Conference Program 2023

Our diverse and expansive agenda encompasses health and well-being in the broadest sense—with a strong emphasis on solutions, positive narratives, and healthy relationships, as a path to cross-sectoral engagement for collaborative change.

Recordings now available! Go to sessions and see individual recordings: 

There were opportunities for discussion during and after each session. We’re continuing conversations on the Nova Integration Hub.

View a downloadable, “at-a-glance” PDF of the program

Session 1: Prescriptions for a Healthy Future

Thursday December 7, 10 am - 12 pm Eastern, US

Welcome and Acknowledgement

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; and Co-Director, Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field. 

Nova Annual Conference 2023 Theme Video

A Mindful Moment

headshot 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.

Recording not available

Seeding New Landscapes for a Flourishing Future: Setting the Scene

Susan Prescott Headshot

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.

Indigenous Welcome

Puna Kalama Dawson

Puna Kalama Dawson (Keikilaniwahinealiiopuna) lives on Kauai, Hawaii. As record keeper of Hawaiian culture and history, she is an internationally honored elder of the Hawaiian islands. Her family roots take her far back in time. Her direct ancestors are found in the royal family of the time of the Hawaiian kingdom, as well as in the lineages of the hula masters (kahula), the lua masters (kalua), and the seers (kahuna). Puna travels in the footprints of her ancestors to Europe and Asia to strengthen the cultural bridges and to support world peace. A former president of both the Canoe Association and the Mokihana and Emmalani Festivals, she was also a founding member of Leadership Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i Planning and Action Alliance (KPAA) and serves as the Board Chair for Coherence Lab.

Prajna Horn

Prajna Horn is a social change strategist, social entrepreneur, business consultant, and community organizer. She is co-founder and Executive Director of Kaua’i-based Coherence Lab, a nonprofit organization advancing whole-systems solutions by uniting Indigenous Wisdom and Earth Systems Science. As an award-winning innovator in launching technology start-ups, Prajna has specialized in magnifying impact in some of the most unlikely places by synthesizing voices and repositioning allies and competitors as collaborative partners. Prajna is a contributing author to the book, The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth.

Building a Well Being Economy: Systems Change Requires New Stories of Radical Collaboration for Economies in Service of All Life

Stewart Wallis

Stewart Wallis is Executive Chair and Co-Founder of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), the leading global collaboration of organizations, alliances, movements, and individuals working together to transform the economic system into one that delivers human and ecological well-being. Previously he was Executive Director of the New Economics Foundation, awarded the O.B.E. for services to Oxfam GB, and served many years with the World Bank, in Washington, D.C. Stewart has masters degrees from Cambridge and London and an Honorary Doctorate from Lancaster University. He is Chair of the Conservation Farming Trust and co-author of the recently published A Finer Future

Soul Food and the Seeds of Life: Local and Indigenous Knowledges to Reconnect with Nature, Health, and Purpose

Menzi Maseko

Menzi Maseko is the Co-Creative Knowledge Officer at Green Ankh Works, co-founder at the Institute of Afrikology, director at Transformative Health Justice, and a co-founder of Ikhambi Natural Healing. He is also currently the Chief Communication Officer at Ubuntu Arising. He loves collaborating with like-hearted folk to get things done within communities. Menzi is also an essayist, translator, and occasional poet.

An Ecological Approach to Health in the NHS: Growing Health Together, a Place-Based Approach to Prevention and Health Creation

Gillian Orrow

Gillian Orrow is the founding director of Growing Health Together, a place-based approach to prevention and health creation commissioned by NHS Surrey Heartlands and embedded across East Surrey Place. She was an NIHR academic clinical fellow in general practice at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Public Health from 2008-2012, undertaking research and gaining an MPhil with distinction in the area of prevention. She subsequently acted as advisor to NICE Public Health Advisory Committees alongside her clinical work as a GP in Surrey. She graduated from King’s College London GKT School of Medical Education in 2006.

Data for Well Being and Equity: Sustainable and Generative Community Transformation

Somava Saha

Somava Saha has dedicated her career to improving health, well-being, and equity through the development of thriving people, organizations, and communities. She has worked as a primary care internist and pediatrician in the safety net and a global public health practitioner for more than 25 years. Soma serves as President and CEO of Well-being and Equity in the World (WE in the World), as well as Executive Lead of the Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network, which work together to advance inter-generational well-being and equity. She founded and led the 100 Million Healthier Lives initiative, which brought together 1850+ partners in 30+ countries reaching more than 500 million people to improve health, well-being, and equity. 

Healthy Futures Start in Childhood: Promoting Early Life Experiences that Encourage Environmental and Prosocial Engagement

Urooj S. Raja

Urooj Raja is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Advocacy and Social Change at the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on how the general public engages with and responds to climate change, and is supported by organizations including the National Science Foundation. She previously worked in the fields of environmental philanthropy (the Solutions Project), polling behavior (Pew Research Center), and with local and national decision-making bodies (NY State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives). She studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Princeton University. 

