Whole Systems Healing: Reconnecting Healthcare with Social and Ecological Justice

with Jessica Marais, March 11-12, 2017

Course Information

This action-oriented workshop for students and practitioners will establish a radically holistic context for the practice of herbal medicine in the contemporary world. Together we will investigate the linked phenomena of ecological and social unraveling and how they worsen or heal in relation to our healthcare systems. With the aim of educating and empowering participants to step into the role of conscious activist, we will explore emerging models of community-based healthcare and what promise they hold for the future. Participants will leave with deepened insight into the systemic nature of healing and a suite of practical resources to assist them in their own projects.


Herbal Medicine and Ecological Justice

The morning session will explore both pharmaceutical and herbal medicine with the web of life in mind. Participants will gain confidence researching and speaking about the ecological implications of various healthcare choices by investigating:
• Ecological literacy: our understanding of the natural systems that make life on earth possible.
• The impact of petrochemical-based medicine on these natural systems, with a special focus on the persistence of pharmaceutical residues in watersheds and their implications for public health.
• The impact of the herbal industry on natural systems, including local and global concerns around wild harvesting, growing, processing, shipping, and consuming medicinal plants.
• Climate change and its impact on the future of healthcare.

In the afternoon session we will apply our learning to reimagine healthcare as healing not only the individual but also the ecological community. Through case studies and shared participant experiences we will explore systems-based approaches to healthcare that sustain and restore biodiversity, wild habitat, soil health, water quality, and atmospheric purity.


Herbal Medicine and Social Justice

The morning session will introduce participants to the complex factors that have contributed to both the dismantling of traditional healing systems and inequitable access to modern medical care. We will explore:
• Principles of social justice, equity, and decolonization.
• Our own positioning within oppressive social systems and how we can work consciously to deconstruct them.
• Practical approaches to inclusive community engagement.
• Case studies of emergent healthcare systems: what works and why.

In the afternoon we will apply our learning from the weekend to explore and discuss models for revolutionary healthcare systems and how we can create them in our own communities. Participants working on specific projects will have a chance to workshop the challenges they’ve encountered with others and share learning with the group.

Course Instructor

Jess Marais is an ethnobotanist and second-generation herbalist accredited with the Guilde des Herboristes du Québec, as well as a freelance editor to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and English from the University of Victoria and a Masters of Holistic Science from Schumacher College in Devon, England, where her research focused on medicinal wild-harvesting and its role in eco-cultural restoration. Devoted to the reestablishment of beautiful, abundant and therapeutic landscapes, Jess has completed organic farming apprenticeships in Canada and France, has coordinated school and community garden initiatives in British Columbia, England, and Italy, and is a certified organic master gardener. Fascinated by relationships of reciprocity between people and plants, she continues to research and celebrate the culture and ecology of herbal medicine at home and abroad. Visit her at www.jessmarais.com.

Course Dates

Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 2017, 9:00am-5:00pm

Course Tuition

Regular – $300 (Early Bird – $285, until February 1)
Student – $275 (Early Bird – $250, until February 1)
PRC Alumni – $285 (Early Bird – $265, until February 1)
*PRC diploma students will receive 1 WHS academic credit for this workshop.

Course Registration

To register, please click on the registration button below. Full payment is due at time of registration to confirm placement in the course. Payment can be made via MasterCard or Visa, debit, cash and cheque.

Withdrawal Policy

For course withdrawals submitted in writing or in person 30 days or more before the start of the course, registrants will receive a full tuition refund less a $40 non-refundable registration fee. For course withdrawals submitted in writing or in person more than 14 days but less than 30 days before the start of the course, registrants will receive a 50% tuition refund. Without exception, no refunds will be given for course withdrawals less than 14 days before the start of the course.

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