Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing celebrates 25 years

November 10, 2020
Kit Breshears

In 1995, Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, envisioned a center at the University of Minnesota that would explore integrative healing and wellbeing. Now, as the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing celebrates its 25 year anniversary, Kreitzer and her team again look toward the future.

“At the time of the center’s inception, we were among a small group of universities with programs or initiatives in what is now called integrative health,” she says. “At the beginning of this academic year, we anticipated a banner year for our research, continued success in our academic programs, growth in outreach and business development, and that we would exceed our goals in the University’s Driven Campaign. We anticipated celebrating our anniversary at a fall event at Northrop focused on planetary health.”

Nothing on the horizon would prepare the center for the impacts of two challenging diseases — COVID-19 and systemic racism.


“At the onset of the pandemic, we rapidly leveraged our expertise to develop COVID-19 specific resources that were quickly deployed throughout the University, community and beyond,” says Kreitzer. “The other pandemic we face — while still coping with COVID-19 — is systemic racism. At the Bakken Center, we are listening to community leaders while keeping this time of pain and change at the forefront of our future decision-making. We are deeply committed to addressing systemic racism in all its forms, and to the wellbeing of all members of our community. We continue to recognize that equity, diversity and inclusion are critical components of wellbeing.”

While the center has long been committed to offering free resources, including the Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing website and online learning modules for health professionals, other online learning opportunities like a newly launched webinar series and an Integrative Nursing Specialization through Coursera are helping people explore their own health and wellbeing while also impacting communities around the world.

To celebrate 25 years of service to the University and the community, the center is hosting the Wellbeing Series for Planetary Health, a free, three-part series that began in September.

“Saving the planet and ensuring a more equitable world can begin right here in Minnesota,” says Kreitzer. “Through this event series, the Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing will spark inspiring conversations and learning opportunities that focus on human health and planetary wellbeing.”

Kreitzer and her team are grateful to University leadership, colleagues, and the broader community for their support of the center’s work, and look forward to the next 25 years of growth, success and human flourishing.

Categories: School News