Meet Our Community

Meet Our Community: Avn Sturm, PhD Candidate in Mind-Body Medicine

08/11/2011

Avn Sturm I am presently living in Coconut Grove, Florida with my husband Kurt and two Black and White American short-haired cats named Oscar and Felix. Coconut Grove is a village in Miami that was settled by Bahamians and white settlers in the 1800s and became an artist colony in the 1940s – 1960s. My background is in Theater in performance, directing and writing. I have worked with my husband in professional film and video production and studio design, as well as computer software engineering. I went back to school and received both a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security Policy and Coordination (emphasizing emergency preparedness). For my MPA thesis, I focused on how the community is the actual first-responders. I found a resonance with working with people first as a director, then in organizational behavior in business school and finally in the importance of the community around us.    

Saybrook first caught my eye in 2003 and I have keenly watched its development. After I graduated with my MPA in 2008, I decided to apply to Saybrook. To me, Saybrook was where I wanted to attain the jewel of my academic crown, a PhD. It is important to be a part of an institution that is comprised of such stellar human beings, which is the essence of humanistic psychology and life. At the first residential conference (RC), I had a chance to be amongst strangers and landed running. I say this because it is this exhilaration that I still get many RCs later. I especially like the structure of the RC because it establishes a foundation on which all learning is based at Saybook. In fact, it was at a Summer RC that I first learned Kundalini yoga and have continued my practice of it along with my husband. We are looking forward to becoming certified Kundalini instructors, so RCs can be both illuminating and motivational in encouraging one to continue practices learned at a RC.

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Meet Our Community: Ruthi Solari, MS Candidate in Mind-Body Medicine

08/09/2011

Ruthi Solari My name is Ruthi Solari and I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (CN). I am a part of the Fall 2010 Masters cohort at Saybrook University's College of Mind Body Medicine.

One of my favorite aspects of Saybrook's MBM program is the close affiliation with the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM). The CMBM conferences were what initially inspired me to enroll at Saybrook for a more intensive learning experience in the field of Mind Body Medicine.

It was also after I attended a CMBM conference called Food as Medicine (FAM) that I was inspired to start a non-profit that is now my full-time job. The non-profit, SuperFood Drive, was founded in early 2009 to help get healthier foods into food banks to ensure that all people have access to nutritious meals.  Since its inception, SuperFood Drive has been tremendously successful in leading the movement towards nutrition banking instead of just (processed) food banking. We started by focusing on educating the general public about why it is important to donate nutritious non-perishables during food drives (for example, black beans instead of refried in lard, fruit canned in its own juice instead of syrup, and whole grain pasta instead of mac n cheese).  We are now working collaboratively with Feeding America and other national organizations, including government programs, to create a holistic implementation model that can be used to turn all food banks across the country into nutrition banks.

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Meet Our Community: Alisha Smith, PhD Candidate in Mind-Body Medicine

08/03/2011

Alisha Smith I currently work as the data manager for a federally-funded program called Indianapolis Healthy Start, geared at reducing infant mortality in the United States.  Additionally, I serve as an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College wh

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Meet Our Community: Carrie Phelps, PhD Candidate in Mind-Body Medicine

08/01/2011

Carrie Phelps Carrie Phelps has over 30 years experience in the health and wellness field.  

Formally trained in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Methodology, Carrie served as a consultant and project manager for Activate America, a national YMCA organizational wellness initiative.  Recently she served as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region where she initiated and mobilized sustainable organizational learning environments, strategic thinking and action, and program design for high impact.  

In 2001, she helped develop and implement the Institute for the Healing Arts in Nashville Tennessee. Working with an integrated team of healthcare professionals, Carrie served as the Director of Integrative Medicine, and established a comprehensive approach to total health.  As a faculty member of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine based in Washington D.C., Carrie trains clients and healthcare professionals in scientifically-proven mind-body approaches.  She has conducted hundreds of wellness presentations, workshops, intensives, and certification courses to medical staff, high-level executives, and the general public.  She is a certified life coach, one-on-one HeartMath provider, and Nia instructor.  Carrie received her Masters degree in Exercise Science from Denver University.  

Currently, Carrie is the Health and Well-Being Technical Advisor for YMCA of the USA and a doctoral student at Saybrook University where she is studying mind-body medicine with a concentration in healthcare systems.  

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Meet Our Community: Tamami Shirai, MS candidate in Mind-Body Medicine

07/26/2011

Tamami Shirai I am originally from Tokyo, Japan. I have about twenty years of experience in human resources with global corporations, as well as experience as a career counselor in Japan.

I was originally interested in clinical psychology when I was in the college, but the way it was taught and practiced did not feel like the best approach to me. I thought there might be another way, so I changed my course to social psychology with statistical research.

Because my husband is American, we moved to the US at the end of 2007 and settled in California. I decided to come back to graduate school after I was injured in 2008 and had to leave my job for rehabilitation. I could not stand and walk for many hours, nor could I sit in a chair for very long.  During the treatment of my injury, I had a chance to learn about biofeedback and guided imagery at one of the integrative clinics in La Jolla, CA. Although Western medicine helped me a lot, I was fascinated with these noninvasive approaches that connect with mind and body.

I researched several schools where I could learn about biofeedback; however, I chose Saybrook because the program covers all health fields rather than limiting the course of study to a psychological perspective.  I especially wanted to learn from Dr. James Gordon, the Dean of the Mind-Body Medicine program.

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