Ep. 99: Dr. Michael Lovell — Serving the Greater Good Through Trauma-Informed Care

My guest this week is Dr. Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University. Michael is deeply committed to trauma-informed care in the city of Milwaukee (where Marquette is located), and to addressing the persistent racial disparities in our society. He’s been outspoken about his own history of childhood trauma, and is using the pain of his past in his efforts to serve others.

That’s something I see so often in my clinical work—that our own struggles can be transformed into a way to help those who are suffering. I’ve certainly found that in my own life, too. Sometimes we might think, “I can’t help others, because I have so much pain myself.” But it’s for exactly that reason that we’re prepared to make a difference in someone else’s life. The pain we experience seems to carve a deeper well in us, and gives us more we can draw from and offer to others.

Topics Michael and I discussed included:

  • What trauma-informed care is
  • The healing power of relationships
  • The impact on Michael of the book Racial Justice in the Catholic Church (affiliate link)
  • How to address the racial disparities in our society
  • The mission of Jesuit institutions (like Marquette) to serve their communities
  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
  • The intergenerational nature of trauma
  • Reprogramming our minds through practices like meditation and prayer
  • The Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) program
  • The Unlearning Systemic Racism course offered by the YMCA
  • The bestselling book White Fragility (affiliate link)
  • The arrogance of assuming we have solutions to other people’s problems
  • The need to address racism when addressing trauma
  • The role of my guest’s Catholic faith in his social justice work
  • I Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
  • How to avoid getting bogged down in politics with these issues of basic human rights
  • How Michael is addressing the mental health crisis on campus among Marquette students
  • The value of spending daily time in prayer or meditation (what Jesuits call the examen)
  • The power in spending time outside and exercising every day
  • The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity (affiliate link)

I mentioned near the end that there’s a great video that introduced the Marquette community to Michael, and shows him running through Milwaukee and arriving at the university. Here’s the link: Hitting the Ground Running

Michael Lovell, PhD, is the 24th president of Marquette University, where he’s served since 2014. He worked with business and community leaders in Marquette’s neighborhood to create the Near West Side Partners, a nonprofit focused on strengthening economic development, housing, neighborhood identity, and safety.

He and his wife, Amy Lovell, formed Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee, a community-wide effort to address the impacts of generational trauma. We discuss this program in today’s episode.

Prior to coming to Marquette, Michael held positions at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kentucky.

He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the National Academy of Inventors, and he holds US and world patents.

Michael and Amy are the parents of four children.

To learn more about Michael and the work he’s engaged in, visit the Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee website.

Banner photo: AlekjdsOwn work, CC BY 1.0, Link

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