WMU News

Dietary supplements is topic of annual holistic program

Oct. 24, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- An authority on dietary supplements will be the guest speaker at the 13th Annual Holistic Health Dinner on Monday, Oct. 29, at the People's Church.

The topic of this year's dinner is "Key Herbs for Healthcare" and will feature Dr. Teresa Klepser, associate professor at the Ferris State University College of Pharmacy and who recently became a clinical practitioner at the Kalamazoo Center of Medical Studies Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Clinics. The event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Western Michigan University Holistic Health Care Program, part of the College of Health and Human Services. The church is located at 1758 N. 10th St. in Kalamazoo.

Klepser received her doctorate of pharmacy degree at Wayne State University and is an expert in the use of herbs and supplements. She also has worked in a complementary/alternative medicine clinic in Iowa, where she counseled patients on their dietary needs.

"We are happy to welcome Dr. Klepser into the community," says Dr. Thomas Holmes, director of the Holistic Health Program at WMU. "She's going to bring new energy and focus to the holistic health care curriculum and to other programs in the College of Health and Human Services."

Klepser will address specific dietary supplements such as St. John's wort, ginko, echinacea and ma huang (the primary ingredient in Metabolife, better known as ephedra). She will also discuss unsafe herbs, why they are banned in other countries, and why they are not banned here. Reliable resources on dietary supplements and the side effects of drug interactions also will be points of focus. Klepser believes that "dietary supplements should be treated like drugs, because some are effective while others are interactive. Users and health care professionals need to be aware of the safety issues of these supplements."

During dinner, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. and feature a vegetarian soup, guests will be able to informally network, according to Gay Walker, an instructor in the Holistic Health Program. "The dinner will provide an opportunity to meet new people who are joining the field, as well as reconnect with others whose professions take them down the holistic path," Walker says.

After Klepser's 7 p.m. speech, small group discussions will take place. Topics will include: holistic approaches to psychotherapy, holistic nursing, humor and play, bodywork, creative expression, herbs and healthcare, meaningful and mindful work, integrative medicine, bread for the journey, and practitioners of alternative therapies. In addition, a founding meeting of the West Michigan Chapter of the American Holistic Medical Association, open to physicians and other health care professionals, will take place.

The dinner will close with Holmes leading "Dances of Universal Peace," which are an amalgamation of traditional dances from various cultures, all with the common theme of peace. The event is scheduled to end at 9 p.m.

Members of the community and Holistic Health alumni who are registering after Oct. 15 will pay a $20 entrance fee, while current Holistic Health students will pay $12.

For more information about the 13th Annual Holistic Health Dinner or to receive information about the Holistic Health program, please call (616) 387-2650. For more information about tickets to the event, call (616) 387-3556.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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