In partnership with

Minnesota Cares:

A Wellness Workshop for Our Healthcare Community

Minnesota Cares

Keynote Speakers

Session Descriptions & Presenters

Jenny Breen - Food-at the Intersection of Wellbeing, Sustainability, and Justice

Title of Workshop: Food-at the intersection of wellbeing, sustainability, and justice

Name and Credentials: Jenny Breen, Chef, MPH, M Ed, Culinary Nutrition and Food Systems Educator/consultant

Workshop Description: Jenny will discuss the concept of food, food systems, and food justice, and how this relates to our own health and wellbeing. She will dive into individual food stories and the role that food plays in our identity; how those stories relate to patient and client care and what this has to do with the larger food environment. She will share some culinary nutrition concepts, and offer a brief cooking demonstration and tasting

Presenter Biography: Jenny Breen is a professional chef, former restaurant owner, caterer, and cookbook author. After 20 years in the industry, she recognized the gap in understanding of the role of cooking and eating in human and planetary health and justice. She pursued an MPH in Nutrition to find a way to close that gap. Jenny now works at the intersection of human, community, and environmental health. In addition to teaching future health professionals at the University of Minnesota, she creates custom training and learning experiences focused on personal or professional food, health, and sustainability skills, and/or delivering programming and community engagement based in human and planetary health, wellbeing, equity and justice.

The content in Jenny’s classes utilize cooking and basic nutrition information to address all aspects of human and community health including the social determinants of health and systemic barriers and dynamics. While culinary ‘medicine’ is foundational to her courses, Jenny integrates skills and resources to approach systemic change and lead patients, care teams, practitioners and administrators to collectively impact the upstream effects of SDH on humans/patients’ health and wellbeing, and to move toward equity that translates to a healthier food system, a healthier community and a healthier self-care practice.

Paula S. Forte - Creating Calm in Today’s Chaos

Title of Workshop: Creating Calm in Today’s Chaos

Name and Credentials: Paula S. Forte, PhD, RN, NBC-HWC, Integrative Health & Wellness Coach, Owner Co-Create 4 Life, LLC

Workshop Description: This session will discuss how calm is genuinely an “inside job” and will demonstrate several strategies for helping to calm one’s own (and potentially others’) nervous system even amid a busy, chaotic workday. Using breathing techniques, grounding tools, guided meditation and essential oils, participants will leave with tools for creating their own sense of calm.

The participant will be able to:

•Recognize how our nervous systems are built to respond to chaos.

•Quiet the body’s physical response with physical tools to create calm.

•Address the typical emotional response with soothing language that invites relaxation.

Presenter Biography: Paula Forte is a nationally certified Integrative Health & Wellness Coach and proprietor of Co-Create 4 Life, LLC, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. She is a registered nurse with over 45 years in the field, a master’s degree in Women’s and Children’s Health Nursing and a Ph.D. in Adult Education and Organizational Development. She completed her study of Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching at the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing. She is also certified as an Interactive Guided Imagery Practitioner and works with individuals and groups both in-person and online. Her latest book, Self-care Strategies for Family Caregivers, is available through Amazon and the publisher, Xlibris. Paula is available for workshops and presentations on a range of well-being topics from self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout.

Sara Holger - Introduction to Park Rx and Forest Bathing

Title of Workshop: Introduction to Park Rx and Forest Bathing

Name and Credentials: Sara Holger, Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park and Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide

Workshop Description: Learn about the healing power of nature and ways to enhance wellbeing through outdoor activity. We’ll hear about the Park Rx movement in Minnesota and practice some simple forest bathing activities you can do at home.

Presenter Biography: Sara has been an environmental educator since 1994 and is currently the Lead Interpretive Naturalist at Whitewater State Park. Since 2016, she has been involved with the Park Rx effort in Minnesota, working to empower health care providers to prescribe time outdoors. In 2021, she completed her Nature and Forest Therapy Guide Certification through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides. She is the mother of three and enjoys spending time with her family hiking, kayaking and looking for agates.

