Health Research Institute
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Despite growing public concern, current economic and health strategies are narrow in scope and fail to address the important relationship between human health and the environment. Economic growth has been subsidized by the environment to a critical point where both environmental and human health are suffering. Education is critically needed if this devastating trend of planetary destruction and human suffering is to turn around. Schools must be established which demonstrate the dynamic and delicate balance between man and environment, and curriculums developed which equip participants with the tools necessary for restoring this balance.
Health Research Institute
Health Research Institute is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt educational trust that was originally incorporated in 1987 as the Lehrburger Charitable Trust (LCT) for the stated purpose of promoting physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual health. With a philosophy that human well-being is dependent upon a healthy environment, Lehrburger recognized the importance and wisdom of applying both conventional and complementary approaches to health care. Through research into the use of nutritional and botanical medicines, and the application of a wide range of therapeutic modalities, the organization is dedicated to health education and promotion in a manner that benefits both local and regional communities on a non-discriminatory basis.
The LCT was originally housed at the Jackson House – built by Eugenia Jackson in 1853 - where Lehrburger established a multidisciplinary center for the healing arts, replete with massage institute, medical clinic, botanical gardens and apothecary. Recognizing the time-honored benefit of hydrotherapy and, more specifically, the quality and reputation of the artesian waters at Jackson Hot Springs, Lehrburger made a number of offers to purchase the neighboring Jackson Hot Springs over a period of eight years. In 1995 the purchase of the thirty five acre development was consummated under the assumed business name Jackson WellSprings LLC. During that same year the name of the non-profit trust was changed to the Health Research Institute (HRI) and the name of the property was changed to Jackson WellSprings. With the committed efforts of HRI’s board of directors and the members of the Jackson WellSprings LLC, the WellSprings campus is being designed as a botanical park and integrated healing community with a primary focus on human and environmental health education and restoration.
Purpose, Goals, and Directives
Objectives of the Health Research Institute include:
- To provide knowledge and skills that will enable individuals to assume responsibility for personal and planetary health.
- To provide accurate information that will facilitate proper decision-making regarding the long and short-term status of our biological and social environments.
- To provide facilities where participants can experience, in didactic and experiential fashions, techniques for personal growth and development and, equally, where participants can acquire and implement fundamental methodologies that promote environmental sustainability.
- To provide models of health that are economically and ecologically sound and which bring man into harmony with his environment and himself.
- To provide an environment where traditional concepts of health and economics can be critically analyzed and where new concepts which are kinder both to mankind and the environment can be explored and implemented.
- To provide facilities where participants can learn to respect Nature as the source of human health and economic stability.
Mission and Vision Statements
To provide effective tools through education, research, and clinical practice that teach self-responsibility, promote healing, and restore the environment.
Honoring Total Human Potential and the role each individual plays in affecting change, WellSprings strives to cultivate a sense of personal importance, personal responsibility, and respect for others.
Environmental Restoration Project
HRI is a non-profit trust that enjoys tax-exempt status under the IRS code 501C3. The board is comprised of seven members who meet at regular intervals throughout the year to discuss ongoing efforts and design plans to transform WellSprings into an integrated eco-village and healing center. The Trust has no ownership interest in the property or in the Jackson WellSpring LLC, but works closely with the LLC in an advisory capacity to shape the future of the 35 acre development. Shared goals of both organizations include:
- A botanical garden, replete with specimens demonstrating therapeutic benefit or potential promise;
- Vegetable gardens that service an on-site restaurant with organically grown product;
- Botanical pharmacy and apothecary whereby plant-based medicines are produced and compounded;
- Apprenticeship program where students acquire, both experientially and didactically, tools and skills that will further their contributions in the areas of environmental restoration, permaculture design, organic gardening, seed saving, food and medicine preparation, herbology and other therapeutic modalities;
- Spa and warm water therapy development;
- Educational programs providing ongoing classes, retreats and workshops;
- Eco-village providing housing to staff, students, and residents involved in the development of the healing center;
- Medical center specializing in transitional and transformational medicine that offers integrated and complementary services in the areas of birthing, death and dying, and prevention.
Eight acres of the WellSprings 35 acres – referred to as the Garden Meadow - are under the protection of the Health Research Institute (HRI). HRI has insured that the vegetable and medicinal gardens as well as the greenhouse and shade houses maintain organic status under the certification of Oregon Tilth. HRI’s steadfast management of blackberries, thistles, and other noxious weeds has allowed an increasing amount of land and waterways to be reclaimed and sculpted into park-like settings for use as an educational center and classroom for interns and apprentices. Since 1995 the Garden Meadow has witnessed a multitude of ceremonies, festivals, work parties, workshops, community events, fundraisers, and barn raising empowerments.
This portion of WellSprings has been devoted to the “ancestors,” keeping alive ancient practices and traditions of the elders, and to “our children’s children,” in hopes that these traditions will remain alive for generations to come. A living sweat lodge adorns the valley floor, comprised of willow trees whose young branches are woven each spring into the structural framework to strengthen and cover the lodge. On the mountainside overlooking the sweat lodge, the Buddha Skywall’s towering prayer flags are affixed to a fortifying collection of monolithic stones that were hand-sculpted more than one hundred years ago by the Chinese in order to stabilize the hillside. At the union of two streams the foundation is being steadied for a Hindu shrine that will be erected to honor the late Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati, a third generation temple builder, engineer, and stone mason, who is responsible for illuminating and delivering to the West the Vaastu sciences and to translating a collection of early Vedic manuscripts. Along the shores of Wildcat Gulch, three warm water springs deliver water into a sacred pool that was used by First Nation tribes as a ceremonial birthing site and, during the 1940’s and 1950’s, by members of the Rogue Valley’s Jewish community for the purpose of ceremonial cleansing. In 2006 HRI embarked on its Mikvah project, an environmental restoration effort to stabilize the fragile hillsides above the pool by redirecting the warm water into a large, ceremonial soaking pool. The tireless efforts and commitment of HRI board members and volunteers have been responsible for the continued successes of these programs.