Professor of Rehabilitation and Movement Science Karen Westervelt has received the 2020 Dean's Faculty Innovation in Teaching Award for creating educational opportunities that integrate clinical simulation, interprofessional education, integrative health, and international experiences.

Dr. Westervelt recently led the development of the Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate curriculum, a hybrid program that engages all students - from undergraduates to seasoned health care professionals - under the guidance of a team that includes nurse practitioners, a physician’s assistant, psychologist, registered dietician, chef educator, health care administrator, and faculty from across the University.

"It has taken years of work to bring this program to fruition," Westervelt says of implementing the certificate, which required approval by the UVM Board of Trustees and the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches.

"Four years ago we started by sending faculty to the best education programs across the country to become health and wellness coaches. Then we combined what we learned to design a top-notch curriculum for UVM."

Dr. Westervelt appreciates UVM's focus on fostering high-quality teaching, and the opportunity afforded to share her love of learning with students, particularly via smaller classes.

"Having the focus on the students feels right to me," she says. "It feels like an honor to be able to build a connection with so many bright young scholars and to help guide them in their journey."

Dr. Westervelt also established UVM's first faculty-led physical therapy program abroad, and designed a faculty-led travel course to Iceland's NLFI Holistic Health Clinic for students interested in integrative health care. Last winter, she accompanied Team USA to the 2020 Biathlon Youth and Junior World Championships in Switzerland as a medical volunteer.


Nursing Health Sciences