Tuesday, March 13, 2018

June 2017 Press Release: Interfaith Medical Center Brings Healing Therapy to Brooklyn Residents

One of my favorite recent projects! In 2017, Faith Bynoe, M Div and I in partnership with the IM Foundation and NYC Center for Health Equity facilitated "Healing Circles" in Brooklyn.  In addition to the ones listed below at Interfaith Medical Center and the Bishop Orris G Walker, Jr. Healthcare Center, we facilitated circles in local NYCHA Housing and the Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center.  We look forward to continuing and expanding!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2017

Contact: Alina Agusti (212) 725-2378

Interfaith Medical Center Brings Healing Therapy to Brooklyn Residents

New York, NY -  While holistic healing methods are not exclusively tied to any one culture, it is true that medically underserved areas have less access to healers trained in traditional healing techniques such as yoga, mindful meditation, and reiki. However, on June 15th from 12:30-1:30 PM and June 14th from 12-1 PM, Interfaith Medical Center (1545 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213) and the Bishop Orris G. Walker, Jr. Healthcare Center (528 Prospect Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238), respectively, brought healing circles to the residents of central Brooklyn.

“Central Brooklyn is a culturally diverse community with many existing healing practices from around the world and it is my hope that these healing circles help residents integrate those practices into their everyday routine,” said LaRay Brown, President and CEO of Interfaith Medical Center. “Interfaith is committed to not just providing high quality healthcare to our patients, but also giving them the tools to take control of their health. These healing circles will further strengthen our bridge with the community, while creating safe and enjoyable spaces for residents who may not have had access to them in the past,” Brown continued.

The Healing Circle program, funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, aims to not only lift community-based, culturally-specific, and holistic practices that already exist in our neighborhoods and cultures, but to also help disrupt the idea that a person’s health outcomes are primarily impacted by institutions and individuals with MDs.

Healing therapies offered included Femme! movement, yoga techniques, discussion, meditation, reiki, music therapy essential oil therapy and more. The project is facilitated by Faith Bynoe M Div and Dr. Luella Toni Lewis.

“My work is dedicated to promoting health and spiritual growth, but I see it through a perspective that is centered around integration. Having worked to create more integrated yoga spaces nationally, I believe we can all reap the highest benefits when we are inclusive and bring these healing practices to medically underserved and diverse areas,” said Faith Bynoe M Div.

“The cultures in Brooklyn are rich with holistic healing practices, however many residents don’t realize how incorporating these techniques into their daily lives can benefit their overall health ,” said Dr. Luella Toni Lewis. “With these healing circles we are helping to reshape the conversation around traditional health care and alternative healing practices.”

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Faith Bynoe M Div is a faith leader and philanthropist whose life mission is supporting the development of people as they strengthen their communities. She focuses on the intersectionality of integrative health and spiritual formation through a womanist and racial equity lens. It’s at this intersection that Faith believes people will optimize their health and focus on cultivating a just society. An integrative therapist (yoga and essential oil therapy, reiki and contemplative care) she created the yoga program and Healthy Living/Weight Loss Challenge at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, and is a founder of Bending Towards Justice, a company creating more inclusive yoga spaces nationally, by educating yoga teachers on racial equity and inclusion.

Faith coordinates the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Group for Marga, Inc., bringing together foundations with over $2 billion in assets to improve their operations by integrating a racial equity and inclusion lens into their institutional policies. For the past 15 years, Faith has worked within the philanthropic sector working for and with grant making institutions, concentrating on the responsible redevelopment of communities through a racialized lens. During her tenure at the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ms. Bynoe managed over $80 million in grants; advised partners on effective strategies for philanthropic investment; facilitated community meetings; and worked with nonprofit organizations and foundations to authentically and effectively work together.

In addition, Faith practices her own philanthropy while being active within her community. She is a founding member of the Black Benefactors, a giving circle focus on grant making in the Washington D.C. metro area. Faith is also a member of the Association of Black Executives (ABFE), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and a Masters Series of Distinguished Leaders fellow.

In her spare time, Faith loves to deepen her own yoga practice and hang out with family and friends.


Dr. Luella Toni Lewis has spent her life committed to social justice. From a very early age, she was taught by her family that service was the highest form of leadership and that all humans deserve justice, dignity, and respect. With their support, she pursued a career in social justice through medicine and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and a Medical Doctorate from Georgetown University.

In 2004, Dr. Lewis became a family medicine resident and a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) -- the largest physician’s union in the Service Employees International Union. Dr. Lewis became very active with CIR/SEIU, working with unions and allies to advocate for the community served by the failing system. She served the members of CIR/SEIU in many capacities from 2006-2010, including roles from delegate to National President.

As the healthcare reform movement intensified in 2008, Dr. Lewis continued to work to raise the voice of healthcare providers and the communities they serve. Because of this work, in 2010, with support of her family, friends, patients and colleagues, she was appointed Chair of SEIU Healthcare and elected International Vice President of SEIU. Dr. Lewis has worked with SEIU in many areas -- including ACA implementation and health system transformation, global health, youth engagement, racial justice, disaster response, and political strategy. She seves on various boards and leadership committees of health and social justice organizations, including a recent appointment to the NAtional Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leadership Program.

She is devoted to justice, especially health justice, for all communities. Dr. Lewis is a Family Physician, Geriatrician and internationally credentialed FEMME! Movement and Kinetic (African) yoga instructor.

Both Ms. Bynoe and Dr. Lewis reside in Brooklyn, NY.