Curanderismo: A Community (Re-)engagement Reflection

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What started out as an academic exercise has turned into my re-engagement with a community of teachers and wisdom-holders that I knew before I was born.


At the start, the goal was to select a research dissertation topic that would hold my interest for a long while. I was told to choose something that I was passionate about because I would have to eat, sleep, and breathe it for years. It seemed like most of my classmates knew exactly what they wanted to study.


It was so obvious to them but not to me.

I felt compelled, being of Mexican ancestry, to choose something that would be relevant to the Hispanic/Latino population, and was working in holistic health and the complementary and alternative medicine arena. But, I didn’t know quite how to connect those two things. Until one seemingly random afternoon (although, I don’t believe in coincidences), I was walking to the gym when suddenly it exploded in my mind, and I knew EXACTLY what I was meant to study… the traditional healing system of my ancestors (aka curanderismo)!
Little did I know at the time that what would happen was so much bigger and more profound than any academic exercise.


The journey into my family’s Mexican culture, the history of my ancestral lineage, and the science and art of the traditional healing practices of my grandmother and her community have been re-engagement with those that have passed and those that accompany me now.

They continue sharing their knowledge and wisdom, reminding me and others how to live, evolve, and transition into new life/lives. I say “reminding me” because somehow I feel like I’ve always known… even before this life’s journey… and somehow just forgot. I am returning to it now and hope to share it always.


I am grateful.
{{cta(‘2926ae8a-ad7b-4fe6-b786-ac0b46c5d916′,’justifycenter’)}} Learn More about the University of New Mexico’s Curanderismo Classes –

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Ronald D. Kanka is the Director of Business Operations for the International Nurse Coach Association | Integrative Nurse Coach Academy.

He previously served as the Program Coordinator of the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Integrative Medicine Division, where he coordinated large conferences (and cruises) on topics such as Clinical Nutrition, Acupuncture, and other complementary therapies.

In 2012, Ron met INCA Co-Founder, Susan Luck, at a Clinical Nutrition conference.  Soon after, he began consulting for INCA as a Program Manager, and was essential in the growth of INCA’s global presence and helped to propel INCA to the forefront of the Nurse Coach movement.  When Susan Luck and Barbara Dossey decided to convert the onsite Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program to an online format, they asked Ron and Karen Avino to join them as partners to assist in this large undertaking.

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