This blog arises out of my many years of experience as a public health professional and my work to promote the mental health and wellbeing of the public.
Two-Fold Mission of this Blog – Two Sides of the Same Coin
1. To advance the health of the public. This blog is grounded in public health principles and is guided by a three-part framework I developed when I was a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University: Science, Strategy and Soul.
2. To empower you the reader and give you information and tools such that you can use this to promote your health and wellbeing as well as that of others.
Timing and Origins of this Blog
The origins of this blog are linked to my work in violence prevention and depression prevention. I began to set up this blog in 2019, never anticipating that it would be ready to go online just as the COVID-19 epidemic hit us.
As for the name of this blog, it came to me as I was getting off the Cal-Train in San Francisco. I remember the moment distinctly when the Muses inspired me with this phrase in 2007. By then I had already created A Blue Print for Hope which is a framework for my innovations in violence prevention.
In November of 2019, I realized that the time had come to offer my prescriptions for hope broadly and that is when I began the first steps to set this up.
Three-Part Method Underlying my Prescriptions for Hope: Science, Strategy and Soul™
Science refers to using what we know is efficacious, strategy refers to the wise allocation of resources and soul refers to that part of all human beings that unites us. Soul also refers to the common values, dreams and hopes that people have. For instance, despite this world being divided at times, all parents share the same hopes for their children, i.e. a good future.
I arrived at this method after a lot of research into why public health programs have not realized their full potential. Additionally, research-based prevention information is greatly underutilized, and I innovated ways to overcome this. Lastly various international experts expressed pessimism to me in private, about the hopelessness of situations such as the widespread extent of poverty, violence, depression and illiteracy.
There were however, two experts who urged me to take “direct action.” That is what I have been doing ever since 2003, and this blog is one part of my body of work in public health.
Partnering to Create Prescriptions for Hope
Whether you are seeking ways to help individuals, communities, nations, or even if you want to end global epidemics, I create customized Prescriptions for Hope, with an emphasis on high quality solutions that are pragmatic.
I partner with you to understand your needs, goals, challenges and constraints and develop customized Prescriptions for Hope that empower you to achieve your desired health goals.
Sample Formats for delivering Prescriptions for Hope include:
- Advisory consultations;
- Original educational materials – including children’s books and professionally produced animations – created for your group or target population;
- Group coaching for disease prevention and lifestyle change;
- Continuing education for health care providers including physicians, nurses, dental professionals, psychologists, physician assistants, physical therapists;
- Training for mass media script writers and producers to create high impact, socially meaningful television and radio shows that influence millions to adopt healthy behaviours;
- Internet-based health information;
- Brief, high-impact meditation lessons that engage even those who are reluctant or unsure about meditation. I help bring about lasting change through just one session, using my signature method of meditating with chocolate, (developed in Switzerland of course!)
My Prescriptions for Hope are understandable across diverse reading levels and cultures from rural villages in Appalachia and East Africa, to C-suite executives in San Francisco, Zurich and Hong Kong.
They are anchored in psychology, public health and the health sciences. My delivery style is influenced by my earlier work as a pediatric dentist: I use a gentle touch to broach heavy topics and put people at ease in tense and difficult situations. Pedatric dentistry also gives me poetic license to draw upon my skills in improv comedy when needed, to convey important health messages in a fun and engaging manner.
Samples of Past Prescriptions for Hope:
- Psychology articles on health and coping with difficult circumstances, for general audiences: one million readers in 20 countries;
- Healthy ways of handling marital conflict: 20 million listeners in rural Ethiopia;
- Coping with Stress: lunch and learn series for employees of the Bank for International Settlements (the Federal Reserve Bank for the Federal Reserve Banks of the world, Basel, Switzerland);
- Reducing Workplace Job Stress: country-wide project for the Swiss government;
- Peer-reviewed children’s story on mindful eating: used as a teaching tool in healthy eating classes in health centers in Arizona, USA;
- Peer-reviewed animation on healthy management of negative emotions: viewed in 50+ countries; used as a teaching tool in health centers in Arizona, USA.
What people say about SD Shanti
“A combination of Mother Teresa and Jane Goodall…Intense, knowledgeable, worldly, dedicated…[She] is among the best of those I have known who exemplify the attempt to deal with complex global problems as challenges that can be solved through the systematic application of social science knowledge.” Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University and past president of the American Psychological Association.
“She is very successful in communicating with persons and has the ability to develop good working relations with formerly unknown colleagues. She has a striking creativity which allows her to find easily many solutions to open questions.” Hans Dieter Schneider, Professor Emeritus and former Chair, Department of Applied Psychology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
“…her life is the embodiment of the very principles she offers with inventive clarity that enables people to better their lives. Theorizing is easy. Translating that knowledge in enabling practice is the tough job. It is a treasure to have such a colleague who can creatively translate theory into a workable model for personal and social change.” Albert Bandura, David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology, Stanford University, and former President of the American Psychological Association.
“I am dying of kidney cancer and your words helped me find peace.” Reader Feedback, HealthandAge.com sponsored by the Novartis Foundation for Gerontology
I have experience in the public, private, governmental, non-governmental and academic sectors, and have co-led the public side of a public-private partnership, anchored in Geneva and which extended to 28 countries.
I am a native English speaker, with work experience in German, Italian, French and Spanish.
My work in violence prevention was incubated at Stanford University and has been reviewed by the Violence Prevention Alliance of the World Health Organization.
My projects and innovations have been supported by:
- National Institutes of Health, USA
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
- Swiss Secretary for Economic Affairs
- Novartis Foundation for Gerontology, Switzerland
- Rector, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
- Gebert Rüf Foundation, Switzerland
- American Psychological Foundation
- Reuters Foundation, England
- Private donors
I hold a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Northwestern University, a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University; my undergraduate studies were at Loyola University in Chicago.
I have also done post-graduate training at the University of Rochester, the University of Washington, Montreal General Hospital and the New York City Health Department.