Tom Nevola, MD was a Maine-Dartmouth senior resident when he died in a motor vehicle accident while doing a rotation in New Mexico in 1986. He was personally and professionally interested in spirituality and had participated in some very early conversations at the residency and hospital about how this might be more fully incorporated into health care. Following his death, a fund was begun in his memory with the purpose of developing ideas about spirituality and humanity in medicine, resulting in the inception of the Thomas Nevola MD Symposium on Spirituality and Health in 1987. Presented as an annual one-day program for 33 years, the Nevola Symposium was the oldest annual academic symposium on spirituality and health in the United States. It featured over 300 presenters, thousands of participants and, in later years, had an annual attendance of 300-400.
The Nevola Fund
In 2019, the Nevola Symposium transitioned into a program of grants, supported by the Nevola Fund. The Fund has been sustained by proceeds from the Symposium, and from donations from participants. Over the years, it has been used to (a) fund the Symposium itself, (b) fund occasional Maine-Dartmouth activities such as residency retreats, and (c) provide scholarship assistance as needed for participants to attend the Symposium. A dedicated team at the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency oversees the fund and the grants program, supporting Maine-Dartmouth and community projects or events which touch upon the same themes the Symposium did.
History of The Nevola Symposium
The Thomas Nevola, MD, Symposium on Spirituality and Health was an annual program of continuing education and interdisciplinary dialogue designed to integrate medical and spiritual perspectives and resources in health, healing and wellness. Over the years, more than three hundred people gave addresses and presentations. Subject areas and keynote presenters were:
1987: Spiritual Values and Health Care. The Rev. William A. Nelson, PhD and The Rev. C. Richard Sheesley, DMin.
1988: AIDS: Ethical Dilemmas in Policy Making and Treatment Decisions. Alan C. Mermann, MD.
1989: Spiritual Assessment and Pastoral Intervention. Elisabeth McSherry, MD, MPH, Frederic C. Craigie, PhD
1990: Spirituality and Health: Perspectives in Later Life. Harold G. Koenig, MD.
1991: Broken Bodies, Whole Persons: Spiritual Issues in Health Care and Chronic Illness. Karen Gershman, MD, Frederic C. Craigie, PhD, Michael Mitchell, LCSW.
1992: Spirituality and Mental Health: How can we be a Caring Community for People Affected by Mental Illness. Lawrence B. Mutty, MD, The Rev. Scott Dow and The Rev. Robert S. Beaumont.
1993: Recovery from Addictions: Spirituality, Community and Health Care. Robert Blaik, DO, MPH, PhD, The Rev. John A. MacDougall, DMin, and The Rev. Elbert Brewster, DMin.
1994: Spirituality and Health Promotion: Clinical Care, Community Responsibility and Public Policy. C. Everett Koop, MD, SCD.
1995: Building a Better World for our Children: Integrated Approaches to Spirituality and Health. Benjamin Spock, MD.
1996: Confronting Domestic Violence: Integrating Spiritual Values with Community Intervention. Chief Justice Daniel E. Wathan, Robert E. McAfee, MD, The Rev. Nancy Fritz and Rabbi Louis A. Rieser
1997: Spirit of the organization: Cultivating wholeness in the workplace. Bruce A. Riegel, PhD and Colleen Myers, MDiv, JD.
1998: Pathways to Healing: Connecting Spirituality and Health in Different Caring Traditions. Lori Arviso Alvord, MD.
1999: Spirituality and Child Development: Community Solutions to Youth Violence. The Rev. Alfonso Wyatt.
2000: Healing and the Arts. Naj Wikoff, Healing and the Arts Project, The C. Everett Koop Institute, Dartmouth Medical School
2001: Spirituality and the Healer’s Heart: Caring for Ourselves as We Care for Others. Frederic C. Craigie, PhD, Diane Campbell, MD
2002: Grace in Uncertain Times: The Spirituality and Health Effects of Gratitude and Hope. Kaye Herth, PhD, RN, FAAN, Judith Magyar Isaacson, MA.
2003: Transforming Tragedy, Trauma and Loss: Spirituality and Health Pathways to Reconciliation and Forgiveness. Kenneth H. Hamilton, MD, CM, FACS, Cushman D. Anthony, Esq.
2004: What’s love got to do with it? The meaning of love in the healing arts. Lynn Underwood, PhD, Elizabeth B. Hart, MD
2005: Courage and vision: Ethics and everyday life. Martin Taylor, Institute for Global Ethics, Camden, Maine
2006: 20th Anniversary Nevola Symposium: Spiritual Practices that Promote Healing and Wholeness. Frederic C. Craigie, PhD
2007: Spiritually Grounded Healing Environments and Practices. Christina Puchalski, MD
2008: Hands-on Spirituality: Clinical Approaches and Personal Resilience. Ron Goldman, EdD
2009: Tell me where it hurts: Lessons for hope and integrity in the face of pain. JoAnne Dahl, PhD
2010: Spirituality and trauma: Reclaiming your life. Patricia Mathes Cane, PhD
2011: Coming together: The spirituality of civil dialogue, multiculturalism, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Everett Worthington, PhD
2012: Out of the Darkness and into Delight: Spirituality, Flourishing and Joy. Jeff Levin, PhD
2013: Spirituality in End-of-Life Care: What Matters Most? Ira Byock, MD
2014: Spirituality and Transformation: The Art and Science of Coming Fully Alive. Marilyn Schlitz, PhD
2015: Mindfulness, Compassion and a meaningful life. Sharon Salzberg
2016: The Blessings of Gratitude: Promoting Hope in a Challenging World. Robert Emmons, PhD
2017: Pathways to Joy. Lisa Miller, PhD
2018: Civil discourse: The outward and inward work of bridging divides and finding peace in the face of differences. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, PhD
2019: The 33rd and Concluding Nevola Symposium – Spirituality and Health: Celebrating Our Past, Looking at Compelling Directions into the Years Ahead. Frederic Craigie, PhD