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Mandell JCC appoints new community wellness director

WEST HARTFORD – Sharon O’Brien, director and founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital Hartford, has been appointed Mandell Jewish Community Center’s new community wellness director, it was announced recently by the JCC’s Chief Operating Officer Annie Keith.

O’Brien, who has worked in the field of health promotion and wellness since 1988 – teaching prevention and intervention classes, coordinating health screenings, and promoting wellness practices – will be responsible for all wellness programming at the JCC, as well as community wellness initiatives and partnerships between the JCC and local businesses, agencies, municipalities and services, including JCC community healthcare partner Trinity Health of New England.

“I am incredibly honored to join an organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life and health in our community,” says O’Brien. “The JCC is one of the truly great nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, and as a trusted source for wellness education and engagement, the JCC will be a key referral source for medical practices and healthcare institutions whose patients need fitness, holistic options, stress management, pain management and whole body wellness. We will also work with companies that need additional wellness programs and opportunities to round out their employee benefits.”

“In the wake of this pandemic, keeping our community healthy is our most important contribution” and health and wellness is now an essential service,” said Keith in announcing O’Brien’s appointment. “Through our partnership with Trinity Health of New England, we have worked with Sharon over the years on many programs and events, and with her extensive background and experience as a wellness industry leader, she will help us expand our market footprint quickly. In addition, Sharon’s connection with our members has been so positive, that it was clear to us that she was the right fit to manage our community wellness initiatives.”

In addition to her work at the Saint Francis Hospital Center for Integrative Medicine, O’Brien also served as the assistant director of the hospital’s Comprehensive Women’s Health Center. 

In October 2020, she partnered with colleagues to open Holistic Health Options, LLC at the Mandell JCC. Holistic Health Options offers a variety of wellness options, including acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, nutrition consultations, health and life coaching and sound and energy therapy.

O’Brien, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Fitness from Springfield College, is certified in health and life coaching, mind-body medicine, M-technique, Ayurvedic massage, Reiki, weight management, mindfulness, and stress management.

“Wellness is not just the absence of disease,” adds O’Brien. “It is the quality of being in good health and ultimately taking responsibility for your health and happiness – physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. As we begin to inch out of the COVID restrictions, it is the perfect time to take stock in how we are caring for ourselves.”

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