Alicia Little - Creative Connections to Community and Self through Music

Title of Workshop: Creative Connections to Community and Self through Music

Name and Credentials: Alicia Little, MT-BC

Workshop Description: Join us for group drumming and song sharing to explore how to use music (listening and creating) for your own growth, wellness, and expression. Active participation is necessary for this workshop, but musical training or experience is not required.

Presenter Biography: Alicia has been making music since the age of 4 when she started violin lessons. After her own traumatic medical diagnosis, she found out about music therapy and was able to marry her love of music and the medical setting to live into her vocation! She has been a board-certified music therapist for 7 years and has worked with a wide variety of people and diagnoses. While she mostly works with kids and parents at a pediatric hospital in the Twin Cities, making music accessible for all ages and abilities to create is a passion she is excited to use whenever possible.

Kristin Peterson - Creating a Creative Practice

Title of Workshop: Creating a Creative Practice

Name and Credentials: Kristin Peterson, RT(R) (CV) RHPC

Workshop Description: This workshop will provide a glimpse of the limitless exploration possibilities that can be found within mixed media to help shape a creative practice. A short tour of using different supplies and embracing an imperfect, no-rules approach to creating. We will leave the inner critic at the door and walk on the side of permission. Pencils, pens, crayons, inks, and sprays. Bring along your sense of curiosity and wonderment.

Presenter Biography: Kristin Peterson is a third-generation professional artist. She is always exploring and expanding the creative depths of being an artist and loves sharing her approach with online and in-person classes. Kristin is always pushing the boundaries of paint, ink and collage. She loves color and things that have a love-worn feel to them. Her style contains vibrance mixed with a little funk, sprinkled with discreet sensibility.

Cami Smalley - Guided Resilience: A Path Towards Post-Traumatic Growth

Title of Workshop: Guided Resilience: A Path Towards Post-Traumatic Growth

Name and Credentials: Cami Smalley, MA2, NBC-HWC

Workshop Description: Join Cami Smalley, a professional wellness coach and Amazon best-selling author of Mindful Pause: A Self-Care Guide to Resilience and Well-Being, to explore posttraumatic growth and the skills needed to ensure you can emerge stronger through disruptive life events.

Participants should plan to take the VIA Character Survey before the session (takes about 15 minutes). ( After completing the survey, be sure to scroll down to find the link to your FREE report.

In this interactive workshop:

  • Understand posttraumatic growth and how holistic well-being ensures you experience it.
  • Complete a holistic assessment of wellbeing. (colored pencils provided)
  • Learn evidence-based skills to increase the likelihood of experiencing PTG including a discussion on the role of personal strengths and character values.
  • Includes a tool for self-reflection to explore your experience of PTG.

Presenter Biography: Coach Cami specializes in holistic wellness, positive psychology coaching, and resilience training. For more than 10 years, she provided her coaching services to employees at Regions hospital in St. Paul, MN and the surrounding metro. In addition to coaching, Cami helped the hospital create a Center for Employee Resilience, and she contributed to several initiatives including supporting victims of workplace violence, departmental support during transitions, return to work referrals, and resilience support throughout the pandemic.

Cami currently lives in Bayfield, WI where she enjoys being active outdoors. In addition to coaching, she teaches mindfulness, yoga, guides meditation, and facilitates wellness retreats. Cami is here because of a personal interest in supporting providers in healthcare. Her mother was a nurse and her husband is a cardiologist. Both helped her understand how the heart is an essential teacher for sustainable well-being in a demanding career. In her programs, she shares this important message. Her favorite yoga flow to share with healthcare workers? Star to Warrior II pose. She’ll love to tell you why.

Jack El-Hai - Healing Words: Creative Writing for Well-Being in Healthcare

Title of Workshop: Healing Words: Creative Writing for Well-Being in Healthcare

Name and Credentials: Jack El-Hai, MFA, Freelance Writer and Author

Workshop Description: Learn how anyone working in healthcare can reduce stress and burnout, boost empathy, and increase satisfaction by writing creatively. Discover techniques to find time to write when you think you haven’t any. We will work on in-session writing exercises that will surprise you.

