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Letters Holistic is healthy, credit where it's due, informed citizenry


Holistic is healthy
I am happy that the winter Scope addressed Skidmore students’ health and well-being. It reminded me how I experienced health services as a student 10 years ago. When I went in with sinus pressure, I was given the antibiotic Zithromax, as was the most common solution at the time. Several of us recall taking more than four “Z-pacs” a year.

Such overuse of antibiotics directly relates to the increasing incidence of MRSA, a strain of antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. Although MRSA initially infected only hospitals, many cases now affect the community, spreading in school locker rooms and dormitories.

I agree with Karen Levin Coburn ’63 about the importance of an integrated approach to student health, especially given that resources are finite. I am a student and practitioner-to-be of traditional Chinese medicine (acu­punc­ture, herbal medicine, and massage therapy), which stands as the oldest systematic, continually practiced, and literate medicine in the world. Studies show acupuncture’s immune-enhancing capabilities and effectiveness in treating a wide array of common conditions, such as depression, anxiety, addic­­tion, and insomnia.

Skidmore students’ health, and their experience overall, would improve significantly if health services took a more holistic and long-term approach to health care. Two low-cost and highly effective ways to do this are to add acupuncture as a health service and to decrease the amount of antibiotic prescriptions.

Catherine Herbin ’01
San Francisco, Calif.

Credit where it’s due
We were disappointed by the article in the winter Scope regarding Skidmore’s health service, particularly counseling for mental heath or substance-use problems, during the early 1960s.

The article did a disservice to the contributions of our mother, Claire King Amyot, the College physician for three decades, and for most of that period a primary provider (with help from the chaplain and dean’s office) of confidential counseling services. Times were indeed different then; professional counseling specialists were not on the College staff, and local referral options were scant. Particularly in that context, our mother cared deeply for the medical and psychological welfare of her students. We would point to her pioneering efforts in the development of local community mental health services as evidence of her interest in and commitment to these issues. We hope those alumnae who recall her time and service in the Skidmore community do so as fondly as we do.

Martha Amyot Precheur ’64,
Margaret Amyot Mangano ’69,
and Edmond Amyot
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Informed citizenry
Thank you for the spring Scope. Skidmore’s emphasis on citizenship and government studies gives me hope for informed younger people becoming involved in our country’s future direction. Citizens have a growing need for information and education. Best wishes—and power to the people!

Barbara Martin Rotureau ’43
Pagosa Springs, Colo.