Center for World Indigenous Studies
A Think Tank of Activist Scholars
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Center for Traditional Medicine

Infusing the healing arts and sciences with cultural wisdom since 1977.
Traditional medicine is the “mother” of all medicine. More than 80% of the world’s population uses a form of traditional medicine to treat primary health. The intimate connection between life on earth and the living universe has formed the foundation for virtually all systems of healing for millennia.

Learn about health and healing

  • Explore the relationships among trauma, mind, body and health
  • Apply local knowledge of medicinal plants and wild foods
  • Advance social justice via health care

Enhance cultural competency

We conduct research and provide clinical education, training and consultation that combines indigenous systems of healing with complementary and integrative medicine and public health care.

Areas of Focus

Medicinal Plants
and Wild Foods
Mental Health Nutrition
Cultural, Historical & Nutritional Trauma
Diabetes Type 2 and 3

Preview our courses here or read more here.

Leslie E. Korn, PhD, MPH, LMHC
Founding Director

Leslie Korn’s work has focused for over 40 years on the practical application of Traditional Medicine (and Integrative Medicine) in the context of global public health. She consults internationally clinical treatment on program design and development, indigenous participatory research methods and project evaluation with an indigenous and feminist lens.

Rudolph C. Rÿser, PhD.
Chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies

Rudolph Ryser is the Chair and faculty at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. Rudolph has for more than 40-years worked in the field of Indian Affairs as a writer and researcher and as Indian rights advocate. Rudolph is also a traditional foods chef and has taught widely on Historical Trauma, cultural models of addictions recovery, Diabetes and Culture, Foods and Medicine. He has developed and conducted workshops and seminars  internationally on health, community organization, self-government, and natural resource management.

Heidi G Bruce, MA

Heidi was raised in a trilingual (English, Spanish and German) home in Alaska. She is a writer, researcher and curious traveler. After working in education, social work and sustainable rural development, she earned her masters degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont, USA. As part of her field-based studies, has conducted research on food security and climate change adaptation in western Mexico. She currently works as a research associate, Her specialty areas include gender studies, human migration, conflict transformation and bio-cultural education.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker, MA

Dina is a writer and researcher and faculty in indigenous studies at CTM with a strong background in traditional and alternative healing practices She is a certified massage practitioner and has a special love for surfing and Polynesian dance. She has a B.A. in Native American Studies and a M.A. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She has conducted research on traditional governance systems and mental health care for First Nations in Canada. Prior to her writing career, Dina was an award-winning Native American artist (specializing in leather and beadwork and textile art).

Mirjam Hirch, PhD

Mirjam Hirch is the Senior Fellow in Traditional Medicine Policy at the Center. She is a geographer with a PhD from the University of Cologne with a specialization in Medical Geography. Mirjam is fluent in her native German, English, Spanish and French. Mirjam consults globally on economic and medical geography, Indigenous legal studies, cross cultural education and communication.. Mirjam has worked with CTM since she began her studies as an intern in 2000.

Rosario Galvan, MA

Rosario Galvan is a cross/inter-cultural empathic connector.  She is fluent in her native language of Spanish, and English. She is an associate scholar and editor with the Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS). She has published on women’s leadership roles, disruptive innovation, and storytelling for healthy communities, She holds a M.A. in Intercultural Communication from Lesley University, Cambridge, Mass; a Certificate in Traditional Healing Arts and Sciences from the CTM/CWIS, a BSc in Biology/Zoology, and postgraduate studies in Environmental Science and Land Use Planning.

Tayma Machkhas,
Research Intern

Tayma will be working under the supervision of Dr. Leslie Korn to help develop a postgraduate program on cultural awareness and diversity. She is an undergraduate in the Honors College at the University of Houston pursuing a dual degree in Public Health and Anthropology. She is a research intern at the social determinants and health disparities lab at her university and she is a part-time research assistant for a project called Taking Texas Tobacco Free, which investigates the social determinants of tobacco use.

Consult with us

We have a team of expert researchers, analysts, facilitators and trainers to respond to requests from tribal governments.

contact us