Who We Are
meet the team
Sara Warber, MD
- Clinical Professor Emerita, Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
- Honorary Professor, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro, Cornwall, UK
Sara Warber, MD is a dreamer and a clinician-scholar whose research focuses on the effects of nature-based programs and other complex biopsychosocial-spiritual interventions on human health and well-being. Examples include the health benefits of camps, retreats and national outdoor group walking programs in the US and the UK. She was the co-founder of the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine program as well as co-founder of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. She has authored numerous articles and chapters about integrative medicine therapies, processes of healing, and environmental values. She was recently selected as a Scholar by The Institute for Integrative Health which has led to the Dreams/Mutual Reawakening project. Sara enjoys coaxing all kinds of life-enhancing dreams and possibilities into reality, from the mundane to the sublime. She relaxes and recharges by being near, on, or in the water.
- BFA, Independent Illustrator/Graphic Artist; Communications Specialist, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, Galesburg, MI
Nature inspires and restores artist Amelia Hansen. She began working as an independent professional illustrator and designer in 1989 – specializing in science and nature subjects for books, magazines, interpretive exhibits, museum installations, murals, and children’s picture books. In 2015, she became Communications Specialist for Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, a non-profit land trust that protects water quality and restores natural habitat in a nine-county service area. Here, she designs print materials and creates messaging on web-based platforms to inspire support for the environment, and forge connections between people and nature. Independently, she continues her long quest to create artistically interesting and visually satisfying paintings that spark a viewer’s love for nature while simultaneously conveying urgency for Earth’s health. She and her husband live in an old farmhouse in rural Kalamazoo County, Michigan, with a flock of pet chickens and several lazy cats.
Nia Heard-Garris, MD, MS
- Pediatrician and a physician-investigator at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and in the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Nia Heard-Garris examines the influence of social adversities experienced in childhood and subsequent child and adolescent health. Dr. Heard-Garris is also interested in the factors that contribute to a child’s ability to thrive despite these experiences. She believes in using research to better inform clinical practice and policy that supports children, their families, and their communities. Dr. Heard-Garris serves as the Chair and founding member of the Section of Minority Health, Equity, and Inclusion for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Dr. Heard-Garris completed a prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Heard-Garris, her husband, and 8-year-old son live in Chicago and as new Chicagoans they are beginning to understand the phrase “winter is coming.”
- MS, Community Artist, Educator and Nonprofit Consultant, Hypki Consulting, Baltimore, MD
Cinder Hypki is a community artist, educator, writer and activist in Baltimore, Maryland. Her first connection to the natural world on a Wisconsin farm inspired her early career in environmental education. That broad perspective on humans and environment still informs her teaching and design of workshops and participatory collaborative experiences. She uses creative expression in various media to promote healing, reconciliation, communication and teamwork. These socially-engaged projects “in the art of thriving” target nonprofits, community groups, classes and individuals of all ages in Baltimore and beyond. Cinder earned a Bachelor and Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, respectively. Current projects include mosaic workshops during Baltimore Ceasefire events, a Wall of Gratitude at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and a How Are We Healing? initiative. She is author of the book, Far Field Farm: Stories of a Sturdy Dream.
Katherine N. Irvine
- Senior Research Fellow, Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Dr. Katherine Irvine is a Senior Researcher in Environment, Wellbeing and Behaviour with a passion for understanding human–nature relationships. Drawing on training in natural and social sciences alongside international work in environmental education, she works within inter- and transdisciplinary settings to build bridges between issues of human health/ well-being, environmental quality and sustainable behaviour. Research considers the effectiveness of nature-based health interventions, spiritual well-being and the co-creation of knowledge for transitions and transformation toward a better world.
B.S. Art History with Academic Honors awarded by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, continued abroad at l’Universite de Sorbonne and completed at John Cabot Università de Roma.
Courtney Jackson is the Curator of Education at the Muskegon Museum of Art where she creates exhibitional programming, facilitates school and community engagement, and leads the docent initiative. Prior to working for the Muskegon Museum of Art, Jackson worked for PiazzadiSpagna9 gallery in Rome, Italy and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, MI. While at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), she served on the initial board of DisArt festival and spearheaded the UICA’s first iPhone application in partnership with Universal Mind. The iPhone application was the first to utilize iBeacon technology in a gallery setting, and was designed to create inclusive educational experiences for both disabled and able-bodied individuals. Jackson was able to secure over 90k USD in grants and in-kind donations for the project, spread the technology over three locations, and showcase over 15 international artists.
Jackson will be serving the team as a consultant in regard to art and exhibition practices.
- MFA, Socially Engaged Artist, Family Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Bridget Quinn is an artist and experimental urban nature guide who uses participatory performance to reconnect with nearby nature via imaginative sensory experience. She creates events that invite participants and collaborators to play within the borderlands between the city and nature, between the psyche and the environment – realms that are not distinct, but instead are completely interwoven. Her work is concerned with nearby nature as multispecies commons and the sites of reciprocal healing between self, community and environment. Her work has been displayed nationally and internationally and has resulted in the remediation of environmental pollution in Warren Michigan, where she currently resides.
PhD, Research Fellow, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, UK
Dr Emmylou Rahtz is a health researcher who is interested in the interactions between the mind and body. She is increasingly engaged with research that takes a further step out to explore the social, cultural and natural environments that mediate the mind-body relationship, and she favours mixed methods approaches. After a Bachelor’s and Master’s in English Literature, Emmylou worked in social and market research, specialising in evaluations of higher education, government and third sector initiatives. Through evening study, she undertook a further degree in Psychology. After graduation, she carried out a PhD in psychiatric epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, funded by ‘Saving Faces’. She then moved to Cornwall, England, and a postdoctoral role at the University of Exeter, researching healing responses and how healing is understood in society, funded by The Institute for Integrative Health. When she’s not chasing after a toddler, she likes to hike and sing.
- MA, Director, Gifts of Art Program, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI
Elaine Sims is the Director of the Gifts of Art program at the University of Michigan, which brings the worlds of art and music to Michigan Medicine, and has been designated a model program by the National Endowment of the Arts. Sims has been recognized as a pioneer and distinguished fellow in the field of arts and health. She was a founding member and past president of The Society for the Arts in Healthcare. As a consultant she has helped launched programs nationwide. Sims is also a founding member of the National Organization on Arts and Health. She served as president of the Arts in Healthcare Certification Commission and was a charter member of the Ann Arbor Public Arts Commission. An accidental artist, her work has appeared in the New Yorker magazine and museums around the world.