Video Gallery

The Nova Annual Conference 2022 agenda underscored the imperative for creative ecological solutions for the challenges we face in all systems and all scales with advancing global urbanization in the digital age–for personal, environmental, economic, social and spiritual health alike. We bought together diverse perspectives across many dimensions of the arts and the sciences to explore novel solutions and new normative values. 
 
We covered a broad number of topics in an integrated way to underscore the interdependence of efforts to promote flourishing at all scales, from people, to places, to our planetary systems.

Session 1: Integrated Whole-Systems Approaches at All Scales: For Health, Healing, and Flourishing

​Thursday December 1, 10am-12pm Eastern, US

Welcome

portrait of nova institute founder brian berman

Brian Berman is President of the Nova Institute for Health; Professor Emeritus of Family & Community Medicine; founding Director, Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Co-Director, Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field. 

In challenging times there are also great opportunities to reach beyond boundaries and fundamentally shift how we think about well-being at all scales.”

From the Acorn to the Grove: Indigenous Enaction of Planetary Flourishing

Yuria Celidwen (Nahua/Maya) is an Indigenous scholar and consultant on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the rights of Nature. She studies the experience of transcendence and its prosocial behaviors (ethics, compassion, kindness, awe, love, and sacredness) across Indigenous contemplative traditions. www.yuriacelidwen.com 

“Let the rivers flow and sprouts will follow.”​

A Mindful Moment

portrait of rick scott

Rick Scott is Chief Operating Officer of the Nova Institute for Health. He has been a student and teacher of contemplative practices and wisdom traditions since the early 1990s.

“I have a passion for seeing the health and vitality in people, and encouraging them to awaken to a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives.”

Integrated Whole-Systems Approaches to Well-being at All Scales

Susan Prescott is Director of the Nova Network. She is a Professor of Paediatrics at University of Western Australia, Director of the ORIGINS project, Editor-in-Chief of Challenges, and a Scholar at the Nova Institute for Health in Baltimore. She is an artist and an author.

“My passion is connecting people and ideas to create new opportunities.” 

KEYNOTE: Tapestry Thinking: An Ecologist’s Perspective on Finding a Path through the Anthropocene

Nalini Nadkarni is a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah, doing research on rainforest canopy biota. She leads programs on engagement of public groups who do not or cannot gain access to science and nature in traditional learning venues. 

“My passion is to connect all people to the benefits of nature and inspire them to protect it.”

 

Building the Planetary Health Movement: A Framework for Integrated Solutions for Human and Environmental Health

Samuel Myers is the founding Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, and a Principal Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He studies the human health impacts of accelerating disruptions to Earth’s natural systems, a field recently dubbed Planetary Health.​

Beyond Social Determinants: Power, Politics, and Other Forces That Shape Health of People, Places, and Planet

Sandro Galea is Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. He has been named an epidemiology innovator by Time, a top voice in healthcare by LinkedIn, and is one of the most cited social scientists in the world.

“I aspire to change the conversation on health.”

Truth, Trust, and Trees: Pushing Boundaries to Understand the Intelligence of Nature

Monica Gagliano is Research Associate Professor of Evolutionary Ecology, Director of the Biological Intelligence [BI] Lab at Southern Cross University. She focuses on ecological processes by which organisms gather information from their environment to thrive. 

“I pioneered the field of plant bioacoustics and extended concepts of plant cognition, to reignite discourse on plant subjectivity, sentience and ethical standing.”

Weaving Tapestries between Western and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Rutendo Ngara is an African Indigenous Knowledge Systems practitioner and transdisciplinary researcher, who has traversed clinical engineering, healthcare technology management, socio-economic development, mathematics, leadership, and fashion design; to the interface between science, culture, cosmology, and paradigms of healing. 

“I have a passion for weaving art, science, and spirituality towards healing of the Collective and restoration of the Whole.”

