Fellows Carley Riley and Brita Roy recently published a new paper, which used the largest dataset in the U.S. to examine levels of thriving, struggling, and suffering at the county level, identifying trends and places of possible intervention for increased individual wellbeing.
Scholar Steven Woolf’s recent work highlights historical racial and socioeconomic disparities disproportionately impacted minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the largest decrease in life expectancy in Black and Hispanic Americans since 1998.
Fellow Carley Riley co-authored a new paper offering guidance and actionable practices to prioritize equity in learning health systems.
An exploration of post-traumatic growth provides hope for healing on all scales in Institute Scholar Susan Prescott’s co-authored paper.
Institute Fellow Carley Riley explores the health implications of social isolation and “social inequity.”
Scholar Susan Prescott co-authors an article highlighting an urgent need to remediate misinformation to address the various interrelated social and environmental challenges of our time.
Scholar Fred Foote publishes qualitative research findings about the Green Road at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
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. Healing, in this sense, does not mean cured—none of the study participants were cured of their ailments—”but all developed a sense of integrity and wholeness despite ongoing pain or other symptoms.” In varying degrees, “they were able to transcend their suffering and in some sense to flourish.” When we begin to heal, we find increased capacity for hope, renewed motivation to help others, and are more able to accept ourselves as we are.
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.”