Recording not available

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Thrive! Healthy People, Healthy Planet Art Exhibition

Part One

Part Two

Thrive! Healthy People, Healthy Planet: A Photographic Exhibition Facilitated by the Mutual Reawakening Collaborative

headshot of sara warber

Sara L. Warber is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader, researcher, educator, and clinician in integrative healthcare. She is an emeritus professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan (U-M) Medical School, co-creator of the Mutual Reawakening Collaborative, and a Nova Scholar. She co-founded the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research and served on the World Health Organization’s Expert Task Force to study the integration of traditional and complementary medicine into health systems. Dr. Warber is the co-author of Natural Products from Plants, 2nd Edition and over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles. 

Food Systems for People and Planet: Can We Align the Interests of Human Health and Sustainability?

Stephan van Vliet

Stephan van Vliet is a nutrition scientist with metabolomics expertise in the Center for Human Nutrition Studies at Utah State University. Stephan earned his PhD in Kinesiology as an ESPEN Fellow from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received training at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and Duke University School of Medicine. Stephan’s research is performed at the nexus of agricultural and human health. His work has been published in the American Journal of Clinical NutritionScientific ReportsThe Journal of Nutrition, and The Journal of Physiology.

Microbial Solutions to Ecological Challenges: From Soils, Plants to Climate Systems

Sue Ishaq

Sue Ishaq is an Assistant Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Maine and founder of the Microbes and Social Equity working group, an international collaboration to explore the research, education, and policy regarding the way microbes connect individuals, societies, and ecosystems. Sue received her Doctorate in Animal, Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont Department of Animal Science. Prior to her position at the University of Maine, she was a Research Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology in the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon.

From Fear to Flourishing: Why We Need to Change the Story

Blake Hestir

Blake Hestir is professor of philosophy and the associate director of CALM Studies at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. He is president and co-founder of The Mind Body Ecology Institute, and a member of the Flourishing Academic Network. His current work is a philosophical inquiry into how inner transformation may be cultivated through expanding worldviews and de-colonizing values combined with nature-centered embodiment and meditation practices to deepen understanding of interdependence, foster equity, and promote sustainable flourishing.  

The Resilience Project: A Creative Community of Healing

Renee Kargleder_New Photo

Renee Kargleder is the Executive Director and Founder of the Resilience Project, established in 2017 as a collaboration with American Association of University Women (AAUW-Tucson Branch), a nonprofit organization that advances equity. Since then, the Resilience Project has morphed from a scholarship to a dynamic research cooperative consisting of art therapy, trauma support, music therapy, mural creation, casework, and resource mapping. This is devoted to empowering survivors of sexual violence and sexual assault through art and other methods of self-expression. Renee knows first-hand the importance of community in the healing of individuals.

Good Arts Good Mental Health: A Multi-Sector Partnership to Create Evidence-Based Community Art Engagement and Mental Well-being

Christina Davies

Christina Davies is Director of the Centre for Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing WA at the University of Western Australia. Christina has worked in both academia and market research and has experience in both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Christina has qualifications in psychology, public health, and the arts. Her multi-award-winning research focuses on the areas of arts and health, health promotion, and mental well-being. For the past 20 years, Christina has worked in academic, government, and market research settings. She has successfully translated her arts-health research into programs, policy, and practice.

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Session 2: A Matter of Justice

Thursday December 7, 2 - 4 pm Eastern, US

Nature as Justice in Action: Inspiring Balance, Reciprocity, and the Best of Human Nature

Susan Prescott Headshot

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.

A Mindful Moment

headshot 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.

Recording not available

The Earth Charter: Origins and Opportunities for a More Ethical, Caring, Respectful and Responsible Civilization

Mirian Vilela is Executive Director of the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. She coordinates the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and served as a member of the UNESCO Expert Reference Group for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Mirian previously worked for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ahead of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and at the UN Conference on Trade and Development. Mirian holds a PhD in Education from LaSalle University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She is originally from Brazil.

Finding Our Common Humanity: Awareness and Actions to Solve Structural Health Inequalities

Zinzi Bailey

Zinzi Bailey is a social epidemiologist and Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at University of Minnesota School of Public Health and a Nova Invited Faculty. Her research focuses on operationalizing structural racism in relationship to health inequities and neighborhood variation in cancer risk as well as lung cancer disparities across the cancer continuum. Prior to moving to the University of Minnesota, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. She was previously the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Health Equity in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

International Mass Migration: A Mounting Global Threat to Health, Dignity, and Justice in the 21st Century

Carlos Franco-Paredes is a physician dedicated to researching and addressing infectious diseases that impact structurally vulnerable populations worldwide. He has a particular interest in social justice and health equity. Carlos has published 298 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. His research focuses on various topics, including leprosy, tuberculosis, tropical diseases, and migrant health. He continues to play a vital role in advancing knowledge, advocating for vulnerable populations, and shaping public health policies. Most recently, he received a Fulbright Global Scholar Award to participate in projects addressing human rights violations and poor health among migrants-in-transit crossing the Darien Gap in Panama.

'Excited Delirium': Unwinding Racial Injustice in the Justice System

Osagie Square

Osagie K. Obasogie is the Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Law at the University of Califorina, Berkeley School of Law with a joint appointment in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health. He is also Co-Director of the Berkley Center for Law and Technology and a Nova Scholar. Osagie examines how law and public policy can be used to reduce health disparities and prevent adverse health outcomes across a variety of domains. Osagie received his BA in Sociology and Political Science from Yale University, his JD from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a fellow with the National Science Foundation. 

