Sam Coffman began his medical education in the military as a U.S. Special Forces Medic (aka Green Beret medic) in 1989. A few years prior to this he had already become highly interested in herbalism as a way to provide health care in remote regions with a minimum of medical supplies – both for acute care and trauma as well as for chronic conditions.
This was the start of a long journey into the world of plant medicine for Sam, and after thousands of clinical hours as both a medic on teams and in military emergency rooms, as well as working with herbs throughout following decades, Sam’s primary goal has become the creation of an integrative medical model that embraces both vitalistic and mechanistic aspects of herbalism into a collaboration with orthodox and energetic models of diagnosis and treatment.
Sam is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild, and has worked as a clinical herbalist for over 15 years. As founder and director of The Human Path, his educational goals have been to provide the most practical, hands-on teaching experience possible for all students, whether online or on-campus. To that end, he has developed scenario-based training models that make it easy for students to move directly from training into real-world applications.
Kyla Helm, M.D.
Dr. Helm-Swanson received her Medical Doctorate from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in 1993 and is triple Board Certified in Family Medicine, Pain Medicine and Anti-Aging, Functional and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Helm completed a Family Practice Residency at Ft. Benning, GA in 1999 and served in the US Army until 2001.
Given her passion to find and treat the root cause of illnesses, Dr. Helm obtained training in integrative and complementary interventions to augment her traditional medical education. She used these techniques to manage complex medical conditions such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia, and obtained her Board Certification in Pain Medicine in 2004.
Dr. Helm became Board Certified in Functional and Restorative Medicine in 2011 and completed her Advanced Fellowship in Restorative Medicine the same year. Dr. Helm uses an integrative functional medicine approach to provide comprehensive, individualized healthcare to her patients. She has provided these services to adults and children with great success.
Dr. Helm has traveled extensively with her husband who is a career US Army officer. She and her family recently moved from the Texas Hill Country to South Dakota.
Ryn Midura found plant medicine as a path to deeper engagement with the balances and rhythms in body, mind, and environment. He’s become good friends with the soft and savory leaves of sage, the flexing knuckles of solomon’s seal, and the salamander living inside ginger.
Ryn’s first forays into healing came by way of martial arts, where he saw the difference movement can make for a person’s health. Every day he drinks his roots, tastes his bitters, gets [almost] enough sleep, stands on his hands, takes the stairs, and stares at clouds. He feels keenly aware that while herbs alone can initiate a shift, they’re even more effective when combined with other interventions in lifestyle factors including diet, movement, sleep, and stress management, and that those changes must be chosen and pursued according to the nature of the individual, in the same way that herbal remedies must be formulated anew for each client.
This is an exciting time to be an herbalist: we see further and clearer into our past as we weave our way forward. As Ryn continues to develop his attunement to the world green and growing, he delights in sharing its gifts with the people all around who are in need of care and compassion, and those who seek to understand the connections from all things to all things.
Ryn co-owns Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, based in Boston, with Katja Swift. www.commonwealthherbs.com
Katia LeMone is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) serving as a homebirth midwife for the Las Cruces New Mexico and El Paso Texas area since 1991. She is the senior midwife for All Natural Birth, a homebirth service for Dona Ana county.
Katia is certified through the North American Registry of Midwives and she is a licensed midwife in New Mexico.
Katia has been serving women and homebirth families for many years as a midwife in Las Cruces and El Paso. She was trained at Maternidad La Luz in El Paso in 1991 and has attended over 500 births including home births and birth center births.
Katia has lived and worked with Native American communities, East African villages and she grew up on the US/Mexico border. She has a Masters Degree in Public Health and is a Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed Midwife in New Mexico.
Katja Swift is an herbalist and teacher working to help adults, children, and families rebuild their relationships with their bodies and with their own ability to heal. By teaching people how to understand what’s going on in their bodies, to eat real food, and work with medicinal plants, she helps them to reestablish their connectivity to the earth, to themselves, and to one another.
Katja likes words like educate and choice, hike and campfire, music and art. Also, enough, plain speech, and integrity. She abhors the way in which the phrases “I can’t” and “I have to”are overused in our culture.
Katja chooses to practice in Boston (as opposed to greener, wilder places) because city folks need plants, too. The dandelions come to live in cracks in the sidewalks just to be close to us: teaching in a city means that more people can recognize them in gratitude instead of trying to be rid of the weeds. Shehomeschools her twelve-year-old daughter Amber, who makes a very good pot of tea, loves dogs, and enjoys helping in the school and clinic.
Some of Katja’s favorite teas include Tulsi, Wood Betony, & Rose petals,Nettle and Friends, and Chai for a Busy Day.
Katja co-owns the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, based in Boston, with Ryn Midura. www.commonwealthherbs.com
David has a wide variety of skills and interests, which include a range from construction, metalworking, woodworking, photography, cooking, and pretty much anything artsy, craftsy, or tasty. David’s personal mission to be more self-sufficient and recapture ancestral skills led him to The Human Path, where he quickly became a part of the blacksmith and herbal medicine programs. Following a belief that one learns more through helping or teaching others, you may find David assisting or teaching across a variety of subjects at our school, most notably Blacksmithing and Herbal Medicine, or their related subtopics.
David is also part of a trio of instructors that teach The Apothecarist Program, an herbal medicine making program for intermediate herbalist students.
Heather has over 20 years professional culinary experience and cooking/preparation knowledge in everything from vegan to paleo diets, to planning and preparing large meals for corporate facilities and children’s camps- in environments spanning diners to fine dining establishments, running her own restaurants as well as wilderness campfire and contingency/makeshift situations.
Heather holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, and Associate’s degrees in both Media Arts and Massage Therapy. In addition, she has attended culinary school as well as a wide variety of apprenticeships, supplemental skills workshops, including several martial arts.
Heather teaches a series of sustainable skills classes at The Human Path designed to re-familiarize students with lost or forgotten skills that help create independence and a richer quality of life. In addition, Heather makes up a trio of instructors that teach The Apothecarist Program, an herbal medicine making program for intermediate herbalist students.
Suchil is the Program Director for The Human Path as well as the Director for the non-profit organization Herbal Medics. She brings a diverse background to the Provider program at the school, with a strong history of preserving and canning foods, a love of wildcrafting and a mission to take the school into more sustainable and off-grid directions whenever possible.
She has a degree in Fine Arts Photography and studied journalism, worked as a neuromuscular massage therapist for a decade, received her Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoffrey Lawton in 2015, and helps to organize and manage apothecary operations in clinics and classes.
Suchil teaches homesteading courses at the school and helped to develop The Apothecarist program, an intermediate medicine making course that she helps to instruct with two others.