Susan Whitman, M.S., PA-C
Susan has been active in the health care field for over 25 years, starting as a ski patroller, EMT, and progressing to a primary care PA-C. She practiced as a PA-C at the Community Health Center in Burlington for 5 years and at Stowe Urgent Care for another five. During this time, in an effort to help her patients engage more with their own health, she studied and received a certificate as an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach from Duke Integrative Medicine. She built her own coaching practice over the years, offering individual and group coaching and mindfulness practices with local doctor’s offices, a national firm, universities, and several corporations. In 2014, she began teaching and mentoring with the health coaching program at Duke Integrative Medicine and subsequently helped found the UVM Health and Wellness Coaching Program in 2019. She was part of the first cohort to pass the National Board Exam for Health and Wellness Coaches in 2017. In an effort to support her local community and local producers, she also co-founded Richmond Community Kitchen in 2015. RCK offers locally-sourced prepared meals, cooking classes, and event space to help make it easier for people to eat well and support local farmers. Susan lives in an off-grid home in Richmond, VT with her husband and two sons.
David Låg Tomasi, D.Sc. (h.c.), Ph.D., Ed.D.- Ph.D., M.A., MCS, AAT
A native of South Tyrol, the trilingual autonomous region of Northern Italy, David Tomasi is a Doctor, Licensed Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Inpatient Psychiatry Group Therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, currently teaching at the University of Vermont and the Community College of Vermont.
Dr. Tomasi is a member of several national and international Academies of Sciences, and is the author of Medical Philosophy: A Philosophical Analysis of Patient Self-Perception in Diagnosis and Therapy (Ibidem – Columbia University Press, 2016), Critical Neuroscience and Philosophy. A Scientific Re-Examination of the Mind-Body Problem (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), and Mind-Body Medicine in Inpatient Psychiatry (Ibidem – Columbia University Press, 2020), as well as co-author of Positive Patient Response to a Structured Exercise Program Delivered in Inpatient Psychiatry (Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2019), the most-read research item from the University of Vermont (Researchgate, 2019).
His scientific research focuses on mind-body connection health improvement strategies, covering disciplines of investigations such as psychology and psychiatry, neuroscience, philosophy, translational science and traditional medicine.
Christine Vatovec, Ph.D., M.S.
As an interdisciplinary environmental health social scientist, the foundation of my work lies within the research specializations of sustainability science, environmental health, and environmental sociology. I draw on theories and tools from these subdisciplines, but also from anthropology, environmental justice, environmental and medical history, environmental psychology, environmental studies, and public health sciences. My research focuses on two areas regarding the interplay between human health and the environment: 1) the socio-ecological consequences of medical care (or, how human health-seeking behaviors impact the environment), and 2) the human health benefits of nature contact (or, how the environment impacts human health).
Karen C. Westervelt, PT, ATC, NBC-HWC, Ph.D.
Integrative Health Educational Program Director
Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Karen Westervelt is the educational program director for the Integrative Health program at UVM. She is a clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She was instrumental in developing the UVM Integrative Health and Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Certificates for undergraduates, professionals, and continuing education students. Dr. Westervelt is a practicing physical therapist, athletic trainer, and board-certified health and wellness coach. She has focused her 28-year clinical career on helping people with musculoskeletal injuries. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy and a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist. She received advanced training in manual and manipulative therapy from the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, and completed her Ph.D. in physiotherapy from Bond University, Australia, where her doctoral research focused on post-professional education for health care providers. Dr. Westervelt completed her integrative health and wellness coaching education at Vanderbilt University. She teaches interprofessionally in the areas of health and wellness coaching, integrative health, physical therapy, musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment, and health promotion for health care providers. She supervises graduate and undergraduate research students in clinical mentoring and integrative health. Dr. Westervelt is the 2020 recipient of the CNHS Deans Award for Innovative Teaching.
Donna Smith, PT, DPT, NCS, GCS
Donna Smith, PT, DPT, NCS, GCS, serves as adjunct clinical faculty at the University of Vermont, Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Before her move to Vermont, she was an assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy. She has both neurologic and geriatric specialty certifications through the American Board of Physical Therapy. In clinical practice, she primarily served people with neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury, MS, and vestibular disorders. Currently, her primary teaching areas include mindfulness-based health and wellness, professionalism and leadership, neuromuscular assessment and treatment, psychosocial aspects of health and well-being, and an introduction to integrative health in the physical therapy curriculum.
She is a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the UMASS Medical Center, Center for Mindfulness and continues advanced training in the Brown University Mindfulness Center teacher-training program, with specific interests in applications for under-served populations, chronic illness, aging, and graduate student mental health and resilience.
Cara Feldman Hunt, M.A.
Cara has been involved in the field of integrative health care since 2008. As Administrative Director of UVM Integrative Health, Cara works with leadership in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Larner College of Medicine and the University of Vermont Medical Center to develop a sustainable program with clinical, education and research activities. Cara’s background is in organizational development and she has worked in large corporate settings, small start-ups, non-profits and educational institutions. Prior to joining the University of Vermont, Cara served as Executive Director of the Laura Mann Center for Integrative Health, a 501c3 that promoted the benefits of integrative health care by bridging the gap between community members and health practitioners from all disciplines. Cara is also a certified Health and Wellness Coach. She coaches at the comprehensive pain program and teaches in our Health and Wellness coaching program. Cara is passionate about creating access to Integrative Health and Medicine.
Emily Reyns, MA, R-DMT, MHC
Emily Reyns is a registered dance movement therapist, psychotherapist, and ordained minister with over ten years of inpatient psychiatric experience. Currently working at UVM Medical Center, Emily concentrates on facilitating psycho-therapeutic groups on the inpatient psychiatry units, providing individual mental health consulting in the emergency department, educating staff as a Certified Pro-Act instructor, and participating on a state level through the implementation of mental health strategies and improvements. Emily also has a vast performance arts background with an emphasis in ballet. Emily was recently co-author/researcher of the following publications: Positive Patient Response to a Structured Exercise Program Delivered in Inpatient Psychiatry (Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2019), the most-read research item from the University of Vermont, and Olfactory Virtual Reality (OVR) for Wellbeing and Reduction of Stress, Anxiety and Pain (Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences, 2021). Emily’s research focuses on areas such as the mind-body connection, psychosis, eating disorders, nutrition, mindfulness, resiliency, and eastern philosophies.