Commonweal Cancer-related Programs

Founded in 1976, Commonweal is a nonprofit center in Bolinas, California, with projects in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington State. Commonweal has over a dozen programs in health and healing, education and the arts, and environment and justice. A central focus of our work for 30 years has been in integrative medicine, with a focus on cancer.


Among our close partners in cancer work are Callanish in Vancouver, British Columbia, Harmony Hill in Union, Washington, and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, D.C. All three were inspired by the Bill Moyers PBS documentary on the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, “Healing and the Mind.”

Commonweal Cancer Help Program

As of 2018, the Commonweal Cancer Help Program has conducted over 200 week-long retreats over the past 30 years. Bill Moyers featured the program in an hour-long final episode of his PBS series “Healing and the Mind.”

Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies

Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies focuses on helping patients, families, clinicians and scientists go beyond conventional and well-known investigational therapies as wisely and carefully as possible. Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies seeks to help us move toward evidence-based integrative oncology. Patients and practitioners alike deserve to be able to assess the often incomplete science and clinical evidence of the efficacy of complementary and alternative cancer therapies and investigational cancer therapies outside the mainstream.

Healing Circles

Healing Circles is an international learning community focused on creating high quality psychosocial support circles for people with cancer and other conditions. See Healing Circles Langley and Healing Circles Houston.

The New School at Commonweal

The New School at Commonweal has recorded dozens of high quality educational and training podcasts and videos on cancer.

Collaborative on Health and the Environment

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment is a global science dialogue network bringing world-class scientists into contact with clinicians, scientists and patient advocates. CHE played a key role in the President’s Cancer Panel Report Cancer and the Environment and has a cancer listserv with daily science posts and frequent teleconferences.

Healing Kitchens Institute

The Healing Kitchens Institute works at Stanford Medical School to enhance nutrition; Rebecca Katz is the author of four best-selling cookbooks including the best-selling Cancer Fighting Kitchen.

Institute for the Study of Health and Illness

The Institute for the Study of Health and Illness, directed by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, was based at Commonweal for 25 years. ISHI has a “Healers Art” program in 90 medical schools around the world. It is now at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.