The Seeds of Change: What Kind of Seeds Are We Planting for the Next Generations

Nadine Clopton is creating a Regenerative Health program at the Rodale Institute, and Vice President of the the Global NGO Executive Committee, the youngest person to ever serve in this capacity. She is an innovative change-maker determined to amplify the voices of youth and communities; ecosystems that are often excluded from decision-making bodies. She founded Conscious Consulting, LLC and volunteers with Caring & Living As Neighbours as an NGO Youth Representative to the United Nations. 

With Intergenerational Wisdom Exchange Our Future Is More Hopeful: A Message From Children in Africa, Alliance High School, KiKuyu, Kenya

Session 2: Connecting Communities: Co-creating, Integrating, and Inspiring Change through Relationship

​Thursday December 1, 2pm-4pm Eastern, USA

Introduction

CHAIR: Susan Prescott, Director of Nova Network, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Western Australia

Water Rising: Youth Art (also featuring the music from new album of Nova Network member, Zoe Roar)

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program: Bow Seat is a Boston-based nonprofit that has engaged nearly 30,000 students worldwide to use art to advocate for our environment: More here!

Another Mindful Moment

portrait of rick scott

Rick Scott is Chief Operating Officer of the Nova Institute for Health. He has been a student and teacher of contemplative practices and wisdom traditions since the early 1990s.

“I have a passion for seeing the health and vitality in people, and encouraging them to awaken to a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives.”

The Relational Turn: Implications for Planetary Health

Blake Poland is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and Director of the Collaborative Specialization in Community Development. His work focusses on community resilience and the contributions of citizens and social movements to sustainability transition. 

“I love learning & sharing about alternative ways of seeing and living, inner & outer change work.”

The Inner Development Goals Initiative: A Community Catalyzing Social and Environmental Responsibility "From the Inside-Out"

Daniel Hires is Director of Partnerships at the Inner Development Goals. Co-creator of the global youth movement for social innovation MakeSense, Daniel is a relationship builder and connector – and works between ecosystem building and community weaving. 

“It’s not enough to change WHAT we do, we need to address HOW we do it.”

Reframing Anxiety for Emotionally Restorative Relationships and a More Sane, Sustainable, and Awe-informed World

Kirk J. Schneider is Adjunct Faculty, Saybrook University & Teachers College, Columbia University; President of the Existential-Humanistic Institute.

“This psychology tradition has inspired my work on existential-integrative psychotherapy, cultivation of awe toward life, and the fostering of life-enhancing anxiety—that enables us to live with and make the best of the depth and mystery of existence.”

Restoring Trust in an Era of Misinformation: Communications Solutions for Scientists and Health Professionals (with commentary from Richard Stone, Malia Jones, Jayne O'Donnell, Jackie Jones)

Nova Institute Media Advisory Council, Scholars, and Fellows

The Arts Can Amplify Collective Ability to Foster Well-being and Build More Equitable Communities

Susan Magsamen is founder and executive director, International Arts+Mind Lab (IAM Lab), a pioneering initiative from the Pedersen Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and co-director of NeuroArts Blueprint. 

“My new book ‘Your Brain On Art: How the Arts Transform Us’ is a journey offering proof that physical and mental health can be transformed through art and aesthetic experiences, while also building stronger communities.” 

The Planetary Health Alliance: Transdisciplinary Communities in Action to Build Opportunities for Global Change

Marie Studer is the Senior Program Manager at the Planetary Health Alliance. Her career has focused on public accessibility and understanding of science through government and public policy positions.

I am interested in creating awareness of and action focused on a regenerative society where all people can thrive.” 

See other members of the PHA TEAM 

Giiwe: A Model for Inter-organizational Coordination, Learning, and Healing (M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre)
co-presenters: Lorne Pawis, Renee K. Abram, Carlos Sanchez

Diane Giroux is a Project Developer. In 2017, she received the Sesquicentennial Medal from the Senate of Canada. Diane recently developed the ‘Giiwe Project’ at M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre. 

“Through Giiwe, I nurture meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non- Indigenous organizations.”

