Saybrook Presidential Fellow, Ms. Kelly Carlisle, is committed to positive change in her childhood city

Kelly D. Carlisle, Founder and Executive Director of Acta Non Verba

Kelly D. Carlisle, Founder and Executive Director of Acta Non Verba, and Saybrook Presidential Fellow

Saybrook University is pleased to announce the appointment of our fourth Presidential Fellow, Ms. Kelly Carlisle, Executive Director of Acta Non Verba and resident of Oakland, California. We welcome her to the Saybrook family and look forward to partnering with her to advance positive social change in Oakland!

Carlisle writes in her bio at Newman’s Own Foundation that she enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001, where she served as Operations Specialist. Upon returning to civilian life, she says she was distressed by the severe conditions in her childhood home of East Oakland where poverty, childhood obesity, and school dropout rates are high. As a mother and a veteran, she decided she wanted to be part of the solution.

“I didn’t immediately consider urban farming,” Carlisle explains. “But one day, I was cruising a nursery and came across a lemon tree that had two ripe lemons on it. My daughter, who was three at the time, was shocked! So I purchased the lemon tree and dared it to produce again. It did. I decided right there that I wanted to learn how to grow everything. I was meant to grow food, and growing food was going to transform my community.”

As a result, she founded Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project with a group of neighbors in August 2010. Acta Non Verba means “Deeds, not Words”. The organization’s primary focus is at-risk youth in grades K-8 and their families. The students plant, cultivate, and harvest crops year round, and sell the produce to local residents. All proceeds are placed into individual savings accounts.

In 2011, Acta Non Verba got a boost from the Farmer Veteran Coalition after Carlisle was named a Bon Appétit Good Food Fellow. The fellowship enabled the organization to purchase a heavy-duty pickup truck. In addition, they’ve moved into a new office space, hired several employees, and are in the process of recruiting a Board of Directors.

Since Acta Non Verba’s inception, Carlisle and her team have cultivated dozens of crops, planted fruit trees, built a beehive, and more. They even hold garden parties and community dinners on a monthly basis.

“We’ve engaged hundreds of schoolchildren, and many adults, in learning new skills and taking charge of their health,” Carlisle says. “They are eating better, earning money, and experiencing the joy of being close to the Earth. We’re realizing our vision of holistic community revival—literally from the ground up. I’m proud to be a part of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. This is what I fought for.”

We look forward to seeing the unique ways Mrs. Carlisle will collaborate with the Saybrook community.

Saybrook University Launches Presidential Fellows Program

Saybrook University Launches Presidential Fellows Program

Saybrook University has launched a new Presidential Fellows Program, designed to offer practitioners and scholar‐practitioners the opportunity to connect with a reputable university that is dedicated in mission and purpose to advancing positive social change. The program will provide a beneficial experience to both Saybrook University and the individual’s work in the community.

“Because Saybrook University’s mission is one dedicated to social change and transformation, we are taking this step forward to find and support agents of progress in our communities—people who are making a true difference in the lives of individuals, organizations, and communities,” says President Nathan Long, Ed.D. “With this program, we aim to set the example of how academic institutions can lead positive change both academically and practically.”

Ways Fellows Will Collaborate With Saybrook University

  1. They will participate in relevant Saybrook symposia, panel presentations, and residential conference sessions that are relevant to her or his particular focus area 3‐4 times per semester.
  2. They will actively participate and contribute to the Saybrook University President’s Advisory Council twice a year.
  3. They will develop and share a culminating presentation to the University and broader community on her or his particular focus area during the Spring semester of each academic year.

“Our goal with this program is that Saybrook becomes an active center of not just thought leadership, but action in the community,” Dr. Long says.

Find out more about our first three Saybrook Presidential Fellows here.

Saybrook Presidential Fellow, Dr. Ginger Charles, explores police culture and spiritual health

Saybrook University is pleased to announce our first appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program, Dr. Ginger Charles, Ph.D., Executive Director, Research Psychologist, Consultant, and Police Sergeant (ret.).Saybrook University is pleased to announce our first appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program, Dr. Ginger Charles, Ph.D., Executive Director, Research Psychologist, Consultant, and Police Sergeant (ret.).

Dr. Charles is a retired police sergeant, having served 27 years as a police officer in Colorado. Her experience in the police culture gives her a unique, boots on the ground, approach in the law enforcement world. Ginger has served in patrol, administration, and investigations.

