We envision a world where health is valued as our most basic and essential asset and where people, places, and the planet flourish for the benefit of all.
Our interdisciplinary community of thought leaders investigates critical questions, elevates evidence-based practices, and discovers cutting-edge solutions.
The Nova Institute for Health is a heart-centered think tank that takes action for the good of people, places, and the planet.
A pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Brian Berman is the president of the Nova Institute, founded in 2007 to catalyze new ideas in health.
We are excited to share our new report with you!
Recognizing Nova Institute’s 15th anniversary, this report reflects on our successes and looks forward to future possibilities. The report covers stories of our work across many sectors including assessing primary care, innovating new measures of health, on-the-ground projects teaching nutrition education and creating space for healing after community trauma, and our dynamic group of Scholars and Fellows.
There is enormous concern that the surge of addictive ultra-processed, energy-dense, low-nutrient food consumption and marketing is adversely affecting the health of individuals, societies at large, and the wider ecosystems on which we depend.
For this Campfire, we had a blockbuster lineup of incredible speakers who are working on different aspects of this great and difficult challenge.
Our new Media Fellowship program aims to increase public understanding of the complex, intertwined connections between the health of people, places, and the planet.
The Media Fellowship supports print, broadcast, and digital journalists who wish to immerse themselves in the health field and complete media projects that explore the many factors that promote well-being, prevent disease, contribute to healing, and increase an individual’s ability to flourish and live a fulfilling life.
The program’s goals include increasing media coverage that reflects a broad vision of health; is science-based and accurately reports on pertinent ideas, questions, and debates; and embraces solutions journalism and combats mis- and dis-information.
Based on work from John Scott & Nova Scholars Sara Warber, Paul Dieppe, David Jones, & Kurt Stange, the Healing Journey is now online in an interactive graphic form. This study explores healing from a patient’s perspective beyond the doctor’s office, taking into account the numerous other critical components to restoring personal wholeness. This new graphic visually articulates the various stages and nonlinearity of healing.
Healing is facilitated through safety, persistence, and trust.
Resources support us as we heal. They include reframing, responsibility, and positivity. “Making connections enabled participants to acquire and refine resources and skills that were essential in their healing journey. People also brought their own personal strengths to the journey.”
“Connection to others was an essential part of all the healing journeys.” Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted of us need close relationships. Friends and family add meaning and value to life and help support us, in good times and bad.
When we experience relational trauma, relationships can feel scary, but reestablishing safety and trust in relationships is where the healing happens. (To be clear, we do not mean reestablishing safety and trust with abusers, but rather finding other healing relationships.)
“When safety and trust had been established, people were able to connect with helpers. The nature of the behaviours of helpers that fostered healing ranged from small acts of kindness to unconditional love.”
Healing probably means different things to different people, but one definition that emerged from the study is: “The re-establishment of a sense of integrity and wholeness.”
Healing was an emergent property that resulted from each individuals’ complex healing journey, a result of bridged connections between resources and relationships. “…they gradually found relief from suffering and began to exhibit emergent characteristics: a sense of hope, self-acceptance, and a desire to help others—the immediate precursors to healing.”
In varying degrees, “they were able to transcend their suffering and in some sense to flourish.”
Suffering is the ongoing pain from wounding.
There is debate about whether or not one actually needs to experience suffering on the path to healing.
Wounding happens when we experience physical or emotional harm. It can stem from chronic illness or by physical or psychological trauma for which we do not have the tools to cope, or a combination of those factors.
“The degree and quality of suffering experienced by each individual is framed by contextual factors that include personal characteristics, timing of their initial or ongoing wounding in the developmental life cycle and prior and current relationships.”
Characteristics: How predisposed someone may be to wounding/how many tools and resources someone may have to deal with trauma/illness.
Lifestages: Developmental timing plays an important role in the impact of trauma — young children often do not have the same resources as older adults.
Relationships: Relationships can provide solace and support for those suffering, while lack of healthy relationships can prolong suffering.