Fall Lecture Series

Start: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 5:30 am

End: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 7:30 am

UNM Student Unioin Bldg Theatre

Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D., is a new member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NACCAM). She is associate dean for student affairs and multicultural affairs and assistant professor of surgery and psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Alvord received her M.D. degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and did her postdoctoral training at Stanford University Hospital and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Her publications include an autobiography, The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing (Bantam, 1999). After her medical training, when Dr. Alvord returned home to New Mexico to work in a Navajo community, she says, she discovered that "although I was a good surgeon, I was not always a good healer. I went back to the healers of my tribe to learn what a surgical residency could not teach me. From them I have heard a resounding message: Everything in life is connected. Learn to understand the bonds between humans, spirit, and nature. Realize that our illness and our healing alike come from maintaining strong and healthy relationships in every aspect of our lives." Traditional Navajo healers (hataalii) use song, symbols (such as corn pollen, eagle feathers, masks of the Navajo gods, and sand paintings), and ceremony with their patients, and involve family and neighbors in the process. The psychological and spiritual comfort thus provided can prepare patients for surgery, childbirth, or chemotherapy, for example, and speed their recovery afterwards.

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