Addictive Properties of Ultra-Processed Foods

Ashley Gearhardt

Ashley Gearhardt is a Professor of Psychology in the Clinical Science area at the University of Michigan. She is the Director of the Food Addiction Science and Treatment Laboratory and created the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which has been cited more than 1,000 times and has been translated into more than 10 languages. She uses a multi-method approach to explore the neurobiological, psychological, and behavioral factors that contribute to problematic eating behavior. She currently investigates the contribution of reward dysfunction to eating-related problems across the lifespan. She received her PhD in clinical psychology at Yale University. Her research has been featured on media outlets including the New York Times, ABC News, the Today Show, and Time Magazine.

Ultra-Processed Food Addiction: A Mounting Social Justice Crisis

Erica LaFata

Erica LaFata is an Assistant Research Professor at the Drexel University Center for Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan and completed her postdoctoral research fellowship with the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania. Erica’s program of research examines whether ultra-processed foods may be reinforcing in a manner that directly drives overeating and explores how core mechanisms of addictive disorders, like withdrawal, may contribute to eating-related problems for vulnerable individuals. 

Food Justice and Childhood Obesity: Industry Needs the intervention, Not Our Kids

Ashka Naik

Ashka Naik is Director of Research and Policy at Corporate Accountability (CA) focusing on questions of sovereignty and power in challenging the abuses of transnational corporations. She serves as a senior leader within CA and leads the research team on strategic campaign development, corporate research, and equity-centered analysis of corporate power across issues that guide the vision and overall success. Ashka also leads CA’s food program, focusing on structural determinants and sociopolitical dimensions of food systems, nutrition, and public health, while exposing industry’s interference and influence in the policies and the politics of food security, sovereignty, and justice across the world, especially the Global South. Ashka is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Lessons from Impact Justice's Food in Prison Project

Lesley Soble

Leslie Soble is a Senior Program Manager at Impact Justice where she manages Impact Justice’s Food in Prison Project and is the lead author of the organization’s national report, Eating Behind Bars: Ending the Hidden Punishment of Food in Prison. An ethnographer and folklorist specializing in food and foodways, she has spent over five years immersed in research and program development addressing the carceral eating experience and its impacts on individuals, communities, and the environment. Leslie is also the founder and artistic director of “Story Soup,” a project that creates contexts for dialogue across cultural and generational borders through food and narrative.

Recording not available

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Reporting with a Broad View of Health: The Nova Media Fellowship Program


Jackie Judd is a communications consultant working with nonprofit groups in the health care and human rights fields. A longtime, award-winning journalist, Jackie previously reported for ABC News, NPR, and the “PBS NewsHour” and has received national Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. Throughout her career, Jackie covered health care and social policy, politics, and major international events. She spent a decade at the Kaiser Family Foundation focusing on health policy communications and training journalists in countries with emerging AIDS epidemics. She is a current trustee and former chair of the board of trustees of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of the Josiah Macy Foundation

Investigating the Intersecting Crises of Water Poverty and Food Insecurity in the United States

Lela Nargi

Lela Nargi is a veteran journalist and 2023 Nova Media Fellow covering the intersection of water poverty and food insecurity in several communities across the country. Formerly, she was an editor at Working Mother magazine, a journalism instructor at Kingsborough Community College, and a reporter for national outlets such as PeopleLife, and Entertainment Weekly. Lela’s work has been recognized by The Aspen Institute and the Society for Environmental Journalists, and reprinted widely. She’s a regular radio guest and the author of 20+ books for children on topics such as bees, birds, space, volcanoes, dinosaurs, ecosystems, and biodiversity. 

Appalachia's People and Its Landscape: Caring for Communities and Healing the Hills

Kate Morgan edited

Kate Morgan is a freelance journalist and 2023 Nova Media Fellow. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostNational GeographicBBCPopular ScienceSierra, and many other publications. She is the producer and host of the Roaring Earth podcast, and has been featured on other popular podcasts and radio shows. She is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Kate lives in the Appalachian foothills of Pennsylvania with her husband and toddler. Her work takes a broad view of health and often focuses on the inherent optimism of those working to repair and restore natural ecosystems and human communities.

The Air We Breathe: From Tailpipes, Smokestacks, to Emerging Pollutants such as Microplastics, Algal Toxins, and Supercharged Wildfires

Virginia Gewin

Virginia Gewin is an independent science journalist and 2023 Nova Media Fellow. With a background in environmental science, Virginia reports on how humans are profoundly altering the environment and undertaking extraordinary measures to preserve nature. Recent work has focused on emerging air pollutants of concern and how various elements shape regional air quality. Her 2020 story, “Raising Nature on Florida Ranchlands,” won the Best of the Northwest Science Journalism award from the Northwest Science Writers Association. Her work has appeared in Nature, Science, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Discover, Popular Science, and many others. 

