Raised in the semi-rural outskirts of Gary, Indiana, Gerard’s class named him Outstanding Senior. He was chosen national Fellowship Chairman of the Reformed Church Youth Fellowship in its founding year.
He received a BA in English from Hope College, taught public school fourth grade for two years while doing graduate work in education, then worked three years in Chicago as a commercial casualty underwriter for the Insurance Company of North America.
Gerard was strongly influenced by his eighteen months attendance of the weekly healing class of Dora Kuntz, President of the Theosophical Society and founder of Therapeutic Touch.
He entered the National College of Chiropractic in 1972, receiving first a BS in Human Studies, and the degree Doctor of Chiropractic in 1979. His was awarded certificates including Clinical Laboratory Diagnosis, Physiological Therapeutics, and Meridian Therapy Acupuncture.
He was a student member of the research committee of National College, after which he was the staff member of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics during its founding year, when it received Index Medicus inclusion.
Dr. Poortinga received license to practice chiropractic in Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio, and entered private practice in Yellow Springs, Ohio
He has done extensive postgraduate study with Dr. George Goodheart, the founder of Applied Kinesiology, and is certified by the International College of Applied Kinesiology. During his first eight years of practice, he was employed part-time doing annotated bibliographies for Dr. Goodheart.
In 1989, he received the President’s Award for production of “Low Back Pain, Chiropractic Results,” a consensus document of the Ohio State Chiropractic Association, which he served five years as Resource Chair.
He was designated a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician by the Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness of the American Chiropractic Association in 1990. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
Dr. Poortinga received a postgraduate degree in Clinical Neurology from Parker College of Chiropractic in 1993, and is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Academy of Neurology of the American Chiropractic Association.
He is certified as a FirstLineTherapy® Providor by the Institute of Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutrition by the American Chiropractic Association, Meridian Stress Assessmen by Biomeridian International, and WholeLifeRx by Biotics International.
She began teaching yoga in New York City in 1969. She next lived in rural Quebec for three years, after which, as a single parent, she was granted a scholarship and graduated from Marlboro College with a B.A. majoring in Religion and Health.
Hellen completed the classes and study of the Dominion College of Herbology during her four years in British Colombia. Her articles on natural birth control and yoga were published in Heal Yourself magazine. Then, in Vermont, she became a good friend of the elderly Dr. Alan Sutherland, who tutored her in homeopathy for three years. Following his passing, she studied the teachings of The Worsley School of Acupuncture, while her previous husband was taking the classes toward a doctorate.
She met Chögyam Trungpa, the founder of Naropa University and Shambhala International, in 1976. She traveled to study with the Vidyadhara, working in his household at the time of his parinirvana. She lived three years in Halifax and Cape Breton, eventually completing the compassion practice of Chakrasamvara in 2000.
Hellen worked seven summers in Boulder at Naropa Institute, often in the position of coordinating visiting presentations. Through this venue she had the privilege of intensive studies with many great teachers including Malidoma Somé. She was Wu style Tai Chi instructor at Naropa Canada 1986-9.
Her subsequent training included eighteen months under the tutelage of Martha Horton and Dorthy Gonzales (CEREKA). in San Miguel de Allenda, where Hellen authored a bi-lingual manual and taught training programs designed to create a team of health workers for the surrounding villages. She then lived three years in a small Mexican village as apprentice of curandera Doña Julia Casarez.
She completed a masters in Engaged Buddhism from Naropa University in 1998, then completed an internship in Clinical Pastoral Education, working two years as a chaplain at hospitals in Denver, Yuma and San Francisco to achieve a MDiv.
In Prague, Czech Republic, Hellen worked in the office of Ph Dr. Jiří Tyl, doing energetic therapy.
She began working and studying with Dr. Gerard Poortinga in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 2004. She has attended numerous professional conferences and received advanced certification in Meridian Stress Assessment from Biomeridian International.
Hellen received a Doctor of Naturopathy. from Trinity College, and a nutrition certificate from the American Chiropractic Association in 2009.