Recently The Biscayne Institutes of Health & Living, founded and directed by Saybrook faculty member Marie DiCowden, was named one of 16 best practices for community integration of individuals with brain injury out of 253 surveyed world wide by the Univeristy of Toronto for an upcomming publication.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
If you are interested in pursuing a degree or certificate program in Mind Body Medicine, there is still time to be admitted for the Fall 2011 term.
Applying is easy!
2) Write your personal statement
James Gordon, M.D., Dean of Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, has announced that he will launch a training effort for over 300 health and mental health professionals, community leaders, and educators in Gaza City.
This training in Mind-Body Medicine techniques is designed to help address the overwhelming mental health needs of children in the Palestinian territories.
The trainings will be provided by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, which Dr. Gordon founded and directs.
The training program focuses on psychological self-care, community building, and spiritual renewal. Participants will bring what they learn personally and professionally back to the communities they serve to create a sustainable system of psychological self-care and support, and to help alleviate the posttraumatic stress disorder, stress, depression and anxiety that plague Gaza’s children and youth.
During this visit, Dr. Gordon and his CMBM team will meet with their local Israeli and Palestinian leadership teams, including CMBM-trained clinicians and educators, and visit some of the 160 ongoing groups practicing self-care techniques of mind-body medicine.
The Dean of Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, Dr. James Gordon, is one of the leading global voices calling for a change in the way medicine is practiced.
The Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School, he recently served as Chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He also served as the first Chair of the Program Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine and is a former member of the Cancer Advisory Panel on Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the NIH.
The Saybrook Forum asked Dr. Gordon to talk with us about the changes he sees in medicine as a field, and his recent book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression (Penguin Press).
Forum: Are there myths about depression that most Americans hold?
James Gordon: “Basically we’ve decided, with the fervent urging of the pharmaceutical companies and the sometimes active participation of the medical community, that depression is a disease and that it’s best treated with medications we call ‘anti-depressant’ drugs.
This is a misunderstanding, this is a myth, and it goes against the scientific grain as well as the experience of many, many, people.
Depression is a very painful experience, but it’s not the same as diabetes or coronary artery occlusion. There’s no consistent chemical abnormality. Depression is a state of being that we get into when we’re out of balance. Sometimes physically out of balance, to be sure, but also socially, spiritually, emotionally. It has many causes, but the causes are not Prozac deficiency, or even serotonin deficiency. These are often results, rather than causes. So what I’m doing in Unstuck is saying let’s look at the evidence, and the evidence is quite clear that depression is not a disease like these other entities are, that there is no simple biochemical abnormality, and that when you look at the so-called magic bullets that are supposed to wipe out depression, the research shows that they are little better than placebo, than sugar pills. When you look at the history of the research, the published studies make them look like they’re very effective therapeutic agents, but when you put these together with the unpublished studies, you see that they’re of very little use.
It’s an emperor’s new clothes situation. We’ve developed and marketed a cure that doesn’t really work very well.”
Forum: What should we do differently?