Suzanne Richman

Faculty, Undergraduate Studies
Residency Site: Plainfield VT

Email
suzanne.richman@goddard.edu

Biography

Suzanne Richman is the founder and former long-time director of Goddard’s Health Arts and Sciences Program; an innovative, interdisciplinary program focused on creating new models of community health for personal, social, and ecological healing.  As a faculty member, Suzanne teaches ethnobotany, botanical medicine, community health systems, nutrition, women’s health, cross-cultural health, and the hand-made world. She also created Goddard’s travel intensives on cultural and ecological medicine in China, Mexico and Polynesia. Her current studies focus on transformational leadership and visionary activism.

Prior to Goddard, Suzanne taught community health at the Institute for Social Ecology; consulted for the “Alternative Medicine Task Force” with then U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders; and co-created and toured with a performance called, “Turtle Island Visions and Soundscape.” She volunteered with the People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre, Vermont, the Fort Totten Reservation in North Dakota, the Renz Women’s Prison in Missouri; founded a Community Garden with low-income groups and immigrants in Missouri; helped co-organize the bioregional movement; and owned a number of restaurants.

Education

MSPH in Public Health with emphasis on Native American, Prison, and Women’s Health, School of Medicine, University of Missouri
BA in Environmental Studies and Community Health (Interdisciplinary Studies), University of Missouri

Areas of Expertise

Ethnobotany; Botanical Medicine; Community Health Systems; International Health; Women’s Health; Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Health; Ecological Perspectives on Health; Social Medicine; Nutrition and Food Security; Mindfulness; Garden Design; Transformational Leadership and Facilitation; Trauma Studies

Personal Statement

I am interested in sacred ways of knowing and critical inquiry to facilitate sanctuary and wisdom for learners. I approach students with a curiosity about, and appreciation for, their unique intellectual gifts and creative expression. I encourage them to weave together personal, practical, and academic study, so that their scholarship is well grounded in reflection, hands-on experience, deep thinking, and community. Whether exploring comparative health philosophies or hot topics such as the health effects of global warming or the social determinants of health, I support students moving outside comfort zone. I challenge them to grow not only their vision, but also their social and ecological understanding. I invite them to fully strengthen their voice and power, to follow a path with heart, and to transform communities by helping to create cultures of well being and regenerative “social fields.”

My professional engagement outside of Goddard includes educational design and consulting. For example, I helped launch the EcoVersity program for sustainable living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and helped to create the first local Bioneers conference in Montpelier, Vermont.

Creating and co-facilitating three of Goddard’s travel intensives– China, the Healer in Beijing, Wisdom of the Elders in Southern Mexico and the Big Island, Little Planet in Polynesia–constituted some of the most delightful work I experienced in my 30 plus years at Goddard. I am newly excited about helping Goddard create a grand scheme of partnership-based learning opportunities with radical learning centers around the States and world.

The Green Mountain forests in central Vermont have been my home since 1984. Here I live part time on a small-scale homestead crowded with organic fruit trees, berries, gardens, medicinal herbs, flowers, a small vineyard, and shiitake mushroom logs. The newest installation is a stone and thyme meditation garden involving river stones collected throughout Vermont’s watersheds. I’ve written federal grants to replant the indigenous flora throughout my 18-acre piece woodland home. I consider it an honor to have tended this place for three decades.

My ongoing personal interests include place-based ways of knowing and inhabitation, how we, as a culture, work with dying and grief, how we tend our elders, and contemplative arts and practices.