Presenter Biography: Jack El-Hai believes that people who work in healthcare are uniquely equipped to write compellingly, and he has led writing workshops for healthcare professionals at the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, the Loft Literary Center, and elsewhere. Jack is the author of The Lobotomist, The Nazi and the Psychiatrist, and a forthcoming book about Minnesota’s first face transplant patient, as well as articles and essays in The Atlantic, GQ, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Discover, and other publications. He wrote and narrated the Long Lost podcast, produced by Twin Cities PBS.

James Orione - Yoga Nidra + Breathwork Meditation

Title of Workshop: Yoga Nidra + Breathwork Meditation

Name and Credentials: James Orione, Yoga Practitioner, Founder of Bridges through Yoga

Workshop Description: If you’re ready for an easy, pose-free way to slow down and recover from the stressors in your life, perhaps yoga Nidra could be the answer. The goal of yoga Nidra is to move into a deep state of conscious awareness sleep, which is a deeper state of relaxation with awareness. Working with the autonomic nervous system (ANS), this practice can calm your fight or flight response to stress and activate the parasympathetic branch of the ANS.

Presenter Biography: James Orione is an AmazeWorks consultant, yoga instructor, and the founder of Bridges Through Yoga, a space for all people to explore and experience yoga in an environment without judgement or pretense. He co-creates BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) centered classes and workshops facilitating conversations about yoga and race both inside and out of the traditional studio environment. James utilizes yoga as a tool to discuss racial and social justice and promote healing, incorporating all the facets of yoga: philosophy, postures, breathwork, mindfulness and meditation. As an African American male, he feels it is important to create access and opportunities for BIPOC (Black Indigenous, People of Color) to explore yoga. Yoga has the ability to loosen the hold of trauma, in any form, that prevents us from living our lives to its fullest.

North Memorial Health Team - Leveraging Capacity to Influence Personal Resilience

Title of Workshop: Leveraging Capacity to Influence Personal Resilience

Name and Credentials: Kerry P. Appleton, MAN, RN, CCRN-K, Resilience Coach, NMH, Emily Leshon Manchester, RN, Director of Nursing, Blaze Health, and Nancy Wheelock-Scott, Director of Learning & Development, NMH

Workshop Description: During this session, participants will;

  • Identify the emotions and feeling that impact personal capacity
  • Learn & practice energy self-regulating techniques
  • Create a choice point that benefits your physiology

Presenter Biography: Kerry, Emily and Nancy have been certified HeartMath trainers since September 2021. As North Memorial Health’s HeartMath ambassadors, these trainers work to weave HeartMath practices into their daily work and share real-time strategies that fit in a healthcare environment.

Kari Ealy - Renew, Release, & Restore

Title of Workshop: Renew, Release, & Restore

Name and Credentials: Kari Ealy, Certified yoga instructor & Registered Nurse

Workshop Description: Please join us for renewing (breath work), releasing (through small movement in our body), and restoring (with guided mediation). This movement practice will involve small movements that will help to release patterns of stress and tension in the body. This renewing and restoring allows us to release and let go of what is no longer serving our bodies and minds. All bodies are welcomed and encouraged to participate. These practices will be done while seated in a chair.

Presenter Biography: As a nurse, Kari worked at Fairview Southdale Hospital and spent her time in Labor and Delivery/ Postpartum. She also worked in the New Prague School District doing preschool screening. Kari enjoys teaching Soma Yoga and Y12SR (yoga of 12 Step Recovery) on Zoom. Kari spends a lot of time volunteering at the COR Retreat in Wayzata, MN. The COR Retreat is a 5-day residential program for food and sugar addiction.

Kari enjoys spending time camping and mountain biking with her husband and 18-year-old son & friend. She enjoys being active outdoors with walking, running, golfing, and biking. She also enjoys her quiet time with yoga and meditation.

