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Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy—A Little Girl’s Journey to Wellness

Director of MS Degree in INtegrative and Functional Nutrition


     “I can run real fast and do a big poopy now,” said five-year old Lily, in the best thank you card Mary Beth Augustine ever received.

This case narrative was provided by Mary Beth Augustine, RDN, CDN, FAND, the Director of the Saybrook University Masters in Integrative and Functional Nutrition program.  The child’s name was change to protect her anonymity.

Lily was in preschool when Mary Beth Augustine met her and her parents at her initial nutrition consultation. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at three years of age, every day was a painful battle for Lily and her parents. Dressing, bathing, walking, getting in and out of a car seat, the normal activities of daily living, were all worsened by Lily’s cries of pain and her resistance to moving her swollen joints. Worse yet was the impact on her gross motor skills, speech, and social skills, as Lily preferred to sit quietly at a preschool table instead of running, interacting, and playing with her peers.

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Doors to Opportunity—Dr. Lynne Shaner Describes Impact of her Saybrook Doctoral Degree

Lynne Shaner, PhD


In October 2014, Lynne Shaner defended her dissertation on the “Lived Experience of the Practice of Long-Term Meditation,” and is happy now to be credentialed as Dr. Shaner.  After resting and recovering from four surgeries and additional hospitalizations as well as completing her last stretch of coursework, doctoral study, and final dissertation work in 2014, she reports being relieved to be at this stage of her professional and academic career.  Dr. Shaner reports that she is already seeing her degree as a useful tool empowering her professional work.  She comments, “the degree is already opening doors and creating opportunities in my life”.   

In the fall of 2014, Dr. Shaner was invited to co-teach “Self-Care for Applied Well-Being” at George Mason University, and pending enrollment, may again serve as adjunct faculty there in 2015.  She is also an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University.  “I really enjoy teaching,” she notes, and “watching the students discover mind-body experiences, from meditation to imagery to yoga.  It’s wonderful. Teaching a self-care course at George Mason---the first of its kind there---with my colleague, was a real gift.  It was great fun, also, to assign readings that I had drawn from classes that I had taken at Saybrook, and to also assign part of the dissertation done by Dr. Pegi Black (Saybrook, 2014) -- Pegi’s work on self-care inspired the students.”

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Saybrook University Master's Student Daniel Gawrys Uses Executive Coaching to Maximize Employee Potential

UCLA Radiology Managers in Retreat Conducted by Gawrys and business partner

Daniel Gawrys is a master's degree student in Saybrook University's School of Mind-Body Medicine.  Gawrys is an Executive Coach whose niche is working with high functioning clients who have been successful thus far in their career.  These clients typically focus so intensely on their career that other areas of life become imbalanced, which causes personal issues to roll into their work life.  These clients are stuck in a perpetual cycle of professional/personal imbalance.  Instinctively, these clients try to work harder, and doing so, they only exacerbate the root issues.  Motivation is strongly present, but they’re at a loss for how to initiate change. 

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Mind-Body Medicine Graduate Beth Haggett to Provide Coaching Curriculum to the Veteran’s Administration in Kansas

Beth Haggett, LCSW, PhD

Beth Haggett, LCSW, PhD, was the first individual to earn a PhD degree in mind-body medicine from the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine.  Beth works as a consultant, trainer, facilitator, and coach to corporations, as well as a counselor to individuals and groups. She developed a focused coaching curriculum about 15 years ago to address a need she saw when she was working as a consultant in the customer support industry, called Coaching Skills for Knowledge Centered Support. Over the years it has gained a following and is now considered “Best Practices” by The Consortium for Service Innovation and is licensed by several consulting companies including HDI, and DBK and Associates and has been recently expanded to address Quality Support in general. She recently landed a contract to deliver the course to the Veteran’s Administration in Topeka Kansas. She partnered with The Consortium to create a KCS Coach Certification Program as well, which has become a recognized industry standard.

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Mind-Body Medicine Doctoral Student Grows her Practicum Placement into a new Position Coordinating "Cancer Survivorship Program"

Francinne Lawrence, Doctoral Student in School of Mind-Body Medicine

Doctoral students in Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine complete a Practicum placement.  For students with clinical aspirations, this is typically a clinical practicum in health or mental health care, for others it can be a research practicum or a practicum in health care administration or consultancy.  Francinne Lawrence is a PhD student in health care systems, and her practicum experience has evolved into a career-level position.

