THE HERBAL MEDICS ACADEMY FACULTY

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Sam Coffman, School Founder
Sam Coffman, School Founder
Sam has worked with herbs since 1987 and formally as a clinical herbalist for over 15 years. He served in the military for 10 years of which 6 were as a US Special Forces Medic (aka Green Beret Medic). He is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild, a Wilderness EMT (WEMT), and a Wilderness First Responder instructor.

Sam is the founder of The Human Path/Herbal Medics Academy and co-founder of Herbal Medics which is the school’s outreach organization that works with underserved communities.

His 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, to include orthodox western medicine. To this end, he has created and co-created nearly 2000 hours of pathophysiology-based herbal medicine curriculum, and led hundreds of herbal clinics in remote, austere, post-disaster and underserved areas. Also as part of integrating orthodox medicine with plant medicine, Sam regularly works as an herbalist with, teaches with and instructs doctors, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurses, and other licensed health care practitioners.

Kyla Helm, M.D.
Kyla Helm, M.D.
Dr. Helm-Swanson received her Medical Doctorate from the Academy 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.

Steve Pehrson, M.D.
Steve Pehrson, M.D.
Dr. Steve Pehrson’s career in medicine began in 1977 as he entered and completed the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course as a Special Forces Medic (18D). Following his residency he returned to Utah transferring back into the 19th Special Forces Group and was assigned as the Battalion Surgeon for the 1st Battalion of the 19th SFGA.

Dr. Pehrson has been a licensed practicing physician since 1986. He attended a family medicine residency in Wisconsin. Steve is also board eligible in emergency medicine and spent much of his early career in that field. He was awarded the State of Utah EMS Physician of the year award in 1994, and the State of Utah Emergency Physician of the Year award in 1995.

Dr. Pehrson is active in instructing wilderness and prolonged pre-hospital care. He developed a 350-hour curriculum for prolonged pre-hospital care which was approved and adopted by the State of Utah for advanced EMT’s and paramedics.

He retired from the Indian Health Service in 2013 as a GS-15 with his last assignment being the Clinical Director for the Ft. Duchesne Indian Health Center on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, a position he held for seven years.

Suchil Coffman
Suchil CoffmanDirector, Instructor
Suchil is the Director for The Human Path as well as Herbal Medics Academy. 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. In 2019, she released the Female Medic program for specialized health care in the field environment.

Michele Marlow
Michele MarlowProgram Studies, Dept. Head
Michele Marlow began her journey into alternative health in 2002 after her youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism. Her other children were subsequently diagnosed in 2006, a month apart. She wanted to understand nutrition and alternative therapies in a search to help her children deal with chronic symptoms. She now uses her herbal training to help other families dealing with autism, as well as people who suffer from chronic ailments, especially autoimmune disorders.

Michele obtained her clinical herbalism certificate from Kathleen Maier’s 3-year program in Charlottesville, VA. Instructors who have taught her, and who she believes have shaped who she is as an herbalist, include Kathleen Maier, Sam and Suchil Coffman, Matthew Wood, Margi Flint, Steven Horne, Rosemary Gladstar, Mimi Hernandez, Lorna Mauney-Brodek, K.P. Kalsa, Heather Wetzel, Phyllis Light, and Paul Bergner. In addition to her herbalism education, Michele also has two Bachelor degrees in Health and Wellness, and in Complementary and Alternative Health.

Katia LeMone
Katia LeMoneMidwife, Doula, Family Herbalist Instructor
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.

Mel Bailey
Mel BaileyRN, Midwife, Doula, Instructor
Mel Bailey is a Midwife, Nurse, Certified Health Coach, Family Herbalist, and Yoga instructor. She is also an Evidence Based Birth Instructor and Evidence Based Childbirth Educator. Mel has been involved in women’s health care for over 20 years, attending her first birth in 1997. She is the Assistant Director of EarthWise Midwives & Doulas, and an instructor and evaluator at Academia Tierra Sabia in Cuatemoc, Mexico.

Mel facilitates trainings both state-side and internationally for birth workers, as well as disaster relief workers and others in need of emergency birth skills. Mel is also the founder of Wellness Within, providing personalized wellness guidance to individuals during pregnancy and birth, and nurturing new families.

Heather Skye
Heather SkyeInstructor
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.

