Susan Whitman, M.S.
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.
Dr. Karen Westervelt is a physical therapist, a certified athletic trainer, and certified Health & Wellness Coach. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy and a national 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. Her Ph.D. research focused on the area of post-professional education for health care providers. Most recently Dr. Westervelt completed her integrative health and wellness coaching training at Vanderbilt University and is a board-certified health and wellness coach.
Dr. Westervelt teaches interprofessionally within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences in the areas of integrative health, biomechanics and kinesiology for undergraduate and continuing education students. She also teaches musculoskeletal evaluation and treatment for students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, where she has been teaching since 1996. Dr. Westervelt supervises graduate and undergraduate students involved research in the areas of clinical mentoring, integrative health, and the scholarship of teaching. Dr. Westervelt is the Education Program Director of UVM Integrative Health, and is excited to be introducing students to an integrative health approach to the delivery of health care. She is also a 2017-2018 participant of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Initiative. Dr. Westervelt is a strong advocate for travel study. In 2013, she established UVM’s first faculty-led physical therapy program abroad to New Zealand and Australia (PT 352 – International Collaborative in Manual Physical Therapy) in collaboration with the physiotherapy schools at Auckland University of Technology and Bond University. She also designed RMS 191 – Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Icelandic Thermal Springs, a faculty-led travel study course for students interested in Integrative Healthcare.
Dr. Westervelt has been a practicing physical therapist and athletic trainer for 27 years. She has focused her career on the care and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. She is a United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Volunteer Medical Provider. She supports the United States Biathlon Association Junior World Championship Team and the United States Paralympic Nordic and Biathlon Team.
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.