Traditional African Medicine Gains New Traction

Former UN ambassador, congressman, and civil rights leader Andrew Young is now serving as ambassador and advocate for PROMETRA International, an organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of African traditional medicine, which includes the use of the creative arts—specifically singing, dancing, and drumming

John Weeks (writer, organizer, and linchpin in the movement for integrative health and medicine) interviews Young and reports on the history and goals of PROMETRA, key elements of African traditional medicine, and its role in integrative medicine. Click here to read the full article.

Some inspirational highlights from the article:

  • Dr. Erick Gbodossou (Senegalese traditional medicine practitioner, gynecologist and founder of PROMETRA in 1971) states “that moving forward with the best of health care requires reaching back to connect to traditional practices.”


  • “Young … is comfortable turning attention to African traditional medicine’s other healing powers of food, of incantation, of song, of ritual and of community that he has experienced. ‘It reminds me of the black churches and their power in our communities,’ says Young. He turns to a specific example: ‘I asked Dr. Gbodossou what he recommends for people with trouble going to sleep. This is a big issue for a lot of people. He recommends that they dance before going to bed, that it works very well. Dancing is better than taking pills.’”


  • “When Young was a member of Congress in the 1970s, he helped put into place legislation that led to the founding of MSM [Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine], with its community health mission such as was recently expressed in the founding of the MSM Office of Health Equity. His reason: ‘Medicine was not meeting needs of poor people. We couldn’t afford the Johns Hopkins model. It was getting so poor people couldn’t get sick.’ Now, as Young reflects on the troubled waters of health care and medicine at the recent MSM workshop, this pioneer in health creation between the races and across nations quietly places a charge: ‘We have Morehouse School of Medicine talking about new medicine – and sometimes new is old.’”