Youthcast Media Group

Jayne O'Donnell

Jayne O’Donnell is founder and CEO of Youthcast Media Group (YMG) and USA TODAY’s former health policy reporter. YMG, launched in 2017 as the Urban Health Media Project, trains diverse high school students from underresourced communities for multimedia health and social issue journalism and gets their work published in media outlets. Jayne reported for USA TODAY from 1993 to 2021, most recently as their healthcare policy reporter. An author and TV and radio contributor, Jayne has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and C-Span and been published in magazines including Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Parents, and Autoweek. 

Youthcast Media Group: Engaging Youth, by Youth

Aabrielle Spear

Aabrielle Spear (she/her) is a creative writer from Southern California. She is currently a freshman and psychology major at Morgan State University, and hopes to fulfill her goals of becoming a therapist. Her interest in journalism began when she participated in a week-long workshop with Youthcast Media Group (YMG) when she was a freshman in high school. Aabrielle became an intern at YMG in 2023 and works with social media by finding facts and creating graphics and videos.

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Session 3: Measuring What Matters

Friday December 8, 10 am - 12 pm Eastern, US

Measuring What Matters: Discovery Requires Beholding with New Eyes

Susan Prescott Headshot

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.

A Mindful Moment

headshot 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.

Recording not available

"Singularity" (a reading)

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Adam Marple is the Artistic Director of The Theatre of Others and co-host of The Theatre of Others Podcast, with a global influence of over 20,000 podcast listeners in 90 countries. Having directed over 50 productions worldwide, his latest production, Bright Light Burning, is commissioned for UN COP28 in Dubai. He is founder of The Sustainable Theatre Network, an international partnership of theatre organizations creating and amplifying less wasteful theatre practices worldwide. He is Assistant Professor of Directing at the American University in Cairo.

The Universe Has a Story Only Because We Are Here to Tell It: Why We Must Change Our Human Story

Marcelo Gleiser

Marcelo Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He obtained his PhD from King’s College London, received the 1994 Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate, an honor he shares with Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, among others. His work ranges from cosmology and applications of information theory to complex phenomena to history and philosophy of science and how science and culture interact. His latest book, The Dawn of a Mindful Universe, calls for a new Enlightenment and the recognition of the preciousness of life using reason and curiosity—the foundations of science—to study, nurture, and preserve humanity as we face the climate crisis.

Understanding Human Flourishing: How do we Measure What Matters in a Way that Honors Our Interbeing, Interconnectedness, and Interdependence

Wendy Ellyatt

Wendy Ellyatt is a social entrepreneur and futurist passionate about protecting the natural world and unlocking the potential in people and projects. She is the founder of The Flourish Project and leads development of the Our Shared Futures Sacred Ecologies Group. Wendy sits on the Global Council of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, is a member of the Harvard Human Flourishing Program’s Special Interest Group Network, co-founder of Living Cities Earth, chair of the UK Spirituality in Education Alliance, and a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Thought Leaders Circle. She is a co-author of the Unitive Narrative, a contributor to the 2023 Holomovement book, and a catalyst member of the Inner Development Goals. She also co-leads the development of the Unitive Education Collaboration and is one of the Brahma Kumaris ‘One Hundred Women of Spirit.’

Measuring the Impact of Love and Hope for Individuals and Society: Critical Factors in Physical Development and Emotional Well-Being

Barry Bogin

Barry Bogin is a Professor Emeritus of Biological Anthropology of the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK and William E. Stirton Professor Emeritus of Anthropology of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Bogin’s expertise is in human physical growth and development, nutritional ecology, evolutionary biology, Maya people, and human adaptation. The focus of his research is to explain how Social-Economic-Political-Emotional (SEPE) forces influence human physical development. He has authored more than 240 books, articles, book chapters, and popular essays, including Patterns of Human Growth, 3rd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Human Biology: An Evolutionary and Biocultural Approach, 2nd Edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). 

The Promise of Prevention Science: Shifting Biopsychosocial Risk Trajectories of Delinquency, Drugs, and Depression in Adolescents

Diana Fishbein

Diana “Denni” Fishbein is a senior scientist and Director of Translational Neuro-Prevention Research in the FPG Child Development Institute at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a part-time research faculty position at The Pennsylvania State University. She founded and directs the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives, an organization dedicated to the transfer of knowledge from science to public health policies. Her expertise spans prevention science, neuroscience, and behavioral science with a focus on compensatory mechanisms to reduce the effects of deleterious social contextual factors and disrupt pathways to mental and behavioral health problems in youth. She has been intensively involved at the policy level in advising decision makers on the implementation of evidence-based strategies shown to support healthy development.

From the Exposome to the Human Affectome: Synthesizing the Physical and Metaphysical Aspects of Human Emotion and Well-Being


Christopher A. Lowry, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Chris’s research program focuses on understanding stress-related physiology and behavior with an emphasis on the microbiome-gut-brain axis, designed to lead to novel, microbiome-based interventions for the prevention of and treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Measuring Affect: A Novel In-the-Moment Tracking Tool

MC Flux

M.C. Flux has a joint PhD in Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology and has conducted research in a wide range of fields focusing on whole body approaches to mental health and novel therapeutics. Broad themes of his work include psychoneuroimmunology, the microbiome-gut-brain axis, and interoception. Through his work, M.C. maintains a passion for data visualization and science communication.

