Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

Penny George Institute for Health and Healing
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
800 East 28th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota  55407

Courtney Baechler, MD, Vice President

Telephone: 612-863-6122



As the largest hospital-based program of its kind in the country, the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing is setting national standards for enhancing health care through an integrative health approach. The “Living Whole & Being Well” philosophy encourages everyone to seek their highest level of wellbeing every day.

Founded in 2003, the Penny George Institute provides outstanding integrative care to patients and employees in all settings across Abbott Northwestern and its related Allina hospitals and clinics. The Institute seeks to transform health care by blending the art of healing and the science of curing to optimize the health of the whole person — mind, body and spirit.
In addition to providing patient care, the Institute engages in education for health care professionals, teaches the public about health and health promotion, and conducts research to identify best practices of integrative health and the impact of these services on health care costs.

Each month, the Penny George Institute’s integrative health professionals provide enhanced care through more than 900 inpatient visits at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. More than 65,000 inpatient visits have been made since 2003.  The work is fully integrated at Abbott Northwestern, Allina’s flagship hospital, with care being provided in collaboration with medical/surgical areas, the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, Neuroscience Institute, Orthopaedic Institute, Sister Kenny® Rehabilitation Institute, and the Spine Institute.

The Outpatient Clinic, which was founded in 2004, handles more than 700 visits each month.

The following are examples of the Center’s services and accomplishments:

  • Anyone seeking an integrative approach to care can access acupuncture/Oriental Medicine, Ayurveda, biofeedback, energy healing, healing coaching, herbal consultation, integrative physician consultation, integrative nutrition counseling, massage therapy, mind/body therapies, spiritual coaching, and therapeutic yoga.
  • The Livewell Fitness center, founded in 2006, goes beyond traditional fitness training to help clients use exercise to promote health, including people whose health is compromised and those who want to return to good health or optimize their health through exercise. It also serves as a fitness center for employees of Allina, Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
  • In 2010, the Penny George Institute was fully integrated into the programming for Unity Hospital’s comprehensive cancer center, a partnership of Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, Sister Kenny® Rehabilitation Institute, and Minnesota Oncology.
  • The Art of Healing program offers arts programming for patients, visitors, employees and volunteers. Music therapy is used to reduce anxiety, stress and pain. Exhibits, concerts, classes and other events explore the healing aspects of art.
  • Penny George Institute researchers are actively investigating many aspects of integrative health, including the use of integrative modalities, the impact of integrative health services on specific patient populations and the health care system, and the effectiveness of lifestyle change programs.  This year, the Penny George Institute received a $2.4 million NIH grant to further research the use of integrative care for pain management in the acute care setting.
  • In 2009, the Allina employee research study, Resilience Training, was shown to decrease average depression scores by 71% and increase quality of life scores by more than 70%. This evidence lead to the program being covered 90% by Allina’s self insurer.
  • The Institute provides several major educational programs for health care providers: The Transformative Nurse Training (TNT) program teaches nurses the knowledge, skills and confidence to enhance care through an integrative and holistic approach.  The Integrative Health Practitioner Training for Oriental Medicine Professionals and Massage Therapists, and the Hospital-Based Integrative Health Care Conference trains health care providers how to better utilize integrative therapies within standard health care settings.