Mary Bird Perkins (MBP) Cancer Treatment Center is recognized as a leading cancer treatment facility in Louisiana and is associated with Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) Hospital and the Louisiana State University Health System.  Having had a previous career in hospital chaplaincy and medical social work, Francinne wanted to be a change agent for healthcare systems, instead of working with one patient at a time. She chose to follow Saybrook's healthcare systems track in Mind-Body Medicine..

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Bay Area Ayurvedic Physician Teaches Balance in Diet, Activity and Emotional Life to Saybrook University Students

Dr. Anapoori Ramasubramanian joins Mind-Body Medicine Faculty

Annapoori (Anu) Ramasubramanian is an new faculty member at the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine and is sharing her knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine in the MBM course Whole Medical Systems: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. A whole medical system is a traditional body of theory and practices on health and disease, which has evolved independently from Western Allopathic medicine.  Whole medical systems, such as the Ayurvedic medicine of India, often offer a rich array of therapies based on herbs, lifestyle practices, and an emphasis on treating the whole person -- mind, body, and spirit.


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School of Mind-Body Medicine Student, Sarah Ness, Completes Doctoral Dissertation on Burnout and Spiritual Engagement in Trauma Workers

Dr. Sarah Ness, new PhD graduate of Saybrook School of Mind-Body Medicine

Sarah Ness recently completed her PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with her dissertation research on burnout and spiritual engagement in trauma workers. As a trauma worker herself, Sarah has spent the last eight years working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault at a crisis shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina. She knows the intensity of trauma work, and she is passionate about finding ways to maintain the health and well-being of trauma workers to ensure sustainable quality of care and effective services for trauma survivors. 

In her dissertation study titled "Transcending Burnout: A Mixed Methods Study on Spiritual Engagement and Holistic Health Effects of Trauma Work," Sarah comprehensively examined the work-related stress and burnout symptoms in trauma workers and the role of spiritual engagement as a protective/restorative factor. With 310 participants from across the country, data was collected via on-line surveys using burnout and spirituality scales as well as qualitative questions on work-related stress and spiritual engagement.

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Recent Mind-Body Medicine School Graduate LaVera Forbes Advances Awareness of Food Addiction and Weight Bias

LaVera Forbes

LaVera Forbes recently completed her PhD in Mind Body Medicine, and has been actively creating her new professional identity.  One of the ways she has accomplished this is presenting the research she conducted at Saybrook on the topic of obesity and food addiction at professional conferences. Her proposals have been accepted for the following conferences, and she awaits decisions for several others:  The National Wellness Conference, the International Conference and Exhibition on Obesity and Weight Management, and the Health, Wellness, and Society Conference.

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Peter Amato, PhD Student in Saybrook University's School of Mind-Body Medicine, Operates Integrative Healing Centers in Pennsylvania and St. Maarten

Peter Amato in St. Maarten

Peter Amato operates two integrative wellness centers, both named Inner Harmony. The first is in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania and the second is on the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. The Scranton center is situated on the campus of the Regional Hospital of Scranton (formerly Mercy Hospital).   Both centers provide holistic healthcare, based on a model of healing mind, body, and spirit.

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Saybrook University Graduates First PhD in Mind-Body Medicine: Beth Haggett

Beth Haggett and Daughter Michaela

Over 30 years ago, as a 19 year old girl, Beth Haggett told her husband that someday she wanted to earn a PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology. When she first heard that Saybrook University was developing a PhD program in Mind-Body Medicine, she jumped at the opportunity and  became the first to apply for the new program.

On December 28, 2012, Beth defended her doctoral dissertation, and became the first student to complete the new PhD. Her degree is a “PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a specialization in Health Care Systems.”  She achieved her goal within the time frame that she set for herself of three and one half years. Most importantly, because of her mind-body learning, and the self-care that was a component in her mind-body medicine education, her own mental, emotional, and physical health have improved dramatically in the course of her education. Beth’s husband and adult children have also benefitted greatly from applying mind-body skills to their lives.

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