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BENNINGTON >> Through the overwhelming generosity of the Susan Sebastian Foundation, Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) will present an exhibit of more than 100 works by Vermont artists 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. June 11 and 12 – 5 p.m. June 12 at the Arkell Pavilion on the campus of the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester. Fifty-four pieces will be selected from this exhibit and purchased by the Susan Sebastian Foundation for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's inpatient rooms. The remaining work will be offered to the public for sale.

"We are grateful for the generosity and inspired vision of the Susan Sebastian Foundation," said Leslie Keefe, vice president for Corporate Development, Southwestern Vermont Health Care. "This gift of art will make a tremendously positive impact for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's patients and their families, and is in line with our institution's goal to enhance each person's experience within our Patient-Centered Model of Care."

Foundation achieves goal of purchasing and placing healing art in every Vermont hospital.

The Susan Sebastian Foundation was founded in honor of Susan Sebastian, who endured a long illness looking at the bare walls of hospital rooms. It was her wish that every hospital room in Vermont be hung with gentle, inspiring art by Vermont artists. Since Susan's death in 2009, her mother Elise Braun has worked to fulfill her daughter's wish.

The Susan Sebastian Foundation used the principles described in Dr. Esther Sternberg's book, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, to guide gifts of art to Vermont hospitals. More than five years later, the Foundation has funded the purchase of art for permanent display in the patient rooms of every Vermont hospital. With their gift of art to Southwestern Vermont Health Care this summer, their mission will be complete.

Nation's leading researcher on the science of place and wellbeing presents.

In conjunction with the exhibit, SVHC will host the nation's leading researcher on the science of place and wellbeing, Dr. Esther Sternberg. She will present a talk titled, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 11 at the Arkell Pavilion on the campus of the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, VT.

Dr. Sternberg is internationally recognized for her discoveries in brain-immune interactions and the effects of the brain's stress response on health. She is founding director of the University of Arizona Institute on Place and Wellbeing and professor of medicine and research director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona at Tucson.

"Dr. Sternberg's work has had such a profound impact on the mission of the Susan Sebastian Foundation, on the patient experience in hospitals all over the country, and on how we, as a culture, envision healing environments," Keefe said. "I hope that everyone with an interest in art and healing will attend this once-in-a-lifetime event."

She has authored more than 200 scholarly articles and two popular books, including the best-selling Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being (Harvard University Press). She has advised the American Institute of Architects, several branches of the U.S. government, Pope Benedict XVI, and was Senior Scientist and Section Chief at the National Institutes of Health 1986 – 2012.

Both the exhibit and Dr. Sternberg's talk are free and open to the public. Space for Dr. Sternberg's talk is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. Those interested in attending should visit to reserve a seat.


Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC's providers are members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multispecialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. SVHC includes the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, a 150-bed long- and short-term care skilled nursing facility; the SVHC Foundation; and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a 99-bed community hospital. SVMC's services include an emergency department staffed by physicians each of whom is board certified in emergency medicine; the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, which is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and managed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock; and a fully-digital imaging department. SVMC also includes 19 primary and specialty care practices and primary care offices in Bennington, Manchester, Pownal, West Dover, and Wilmington, VT. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is the state's first Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence, a designation it has held since 2002. To learn more, visit


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