The last two years have been a very exciting time for the Center. With a lot of thought and hard work, we have made some substantial changes.
In June of 2006, we began working on our transition to non-profit status. After many hours of paperwork and much waiting, we finally received our official non-profit status on June 9, 2009.
The Big Move
This June, we moved out of our cramped offices of the past 4 years into a beautiful space that will serve us well during the next part of our development. Our front windows look out onto the expansive lawn of Strawberry Park. Strawberry creek runs wild to the right of our door and the Berkeley Youth Alternatives garden are just steps away. We are busy this summer transforming our new space to meet our school and clinic needs.
Changes in the Program
Much has happened regarding the program. The school has expanded to include an 8 month, 3 days per week intensive course, which suits the needs of those students who cannot attend evening classes. Also, a San Francisco satellite 10 month program in Foundations of Herbalism offered for the last 2 years.
In addition, there have been big changes in the student clinic. Student clinic has extended its operation to be year round rather then 10 months. Our 400 hours of supervised training meets the professional requirement of the American Herbalist Guild (AGH). Our clinic sees close to 125 people a month, giving our students one of the best clinical herbal educations in the field. At the request of advanced students we have added a second year clinic program.
Tony Seifert now manages all our medicine making needs and we took on dispensary services for herb rooms at the Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinics in Oakland and San Francisco. C.M.C.C. is a non-profit free clinic serving low income women with cancer.
We were approached by the Cavallo Point, Hotel and Spa in Sausalito for an employment opportunity for a graduate of our program. Katie Delwiche was hired and is now their resident herbalist. Our graduate Dixie Block was hired to work at the Harborside Clinic in Oakland. Our graduates Atava Garcia Swiecicki and Sharon Bargil, received professional status with the AHG.
There are a number of projects that we are currently involved in. Second year clinic student Tracey Brieger is working with East Bay Agency for Children (a social service agency) to help six preschoolers with severe behavior problems avoid the use of anti-psychotic medication using diet, herbs and exercise. Another clinic student Michelle Steinberg, will be spearheading an herbal wellness program at the Street Level Clinic in Oakland. Street Level is a day labor center for Spanish speaking immigrants. She will be developing a public service model for working with this population.
In October 2008, Pam Fischer, our executive director, was elected to serve on the National Board of Directors of the American Herbalist Guild.
It has been a very full last few years, but our vision is far from complete. A number of projects still await us including: a special training program for Midwives, Doulas and Herbalists to work with pregnancy; a Senior Health Advocacy program, working with a senior residence center in our neighborhood; networking with the Berkeley Youth Alternatives on teaching herbalism for gardening trade and the Urban Creek Foundation in planting the native medicines in our creek. Other projects include getting herb rooms into public service clinics and finding grant money to help support them. Our plan in 2011 is to begin a Marin satellite program.
Ohlone Herbal Center is the leader in the Western Herbal Movement in the Bay Area. Your support and contribution will help propel us forward. Herbalism is often overlooked as a model for health care in America. We believe we have something to contribute to the health care crisis at hand, offering affordable medicine that is both green, sustainable and free of pollution causing toxins. Any financial support you are able to give will help in the fulfillment of our dream.
Thank you for your generosity,
Pam Fischer, Executive Director on August 28, 2009