Lisa Ganora
Lisa GanoraInstructor
Lisa Ganora began studying traditional Western herbalism in the ‘80s. Later, she lived and wildcrafted in the Appalachians where she studied with folk healers and created herbal products to sell as she travelled the festival circuit with her herb booth. After practicing as a community herbalist for a decade, Lisa retuned to college and graduated from UNCA summa cum laude with multiple awards in biology and chemistry. After graduation she focused on studying pharmacognosy and phytochemistry.

In addition to directing the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism since 2012 and managing Elderberry’s (a Rocky Mountain herb farm and education center in Paonia, CO), Lisa has also served as Adjunct Professor of Pharmacognosy at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and has lectured and taught classes at numerous schools and conferences around the U.S. She is the author of Herbal Constituents, a popular textbook on herbal phytochemistry for natural health practitioners, which is used by schools and universities worldwide.

Lisa is available for consulting in medicinal plant chemistry, synergy, and formulation for the herbal and natural products industries.

David House
David HouseInstructor
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.

Jocelyn Brown
Jocelyn BrownInstructor, Logistics
Jocelyn is an herbalist, aromatherapist, and health coach living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. She spends her time learning, teaching online and in-person classes, wandering and gathering, remodeling her home and gardening.
Jocelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice from Texas State University, and has worked in accounting, real estate development, and the nonprofit industry. In 2011 she trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, earning her Holistic Health Coach certification in 2012. In 2008 she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and thus began her journey into learning about natural and alternative health. Once she regained her own health she wanted to help others do the same thing.
She is happiest when she is learning something, making/creating/building something, or when she is out in nature. The courses offered at The Human Path & Herbal Medics Academy bring this all together and she has been a “chronic student” for the past few years, taking many of the Scout, Off-Grid Engineering, Herbalism, and other classes. In 2019 she completed the Wilderness Herbal First Responder training and now completes our team as an instructor in the Apothecarist program & lead logistics coordinator for clinical outreach missions.
Kaleb Montano Hoeffgen
Kaleb Montano HoeffgenScout Instructor
Kaleb Montano Hoeffgen has spent the last six years exploring survival skills, scouting, and disaster relief. He is a Martial Arts Instructor in the Russian Martial Art known as Systema and has extensive training in parkour and other disciplines for over a decade.

He is a survival instructor that has trained and worked with and alongside various organizations such as Trackers Earth in Portland, Oregon and the Human Path in San Antonio, Texas. He is also a die hard student of “The Human Path” survival school and is training to become an Herbal Medic and Scout for the organization Herbal Medics under Sam and Suchil Coffman.

Carol Jones
Carol JonesInstructor
Carol is an herbalist, naturalist and environmental engineer. A free-roaming child of the hills & forests of Western Pennsylvania, she has foraged and taught others about the natural world from a young age. For the last 15 years she has lived on a small homestead in Central Florida, growing subtropical medicinals in her food forest and getting to know a bioregion vastly different from her beloved Appalachia.

Carol believes in promoting self-sufficiency and fostering people’s connection with the natural world through teaching others how to use locally abundant plants for food and medicine.

Carol began studying with The Human Path in 2011 to improve her skills as an herbal clinician in daily and post-disaster scenarios. She assists and teaches courses for the Herbal Clinician Program, and mentors student clinicians participating in the Tele-Clinic Program.

Michael Blair
Michael BlairBotany, Spanish Language Instructor
Originally from Texas, Michael has honed his ethno-botanical and herbal knowledge through years of study with elders in Mexico, Guatemala and California.
He earned his BA in Latin American Studies with a minor in Spanish at Alliant International University, Mexico City and has been studying plant medicine and clinical herbalism for over twenty five years.
Michael has been working with The Human Path for over five years and recently has started teaching bioregional plant identification and botany for herbalists courses.
Michael and Suchil have also developed a clinical Spanish language program specifically targeted to health care professionals and herbalists, bringing clinical Spanish language aptitude into the skill-set for practitioners.
Rick Murphy
Rick MurphyScout Instructor
Rick Murphy has nine years of experience as an active duty naval officer in both nuclear engineering and signals intelligence. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a Japanese minor. His desire to help others took him to Korea for two years as a Korean-speaking missionary and ordained minister for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That same desire recently inspired him to pursue the Doctor of Chiropractic program at Parker University in Dallas, TX in addition to the Apothecary program.

Rick grew up primitive camping in the Sonoran Desert with his family and lived off-grid with his grandparents in south-east Idaho during high school. He brings that background, professional intelligence training, and over a decade of studying Ninjutsu and other martial disciplines to the Scout curriculum.