Michael Gardos - Self Acupressure and Storytelling

Title of Workshop: Self Acupressure and Storytelling

Name and Credentials: Michael Gardos Reid MA, LPCC, BC-DMT

Workshop Description: Participants will be introduced to acu yoga movement and voice warmups. They will be guided to explore self-acupressure, both traditional and improvisational sequences, for relaxation and self-care. Participants will be introduced to traditional imagery associated with points and meridians and invited to listen to their emerging somatic imagery and sensations and begin to name possible related stories and life clues.

Presenter Biography: Michael Gardos Reid is a Dance/Movement Therapist who worked for more than thirty years in the mental health services of Abbott/NW Hospital. Five years ago he created the ANW Expressive Arts and Mindfulness Day Treatment Program. Michael has decades of involvement in meditative movement approaches, primarily Authentic Movement and Tai chi chuan. He studied acupressure and self-acupressure with Michael Reed Gach, founder of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, CA and Jin Shin Jyutsu with students of Mary Burmeister. He is newly retired, but still a father, a biker, a guitarist, and wannabe playmate to the world. His life partner, Kate, describes him as “responsibly wild and wildly responsible”.

Julie Lentz - EASE (Energy & Sound Experience) Sound Bath

Title of Workshop: EASE (Energy & Sound Experience) Sound Bath

Name and Credentials: Julie Lentz, Certified Reiki & Sound Healing Practitioner, Registered Nurse

Workshop Description: A sound bath is a healing practice where the practitioner guides the reclined client into an experience of relaxation & allows the healing sounds of the instruments to bathe them. By using sound healing instruments, the practitioner sets an intention, and the client hears the sounds and feels the vibrations. This can cause deep relaxation throughout the session and allows a person to release the physical, mental, & emotional tensions while sinking into a calm state. Receiving the vibrations can cause balance and healing at the cellular level.

Presenter Biography: I’m a baby boomer, empath, Enneagram type 6, & a reformed 42-year RN who has discovered and embraced the healing arts as a way home to my true & whole self. My first sound bath was last year at the MN Cares Workshop. I was so inspired that I became certified and have started my next journey.

Natalie Lu - Creative Journaling for Resilience: Pages for Your Playbook

Title of Workshop: Creative Journaling for Resilience: Pages for your playbook

Name and Credentials: Natalie Lu, MSN, RN, Founder of The Reflective Nurse, LLC and The Reflective Collective

Workshop Description: In this workshop, participants will be guided through creative journaling exercises inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi 金継ぎ. A brush of art journaling will provide participants with the tools and guidance to create a kintsugi collage cover for a journal they will take home from this session. Participants need not have any level of writing or art journaling experience. Come to this session with a desire to try or to build on a practice of creative expression that can provide a new lens on who we care for…including ourselves!

1. Practice reflective journaling techniques to consider for daily practice.

2. Describe the elements of the Japanese art and philosophy of kintsugi.

3. Start a journal to take home with a cover crafted by you!

Presenter Biography: Natalie’s 25 years in health care fuels the passion she shares with others to hone resilience in caregiving practices. In addition to her work , as a Patient Safety Coach at a hospital in the Twin Cities, Natalie is the Founder of The Reflective Nurse LLC and The Reflective Collective, a forum connecting caregivers in community, conversation salons, and special events. A career-evolution nurse, Natalie’s background in communication and art education colors her coaching and teaching style with practices that enhance creative expression.

Recognizing how our personal wellness and care for each other is a cornerstone to thriving in caregiving careers, Natalie is dedicated to creating community support around personal and professional self-care practices.

Bekah Rieke - Mindful Movement: Affirmations and Movement for Healing

Title of Workshop: Mindful Movement: Affirmations and Movement for Healing

Name and Credentials: Bekah Rieke, Certified Holistic Nutrition and Mindfulness Coach

Workshop Description: Life’s challenges include managing current stress as well as healing from past traumas.  This mindful movement practice integrates movement, breath, and affirmations so that we can embody more positive thought patterns for healing and resilience.