In 2005, Dr. Charles received her doctorate from Saybrook University in Health Psychology, focusing on Health Risk Factors in the police community, specifically in the area of health and spirituality. Ginger recently retired in 2013 after living in the “petri dish” and relocated to Northern California to continue research, writing, and consultancy in the law enforcement culture. She recently authored the book, Police Pursuit of the Common Good (2016, Balboa Press), in which she “…examines the current issues facing law enforcement and marginalized communities. She presents reasons why our police communities appear to be in constant conflict with marginalized communities for the last several years. In the book, she explores the behaviors in the police culture from a social psychological perspective, illustrating the importance of understanding police behaviors in order to change the culture of conflict. It is her experience as a police officer that provides the reader with a unique understanding from inside the police community and as an observer of that community. Dr. Charles concludes with potential solutions to reform and restore the police culture, as well as heal the divide between our communities and the police.”

As a result of her work, she is beginning to lead a variety of training sessions with police departments in the Bay Area. For the most up-to-date information on Dr. Charles’ work, please go to: or

We welcome Dr. Charles to the Saybrook University community as our first Presidential Fellow and look forward to the great work she will be doing over the coming year.

Saybrook Presidential Fellow, Ms. Kelly Amis, is founder of Loudspeaker Films

Saybrook University is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Kelly Amis, our second appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program. Saybrook University is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Kelly Amis, our second appointee to the Saybrook University Presidential Fellows Program. In selecting Ms. Amis, it was clear her efforts in education and documentary film, specifically focused in the Oakland and Bay Area communities, uniquely qualify her for the appointment.

After graduating from Georgetown University, Kelly taught in South Central Los Angeles as a charter corps member of Teach for America. She has an M.A. in Education Policy from Stanford University and researched the Australian education system as a Fulbright Scholar. In Washington, DC, Kelly worked for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Fight for Children, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Cesar Chavez Charter Schools and Building Hope, which she helped design and launch. Since founding Loudspeaker Films in 2009, Kelly has won the Teach for America Social Innovation Award, the Rising Star Director’s Award from the Canada International Film Festival and documentary awards from festivals including Harlem, Napa, Amsterdam, Houston, Humboldt and (In)Justice for All. You can learn more about her work at, watch more videos below, as well as here and read some of Kelly’s writing here.

We are thrilled to have Kelly join us as a Presidential Fellow and anticipate a tremendous partnership over the coming year.

This video highlights the winners of the 2013 Teach For America Social Innovation Award. You can see what they had to say about Kelly beginning at around :25 mark – click here to view.

Saybrook Presidential Fellow Shaka Jamal Redmond creates social justice-oriented films

Saybrook Presidential Fellow Shakajamal Redmond creates social justice-oriented films.Saybrook University is pleased to announce the appointment of our third Presidential Fellow, Mr. ShakaJamal Redmond of Oakland, California.

OLU8 founder, ShakaJamal is a culturally innovative artist and filmmaker from Oakland, California. His many experiences as film producer, director, cinematographer, editor, writer, performing artist, and music producer bring a distinctive and invaluable perspective to any venture. ShakaJamal is a graduate of Tuskegee University where he earned a BA in History. He received a Master’s of Fine Arts in Cinema at San Francisco State University. ShakaJamal is the first filmmaker from Oakland, CA to receive the Game Changers Fellowship which lead him to premiere a series of micro-documentaries in New York at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His work has premiered both nationally and internationally, on television, and in numerous film festivals.

After meeting ShakaJamal and his wonderful family, it is clear his skills, dedication, and passion for making change in our community will add significantly to the Fellows Program. We welcome ShakaJamal to Saybrook University.

To see a sampling of ShakaJamal’s work, see below as well as visit his website for more information.

View ShakaJamal’s work on Vimeo.

Saybrook Professor Announces New Scholarship in Affiliation with Ernest Becker Foundation

Saybrook University faculty member Louis Hoffman, Ph.D., recently announced that the Ernest Becker Foundation of Seattle, Washington, has agreed to offer a $1000 scholarship each year for the continuing Saybrook student who writes the best research paper using the work and research of Dr. Ernest Becker. Dr. Hoffman, who directs the Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology Specialization within the College of Social Sciences, began working last year with Deborah Jacobs, Executive Director at the Ernest Becker Foundation, to make arrangements for the scholarship.

“Becker has long had an influence on existential-humanistic psychology, and has long been integrated in various ways into the curriculum at Saybrook,” said Dr. Hoffman. “A number of the faculty at Saybrook identify Becker as one of their most important influencers, so Saybrook is deeply thankful for the relationship with the Ernest Becker Foundation,” he said. Saybrook faculty member Dr. Ed Mendelowitz, who is an insightful Becker scholar, will be the lead person for facilitating the scholarship and writing projects.