Advancing Social Equity through Microbiology: Diverse Biological Impacts of Environmental Conditions Through Effects on Human Microbial Ecology

Ariangela Kozik

Ariangela J. Kozik is currently a NHLBI PRIDE scholar and Research Investigator in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan, where she studies microbial-immune relationships in adult asthma, with emphasis on precision approaches for asthma treatment. Her interests lie at the intersection of the human microbiome, systems biology, and inflammatory disease. She is the Co-Founder and Vice President of the Black Microbiologists Association

Vitality! The Energy behind Flourishing

Christina (Tina) Frederick

Christina Frederick is a Professor of Psychology in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide Campus. She received her PhD from the University of Rochester, where she was a member of the Self-Determination Theory Motivation Research Group. Christina held faculty positions at Southern Utah University and the University of Central Florida. Her current research interests examine technology use and personality, subjective vitality, team motivation, and leadership. She is active in the Society of Psychologists in Leadership, and serves as a faculty volunteer for Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology.

Forgiveness as a Global Public Health Issue: REACH Multi-Site Randomized Controlled Trial Shows Forgiveness Improves Mental and Overall Well-Being

Tyler VanderWeele

Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD, is the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Director of the Human Flourishing Program, and Co-Director of the Initiative on Health, Spirituality, and Religion at Harvard University. His research spans psychiatric and social epidemiology; the science of happiness and flourishing; and the study of religion and health. He has published over four hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals; is author of several books, and writes a monthly blog posting on topics related to human flourishing for Psychology Today.

Urgent Call for Interventions to Reduce Dehumanization and Partisan Hostility by Correcting Exaggerated Meta-Prejudice

Alex Landry

Alex Landry is a PhD student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he studies the social psychology of extreme intergroup conflict. His work has largely focused on dehumanization — the process of conceiving of another group of people as less than fully human — and its role in the perpetuation of intergroup hostility. He also studies the psychology of ideological extremism and radicalization, both in terrorist organizations abroad and among American political partisans. 

Giving Voice to Values: The Multilevel Power of Each Voice for Organizational and Community Changes Toward a New Global Ethics

Mary Gentille

Mary C. Gentile, PhD is the creator and director of Giving Voice to Values and consults on management education and values-driven leadership for academic, business, government, and non-governmental organizations. She served as Richard M. Waitzer Bicentennial Professor of Ethics at University of Virginia-Darden School of Business and was also faculty at Babson College. In her tenure at Harvard Business School, she developed and taught the school’s first course on managing diversity, and helped design and teach its first required module on ethical decision-making. Her articles have appeared in Harvard Business Review, strategy+business, BizEd, CFO Magazine and Risk Management.

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Session 4: The Deeper Roots of Transformation

Friday December 8, 2 - 4 pm Eastern, US

The Roots of Change: Solving our Grand Challenges Requires a Shift in Consciousness

Susan Prescott Headshot

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.


A Mindful Moment

headshot 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.


Recording not available

The Story Of Gaia: Walking Between Worlds to Explore Evolution of Unitive Awareness and Planetary Consciousness

Jude Currivan

Jude Currivan, PhD, is a cosmologist, planetary healer, futurist, author, and co-founder of WholeWorld-View. She has a master’s degree in physics from Oxford University specializing in quantum physics and cosmology and a PhD in archaeology from the University of Reading in the UK researching ancient cosmologies. Jude integrates leading edge science, research into consciousness, and universal wisdom teachings into a wholistic worldview. This underpins her work aimed at enabling transformational and emergent resolutions to our collective planetary issues, raising awareness and empowering fundamental change, and sustainable solutions to global problems. 

Being a Spiritual Entrepreneur: An Inner MBA for More Conscious Business

Tami Simon is the Founder of Sounds True, one of the world’s largest multimedia companies dedicated to well-being and spiritual awakening—and one of the very first organizations to focus on multiple bottom lines as part of its founding mandate. Committed to business being a force for good, Tami is the founder of the Inner MBA, a 9-month immersion program for developing the inner awareness skills that support outer success. For more than ten years, she has hosted the popular Sounds True podcast “Insights at the Edge.” Her interviews with leading wisdom teachers have been downloaded more than 20 million times. Tami also established the Sounds True Foundation, a non-profit that creates equitable access to transformational tools and teachings.

The Dynamics of Personal and Collective Transformation: When We Talk About Transformation, What is Actually Going On?

Leon VanderPol is the Founder of the Center for Transformational Coaching. He is an internationally-recognized leader, spirit-based teacher, and author in the field of transformational coaching and transformative living. Leon has spent over two decades immersed in the dynamics of personal, interpersonal and organizational change, helping people actualize their innate potential. At the core of Leon’s teaching lies the healing and transformation of human consciousness—what happens when we consistently begin to experience ourselves beyond our ego-mind, as our essential Self and soul. 

Exploring the Ultimate Questions: How Death Brings New Perspectives on Life

headshot of paul dieppe

Paul Dieppe is Emeritus Professor of Well-Being at the University of Exeter Medical School and a Nova Scholar. He is among the world’s preeminent osteoarthritis researchers and one of a small number of health researchers in the UK to have held the prestigious Senior Investigator award from the National Institute for Health Research. His recent work focuses on love and healing, including The Healing Journey, which was among the first to examine healing from a patient’s perspective beyond a clinical setting. He has published more than 500 articles in peer review journals and authored or co-authored several medical books. 

