New England School of Homeopathy

Featured NESH Alumnus: John Coppinger DO

Speaking at a course on “What pathology is really made of”.

John Coppinger, DO
Knoxville, Tennessee

When I dropped out of high school 43 years ago, there was no part of my imagination that could conceive that in the future I would become a physician. This serendipitous journey has been filled with joyful yet frequently tumultuous events. My recent promotion to Department Chair of Osteopathic Principles and Practice at a large Osteopathic Medical school has caused me to consider what it is on life’s journey that truly makes a difference in the outcome of a life? I have been a baker, a biker, a dancer, a roughneck, an army sergeant. No one thing has defined my path, but rather the path has been circuitous and broad, devouring every experience that I could get my hands on, like a baby putting everything it touches into its mouth… At 60 my journey is still just beginning.

Me giving my son an Osteopathic treatment in his jiu jitsu training room, in the house that we built together.

Though I practiced a combination of Osteopathy and Homeopathy for 25 years in a General Practice setting, my love of teaching has dominated my recent job choices. When I home schooled my two brilliant children, I was able to more closely observe the development of the self, mind/body/spirit. That experience pushed me to apply that knowledge to Osteopathic Medical education, and begin work on developing a truly cohesive and comprehensive curriculum, that starts with the very beginner and then continues for a lifetime.

From NESH:  I (Paul) have known John and his family for 25 years, starting with the Level 1 introductory course, through the intermediate courses, to the Post-Graduate Courses through to the many clinical classes and conferences. There are so many things I could write here, about all the color and knowledge he brings to each of those courses, the insight from other professions, the constant humor lightening tense moments, and helping us remember the humanity within each other and our patients. I could also write about very, very late night poker games. Lastly, I could also thank him for reminding me to love life fully and unapologetically. What I wanted to focus on, though, are two more theoretical points John touched upon.

One aspect of teaching around the world, and focusing in less on individual lectures and more on ongoing classes, I have had the privilege of working with so many people. And while some grew up wanting to be homeopaths, many of us came to it by a circuitous route. Specifically, I have met many people who are first generation college grads, first generation postgraduate, and first generation doctors. I remain astounded by the ability of those to overcome very diverse and sometimes difficult backgrounds, to pursue and conquer academic knowledge. And even more so, to skip several generations within the family to then pursue individual personalized medicine, such as homeopathy. In my eyes, this as well as all of us practicing homeopathy, I consider this is a heroic act of self-discovery and will to evolve. Many of us were also not clear what the future held, in terms of health, or professions, but when we heard of homeopathy it helped sort of make it click together.

The other aspect that John talked about is the that point that is the intersection of cranial osteopathy and classical homeopathy. There was a time, 2 decades ago, that many cranial osteopaths studied classical homeopathy at NESH. There is a rich history here, both working on the whole individual to optimize proper functioning. I see this is two streams of thought and practice, intertwining through time, flowing in the same general direction.

Defining Moments:
• 1972 Started working as a baker’s assistant
• 1976 Began dancing ballet
• 1977 Dropped out of HS
• 1981 almost died in the oil fields
• 1984 Graduated School of Hartford Ballet Teacher Training program
• 1985 Joined the Army reserve
• 1988 Began Osteopathic Medical School at University of New England
• 1994 Began Private Solo General Practice SE Ohio
• 1994 Began studying at NESH, fell in love with Amy and Paul and Homeopathy
• 2008 Began working under DOS contract in Iraq
• 2015 Began teaching in Osteopathic medical schools
• 2020 Chair of OPP LMU-DCOM and developing a longitudinal OPP curriculum

John is our June 2020 Featured Alumnus. Return to NESH Alumni Spotlight page to learn about other distinguished NESH alumni.