The University of California, Irvine — a school long known for embracing “alternative medicine” — has done a drastic detox: the university’s clinical arm quietly deleted homeopathy from its online list of services medical, Los Angeles Times first reported.
The sanctity that exists within the days of medical school heralds a new health system dedicated to “integrative medicine,” which embraces a combination of traditional and alternative therapies, including homeopathy. The announcement was met with swift and shocking opposition from health experts and medical professionals. Those critics warn that the move could help unproven, dangerous, and unanticipated prescriptions continue to slink into patient care.
Homeopathic remedies can ease some of that resistance. But the school also promotes a long list of other questionable therapies, such as detoxification (which is only useful if you are poisoned or have liver and / or kidney failure) and cup (which is supported by little evidence). And withdrawing homeopathy treatment could upset major donors—billionaires Susan and Henry Samueli.
The Samuels were largely behind the creation of UCI’s integrated medicine program, called the Susan and Henry Samuel College of Health Sciences. It is established as well $200 million gift from the couple.
Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom, and Susan Samueli are strong advocates for alternative medicine and homeopathy specifically. According to the Samueli Institute, Susan Samueli received a degree from the American Holistic College of Nutrition in 1993 and a certificate in homeopathy from the British Academy of Homeopathy in 1994. She reportedly “developed a consulting practice active” that deals with homeopathy, nutrition, and Chinese herbs.
Homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like”—in other words, that diseases and illnesses can be cured by substances that cause similar symptoms or conditions. Practitioners rely on the improbable scientific theory that very diluted doses of those substances can be effective, often diluting to the point where no active substance remains. However some claim that water can have a “memory” of the substances.
Scientists and health experts have repeatedly denounced homeopathy as quackery and noted that any reported benefits are less than the biological effect. However, fringe doctors and health care providers continue to promote the treatments.
Until at least last week, the UCI was among those champions. On the UC Irvine Health website, the health care provider lists homeopathy among “Occupational Medicine” treatments.. It is sandwiched between “herbal and nutritional supplements,” and “manual treatments.” But there is nothing left.
When and why he was fired is unclear. It is also unclear whether the UCI’s fading signals will abandon the practice altogether or simply stop mentioning it publicly.
The UCI did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.
Critic Britt Marie Hermes notes that UCI “naturopath and acupuncturist” Dayna Kowata also considers homeopathy as her “Preferred mode of treatment” on its UCI website.