Kinship Earth: Connecting Global Networks of Change Makers: For Purposeful Social, Economic, and Environmental Sustainability

Wendy Ellyatt is a futurist and changemaker who is working with organisations worldwide to accelerate positive change. She is the founder of the Flourish Project, a Global Council member of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) and a board director of Kinship Earth. 

“Through honouring our essential unity, we can become the change that we want to see.”

Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health and Environment (ACOPPHE)

Nightingale Wakigera is a nurse originating from Kenya and currently pursuing a Master‘s degree in One Health. As a leader of the Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health and Environment (ACOPPHE ) and a co-leader of the Child Health is Planetary Health (CHIP), her work focuses on how these networks contribute to the vision of a healthy and sustainable Africa for all.
 
Nathaniel Uchtmann is a physician and lawyer who currently works as an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Hospitalist at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, California. He completed a two-year Global Health Fellowship through UCSF. His advocacy work centers around ethically modeling ecology through highlighting our interdependency with healthy communities and a healthy planet.

We also thank Mona El-Sherbini, Vanessa Goes, Bwalya Lungo (ACOPPHE executive team), and Elder Menzi Maseko for a ceremonial offering 

Liberators: Revolution of Human Connection

Peter Sharp is Founder of The Liberators, global movement passionate about creating tangible experiences of empathy and kindness between people from all walks of life via global flash mobs and events. 
 
“Humanity is yearning for human connection to flourish and we all have a valuable role to play.”
 
Valerie Verhasselt is Director of the LRF Centre for Immunology and Breastfeeding at the University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute. Her research aims to understand the magic of breast milk and find ways to promote healthy development for all.  
 
My deep motivation is to contribute to making people happier by empowering them with more knowledge, confidence, and creativity.

The Nova Network and Integration Hub: Connecting Communities, Ideas, Inspirations, and Actions for Flourishing

Alan Logan is an award-winning author and historian of health sciences with more than two dozen publications in diverse scientific and medical journals. His work explores the ways in which natural environments provide value to and impact human health and quality of life. He is a Fellow at the the Nova Institute.  
 
Dawn Stoltzfus is the Senior Director of Strategic  Communications at the Nova Institute for Health and has worked in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors to lead numerous public awareness and policy campaigns.
 
I am passionate about the interconnections between health, equity, and environmental justice and helping people make their voices heard.”    ​

Children Are the Future: Involve Us From an Early Age

A message from the children of Pleasant Hope Academy in Kenya

Session 3: Nature, Places and Spaces: Creating Safe, Sustainable, and Nourishing Environments for Flourishing

Friday December 2, 10am-12pm Eastern, USA

Opening Video: An Invisible Journey -- Ecotourism With a Hand Lens

Ricardo Rozzi is a Chilean ecologist and philosopher whose research combines ecology and philosophy. He is Professor at Department of Philosophy & Religion, University of North Texas & at University of Magallanes; V/P, Center for Environmental Philosophy, USA; Director, Cape Horn International Center, Chile. He coined the terms biocultural conservation, biocultural homogenization, and biocultural ethics.

Introductions

CHAIR: Susan Prescott, Director or Nova Network, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Western Australia

Another Mindful Moment

portrait of rick scott

Rick Scott is Chief Operating Officer of the Nova Institute for Health. He has been a student and teacher of contemplative practices and wisdom traditions since the early 1990s.

“I have a passion for seeing the health and vitality in people, and encouraging them to awaken to a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives.”

KEYNOTE: Finding Beauty in a Broken World: Through Wildness as the Highest Form of Imagination

Terry Tempest Williams is currently writer-in-residence at the Harvard Divinity School. She is known for her impassioned prose and lyrical writing focusing on how environmental issues are social issues and ultimately, issues of justice. She is the author of over 20 books in creative nonfiction including the environmental literature classic, Refuge – An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty In A Broken World; When Women Were Birds; The Hour of Land – A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks; and most recently, Erosion – Essays of Undoing. Ms. Tempest Williams is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenship Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award in creative nonfiction.  Her work has been translated and anthologized worldwide. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and divides her time between Castle Valley, Utah and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Is Nature Linked to Emotional Intelligence? A Conceptual Framework and Preliminary Evidence from the United States

Matthew Browning is an Associate Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, where he directs the Virtual Reality and Nature Lab. 

