Supporting Father Rick at NPH Saint Damien’s Hospital, Haiti

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 07:12 Written by Urban Zen Tuesday, 24 April 2012 07:02

by Janera Soerel

Fr Rick2 Supporting Father Rick at NPH Saint Damiens Hospital, Haiti
Father Rick. He is American—from Connecticut, in his 50s, tall, fit, and very handsome, with neatly trimmed hair. Wearing khaki pants, sneakers, a snugly fitting t-shirt with a leather string tied around his neck, from which a wooden cross dangled, he was polite when we were introduced, but his eyes darted away as we shook hands. He was a busy man.

A medical doctor as well as a priest, Father Rick’s career as a humanitarian has taken him to Mexico and Honduras. He has been in Haiti for the past 25 years, working for Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH), an international Christian mission that shelters orphaned, abandoned, and other at-risk children.

The Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program is supporting the efforts of Father Rick at NPH Saint Damien’s Hospital, a pediatric facility that treats its young patients without compensation. Teams of UZIT-trained integrative therapists have been traveling to Haiti to provide doctors, nurses, staff and relief workers as well as pediatric patients.

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Amazing Grace: A UZIT Experience in Haiti

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:37 Written by Urban Zen Friday, 13 April 2012 02:27

UZIT Amazing Grace: A UZIT Experience in Haitiby Mae Sakharov

My personal journey with the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT) training began in 2008 when I read an article about the program in the New York Times. I was immediately drawn to the cross-disciplinary approach, focusing on self-care and integrating ancient healing techniques to complement the best in modern medicine. Donna Karan, Rodney Yee, and Colleen Saidman Yee spearheaded the training along with a group of practitioners who implemented a pilot program at Beth Israel Hospital in New York. The program has carefully designed yoga therapy movements (individualized according to population), Reiki (or healing touch), and Essential Oil Therapy, all based in a framework of contemplative care to help cancer patients, caregivers, and ultimately the professional staff.

The positive results of this pilot program led to the first full practitioner training in 2009-2010 at the Urban Zen Center in New York. Numbering approximately 100, my fellow students included psychologists, physical therapists, nurses, dentists, yoga teachers, educators and administrators of large hospital programs. This training included individual speakers who have become seminal to the training: Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Roshi Joan Halifax, Richard Freeman, Mary Taylor, Richard Rosen and many other amazing individuals from the healing world. Programs have now been implemented for nurses at Kent State University, The University of California at Los Angeles, Beth Israel Hospital, The Farber Center and other sites including St. Damien Hospital in Haiti. Donna Karan’s dream is growing and this coming August, the third training will be at Omega in Reinbeck NewYork.

During the 2011 training, I served as a mentor to new students and was selected as a leader in an exploratory trip to Haiti to see if the conditions would permit groups of fellow UZITs to make clinical rotations. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Donna Karan has devoted time and love to this remarkable place and we were blessed with getting to know and working with outstanding individuals at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Port Au Prince.

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UZIT Program 2011 – Closing Weekend

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2012 02:27 Written by Urban Zen Thursday, 22 March 2012 02:27

Panorama UZIT UZIT Program 2011   Closing WeekendThis weekend, the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program closed with a palpable sense of thanksgiving and the knowing that “it might have been otherwise.”

Students gathered together for a final opportunity to glean wisdom from the now-familiar faces of the UZIT program. Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee, Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison, Dr. Neal Barnard, Susan Luck and Urban Zen Founder Donna Karan were all there to rally around the UZITs during their last weekend of training at the Urban Zen Center.

Every moment was charged with the potent sense of possibility and it was deeply meaningful to hear the UZITs reflect on the twelve months that brought them to the final culmination of the program.

We invite you to visit our Facebook page to click through a visual journey of the weekend where we share with you the thoughts our UZIT students shared during their closing ceremony.

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