Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation is a monthly lecture series offered through Vail Health Behavioral Health Innovation Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison. The series features innovative leaders in behavioral health treatment and research and offers continuing education credit for mental health professionals.

As the rate of mental illness—especially depression, anxiety, and substance abuse—continues to climb in the United States, the mental health field of medicine is in dire need of new perspectives and treatments. The Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation Lecture Series seeks to address this mental health crisis head-on by providing fresh, scientifically-supported perspectives on mental illness and a framework for understanding a range of new evidence-based treatments. The novel interventions explored in this lecture series approach emotional health in ways that leverage ecological and psychosocial understandings of wellbeing and that tap into evolved human capacities for strengthen psychological and physical resilience factors that are protective against mental illness.

Upcoming Lectures

Session 9 |  March 7, 2024  |  12:00 - 1:00PM MST  |  ZOOM (Online)
Leveraging Polyvagal Theory to Enhance the Treatment of Traumatized Patients: a Conversation with Dr. Stephen Porges

Presented by Dr. Stephen Porges & Dr. Charles Raison

As humans, we take for granted that—for better or worse—our lives are intimately entwined with those of others. Remember how off-putting the empty public spaces of Covid were, how unnatural, and how quickly we’ve rushed back to being packed together in so many of our activities? We should marvel at this ability because it came along late in the evolution of life in a world where most interactions involved eating, being eaten, or fighting to reproduce. How did we manage while becoming so dependent upon each other from the moment of our birth to the moment of our death?
Of all the theories that have addressed this question, none have been more impactful than Polyvagal Theory which explains how we evolved and provides explanations for why, and how, trauma—especially early in life—so often promotes depression, anxiety, and poor physical health.
Join Dr. Stephen Porges, creator of Polyvagal Theory, and Dr. Charles Raison, Director of the Vail Health Behavioral Innovation Center as they delve into the theory and examine the clinical implications of enhancing the care of patients with trauma histories. 


Who is the lecture series for?

The Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation Lecture Series is designed for psychologists, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and other behavioral health clinicians. However, a vast variety of interesting and popular mental and behavioral health topics will be covered throughout this series. We encourage anyone interested in the topics to participate and learn.

Cost & Accreditation

This accredited lecture series is FREE. Participants must register for each lecture to access the information and receive course credits. 

In support of improving patient care, the Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation Lecture Series has been planned and implemented by the University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP and Vail Health. The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Learning Objectives

From participation in this educational lecture series, members of the healthcare team will be able to:
  • Describe the scientific rationale behind adaptive stress based and related empirically supported interventions for depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and related mental health conditions
  • Plan and implement adaptive stress based and related empirically supported mental health interventions in clinical practice
  • Describe and mange risks associated with adaptive stress based and related empirically supported mental health interventions

How to Register

There are two registration buttons available for Upcoming Lectures. Please register based on your need for continuing education credits:

If you are intrigued by the monthly topics and would like to learn more for your own personal interest, please register via the 'REGISTER TO WATCH >' button. This button will prompt you send a pre-filled email our team at You will then receive a response with the upcoming lecture Zoom link. Please note: you will need to register each month to receive the upcoming lecture link.

If you are clinical mental health professional participating in the series for continuing education credit, please register via the 'REGISTER FOR CREDIT >' button. This link will direct you to sign up through the University of Wisconsin-Madison's system. You will receive access to the lecture through the UWM portal and/or via a reminder link that will be emailed through that system. Please note: you will need to register each month to be enrolled in each session.

Past Lectures

Session 1 
Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation: Non-Specific Treatments, Adaptive Stress and the Future of Depression-Enduring

In this talk, Dr. Charles Raison will apply an evolutionary lens to address the urgent question of why treatments for mental illness have not made the type of progress that has occurred in other fields of medicine, especially oncology. 

Session 2
Novel Approaches to Behavioral Health Innovation: Challenging Yourself with Thermal Stress to Improve Health and Well-being

Presented by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D.
Intentional exposure to both heat and cold can have remarkable health benefits. 


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