new holistic student center at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and a graduate of the certificate program. "I feel like a totally different person because of it and I incorporate what I learned into all of my life."

The certificate program, one of the nation's first university-based holistic health care programs, is relationship centered and integrates health knowledge into everyday life. It is based on the philosophy of holism, an approach to health and healing that encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental dimensions of a person's life.

Mary Swartz, director of WMU's regional campus in Traverse City, says the Leelanau Holistic Summer Institute allows students to complete the course work for the University's certificate program over two to three summers and to complete the required internship at their home location.

The Leelanau Holistic Summer Institute is appropriate for health care professionals, social workers, nurses, therapists, physicians, teachers and occupational and physical therapists. Those interested in incorporating holistic approaches into their personal, family and work lives and students enrolled in health care-related degree programs also may find it valuable.

Space is limited, so immediate registration is encouraged. For a brochure and application, contact Mary Swartz by mail at Western Michigan University, NMC University Center, 2200 Dendrinos Drive Suite 200-S, Traverse City, MI 49684; by phone at (231) 995-1788; by
fax at (231) 995-1789; or by e-mail at <mary.swartz@wmich.edu>. Those interested also may visit the Web site at <www.wmich.edu/holistichealth>. "Seeds of Awakening" is available on line at <www.amazon.com>.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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