“I envision a world where everyone has access to safe, restorative natural environments and where visits them daily for the health and happiness of our planet and society.”

Demonstrating the Benefits of the "3-30-300 Green Space Rule" for Mental Health

Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen is a Professor and Director of Urban Planning, Environment & Health and Air Pollution & Urban Environment programs at ISGlobal Barcelona; President, International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (2020-21); ISEE John Goldsmith Award recipient for Outstanding Contributions to Environmental Epidemiology (2018); and ranked Number 1 Scientist in Urban Health (2021)

Urban Flourishing: Places and Spaces for More Inclusive New Ways of Being for All

Giselle Sebag is the Executive Director of the International Society for Urban Health. She is a globally recognized urban health leader with 15 years of experience advising governments, multi-laterals, NGOs and private sector companies to develop sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities that promote and enhance resident health. 

My passion is improving urban health and well-being by design.”

Archipelagos Collective: An Indigenous-Led Resurgence for Planetary Health

Deondre Smiles (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. His research interests include critical Indigenous geographies, human-environment interactions, and Indigenous cultural resource management / preservation. He is the Principal Investigator of the Geographic Indigenous Futures Collaboratory, one of Western Canada’s first explicitly Indigenous geography focused research groups / labs.
 
Heather Castleden is the Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC Canada. She held a Canada Research Chair (‘16-’21) and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. 
 
“I am committed to research and practice that support Indigenous rights, resurgence, and self-determination.”

Exploring Connections between Place and Spiritual Experience

Katherine Irvine is a Senior Researcher in Environment, Wellbeing and Behaviour at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland. Working across disciplines and sectors, she works to build bridges between issues of human health/well-being, environmental quality and sustainable behaviour. 

“I am passionate about understanding and finding ways to heal the split in the reciprocal relationship between people and nature.”

Building an Eco-community Focused on Holistic Health, Social, Environmental, and Economic Regeneration

Anthony Abbagnano is the founder of Alchemy of Breath, one of the world’s most respected breathwork schools. He is also the founder of ASHA in Tuscany, Italy, a centre dedicated to community health and emerging consciousness. 

“My vision is to co-create a sustainable path for living in harmony with nature and each other.”

Neighborhood Forest Cover During Infancy Associates with Decreased Risk of Non-Communicable Diseases in Childhood

Jenni Lehtimäki is senior researcher at Finnish Environment Institute. She actively searches and tests new ways to link microscopic and macroscopic biodiversity and human health.  

“When I became mother, I started to understand all the complexities influencing on healthy development, which made me think that green environment could solve a lot.”

Microbiome-Inspired Green Infrastructure: From Research to Pedagogy and Practice

Jake Robinson is a microbial ecologist and researcher at Flinders University. He is a member of the UNFCCC resilience frontiers team, working to restore ecosystems and optimise human health. His debut book Invisible Friends is about how microbes shape our lives and the world around us. 

”I work across disciplines with the aim of ‘joining the dots’ to promote healthy ecosystems.”

Letting Children Get Their Hands Dirty: Microbial Enriched Soils Elicits Changes in Immune Regulation

Marja Roslund (PhD) is an environmental scientist at Natural Resources Institute Finland with a focus on connections among biodiversity, urbanization, microbiome, and the environment and human well-being. 

“My passion is to improve the planetary health.”

