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Power of Positive Experience to Improve Public Health Register now: The Montana Winter Institute Starts Monday!


(Author’s note: Photo is of Jeff Linkebach, EdD, founder of The Montana Institute,  and me following a three-hour long brainstorming lunch recently at the Whole Foods in Bozeman, Montana. I’d gone to visit my two adult children in the area. Linkenbach and his family have made their home there for more than 30 years.

Linkenbach and I connected several years ago via PACEs Connection as he is one of the co-founders of the HOPE (Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences) research. The Montana Institute’s research, based on the Science of the Positive Framework, is where HOPE (Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences) emerged through a Montana Institute project in Wisconsin focusing on positive community norms that gave rise to the 2019 Positive Childhood Experiences study.

It was an honor to spend time with this transformational leader and educator who created and started researching, writing, and teaching about  “The Science of the Positive” more than 30 years ago.

I firmly believe our nation – at the community level – must look for ways to build positive experiences – that are culturally appropriate and community led – into the lives of our people, especially our children. That four of the seven Positive Childhood Experiences happen in community is reflective of the power of experiences and relationships, and in my mind, represents an incredible opportunity to slow the velocity of increasing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adverse community experiences.

Preventive measures are primary and should include creating the buffering experiences that help  developing brains of children build synapses for trust, joy, relationships, curiosity, and seeking positive experiences.

Full disclosure: I’ll be attending many of the lunch-and-learn events starting February 5 as a guest of the Institute.)

There is still time to register for the world’s premiere event on leveraging the power of positive experiences (PCEs, or the “P” in PACEs Connection!) to improve public health, led by The Montana Institute and this virtual “lunch-and-learn” Winter version of the prestigious Montana Summer Institute.

Screen Shot 2024-02-02 at 1.29.28 PMRegisterhere for the event, starting Monday, February 5. The event comprises five one-hour lunch-and-learn sessions.

Linkenbach, who with several influential research scientists and child advocates co-authored the seminal 2019 paper “Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample” is featuring the study’s lead scientist and author, Christina Bethell, PhD, as the closing speaker for week’s impressive lineup of virtual lunchtime gatherings.

Winter Institute Agenda

☼ MONDAY, Feb. 5th – Carla Ritz, Managing Director of The Montana Institute. The Science of the Positive and How Positive Experiences Increase Health

☼ TUESDAY, Feb. 6th – Ali Crandall, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Public Health at Brigham Young University. The Latest Research on Positive Adult Experiences and Mental Health

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 7th – Sara Thompson, Director of Training and Communications and Jeff Linkenbach, Founding Director of The Montana Institute. How Positive Community Norms Can Increase Positive Experiences -- and Why it Matters

☼ THURSDAY, Feb. 8th – Yvonne Jackson, MBA, CEO of SocialEDG. Positive Experiences and Equity: How EDI and Joy Can and Must Coexist

Screen Shot 2024-02-02 at 10.15.04 AM☼ FRIDAY, Feb. 9th – Christina Bethell, PhD, MPH, MBA, Director, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We Are the Medicine: Building Relational Systems of Care to Promote the Early and Lifelong Flourishing of Children and Families

Registration fee: $149 per person

Sessions will be presented live at:
1:00pm-2:00pm EST
12:00pm-1:00pm CST
11:00am-12:00pm MST
10:00am-11:00am PST

Recordings will be available to registered attendees for 30 days following the event.

For more information on how The Montana Institute is continuing to research and explore Positive Experiences beyond a focus on childhood, and to learn about the in-person Summer Institute, visit the website.


Images (2)
  • Screen Shot 2024-02-02 at 1.29.28 PM
  • Screen Shot 2024-02-02 at 10.15.04 AM: Christina Bethell, PhD, MPH, MBA,

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