A Deep Sustainability Transition Requires Sacred Reciprocity and Decolonizations from Modernity

Blake Poland

Blake Poland is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH), Director of the Collaborative Specialization in Community Development, and head of the Social & Behavioural Health Sciences Division of the DLSPH. Blake’s research has focused on the settings approach to health promotion, the health of marginalized groups, the sociology of tobacco control, and community development as an arena of practice for health professionals. Recent work includes ecological public health, community resilience, urban sustainability transitions, social movements as agents of change, and authentic dialogue as a tool for transformative learning. Blake’s research draws on practice theory, work in the resilience of social-ecological systems, qualitative and community-based research approaches.

Discussion with Panelists and Attendeees

Nurturing the Fields of Change: An Inquiry into the Living Dynamics of Holistic Change Facilitation


Jessica Bockler is an applied theatre practitioner and transpersonal psychologist with extensive experience of participatory arts facilitation. She specializes in embodied approaches to accessing creativity and imagination and she weaves these practices into integrative and transpersonal projects for flourishing and social change. Jessica is co-founding director of the Alef Trust, a global education provider in consciousness studies, spirituality and transpersonal psychology. She is the research lead of Alef Trust’s Conscious Community Initiative and host of the Nurturing the Fields of Change program, which aims to galvanize and support holistic projects for social change.

Engaging Youth in Cultural Change for Planetary Health

Cindy Xie

Cindy Xie is an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying a mix of urban planning, biology, and medical anthropology. She is a 2023 Campus Ambassador and Intern for the Planetary Health Alliance, as well as an assistant guest editor on the Challenges journal special issue on Spirituality and Planetary Health as a part of the PHA’s Constellation Project. On campus, she leads a “Cultural Transformation for Planetary Health” dialogue series and is additionally involved with student advocacy and creative writing initiatives

The Role of Religious Traditions in Promoting Love, Respect, and Core Shared Principles for Planetary Health and the Common Good

Mona El-Sherbini, MD, is an accomplished medical doctor and Associate Professor of Medical Parasitology at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. As the founder and director of the Narrative Medicine and Planetary Health course at the Integrated Program of Kasr Al-Ainy (IPKA), Mona focuses on the intersection of medicine and humanities, the arts and culture, with an emphasis on promoting planetary health education. Her active leadership in the grassroots initiative of Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health and Environment (ACOPPHE) and the founding of the Mentoring Research Network (MRN) have facilitated diverse professionals to collaborate and research pressing global public health challenges in Africa and beyond. 

Nourishing the Seeds of Change: Seven Things to Consider

Dave Nelson

David Nelson is part of the emerging field of generalism which encourages a broad knowledge base, an ability to synthesize information from various domains, and a desire to provide unique perspectives to emerging solutions. He has published on topics ranging from clinical ecology and integrative medical modalities to nutritional considerations in health and disease. David is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Global Change at Athabasca University, Canada’s public research and open university.


Eco-Dharma: Nourishing the Roots of Personal and Social Transformation through our Relationship with Nature

Aterah nusrat

Aterah Nusrat, MSc, DIC, serves as both Director of Programming in Integrative Medicine and Planetary Health and Senior Program Manager at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has a background in environmental sustainability program management and holds a Master of Science in Environmental Technology from Imperial College and certificates in Climate Change and Health from HarvardX and the Yale School of Public Health. 

Discussion with Panelists and Attendees

Closing Comments

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; and Co-Director, Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field. 

Susan Prescott Headshot

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.

Additional Abstracts

The following abstracts will be included in the conference in supplemental video form. There are opportunities to discuss these abstracts, and much more, on the Nova Integration Hub.

Does Physician Compassion Predict Postoperative Pain and Opioid Use in Surgery Patients? A Prospective Cohort Study

headshot of jeffery greeson

Jeff Greeson is Director of the Mindfulness, Stress & Health Lab at Rowan University, in Glassboro, New Jersey, USA. He is an Associate Professor of Psychology, an adjunct professor at Rowan’s two medical schools, and a Fellow at Nova Institute in Baltimore. Dr. Greeson’s primary research interests include the effects of stress on mental and physical health, and how effectively reducing stress can improve health and prevent disease. Dr. Greeson also has a long-standing interest in neuroscience, and has collaborated on multiple brain imaging studies to examine the neural basis of stress and depression vulnerability, and how mindfulness may induce therapeutic change through neuroplasticity. 

Integrative Healthcare, Traditional World and Indigenous Medicines, and Planetary Health

Jennifer Rioux

Jennifer Rioux completed her PhD in Medical and Cultural Anthropology, focusing on integrative medicine as a social movement and holistic healers as communities of practice. She has postdoctoral training in whole-systems and mixed-methods research, focusing on underresourced populations and health justice. She is Associate Professor in Integrative Medicine Programs at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Rioux’s clinical expertise encompasses Ayurvedic medicine, yoga therapy, herbalism, trauma-informed mindfulness, planetary health, and slow medicine. Dr. Rioux sees patients through the GWU Center for Integrative Medicine.

