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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
From Murphy Hall
Living La Vida 'Lorca'
Stress Fractures
What's at Stake
The Importance of Being Elma
House of Cards
The Quest
Through Women's Eyes
Dynamic Duo
Bruin Walk

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Spring 2005
Stress Fractures

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YET NPI REMAINS something of a well-kept local secret. “We have one of the finest institutes of human neuroscience in the world right here in Los Angeles, but what we know inside of the university is not readily available to people who live outside in the community,” Whybrow says. The Semel Institute presents the opportunity to transform neuroscientific knowledge into genuine self-knowledge. Plans are for lectures, exhibits, community programs — a unique academic-community partnership that creates a true place of belonging.

“There’s a hunger out there for connection,” Whybrow says, “especially among young people, who feel so out to sea.”

“The new Semel Institute will be a compassionate gateway,” says Jane Nathanson, a psychotherapist and NPI community board member who has staunchly advocated outreach beyond the traditional bounds of medicine. Two years ago, she and her husband, Marc, founded the Nathanson Family Resource Center at Neuropsychiatric Hospital to provide families of patients with a comfortable meeting place, a library and Internet access to learn about disorders ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s.

The Semel Institute will strive for more of this “user-friendliness,” Nathanson says. She imagines people congregating in a pleasant park-like space built into the new architectural design, socializing, enjoying lectures and films and educational programs that will bring experts together with community members.

“We want to make the institute a place people will come to not only when they’re ill, but when they’re healthy,” she says.

Why this focus on community? Because, as Whybrow elucidates in American Mania, community is an essential facet of human life.

“Human beings love to live in community, in stable social groups,” he says. “When things are in balance ... we don’t get greedy because the give and take of social interaction prevents that from happening.”


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