Let Us Collaboratively Care for the Earth: Message from Children and Youth in Africa

Precious Blood Girls High School, Riruta, Kenya

Session 4: Ecological Relationships for Whole Person Health: Awareness, Attitudes, and Actions for Wellness

​Friday December 2, 2pm-4pm Eastern, USA

Inspirations for Flourishing: Art video

Entries from the Nova Art Awards

Setting the scene: Ecological Relationships for Whole Person Health

portrait of nova institute founder brian berman

Brian Berman is President of the Nova Institute for Health; Professor Emeritus of Family & Community Medicine; founding Director, Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Co-Director, Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field. 

In challenging times there are also great opportunities to reach beyond boundaries and fundamentally shift how we think about well-being at all scales.”

Another Mindful Moment

portrait of rick scott

Rick Scott is Chief Operating Officer of the Nova Institute for Health. He has been a student and teacher of contemplative practices and wisdom traditions since the early 1990s.

“I have a passion for seeing the health and vitality in people, and encouraging them to awaken to a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and joy in their lives.”

Integrating Concepts of Whole Person and Whole Planet Health

Helene M. Langevin, MD, is the Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). She was previously Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

NCCIH funds and conducts research to help answer important scientific and public health questions within the context of whole person health.”

Efforts to Promote Equitable Flourishing Must Start From the First Moments of Life

headshot of carley riley

Carley Riley is Associate Professor, Attending Physician, and Co-Faculty Lead of Population and Community Health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She is also a Fellow with the Nova Institute and Co-Founder and Director of The Collective WELL, whose mission is:

“To cultivate thriving populations and communities through research, policy, and activism.

Ayurveda and Epigenetics: Preconception, Biological Plasticity, and the Re-conception of Health Narratives

Natasha Rooney is a PhD Candidate at the Alfred Deakin Institute of Globalisation and Citizenship, Deakin University, Melbourne (Australia).

My research is on the circulation of epigenetic and postgenomic models of life in India.”

Integrating Mind, Body, and Spirit for Personal and Planetary Health

Peter Wayne is a researcher, practitioner, and instructor of mind-body therapies. He is Director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School & Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and leads its Mind-Body-Movement Lab. 

“My passion is facilitating healing connections: between mind, body & spirit; science and society; and individuals with one another and nature.

From Mindful Behavior to a Shift in Identity: An Individual and Collective Exploration

Aterah Nusrat is Director of Programming in Integrative Medicine & Planetary Health at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School & Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has 20+ years experience as a practitioner of direct path awakening in individual and group settings. 

“I am passionate about the spiritual roots of planetary health.

Mud Map: Connecting Dirt, ‘Old friends,’ and Stress Resilience

Christopher A. Lowry is an Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Military and Veteran Microbiome: Consortium for Research and Education. 

“My passion is advancing understanding of the microbiome-gut-brain axis and applying that knowledge to prevention and treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders.”

Food Solutions as Climate Solutions: A Critical Link between Planetary Health and Human Futures

Africa Mentoring Research Network  (ACOPPHE): Mona El Sherbini, Vanessa Goes, Tajudeen Yusuf Amuda, Habeebullah Oladipo, 
Samuel Abimbola, Chanelle Mulopo, Ntirenganya Elie,  Aishatu Muhammed, Menzi Maseko, Joe Payne, Kajelcha Fikadu1, Nightingale Wakigera, Nathaniel Uchtmann

Healthful Eating with Personal and Planetary Flourishing in Mind: Challenges and Opportunities

portrait of chris d'adamo phd

Chris D’Adamo is Director of Research, University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, and a Fellow at the Nova Institute. He is an epidemiologist with interests in the synergistic effects of healthy lifestyle practices and genetics on human health, as well as outcomes evaluations of multi-modality, whole-practice integrative health interventions and programs.

Emotional Insecurities, Futuring, and Flourishing in Planetary Health

Zoë Rozar is a Multidisciplinary Creative Product and Service Developer at the Institute Bon Pasteur, with a passion for Education in Cultural Formation, Transformation and Transition towards Planetary Health. She is an artist and composer. 

This life, this death, no repeat, no rewind, no pause. Life is no burden but a privilege. What are we waiting for?