Insights from Community Health Workers on Concepts, Articulation, and Addressing of Mental Health in Bangladesh

Kyra Lilier

Kyra Lilier is a medical student in her final year at Münster University, Germany and doctoral student at the Institute of Global Health, Heidelberg University, Germany. Her research focuses on climate change and health, particularly mental and psychological health and wellbeing in Bangladesh and worldwide. As a speaker, writer, and project developer and manager in the field of planetary health she aims to put research into practice and facilitates the utterly needed transformation to a sustainable society. 

Examining the Scope of Climate Change and Mental Health News Coverage in Canada and the United States

Breanne Aylward

Breanne Aylward is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. She is a Killam Laureate, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow, and an Alberta Innovates Graduate Student Scholar. She has supported background research for several national and international climate reports, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report. Her research examines how climate change affects mental health and wellbeing among young people in Canada. In her spare time, Breanne develops and leads science-related capacity building activities with young people, aiming to spark their intellectual curiosity and build their motivation for lifelong learning.

Harmony in Collaboration: An Indigenous-Led Cross Cultural Transdisciplinary Partnership Fostering Solutions for a Subsistence Paradigm Shift in the Anthropocene

Vanessa Goes

Vanessa Goes is a PhD candidate in Food Science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is a member of Planetary Health Brazil group at São Paulo University, co-leader at the Clinicians for Planetary Health at PHA, Executive Secretariat at the Mentoring Research Network, and Co-Coordinater at the Arts, Culture and Indigenous Knowledge Systems both at ACOPPHE. A member of the Brazilian College of Lifestyle Medicine. registered dietitian, wellness mentor, and a dancer, she’s passionate about nature and life and loves to motivate people for change.

The Consumption of Amazonian Biodiversity

Thaís Presa Martins

Thaís Presa Martins is an Associate Researcher in Planetary Health Brazil at São Paulo University, particularly focused on the areas of education and communication. She has an MD and a PhD in Science Education, Environmental Management and Biology. She has experience in education, with an emphasis on science education, environmental education, health education, cultural studies, and planetary health. Her other interests include nature and cultural production; health/disease and nature; nature medicalization; political ecology; sustainability; biodiversity; sustainable consumption; biopower; prevention/health promotion. She taught in elementary, middle, and higher education levels in undergraduate and graduate courses in Brazil. Currently, she is on a language exchange in Australia.

Paula Regina Humbelino de Melo

Paula Regina Humbelino de Melo is an Adjunct Professor at the Federal University of Amazonas in the Institute of Education, Agriculture and Environment. She is currently a PhD student in the Postgraduate Program in Science Education at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. She works with planetary health education in riverside schools in Amazonas. She is a Junior Mentor in the Planetary Health Ambassadors Program at the University of São Paulo. She has a master’s in Science Teaching from the Graduate Program in Science and Humanities Teaching at the Federal University of Amazonas. She graduated in Science: Biology and Chemistry from the Federal University of Amazonas. 

Addressing Plastics Pollution in Zayzay Community, Liberia: A Planetary Health Approach

Joe N Payne

Joe N. Payne is a master’s candidate in maternal and child health at Cuttington University of Professional Studies in Liberia. He is a Registered Nurse with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the William V.S. Tubman University in from Liberia. He has over thirteen years of work experience in NGOs and government. He is also a founding member of the Mentoring Research Network (MRN) group, a sub-branch of African Community Plenary Partners for Health and Environment (ACCOPHE).

Marketing: Changing the Narrative

David Webb 2

David Webb is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia Business School (Marketing). He is a social psychologist with primary interests in the domain of macro-marketing focusing in particular on the interface between marketing and quality of life, self-determination theory, and the psychology of consumption. He has held numerous international academic and industry positions in Germany, the Far East, the United States, and the United Kingdom together with an executive position at a customer satisfaction management consultancy firm in South Africa.

The Flourishing Child: Developing a Tool to Support Western Australian Children

Zenobia Talati

Dr. Zenobia Talati obtained her PhD and Masters in Psychology from the University of Western Australia. Her research focusses on promoting positive health behaviours in individuals, particularly parents and children. Zenobia is currently a Research Fellow with the ORIGINS Project; a community-based intervention birth cohort in Western Australia, recruiting 10,000 families and following their progress over the first five years of life.

Engagement in a Digital Well-Being Intervention for Pregnant Women

Jackie Davis

Jacqueline Davis is the General Manager of The ORIGINS Project (“ORIGINS”), a longitudinal birth cohort based in Western Australia. ORIGINS is tracking 10,000 families and building a comprehensive research platform to facilitate novel research on the origins of health and developmental disease. Jacqueline manages the strategic and operational functions of ORIGINS. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, investigating engagement in digital mental health and well-being programs for perinatal women. She is particularly passionate about improving the health and well-being of disadvantaged cohorts using strengths-based approaches to translate evidence-based knowledge into practice and policy.

