|Beth Landau-Halpern (source)|
Toronto-based homeopath Beth Landau-Halpern is a health studies instructor and teaches a course in alternative medicine at U of T’s Scarborough campus, where her husband, Rick Halpern, is dean. Last year, she wrote a blog post on her clinic’s website about teaching fourth-year health studies students to have “a healthy degree of skepticism about the limits of science in understanding health and disease.” On her website, Ms. Landau-Halpern has also written that “normal childhood illnesses like measles and chicken pox are almost always followed by massive developmental spurts” and to “avoid vaccinations” because they are “of questionable efficacy, full of ingredients that definitely should not be in the blood stream, and may compromise your general immunity irreparably.”What the hell is wrong with our universities? The University of Toronto is totally down with her instructing at their Scarborough campus and is even sponsoring an event where she'll be speaking along with some naturopath who claims they can treat cancer! I've heard that claim before -- it was made to the late Makayla Sault's mother and motivated them to end life saving chemotherapy.
On Saturday, Ms. Landau-Halpern is slated to speak at the Population Health and Policy Conference at the Scarborough campus. The event – sponsored by the University of Toronto International Health Program, a non-profit student organization, the anthropology/health studies department, and others – also features a naturopath who claims to treat cancer, heart disease and fibromyalgia with vitamin injections.The university is defending itself by saying it is promoting student engagement in controversial topics! Except, wait! It's established science and is not controversial at all. They also say it's freedom of speech! Except, wait! Nobody's preventing these people from having their conference at the local Sheraton, for goodness sake! Should universities let any rubbish in?
Across Canada, more academic institutions are offering alternative health courses . The problem is that alternatives to evidence-based medicine are not rooted in science, says Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. He worries about the consequences of holding events such as U of T’s alternative health conference. “It’s problematic when a university, an institution, lends credibility to these kinds of presentations with its name and support,” he said. “Having University of Toronto’s name next to their names on these [promotional] posters legitimizes their position and can be used to legitimize their unscientific views.”Last year, the University of Saskatchewan supported a conference all about animal telepathy. Just last month, Queens University had to stop an anti-vaxxer from teaching a health course.