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Resilience Colloquium 2023: The Brilliance of Resilience

What is the Resilience Project?

How does resilience apply to individuals, populations and communities? What does it look like? Can exploring how to build resilience be a biological, psychological, sociological and economic engine?

The Resilience Project combines the collective strengths of the education community in northeastern Pennsylvania to explore the question: “Can NEPA become a community of resilience?”

Why a resilience colloquium?

Recognizing innovation requires perspective and a leap of faith. It’s not easy to know if something new is making an impact. And then there is the matter of whether the newness is just for a moment, a temporary veneer. Resilience is one of these constructs we’re contemplating and understanding more fully. It’s a concept that’s been around a long time, and these days considered desirable and important.

Recent neuroscience research provides another dimension to understanding resilience more fully. How does resilience apply to individuals, to populations, to communities? What are the characteristics that define resilience at each of those levels? Can resilience be taught or enhanced? Is resilience valuable and protective?

This effort requires these academic bastions to shed their competitive spirits to form a collective effort on developing not only a formidable resilience gestalt within each of their respective academic enclaves but to have that momentum shift into their surrounding communities as a “spill-over” effect. Such a process begins by engaging in a collective spirit of community and innovation around the concept of resilience and resilience science, creating a shared but not necessarily identical curriculum at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels, depending upon the strengths and interests of respective faculty and administrations. Another aspect is the study of resilience and resilience enhancement at individual and community levels. Is resilience science a legitimate field of study in the 21st century? Could an entire region become known as a community of resilience? What would that look like? Could it become an area of interest to other communities? Would funding to support the effort be forthcoming?

To our knowledge there is no other effort of this sort underway in the country. This is a long-term project, not a one- or two-year effort.

Event details 

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Saturday, April 22, 2023

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
525 Pine St.

This event is free.

Keynote speakers

Five individuals of national and international stature in resilience will be keynote speakers:

  • Ann Masten, PhD, University of Minnesota: Multisystem Resilience
  • Mark Holder, PhD, Bermuda College: Resilience & Wellness
  • Scott Russo, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine: The Neuroscience of Resilience
  • Paolo Bocchini, PhD, Lehigh University: The Civil Engineering of Resilience
  • Sharon Larson, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University: Population Health & Resilience

One speaker described the Resilience Project as “transformative.” We hope the colloquium will galvanize the efforts described above. Invitations have been extended to academic systems and to community, political, educational, spiritual and business leaders in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Speaker bios

Ann S. Masten, PhD, LP

Ann Masten

Ann S. Masten, PhD, LP, Regents Professor of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, is internationally known for her research on resilience in human development, particularly in the context of homelessness, poverty, disaster, war and migration. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Smith College, doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Minnesota, and clinical internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She has served as president of the Society for Research in Child Development and the developmental division of the American Psychological Association (APA). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology from APA and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Masten has published more than 200 scholarly works, including the book, Ordinary Magic: Resilience in Development. She offers a free massive open online course (MOOC) on “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War” that has been taken by thousands of participants from more than 180 countries.

Mark Holder, PhD

Mark Holder, PhD

Mark Holder, PhD, earned his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. He then completed his postdoctoral training at the Brain Research Institute at UCLA where he conducted brain transplants to reverse impairments caused by brain injuries. As a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, he studied how natural chemicals, 200 times the strength of heroin, were released when people ate chocolate chip cookies. During this time, he worked as a biological consultant with the NutraSweet Company to determine whether aspartame is safe for pregnant mothers and their children. He also spent a research sabbatical at the University of Hawaii swimming with dolphins in studies of their language and creativity.

Dr. Holder was an associate professor at the University of British Columbia where he studied the science of happiness. He led a research team that identified factors that contribute to happiness in children (e.g., temperament, social relationships, spirituality and religion) in Canada, India and Zambia. His team also investigated strategies to enhance happiness in adults, and the links between personality disorders (e.g., psychopathy) and happiness.

Dr. Holder is now a psychology professor at Bermuda College. He is an award-winning teacher and researcher. He regularly gives keynote addresses and workshops on happiness in the workplace and in one’s personal life. Recently he has given presentations to the Conference Board of Canada, BC Provincial Government, Huntington’s Disease Society, BC Nurses Union, Multiple Sclerosis of Canada and school districts. His research has often been featured in the media including The Globe and Mail, USA Today, The National Post, US News and World Report, MSNBC and The Washington Times. He regularly appears on television and radio and recently published two books on positive well-being including “Happiness in Children.”