Ms. Jacobs hopes that by providing this scholarship the Foundation can encourage Saybrook students to engage deeply with Dr. Becker’s work and develop their ideas around the present-day applications of his synthesis. “We have long-standing relationships with Dr. Kirk Schneider and others at Saybrook, and have appreciated the University’s commitment to teaching Ernest Becker,” she said. “When looking for an opportunity to encourage student scholarship on Becker, Saybrook came first to mind as a great partner.”

Established in 1993, the Ernest Becker Foundation seeks to advance understanding of how the unconscious denial of mortality profoundly influences human behavior. Ernest Becker laid the foundation for this work in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death.

The student author of the winning paper receives $1000 and the potential to receive another $1000 if she or he chooses to develop the paper for publication under the mentorship of a Saybrook faculty member. The Foundation also provides a stipend of $2000 to the faculty advisor, Ed Mendelowitz, who works with the student to develop the paper. Papers are solicited by Saybrook faculty and judged based on the quality of writing and exposition of thought by a team of Becker scholars from both the University and the Foundation.

Ms. Jacobs is hoping that this scholarship project fosters deeper relations between the two organizations. “We would love to see the Saybrook and EBF communities have increased exchange of ideas, gatherings, and outreach efforts,” she said. “We encourage Saybrook students and professors to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep abreast of our current and future partnerships!”

Dr. Hoffman said, “We really hope that our Saybrook students carry forth these ideas as ambassadors for Becker’s work. His work is extremely relevant to contemporary times.” For more information regarding the new scholarship, please contact Dr. Louis Hoffman.

Commencement: MA in Organizational Systems, Leadership and Organization Development and MA in Psychology, Counseling

The Board of Trustees of Saybrook University cordially invite you to attend the Commencement Ceremonies of the College of Social Sciences: Masters in Organizational Systems: Leadership and Organization Development and Masters in Psychology: Counseling.

The ceremonies will take place on Monday, June 20, 2016 at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon at Bastyr University Chapel. Address and driving directions are below.

Bastyr University Chapel
14500 Juanita Drive N.E.
Kenmore, WA 98028

Maps and driving directions:

Parking is free. No parking permit will be required on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Saybrook Announces New Transformative Social Change Degree Program


Transformative Social Change faculty and students celebrate Donna Nassor’s dissertation

Transformative Social Change faculty and students celebrate graduate Donna Nassor’s dissertation with distinction.


Saybrook University has announced a new degree program in Transformative Social Change (TSC), set to begin instruction in August 2016.

The program is envisioned as an extension of Saybrook’s mission of “providing rigorous graduate education that inspires transformational change in individuals, organizations, and communities, toward a just, humane, and sustainable world,” and builds from a Transformative Social Change Specialization area in Saybrook’s legacy Humanistic and Clinical Psychology program.

 A Unique Vision

“The purpose of this program is to contribute to the kinds of transformative social change occurring all around the world,” says Joel Federman, Ph.D., the new program’s director. “Our graduates will be prepared to provide theoretical insight and policy expertise to social movements and nongovernmental organizations focused on peace, democracy, human rights, the environment, and social justice, to create strategies for greater impact, and to help them to evaluate their effectiveness.”

The program is also planning two specializations, in Social Impact Media and Peace and Justice Studies, which will begin instruction in January 2017. In addition, the program will offer Certificates in Peace and Conflict Studies, Community Health and Development, Socially Engaged Spirituality, and Building a Sustainable World. These certificates are also available to non-Saybrook students.

“Saybrook’s unique voice in the world continues to grow with the launch of our new M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Transformative Social Change,” says Saybrook University President Nathan Long. “By bringing to bear a clearer understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural antecedents precipitating change locally and around the globe, TSC students will be prepared to advance positive social change through their work in nonprofits, government, and policy organizations.”

A Multidisciplinary Scholar-Activist Faculty

The TSC program has assembled a stellar multidisciplinary faculty, with doctoral degrees in Communications, Psychology, Political Science, and Transformative Learning and Change. They come from a variety of outstanding doctoral institutions, including the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, the University of Illinois-Urbana, Fielding Institute, and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

International Collaborations

The program has developed a collaboration agreement with Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta, Indonesia, to promote ongoing mutual cooperation in educational and research activities, focused on research on cross-cultural understanding. The initiative is led by TSC faculty member Benina Gould, who is conducting ongoing studies of how young people in Muslim countries obtain information about the world, and Yayah Khisbiyah of Muhammadiyah University, who has developed an Islamic Peace Education middle school curriculum.

Another important collaboration occurs for the program’s course, The Human Right to Adequate Food, which is taught annually in conjunction with the University of Sydney Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, on their online learning platform.

“Scholarship and activism are interconnected throughout the Transformative Social Change program learning process,” says Federman. “Our learning community extends into the larger world of social change, so that students make personal connections with those making change in their chosen areas of study, and conceptual links between the theory and philosophy of change and its practical application.”