Additional Abstracts

Our ‘live’ program is much shorter this year, so we have not been able to include all our abstract submissions in the virtual sessions. Please enjoy the following additional abstracts, presented in video form (4-5 minutes each). There are opportunities to discuss these abstracts, and much more, on our new Nova Integration Hub.

Nature Play and Grow: Promoting Engagement in Nature in Young Children and Families
Lisa Gibson (Longley G., Ansingh D., Prabawa-Sear K., Prescott, S., Silva, D.)

Lisa Gibson is a Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth Australia and the stakeholder management lead for the ORIGINS  project.

I am an ardent supporter of involving consumers and community in research as it needs to improved outcomes and impactful results.”

Associations with Temperature at Conception and Metabolic Outcomes in Adulthood: Health Implications of Climate Change
Fabienne Pradella (T. Münz, L.A. Gerking, S. Gabrysch, R. van Ewijk)

Fabienne Pradella is an economist at the Chair of Statistics and Econometrics at the University of Mainz. Her research focuses on prenatal impacts on health through fetal programming, in combination with postnatal exposures. 

“I am fascinated by how interconnected life on the planet is, and convinced that strong causal evidence is crucial for decision-making.”

Tackling the ‘Wicked Problems’ of the Anthropocene and Changing the Narratives in the ‘File of Shame’: A System-Based Approach as Panacea?
Yusuf Amuda Tajudeen, Habeebullah Jayeola Oladipo, Iyiola Olatunji Oladunjoye, Aminat Olaitan Adebayo, Mona Said El-Sherbini

Yusuf Tajudeen is a microbiologist, a  graduate student at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, and  an Executive Director and Coordinator of Research at Africa Community of Planetary Health and Environment Mentorship Research Network. Yusuf is a zoonotic infectious disease researcher. 

“I am passionate about healthy people and healthy planet.”

Tracing the Internet’s Supply Chains to Reduce Technology’s Impacts on Nature

Katie Singer writes about technology’s impacts on nature. She has nearly finished her next book, Mapping the Technosphere—to reduce technology’s impacts on nature. Her other books include An Electronic Silent Spring and The Garden of Fertility www.OurWeb.tech and www.ElectronicSilentSpring.com. She lives in New Mexico, USA.

Tackling Drivers of Childhood Obesity in Africa by Adopting a Planetary Health Approach

Abdul-kareem Aisha is a MSc student, Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development, Oxford Brookes University UK. She is a member at the Mentoring Research Network (MRN), Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health and Environment ACOPPHE. 

“I am passionate about contributing my quota towards achieving a planetary health.”

The Planetary Health for All Initiative: Multi-Faith Engagement, Capacity Building, and Education for Planetary Health

Ralf Klemens Stappen is Executive Secretary of the Francis of Assisi Academy for Planetary Health and a member (Acad.) of the International Academy of Science. He led the first sustainability project in Europe which was awarded as a national project by the Federal President 1995. Professionally, he implemented over 500 sustainability projects in the public sector.  

I support  the church and religions to protect our Earth on different levels.”

Flourishing ORIGINS Child Project – Stakeholder Engagement

Jacqueline Davis is the Senior Program Manager for the ORIGINS Project in Perth, Australia and a PhD candidate in the School of Medicine (Paediatrics) at the University of Western Australia.

“My passion is prevention and early intervention in chronic conditions, particularly in vulnerable communities, to enable the best quality of life for everyone.”

Unlocking One’s Creative DNA: How to Personalize Artful Expression for Vibrant Health Using Color & Archetypes

Deanna Minich is a health educator, nutrition scientist, artist, and author with more than twenty years of experience in nutrition, mind-body health, medical science, and functional medicine. 

“My passion is bringing forth a colorful whole-self approach to nourishment and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine.”

