HEALING A TRAUMATIZED WORLD
As an undergraduate at Tufts University, Emily Pantalone was captivated by the study of international relations—particularly transitional justice to address systematic human rights violations, reconciliation, and rebuilding in post-conflict settings.
She was continually puzzled, however, that mental health care wasn’t a pivotal part of these discussions. Eventually, Pantalone realized that her passion was global mental health, though she wasn’t sure how to best contribute to the field. Having dealt with her own mental health issues in college, she took time after graduating to reconnect with herself through acting and yoga—avocations since childhood—planting a seed for her future career.
In her training as an instructor in trauma-informed yoga, a branch that emphasizes the mind-body connection for trauma healing, Pantalone met Samara Andrade, a fellow yoga practitioner with a similar interest in body physiology. They founded Feet on the Ground (FotG), a nonprofit based in New York that promotes the use of holistic interventions for post-traumatic resilience and growth.
They created a trauma-informed yoga training, designed a 10-week intervention, and taught movement and mindfulness practices in U.S. and abroad, most recently at a refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. Pantalone hopes that formal training in mental health interventions and research at the Bloomberg School will help her and Andrade to move their mission forward.
“Body-based interventions hold the potential to revolutionize public mental health—and we are starting to prove it.”