Saybrook University Doctoral Student Carolyn Trasko Receives Grant for Dissertation Research on Link between Trauma History and Chronic Illness

Photo_Carolyn Trasko 2 18 2016

Carolyn Trasko is a doctoral student in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, and was recently awarded a FERB research grant for dissertation research.

Understanding the connections between cumulative stress and disease is an essential component of integrative medicine.  Carolyn Trasko, doctoral student in Saybrook University’s College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, selected this program because it offered her a unique educational opportunity to deepen her knowledge of how mind, body, and spirit impact psychological and medical health.  Twenty-five years as a psychotherapist has provided Carolyn with the clinical opportunity to work with individuals who present with co-morbid behavioral health and medical issues, specifically chronic diseases. Often these individuals share histories of traumatic life events and cumulative stress.  She came to ask herself: Could chronic psychological and physiological stress make these individuals more susceptible to develop chronic illness or diseases, specifically autoimmune diseases?

Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases and 75% of them are women.  Such chronic conditions take an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll resulting in $100 billion annually in healthcare costs.  Working directly with women who experience these chronic conditions has fueled Carolyn with a deep passion and commitment to identify strategies that could alleviate or even prevent their suffering.  Specific mind-body interventions used for stress management may impact the immune response by reducing systemic inflammation thereby helping the body to improve its ability to self-heal.

Carolyn has noticed that many of these individuals in their therapeutic work have shared anecdotal evidence of the benefits of relaxation breathing, guided imagery, or yoga that helped decrease stress levels.  Could mind-body interventions, specifically relaxation breathing and guided imagery, work by calming the over-activated stress response?  For these techniques to become more widely recognized and recommended within the medical community, there is a need for quantifiable proof that these methods are effective.

With assistance from a Foundation for Education and Research in Biofeedback and Related Sciences (FERB) grant award, Carolyn’s proposed research study will look at the potential clinical implications of specific relaxation techniques.  This study, through the use of a one-time session of training, will measure and compare the biopsychosocial impact of paced diaphragmatic breathing to that of guided imagery, within a sample of adult women who have been diagnosed with Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases.

The study will further include 1) the biological marker of salivary interleukin-1 (IL-1) as a measure of the inflammatory response, 2) the psychophysiological measures of heart rate variability (HRV) and respiration rate, and 3) psychological measures of positive and negative mood states.  Carolyn remarked that these findings could provide support for the promotion of using such mind-body techniques within a medical population. This could result in improved health, wellness, and overall quality of life for those who suffer from these chronic conditions.

Saybrook Instructor Leila Kozak to conduct keynote address and breakout session on integrative approaches to palliative care at Bellingham, Washington conference in May

Dr. Leila Kozak

Dr. Leila Kozak

Leila Kozak, PhD,is the Director of Integrative Medicine in Palliative Care for Paliativos Sin Fronteras (Palliative Care Providers Without Borders).  She is a Saybrook University graduate and an instructor in the Saybrook University College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences.  Dr. Kozak is currently a “Clinical Champion” at the Office of Patient-Centered Care and Culture Transformation at the Veterans Administration Central Office and works locally with VA Puget Sound Health Care System in advancing patient-centered care and integrative health for Veterans. She will be delivering a keynote address and conducting a breakout session at the Palliative Care Institute Spring Conference, May 13-14, 2016 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

Palliative care providers are increasingly seeking non-pharmacological supportive interventions to increase comfort and quality of life, which has led to the integration of complementary therapies within palliative care environments. A variety of complementary therapies have been shown to reduce suffering and improve quality of life in palliative care populations. This emerging field of integrative palliative care brings wonderful opportunities as well as challenges.

In her keynote, Dr. Kozak will discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the use of integrative modalities in palliative care, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofield therapies (Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and Reiki), expressive arts therapies (art, writing, and music methods), massage, mind-body interventions, and movement approaches.

Dr. Kozak’s break out session will discuss “The Role of Touch Therapies in Enhancing the Patient Experience.” Her presentation was inspired by a video interview describing the implementation of touch therapies at VA hospitals, in which a Veteran undergoing palliative care described his experience receiving massage: “It makes you feel that you are not just a thing, you are a person.” During the 90 minute session, Dr. Kozak will introduce participants to various touch therapies, describing affordability and costs and emphasizing evidence and the role of these modalities in symptom management and quality of life. The session will also provide practical strategies that participants can use to implement touch therapies at their medical facilities.

Readers may register for the conference at:

Massage Therapy Session

A massage therapy session for a veteran at the Ann Arbor, Michigan VA clinic