OHA Board of Directors
President: Diane Kent MNIMH, RH
Diane Kent is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists in the UK, and a professional member of the Ontario Herbalists Association. She attained her diploma through the Dominion Herbal College of Vancouver, and has been actively involved in the complementary health care field since 1996. She is a past faculty member of The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, Mohawk College, and The Institute of Traditional Medicine. Diane operates a private clinic, and now teaches her own 2 year Clinical Herbalist diploma program in Etobicoke.
Vice President: Rick DeSylva DNM, CH, RH
Rick has been involved in the natural health food industry for over 30 years, both as a registered herbalist, and as a manufacturer of premium quality NHP's made from wild-crafted and certified organically grown botanicals. He is a founding member of the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA), the Canadian Council of Herbalist Association (CCHA),and sits on their Board(s), as well as that of the Ontario Doctors of Natural Medicine Association (ODNMA), and the Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA)
Rick practices a branch of herbalism known as botanic medicine, which views herbs as very specialized foods for the cells of the body. He has lectured on this topic in Australia, Russia, the USA and Canada, and continues to teach and write about this discipline in various magazines, and schools of natural healing. His company, The Herb Works is located in Rockwood, Ontario, where he specializes in treating chronic degenerative ailments.
Treasurer: Elizabeth Boyd
Growing up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario gave Elizabeth very strong ‘weed’ identification skills. Most of her early jobs were in agriculture which exposed her to more Ontario plants, but as she started to explore the world of herbs she quickly discovered that most of the ‘weeds’ were actually very useful herbs! From this background, Elizabeth prefers to use herbs in her practice that grow in Ontario and can be harvested fresh. Elizabeth has been practicing herbal medicine from her home office in Burlington since graduating from the Institute of Traditional Medicine (ITM) in 2011.
Elizabeth’s background also includes a degree in Chemical Engineering and Management from McMaster University and some time with TD Bank working as an Agriculture Account Analyst. She uses her finance skills as the volunteer treasurer for the Burlington Women’s Basketball League and the bookkeeper for Clarkshome Farm. Elizabeth is a Professional member of the Ontario Herbalists Association.
Privacy Officer: Susan Elliotson RH
After many years as a law clerk with a life-long interest in plants, Susan returned to school to study Phytotherapy in the diploma program at the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, Mohawk College. Now in private practice in Caledon, surrounded by the herbs she uses, she is a professional member of the Ontario Herbalists Association, serving on the Professional Members Committee and writing a regular column for the Canadian Journal of Herbalism. She is also a professional member of the American Botanical Council.
Susan regularly leads herb walks, speaks to private groups on different aspects of herbs, taught Herbal Pharmacy as a faculty member of Mohawk College (Hamilton) and is a faculty member of The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (Toronto), teaching Introductory Herbal Medicine and Advanced Herbal Medicine Applications.
Monika Ghent RH, PSM
Monika has had a private herbal practice in Toronto's west end since 1997 and offers various workshops on herbal medicine and plant identification. She trained as a Western herbalist at both the Dominion Herbal College of British Columbia and the Living Earth School of Herbalism in Toronto. As a Plant Spirit Medicine Healer, she underwent intensive study and initiation with Eliot Cowan who developed this medicine. She is a Professional Member of both the Ontario Herbalists Association and the Plant Spirit Medicine Association. As well as being on the Board of the OHA she is also the Chair of its Professional Membership Committee and is a member of the Plant Spirit Medicine Association Membership Committee. Monika is also the Online Course Advisor for the Living Earth School of Herbalism Online.
Michael Vertolli BSc, RH
Michael is a Western traditional herbalist who has been practicing for over twenty-five years. He is a well-known and respected lecturer who has been teaching since 1987 and is the director of Living Earth School of Herbalism which provides quality education in Western herbalism and related subjects for the general public as well as professional training for herbalists, other practitioners, and employees of the natural health products industry. He has done extensive research on the medicinal properties and uses of the many of the lesser known herbs of northeastern North America.
Michael is a leading activist regarding the regulation of natural health products and therapies. He is the president of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations and was the founding president of the Canadian Coalition of Herbal Associations and the Canadian Coalition for Health Freedom. He was also a member of Health Canada's Advisory Panel on Natural Health Products and the Minister of Health's Office of Natural Health Products Transition Team.
Lianna Vargas, Director
Lianna is a budding student herbalist who has been learning avidly about plants since completing secondary school. She has studied in the field with Michael Vertolli and in clinic with Diane Kent while continually seeking to deepen her understanding through engagement with the natural world.
Her focus has been on getting to know the local plants, connecting with Nature, and getting back to the basics in hopes to help forge a more sustainable future. Her background is mainly in visual arts and mathematics, with some additional training in architecture. She has many interests and skills she has been developing alongside her training in herbal medicine such as wildlife tracking, organic gardening and traditional crafts.
Lianna is currently a student member of the OHA and will be opening her clinical practice in the East end of Toronto this coming year (2015).