The Catalyst Spark: November 2016

Catalyst Spark

Building Resilience: A Day of Connection, Learning and Healing

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the Catalyst Initiative of the George Family Foundation hosted Building Resilience: Restoring our Human Capacity to Heal at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Penny, Gayle, the team Over 300 people from various walks of life joined us to affirm the innate capacity we all carry within us to heal from trauma, build resilience and be well.

Over half of the attendees said they learned something new about integrative health and healing techniques in addressing trauma, as well as a new technique they plan to use in their personal and/or work life. An impressive 87 percent of attendees said they would share their takeaways from the day with others.

Now that the event is over, we are uploading some great follow-up information to the Catalyst website. There you will be able to download the plenary presentations and videos, view pictures from the day and peruse resources that were shared by attendees at the event.

Thank you to all who attended, and if you have any stories or thoughts you would like to share please email Liz at

Veteran Resilience Project Achieves Milestone with VA

The Veteran Resilience Project (VRP), led by Paul Riedner, has been working to provide Minnesota veterans with access to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) — a trauma therapy. VRP connects veterans with independent trauma therapists certified in EMDR in over 20 cities across greater Minnesota.

new vrp picture for website

VRP has also been working to get the VA to recognize this therapy as a primary treatment option for veterans suffering from trauma. Recently, it was announced that the VA is working to ensure that veterans have access to EMDR at any VA point-of-care through a variety of actions.

These actions include: creating national guidance for veterans to access EMDR when it is their preferred treatment, having facilities pay for EMDR treatment in the community and developing a system of EMDR training for VA clinicians that will improve access to this therapy.

This is a huge milestone for VRP, and we want to congratulate Paul and his colleagues on this success!

Milestone for Catalyst Seed Grantee WellConnect:
New Website Goes Live!

WellConnect is a collaboration of individuals and organizations in Southeast Minnesota that focuses on improving the health and wellness of the region, especially for those with chronic conditions. Community partners work closely with health care providers to improve access to and delivery of programs that support people's efforts to be well.

All of these programs are now available on WellConnect's brand new website. This website not only has information about the collaboration itself but also information on the programs that are offered and how to find one that is right for you.

Visit their website.

Literature Review

At Building Resilience, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about what trauma is and how culturally relevant integrative health and healing (IHH) techniques can help heal trauma. One way this information was presented at the event was through a display that visually summarized a literature review produced by the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing.

This review provided information on trauma definition and impact, and analyzed the evidence from peer-reviewed studies of the efficacy of IHH techniques, such as yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and meditation. The data shows that integrative practices can effectively reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD.

A summary of this study is available on our website.


Catalyst Spark

The Catalyst Initiative of the George Family Foundation is an integrative health initiative designed to help communities realize their capacity to support health and wellbeing using mind-body approaches that are culturally meaningful. Learn more about Catalyst.