The Northcoast Lyme Disease Support Group was formed in 2001 in response to information obtained by its Coordinator, Jentri Anders, PhD. Existing only on-line, it consists of Dr. Anders, those who have contacted her by email for assistance or information and a small group of advisers. It is not incorporated as a non-profit, because it does not accept donations and there is no group of people who meet, because our area is so rural that meetings have been too difficult to organize. (There is another Lyme support group in Humboldt County that does meet.)
The purpose of the group is simply to make reliable, unbiased information on Lyme disease available to the public and to monitor and keep track of the public’s response to it for possible future use. In addition, those who wish to be on the Northcoast mailing list might receive sporadic emails updating them on subjects of interest to Lyme patients.
Dr. Anders is a cultural anthropologist who spent 15 years studying the back-to-the-land community in southern Humboldt County. (This study was published in 1990 by Washington State University Press, entitled Beyond Counterculture: the community of Mateel.) She contracted Lyme disease there in 1971 and, after experiencing decades of undiagnosed symptoms, finally diagnosed herself in 1999, found a Lyme-literate doctor in 2000 and was treated with oral antibiotics until 2003. Initially researching Lyme disease in order to diagnose herself, she has continued to do so in order to assist the general public in understanding all the ramifications of the Lyme situation. She also began keeping track of northern California cases that came to her attention, in order to assess the true incidence of Lyme disease in northern California and how it might manifest differently there versus other locations.
Although Dr. Ander’s degree is in cultural anthropology, she has had extensive training in physical anthropology, her first interest, and during that training pursued many subjects that would now be considered part of medical anthropology. As a cultural anthropologist, she has focused on human ecology and American culture, two subjects highly relevant to the Lyme disease situation. She is by no means a medical doctor and does not diagnose anything, treat anything or dispense anything but information. However, she is a well-read scientist and researcher, fully credentialed to evaluate the scientific research of others, compare studies and provide general information to the public based on those activities.
Dr. Anders will answer any questions on Lyme disease submitted to her by email, from anyone, but hopes that questioners residing in Humboldt, Mendocino or Del Norte counties will give her permission to include their information in her database of northern California cases. This database may be used to determine general patterns that could be of future use should researchers or health agencies ever focus their attention on Lyme disease in northern California. No names will ever be used in any way without permission.