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Suzanne Richman

People @ Goddard

Real name

Suzanne Richman, MSPH


People @ Goddard

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT


I work with a range of students focused on creating healthy personal, social and ecological spaces.  I am keen to advise those interested in multiple perspectives-- from sacred ways of knowing to critical inquiry. As an advisor, and colleague, my work is to create sanctuary for the spirit of the learner while pushing students to venture beyond their comfort zones.  

Whether exploring comparative healing philosophies--from indigenous to biomedical--or hot topic issues such as global heating or the social determinants of health, my advisees are challenged to grow a contextual social and ecological awareness. On the internal level, my advisees are invited to strengthen their inner vision, voice, and power so they might create and follow a path with heart as they transform communities and create cultures of well being. I approach each learner with a curious appreciation for her or his unique intellectual gifts and creative expression, encouraging personal, practical, and academic study so that scholarship is well grounded in reflection, hands-on experience, integral thinking, and community.
For fifteen years I was the program director of Health Arts and Sciences. I conceived and developed the Health Arts and Sciences: Bridging Nature, Culture, and Healing program in 1995 after observing the compelling work of students engaged in community health and healing studies. That early student and faculty work nurtured the vision of Health Arts and Sciences such that it became a program of learners interested in strengthening the roots of health on personal, collective, and ecological levels. Before founding and directing Health Arts and Sciences I taught and advised at Goddard (twelve years). My courses and areas of study include(d): ethnobotany; herbal medicine; community health systems and transformations; women’s health; cross-cultural perspectives in health; social-ecological perspectives on health; and the hand-made world.
Before coming to Goddard I taught an intensive summer course called Community and Holistic Health at the Institute for Social Ecology (eight years), consulted for the "Alternative Medicine Task Force" with U.S. Representative Bernard Sanders, and co-created and toured with an eco-spiritual public performance called, Turtle Island Visions and Soundscape.  I created a short documentary film on the People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre, VT, was a health educator at the Fort Totten Reservation in North Dakota, Renz Women’s Prison in central Missouri, and  Community Garden project for low-income groups and immigrants in Columbia, Missouri. In one of my fondest memories, I helped sow the seeds for the bioregional movement in North America.  I’ve also owned or operated a number of food businesses, from the Catalpa Tree Café to Front Porch Pies.  

My ongoing professional engagement includes educational design and consulting. I helped launch the EcoVersity program for sustainable living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and helped create the first local Bioneers conference in Montpelier, Vermont. I created and/or co-facilitated three of Goddard’s travel intensives including, China, the Healer in Beijing, Wisdom of the Elders in Southern Mexico and the Big Island, Little Planet travel intensive in Polynesia.  In 2011 I co-founded and serve on the board of directors for a non-profit, Ayllu, Inc., devoted to place-based and indigenous ways of knowing and inhabitation.  I am currently working on the design of an audio-visual program about a maverick, international health non-profit called Flying Medical Services. They bring health care to Maasai settlements in N. Tanzania and provide emergency evacuation flights to regional health centers and hospitals when necessary.

The Green Mountain forests in central Vermont have been my home since 1984.  At home I operate a small-scale homestead project crowded with fruit trees and berries, organic gardens, medicinal herbs, flowers, a small vineyard, and mushroom farmette.  My newest installation is a stone and thyme meditation garden involving river stones collected throughout Vermont’s watersheds.  I’ve written federal grants to replant indigenous flora throughout my 18-acre woodland home. I’m inspired to study place-based arts as it relates to nature. Between Goddard, the homestead, critters, gardens, and being with my teenage son, life is good.

Educational Background:

MSPH in Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Missouri; BA in Environmental Studies and Community Health, University of Missouri.

People @ Goddard

People @ Goddard