Opportunities and Challenges for Microbiomics in Restoration Ecology
Jake M. Robinson, Riley Hodgson, Siegy Krauss, Craig Liddicoat, Ashish Malik, Belinda Martin, Jakki J. Mohr, David Moreno-Mateos, Miriam Muños-Rojas, Shawn Peddle, and Martin F. Breed

Jake Robinson is a microbial ecologist and researcher at Flinders University. He is a member of the UNFCCC resilience frontiers team, working to restore ecosystems and optimise human health. His debut book Invisible Friends is about how microbes shape our lives and the world around us. 

“I work across disciplines with the aim of ‘joining the dots’ to promote healthy ecosystems.”

Urban Jungle Greenness: Geospatial Metrics Reveal Socioecological (In)Justices in City Centres
Jake M. Robinson, Suzanne Mavoa, Kate Robinson, and Paul Brindley

Jake Robinson is a microbial ecologist and researcher at Flinders University. He is a member of the UNFCCC resilience frontiers team, working to restore ecosystems and optimise human health. His debut book Invisible Friends is about how microbes shape our lives and the world around us. 

“I work across disciplines with the aim of ‘joining the dots’ to promote healthy ecosystems.”

The meeting might be over, but the conversations continue!

Nova Network

The Nova Network is a transdisciplinary global community providing evidence, inspiration, and advocacy for the health and flourishing of all people, places, and planet.

Nova Integration Hub

The Nova Integration Hub is a web-based forum created to empower a transdisciplinary community to share new ideas and ways of thinking, put research findings into practice and policy, and spark creativity, collaboration, and solutions for health and well-being.

Healing is facilitated through safety, persistence, and trust.

  • Persistence: “People did not simply progress through this sequence and experience healing. The healing journey was a recursive, back and forth process. They found helpers, used the skills/resources that those helpers provided, found other helpers that provided more resources and used those skills and resources. As this process continued, people experienced a gradual amelioration of their suffering. Although many despaired at times, all demonstrated the quality of persistence—they refused to give up.”
  • Safety & Trust: “To connect to helpers, it was essential for people to feel safe in those relationships and able to trust that the person would be a helper and not a barrier to healing. Persons whose wounds included a violation of trust were especially careful about testing the safety of new relationships.”

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.”

  • Reframing: “A particularly important skill was the ability to reframe—that is to look at suffering through a different lens.” This does NOT mean minimizing trauma or pain, but rather it often means the opposite: understanding what happened was wrong, unfair, or uncontrollable and that we are not to blame for it.
  • Responsibility: While we don’t have control over what happened to us, we are the only ones who can help ourselves heal. “A third essential resource that people acquired or refined was the ability to take an appropriate amount of responsibility for their healing journeys. They participated actively in the process of healing. Once again, some participants already had developed this skill, and some acquired or refined it from their helpers.”
  • Positivity: “Another resource that people acquired or refined during their healing journey was choose to be positive—that is to have some optimism about their situation.” People have varying predispositions to positivity. In the study, positivity was important in helping people heal. This doesn’t mean a toxic positivity, but rather simply finding some good in life and feeling hopeful about our situations.

“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.”

  • “Moving from being wounded, through suffering to healing, is possible. It is facilitated by developing safe, trusting relationships and by positive reframing that moves through the weight of responsibility to the ability to respond.”
  • “Relationships with health professionals were among these but were not necessarily any more important to the healing journey than other kinds of helpers, which included family members, friends, spirituality and their God, pets, support groups, administrators, case workers and supervisors.”

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.” 

  • Helping Others: We find meaning in helping others. “Understanding that suffering gives the strength and experience to help others in similar situations.”
  • Hope: We begin to have hope that we will not always feel this bad. A Crohn’s patient said, “I think gradually I realized that I was going to feel better. I did have days when I actually didn’t vomit, when I did feel better. And I think gradually I came to believe that maybe I could have a normal life again.”
  • Self-Acceptance: We see our inherent value and understand that we are not to blame for our suffering. A participant living with HIV said, “I’m really proud of myself. I think that now I still want to live. I don’t want to die, and I really love myself a lot. I have a lot of comfort in myself.”

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.