More About the Author
full bio: Lewis Mehl-Madrona Origins. Coming from indigenous origins, Lewis has been interested throughout his life in the contributions that his culture can make to mainstream society. He grew up on the Kentucky-Tennessee border in the United States, a rural area where, even today, 60% of families have household incomes less than $10,000 per year. What these people do have, however, is a culture rich in story and in healing traditions. When he entered Stanford University School of Medicine in California, in 1973, Lewis realized that his culture had much to offer mainstream society - through its understanding of the power of story and through its understanding of healing and transformation. Training. After graduation from medical school, Lewis completed training programs in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is American Board Certified in these specialties (with added qualifications in geriatrics) and has taught at several U.S. medical schools, including the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh. In July, 2005, he came to Canada, where is now Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Psychological Studies Institute in Palo Alto in 1980 and a Master's of Philosophy in Narrative Practices from Massey University in 2007.Writing. Lewis is the author of four books. Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native America (Firestone, New York, 1998) explores his efforts to integrate his aboriginal origins and culture into his medical practice. Coyote Healing: Miracles from Native America (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT, 2003) explores the unexpected healings that occur with traditional aboriginal healers and generates some principles for healing. Coyote Wisdom: The Healing Power of Story (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT, 2005), which tells about how narrative organizes experience and guides the healing process. Narrative Medicine: the use of story and history in the healing process (Bear and Company, Rochester, VT in press) is about how we can see the various systems of healing from diverse cultures around the world (including Western technological medicine) as stories which interface with the stories of the culture to which the healing is being applied. Lewis writes about the need to respect a diversity of stories (cultures) and to match the healing story with the patient's story - in fact, to elicit the patient's story of the illness to understand its creation and maintenance and to use that story to inspire a plausible path to healing. Goals: In all these endeavors, Lewis has brought forth an indigenous perspective to the mainstream world. Stories are associated with "health" or "disease." Lewis has worked with communities and companies using narrative perspectives, including Appreciative Inquiry, to draw forth their stories and to facilitate a collaborative re-authoring of those stories. These approaches have faith that people do know how to solve their own problems, that the stories exist, that local expertise is usually sufficient for solving problems, that outside experts rarely help, and that people need to be empowered to trust their local practices, abilities, and cultures to solve problems that present, whether in community relations (alcohol, drugs, poverty), health and disease, or business. Lewis actively pursues his relationship with indigenous culture - through research programs to treat diabetes with traditional medicines, through attending ceremonies, and through working with Northern Saskatchewan reserves to provide psychiatric services on regular trips to the 60th parallel (almost).
Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, MPhil, is Director of the Psychopharmacology Program at Argosy University Hawai'i, where he is also Associate Professor of Psychology. He is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson State College in Vermont and is Education Director for the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation, also in Vermont, USA. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, Narrative Medicine, and the soon to be released (July 2009), Narrative Psychiatry: healing mind and brain in a social world. Lewis is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine, the Psychological Studies Institute in Palo Alto, and Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is American board certified in family medicine and in psychiatry.
Medicine Wheel Oriented Bio:
Mehl-Madrona's story of searching for his ancestral roots beneath the forest of Christianization, colonization, and assimilation becomes a story of seeking mind, body, spirit, and community integration. The need for a parallel path to biomedicine became apparent in medical school when he learned from the professor of medicine and pharmacology that "life was a relentless progression toward death, disease, and decay. The physician's job is to slow the rate of decline." By the weekend, he had found a Cherokee healer with whom to study. That was 1973 and he hasn't stopped his studying with elders. He will describe the guidance they have given him toward achieving a balance among mind, body, spirit, and community, which represent the four directions of the medicine wheel.
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