Back to Blog

The 1910 Flexner Report & the History of Naturopathy in Medical School Education


Dear HHE Community and Beyond,

 Have you ever looked at some of the common health mentalities in our society and asked yourself.... how did we get here? 

At what point did "primary care" become what we call medical care instead of self care? 

When did century-old natural healthcare practices get labeled "complimentary and alternative medicine"?

And how did our society become so ardently faithful to a system that told them the best way to stay healthy was to wait inside at home for a miracle pharmaceutical drug development to save the day?

I am surprised I still have scalp left after the amount of head-scratching I've done over the past two years. In fact, if my forehead ever smooths out from the amount of wrinkles I've incurred from scrunching up my face in bewilderment, that will be a miracle.

Today, I am sharing a brief historical video that answers these questions. (Turns out, there is an explanation.)

In 1910, medical schools were required to remove all naturopathic modalities from their curriculum in in order to focus on the clinical advancement of "modern medicine," or they would forfeit accreditation and funding. This mandate came from the American Medical Association, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller. (Is now a relevant time to mention that 97% of pharmaceutical drugs are petroleum-based?)

Of the 200+ practicing medical schools at the time, where holistic healthcare comprised 50-100% of curriculum, all but 31 were forced to close their doors. Homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, many botanical medicines, and other forms of natural therapy were removed from school curriculum, and never put back in. 

Additionally, all but 2 medical schools for Black Americans were closed and restrictions were placed on how they could practice due to racist clauses. This caused systemic under-representation of the Black population in medical care for decades to come.

We can see the effects of this today, where the USA comprises 4% of the world's population, yet consumes 41% of the world's pharmaceutical drugs. Black physicians comprise 5.4% of the physician workforce, despite Black Americans comprising ~13% of the population.

I will never forget the day I learned about the Flexner Report of 1910. It was the day the clouds parted for me, and everything about my not-so-health-oriented public health education made sense to me. 

I had asked myself a hundred times as I went through the world's #1 school of public health, learning from top medical professors around the world... what happened? At what point was basic health information removed from healthcare curriculum? How did we get this far removed from the objective of healing? 

I found my answer on the day I learned this piece of history. 

I hope this video gives you the same insight and understanding that this message gave me.

You will notice in the video that I support the use of modern medicine when necessary, I celebrate the advancements that have been made, and the report contained some very positive suggestions too. I am extremely pro-integrative healthcare. I believe in the use of medical and pharmaceutical interventions when they are beneficial. The only thing I am not "pro" is restricting the forms of healing that our healthcare professionals are allowed to learn about and utilize.

At HHE, we are dedicated to re-integrating ALL fields of healthcare that were never meant to be separated in the first place. We embrace the strengths and contributions that each culture, ethnicity, tradition, and technique brings to the table of the healing arts. The healthcare professionals who join our school want to know how to help their patients heal and reverse disease, not just stabilize them. 

So until our medical and public health schools can fulfill that need... we will. 

WE will teach integrative healthcare and the science behind natural healing. Because our families, our communities, and our world deserves to know that they can heal. 

Thank you for being a part of our mission. Endless love to you and the work you do, 

Amy Sprouse 

CEO Holistic Health Educators 

Teaching the Science of Natural Healing 

 Please enjoy this video and pass the message along through social media:

Short version (3 mins) on Facebook

Short version (3 mins) on Instagram

Long version (7 mins) on Youtube

Short version (3 mins) on Youtube 

Join our Free Community Calls & BODcasts LIVE!

You can join in the conversation, ask questions or just listen - either way you'll learn new things about holistic health, your body, and how much we LOVE your guts!