In 2001, Dr. Jerry Sonkens, a Salt Lake City-based doctor treating cancers of the head and neck, asked himself the question, “Why do patients with a similar diagnosis have different responses to treatment?”  He speculated that “mental attitude and emotional/spiritual resilience” played important roles, but knew of no evidence-based theories at the time that supported this conclusion. In discussing his observations with other physicians, Jerry learned that they too often saw similar results----when patients responded with resolve and optimism to their challenges, they often had a better outcome, suffered less acute side effects from treatment, and had a higher quality of life whether they ultimately outlived the diagnosis or not.  Jerry quietly speculated that there might be a relationship between “healing,” and being made whole with one’s mental, emotional and spiritual approach to the disease.  This led him to attend a 2001 Harvard University School of Medicine conference on healing the body, mind, and spirit.  It changed his life.

Jerry returned home and co-sponsored an international conference with Harvard in Salt Lake City in 2002.  500 attendees from 37 states and 4 countries joined together to learn the latest research on 
healing the mind, body and spirit integrating the best of conventional medicine with complementary care.  Enthusiasm generated by the conference was contagious; Jerry along with other Salt Lake City-based physicians, nurses, and chaplains founded SHIM (Institute for Spirituality and Healing in Medicine). The message was simple and compelling:  Emerging research showed that one’s mental state, emotional/social connectedness and deep connection to spiritual belief had a measurable impact on one’s quality of life, longevity and outcome.

Since 2002, SHIM has pioneered the effort to bring this message to others through sponsoring hundreds of workshops reaching thousands of healthcare professionals and their patients.  The topics cover evidence-based complementary care interventions (like acupuncture, music therapy, nutrition, exercise, ) and how to engage one’s inner resilience and faith in the healing process. Resiliency-oriented topics included mindfulness meditation, yoga, daily centering practice, prayer, journaling, 
social connectedness, gratitude, forgiveness, and service.  

HIARC Leadership

HIARC History

2002 SHIM (Institute of Spirituality and Healing in Medicine) Founded
SHIM founded to help bring to light the benefits of evidence-based health practices in health care and disease prevention.

2002 Harvard Spirituality and Healing in Medicine Conference
SHIM co-sponsors conference with Harvard Medical School in Salt Lake City. Nearly 500 participants from 37 states and 4 foreign countries attended lectures on integrative health practices.

2003-2011 SHIM continues to sponsor annual conferences
SHIM continues education efforts with annual conferences and monthly workshops with the support of many groups including Sorenson Foundation,
HCA-St. Marks and others.

2012-Present Annual U of U Integrative Health and Resiliency Conference
SHIM aligns with University of Utah Department of Health Promotion and Education in expanded effort to incorporate integrative health practices into general awareness.

2014 Health Integration and Resiliency Center (HIARC)
SHIM changes name
to better reflect our mission to advance whole person care.

2016-HIARC launches Strategic Personal Resiliency (SPKR) for Kids
Teaching and mentoring parents in cultivating resilient children.

2017 - Ex-Offender Project
HIARC launches regular weekly Resilience Training for former felons, released on parole or probation, through the Utah Department of Corrections.  This fragile population faces very significant challenges in reintegrating into a productive healthy life in employment, housing, family and social relationships.


7 Principles of Healing

Social Connectedness


Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

HIARC would like to thank all of our generous sponsors without whom this important work would not be possible.

Long Term Care

In 2010, SHIM teamed up with the College of Health at the University of Utah to sponsor an annual 2-day conference for healthcare professionals.  This gave us an opportunity to integrate clinical research that brought together the best leading-edge advancements in conventional and complementary medicine to researchers and practitioners. 200 healthcare professionals attend these annual conferences, and again, enthusiasm runs high for how the combination of complementary care and resiliency can dramatically improve our health care outcomes (moving from disease management to whole person care), lower costs and lead to a healthier, happier public.

 In 2014 we made the decision to change our title to more accurately reflect our goals in improving healthcare. The title selected HIARC (Health Integration and Resiliency Center), encompasses our major mission of improved healthcare for those giving and receiving care. We want to empower the public, both directly and through employers and social service organizations, to take ownership of their long-term health and well-being.  

2016 HIARC launches Strategic Personal Resiliency for Kids (SPKR) Training offered to low-income parents of at-risk children with behavioral challenges.  This program teaches parents and caregivers how to mentor their children to cultivate personal, positive behaviors and responses in the face of daily challenges.

2017 HIARC launches weekly Resilience Training for ex-offenders, currently on parole or probation, in partnership with The Training and Resources Learning Center, Utah Department of Corrections in Provo Utah.  Participants are taught how to develop new ways of thinking and responding to the significant challenges they face building a new life outside of prison---a life that is productive, healthy, purposeful and connected to positive role models in their families and community.


Dental Exams

Board of Trustees



To advance whole person health and healing in mind, body, and spirit through educating and empowering healthcare professionals and those they serve in the use of evidence-based complementary care and resilience.  To train and support underserved people in our community who most need intensive help in learning and applying resilience principles in their lives, but who can least afford it.