Advancing Justice in Planetary Health: The Role of Interspecies Justice

Kira Johnson

Kira Johnson is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia working under the supervision of Dr. Maya Gislason. Kira’s research centers on multi-solving for planetary health, with a focus on the interconnectedness of food security, housing, climate resilience, and interspecies justice. Her work is informed by complexity theory and complex adaptive systems. She holds a MSc in conservation biology, a BA in anthropology, and certificates in Pilates and plant-based nutrition. 

Investigating the Risk of Zoonotic Pathogen Spillover at the Human-Animal Interface in a Biodiversity Hotspot in Ibarapa District of South-Western Nigeria: A Descriptive Study

Tajudeen Yusuf Amuda is a passionate advocate for planetary health and an early-career researcher in the field of infectious disease ecology from Nigeria. With a dynamic educational background and research experience on climate change impact on public health threats at the human-animal interface. He is currently a graduate student of public health from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has a deep-rooted interest in understanding the shared threats of zoonotic infectious diseases at the interface between humans, animals, and the environment—this led him to the concept of planetary health.

Community Chests for Social Prescribing in London, United Kingdom

Oli Clayton is co-founder and director of Soda, a social enterprise which puts people and communities at the heart of designing more inclusive and empowering health and well-being solutions. He leads on research and community engagement for Soda. Oli is trained in medical anthropology and has delivered a number of projects focused on research, community development and co-design in the health sector across the UK, with a focus on inclusion of underserved groups.

Assessment of the Level of Knowledge about Planetary Health among Medical Students in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Gabriela Paes is from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She is a fifth year medical student at Faculdade de Medicina da Bahia da Universidade Federal da Bahia, the first medical school of Brazil, founded in 1808. She engaged in a research group focused on planetary health at Instituto Gonçalo Moniz Fiocruz and developed an undergraduate research project, funded by FAPESB, addressing planetary health and medical education. Furthermore, she has a particular interest in the fields of planetary health, climate change research, and sustainable health systems. 

Promoting Nature Connectedness in RHUL Students: Qualitative Research to Understand the Use and Perception of Nature on Campus to Improve Student’s Mental Well-Being and Promote Pro-Environmental Behaviors

Alejandra Castro recently graduated from Royal Holloway University of London with an MA in Global Health: Society, Culture and Behavior. Alejandra studies diverse aspects that impact people’s health with a focus on researching the benefits of promoting nature connection to improve mental health and wellbeing. She is BSc in Industrial Civil Engineering, a PGDip in Industrial Organization, and a specialist in project management and process improvement, with more than ten years of work experience in the public and non-profit sector in Chile. Alejandra is a Chilean mother, wife, and nature lover located in London.

The Influence of Park Visitation on Physical Activity, Well-Being, and Social Connectedness among Australians during COVID-19

Elise Rivera_better qual

Elise Rivera is a Lecturer of Public Health at Central Queensland University teaching into the Master of Public Health program with an expertise in health promotion and the planning, implementation, and evaluation of Public Health interventions. Dr. Rivera completed her PhD thesis on optimal park design for maximizing adolescents’ physical activity and social connectedness. Her current research seeks to better understand park use across the lifespan and the optimal “dosage” of park use required to enhance health outcomes. Other research interests include strategies for improving accessibility and inclusion of recreation facilities among priority populations.

Child Language Development and Climate Change: A Narrative Review through the Lenses of Planetary Health, Education, and Speech Language Pathology

Hector Gabriel Corrale de Matos

Hector Gabriel Corrale de Matos is an undergraduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of São Paulo (FOB/USP) engaged in research, teaching, and outreach projects related to hearing health, telehealth, public health, global health, and planetary health. He holds a scholarship from the Tutorial Education Program in SLP-Audiology (SESu/Ministry of Education – 2020) and founded and coordinated the Interest Group of Public Health at the University of São Paulo (LASC/USP Bauru). Hector is involved in academic projects including Wikimedia initiatives and international research on Wikimedia’s role in hearing health education. He holds positions as a Wikimedian in Residence, Ambassador for Planetary Health programs, and is part of the Computational Audiology Network’s Executive Body.

Govardhan App: Harmonizing Nature's Wisdom for Innovative Medicine

Gokul Rajendran

Gokul Rajendran is the Founder and CEO of Govardhan App for Biodiversity & Indigenous knowledge, and founder of Climate Entertainment. He is the Regional Supervisor YOUNGO ocean voice, and President of the Goodwall Youth Council and was invited by Egyptian Ministry to COP27. He is currently, undertaking a Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery in Kerala University of Health Sciences.

Generations Together: Advocates for International Child Rights in a Changing Climate

Claire O'Kane

Claire O’Kane is an international child rights practitioner and researcher with over 28 years experience. She is a senior associate with Proteknôn and a freelance consultant. She is a passionate believer in the power of child and youth agency, collective organizing, and the importance of intergenerational collaborations for social justice and climate justice. In a volunteer capacity she is a coordinator of Generations Together, an informal group of international child rights and protection professionals, as well as youth who seek solutions for increased action and accountability for climate justice.

Diane Duclaux

Diane Duclaux is an International Law master’s student and joined Generations Together because it was important to her to help fight climate change. She went to New York to do a traineeship about climate change, and is very interested in the fact that states should be held accountable for climate change and that they are not acting quickly enough. She is doing her master’s thesis on this subject.

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 some debate about whether people always 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.