West Coast Homeopathic Society held our first full day conference on Saturday, June 19, the day after the end of our first Homeopathy Awareness Week. It was a great way to celebrate the HAW successes and to bring together both members and non-members with an interest in homeopathy.
The ballroom at the Plaza 500 Hotel in Vancouver provided an excellent location for our conference. It was large enough to allow comfortable seating for the speaking events at one end of the room and, in the remaining area, exhibitors' booths for homeopathic businesses and organizations. The room was buzzing with activity as people used the occasion to meet new and old friends and to browse the booths with homeopathic software, remedies, books, journals, and more. A big thank-you to all our exhibitors who helped add to the fun and interest for all and for providing a much-appreciated 10% discount to WCHS members!
Highlights of the conference were the Keynote Speakers, Lianne South and Neil Tessler, whose topical and insightful presentations were enthusiastically received. Though their topics were entirely different, it was interesting to note that issues raised during Lianne's lecture were later reiterated in Neil's vision for the future of homeopathic practice.
Keynote speaker: Lianne South
Lianne spoke on "Medical Issues Affecting Homeopathic Case Management", which revealed her broad clinical experience with treating women's issues, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, artificially-induced menopause, HRT, infertility, and the reactions to and side effects of various prescription drugs. She stressed that even with drug overlay, an observant homeopath can see the state coming through. "We are fighting a pill-popping culture," she said at one point, which lead to a spontaneous discussion with the audience about the use of LM potencies. Other topics included the physiology of constipation, radiation damage from cancer treatment, an overview of anti-depressants, and steroidal treatment of chronic skin conditions – some of the many jewels of information that Lianne was able to share with us.
Keynote speaker: Neil Tessler
In the afternoon Neil presented a well-paced lecture called "Method Madness: A Homeopathic Reality Check", which offered an historical perspective on the use of homeopathy. Just as a variety of different homeopathic methods were used in the past, we need to let new and innovative methods find their place in current homeopathic practice as well. As Neil pointed out, criticisms of new homeopathic methods should not bear too much weight (to put it lightly).
Break-out Session: "Homeopathy for Healthy Animals"
At the same time, the break-out session in the adjoining Arbutus Room attracted an audience interested in treating animals with homeopathy. Tammy Colleton lead a question and answer session with Vancouver homeopaths, Michael Goldberg and Julie Anne Lee, about treating animals with homeopathy. Questions ranged from how to get an animal to accept a remedy, to how to treat mites on reptiles and aggressive behaviour in dogs. Other topics covered were potency selection, infectious diseases, and the pros and cons of vaccinations. Michael and Julie Anne spoke candidly about their desire to help animals live healthier lives, starting with a healthy diet (which is preferably a raw diet for cats and dogs).
The Board is especially grateful to all our conference speakers: Michael Goldberg, Julie Anne Lee, Lianne South, and Neil Tessler. And special thanks to Lianne for generously donating her speaking fee to the WCHS Scholarship Fund!
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting started with reports from the President, Treasurer, and several committees and it was good to see that there were lots of questions and interaction with members in the audience.
Retiring Board member, Tania Bouchon, spoke eloquently about what WCHS has meant to her, as a new resident to Vancouver, and how helpful the Homeopathy Awareness Week (HAW) committee support was for her in making contacts and starting her own promotion of her practice. She strongly encouraged all members to get involved with next year's HAW.
With Board members serving only one-year terms, some of the Directors did not stand again for election and others did. On behalf of the membership, many thanks go to outgoing Directors Marc Archambault, Tania Bouchon, and Bonnie Pennell for their contributions during the past year.
Outgoing Board of Directors
The newly elected Board is comprised of Nathalie Allen, Elena Cecchetto, Tammy Colleton, Christopher Gehry, Canteris Hartley, and Jo Twiss. The new Directors will be introduced in future issues of our newsletter.
In recognition of Judy Chorney's extraordinary contribution as Membership Secretary, she was presented with a Prestige remedy case from Dolisos Canada, along with a gift certificate from the Board so that she can order the remedies she needs. Many thanks to Michel Biermann of Dolisos for arranging this gift, as well as for providing several door prizes that were drawn throughout the day.
The day's events ended with an exciting raffle of over 2 dozen prizes. According to past practice, each raffle winner gets the chance to select their own prize from among what is still available. It's always lots of fun, with the winners looking for their best choices and the audience offering suggestions and encouragement. This year, the winners who were present definitely got what they wanted!
Over a third of the winners weren't able to attend the raffle drawing (some of the many who purchased tickets by mail or at seminars) and their prizes were selected in descending order of value. Even so, the prizes mailed to these lucky winners included software, many books, and several remedy kits – proof that you didn't need to be there to enjoy the AGM!
Many thanks to all the businesses and individuals who donated gifts for door prizes and the raffle. We couldn't have done it without you!
No event as full and complex as this conference/AGM can come together so flawlessly without a great deal of organization and hard work. So many people contributed to the success of this event, in particular the following:
· MC Marc Archambault, who kept the proceedings strictly on time
· Marilyn Hirsekorn, who taped the lectures for our transcription project
· Diane Louie, who pitched in whenever and wherever needed
· Jenni Sweder, our official photographer
But behind all the activity – and sometimes leading it! – was the indomitable Judy Chorney, without whom this conference would not have run so smoothly. Thank you all!