Scott Russo, PhD

Scott Russo, PhD

Scott Russo, PhD, is Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Affective Neuroscience and the Brain Body Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He obtained his doctorate in psychology from the City University of New York in 2003. He then completed his postdoctoral work in psychiatry and psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before joining the faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Russo is known for his contributions to understanding the neural and immunological basis of neuropsychiatric disorders. His translational studies have identified novel disease mechanisms in depressed humans that play causal roles in the expression of depression-like behaviors in rodent models. He has also identified novel circuitry in the brain that control aberrant social behaviors leading to new perspectives about social dysfunction in neuropsychiatric illness. His work has been highly cited in the field and featured in the popular press. Thomson-Reuters listed him as a “highly cited researcher.” He has received numerous honors and awards in recognition of his work, including being named a Kavli National Academy of Science Frontiers Fellow in 2009, received the Johnson and Johnson/IMHRO Rising Star Translational Research Award in 2011 and elected fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2016.

Paolo Bocchini, PhD

Paolo Bocchini, PhD

Paolo Bocchini, PhD, is Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Lehigh University. Before joining Lehigh's faculty he worked as postdoctoral research associate and as lecturer in Italy and in the US. Dr. Bocchini's research activity is related to the use of probabilistic concepts, computational mechanics, operations research and other numerical tools in civil engineering problems. Most of his recent research deals with infrastructure and community resilience under natural disasters, to support decisions on design, retrofit, preparedness, damage mitigation and recovery of critical infrastructure systems. He is also the founder of the Catastrophe Modeling Center at Lehigh University.

Dr. Bocchini served as principal investigator of the PRAISys project, a multi-million-dollar effort supported by the National Science Foundation that involved 58 scholars (43% from underrepresented groups in STEM) over five years to model and predict in a probabilistic sense the damage, recovery, and resilience of interdependent infrastructure systems. Dr. Bocchini was elected Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE, he authored the chapter on infrastructure interdependencies in the Objective Resilience Manual of Practice of ASCE, served in a committee of the National Academies to develop guidelines for the US Congress to allocate resources to projects that improve resilience, and received a number of awards and recognitions.

Some side projects related to past research topics involve advanced techniques for the simulation of random functions; structural identification and damage detection in truss structures and in pipelines for oil and gas; 3D printing of concrete by selective binder activation; numerical tools for non-destructive testing by means of guided ultrasonic waves; stochastic finite element methods; advanced rheological models and pre- post-processing tools for ceramic materials.

Sharon Larson, PhD

Sharon Larson, PhD

Sharon Larson, PhD, is a population health researcher. Dr. Larson earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in the department of mental health.

Dr. Larson served as the acting chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Research during the department’s inaugural year in the Geisinger health system. She also served as director of Behavioral Health Services Research and director of Research Training for the system’s new Psychiatry Residency program. Dr. Larson was co-PI on the PCORI-funded PATH network, a clinical data research network (CDRN), and helped to develop research partnerships with other members of the network. She served as Geisinger Health System’s board member for the Health Care System Research Network (HCSRN), a national research organization of integrated health systems, and led the organization’s work in research mentoring. Dr. Larson was co-PI on a federally funded Beacon grant to expand the health information exchange and promote the utility of these exchanges for case management.

Dr. Larson was director the division of Evaluation, Analysis and Quality in the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She also served as the acting director of the Division of Surveillance and Data Collection. In these roles she was responsible for oversight of teams producing the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Treatment Episode Data set, and other data systems. She served as the editor for reports generated from these data sets and served as SAMHSA's Associate Director for Science.


The colloquium will begin with a continental breakfast followed keynote speakers, lunch, snacks and then break-out groups to discuss, reflect and plan.

See the schedule


Geisinger College of Health Sciences
Bloomsburg University
Johnson College
Keystone College
King's College
Lackawanna College
Lehigh University

This colloquium has been generously funded by philanthropic support.
Marywood University
Misericordia University
Penn State Scranton
Penn State Wilkes Barre
Thomas Jefferson University
University of Scranton
Wilkes University

Resilience grand rounds

Leighton Huey, MD, associate dean for behavioral health integration and community care transformation at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, discusses the concept of resilience — and why it would benefit northeastern Pennsylvania.

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