Presenter Biography: Bekah Rieke coaches clients to address their overall health, nutrition, and wellness goals through tapping into their own sage mind and body intelligence. She uses her passion for mental, emotional, and physical wellness, her experience teaching, making food and art, and intuitive mindfulness practices like Meditative Movements™, to help clients rediscover their inner intelligence, creativity, beauty, and spiritual abilities and essence. For more information visit Bekah’s website:

Aleisha Theisen - Anchor Your Goals in a Wellness Vision to Make Meaningful Changes

Title of Workshop: Anchor your goals in a wellness vision to make meaningful changes

Name and Credentials: Aleisha Theisen, NBC-HWC and The Wellness Connection Owner

Workshop Description: Do you have a wellness goal that feels daunting? Or maybe you know your wellness needs a reset, but you’re not sure where to start. Enter the wellness vision, a powerful tool for building motivation and sustaining wellness practices. In this session, Aleisha will guide you through the steps to:

1. Create a picture of you at your most well self in your personal wellness vision statement.

2. Connect it to your most important “whys.”

3. Set 2-3 mini “SMART” goals that will help you reach your wellness vision.

Presenter Biography: Aleisha Theisen, NBC-HWC, is a Mayo Clinic-trained health and wellness coach and host of the podcast Wellness Wins. She also has been a physical therapist assistant for nine years.

Kenzie Wilcox - INtentional Boundaries

Title of Workshop: INtentional Boundaries

Name and Credentials: Kenzie Wilcox, Certified Life Coach

Workshop Description: Creating boundaries is a very hard thing to do when we are constantly being pushed and pulled in so many directions. Demands at work, home and personal life can create chaos and instability. During this session participants will identify core beliefs and values to fuel the creation of personally meaningful boundaries.

Presenter Biography: I was born on an elephant in India and slid down the trunk right into my caretakers’ arms! (Just kidding!) About the elephant part at least. My caretakers for the first 11 months created an attachment and my parents secured it. Ever since then, I have been a connector of all things, literally. If someone felt out of place, I connected them over here. If something didn’t feel right, I was able to connect the dots and figure out why. If something was still off, I just disconnected it as it was no longer serving a purpose. That is my gift. What brought me to MN Cares was growing up in the healthcare field, I saw other people connect the dots in so many different ways. Their gifts were different than mine and I have always felt a strong pull to connect my gifts with theirs, thus, Connecting with Kenzie was born. It has been a privilege to bring so many different frameworks that I have learned over the years to life and introduce them to such an amazing audience who serves other people in such a unique way.

Liba Zweigbaum Herman - Soul Painting

Title of Workshop: Soul Painting

Name and Credentials: Liba Zweigbaum Herman, INSIDE OUT studio Owner, Creativity Coach/Facilitator

Workshop Description:

Creativity is inherent in ALL people.

Art is a powerful tool for personal growth.

Find connection, rejuvenation & curiosity with uninhibited expression. From the INSIDE OUT…

In this workshop you will discover painting as a way of journaling, tuning into your unique creative life force, while releasing attachment to meaning, control, expertise, or final product. This approach to painting is focused on mindfulness, creative permission, and the act of spontaneous expression

Presenter Biography: Liba Zweigbaum Herman brings genuine heart, passion, and individuality to her connection with people and creativity. With degrees in Experiential & Art Education, Liba has long been drawn to the power of creative exploration.

Liba has studied with The Center for Creative Exploration and The Painting Experience in San Francisco, CA; thus leading her passion to open Studio INSIDE OUT on Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park. Studio Inside Out

She is also immersed in Mussar study (Ancient Jewish Mindfulness Practice) and Environmental Advocacy. She is a recent participant in the Cultivating a Wise Heart: Mussar Facilitator Training and Mentorship Cohort. Liba has worked locally with Courageous HeARTS, Free Arts MN, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Old Arizona Youth Programs, St. Louis Park Community Education, St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts, Sunny Hollow Montessori, Hineni: Center of Jewish Contemplative Studies, Beth El Synagogue, Rimon: MN Jewish Arts Council and the Twin Cities Jewish Artists Lab through the MN JCC.

©2023 Statewide Healthcare Coordination Center (SHCC) Behavioral Health Staff Wellness Branch