Adjusting to the New Normal: COVID-19 & Mental Health

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Live Webinar

Wednesday, October 20, 7-8:15 pm EDT | Calculate your local time

With vaccination rates increasing, businesses re-opening and countries loosening restrictions, people are slowly emerging from their homes and resuming their daily lives after over one and half years of a global pandemic. While vaccinations have helped to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and substantially reduced the severity, COVID and COVID variants continue to infect those across the globe with no end in sight. Many of us need to mentally prepare for a new normal, as we recognize that life is not the same as it was in the past. Additionally, the pandemic has created uncertainty in nearly every aspect of daily life, and has taken a toll on our mental wellbeing. What effect has the pandemic had on mental health? What are some healthy ways to cope with coronavirus-related anxiety? In this webinar, mental health experts share their insights into the psychological impact of living in a COVID-19 world in Japan and the United States, and how we can best transition to this new way of life.

View the full program below:


Jeremy Hunter, Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute & Associate Professor of Practice, Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University
Kaori Itokazu, Counselor, Ganjuu Wellbeing Service, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)
Mark James, Philosopher & Cognitive Scientist, Embodied Cognitive Science Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)

Ramona Handel-Bajema, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Japan Society

7-8:15 pm EDT   Discussion and Q&A

This is a free event. You must register for the webinar to receive the login details.

For more information, please contact the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or email [email protected].

In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, Japan Society is engaging in a dynamic year-long exploration of the archipelago’s people, culture, history, and geopolitical significance. See more upcoming events from the Okinawa in Focus series →

About the Speakers

Jeremy Hunter, Ph.D. is the great-grandson of a sumo wrestler. He serves as the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Institute as well as Associate Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management. He is also a co-founder and partner of Transform LLC in Tokyo, Japan. For nearly two decades, he has helped leaders transform themselves while retaining their humanity in the face of monumental change and challenge. He created and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education programs. They are dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.” He also co-leads the Leading Mindfully Executive Education program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and teaches the Mindfulness for Effective Leadership Executive Education track at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He has designed and led leadership development programs for a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 200 aerospace, Fortune 50 banking and finance, accounting, the arts and civic non-profits. Program impacts have lead to both positive professional, personal and financial outcomes for participants. Hunter has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He has been voted Professor of the Year eight times. His work is informed by the experience of living day-to-day for 17 years with a potentially terminal illness. When faced with the need for life-saving surgery more than a dozen former students came forward as organ donors. Dr. Hunter received his Ph.D. from University of Chicago, under the direction of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He also holds a degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and in East Asian Studies from Wittenberg University.

Kaori Itokazu is a counselor at Ganjuu Wellbeing Service. She has been working at OIST since 2015 and provides services in Japanese and English. She is originally from Okinawa but obtained her training and counselor license (LPC) in Denver, Colorado. Prior to her curent role, she was a mental health clinician at Asian Pacific Development Center in Denver and mainly worked with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders population including newly resettled refugees. She has worked with diverse populations from different cultures in both settings. Kaori holds a MA in Counseling Psychology Counselor Education from University of Colorado Denver and a BS in Psychology from University of Maryland University College. She lives with her husband, her mother, and a 2-year-old son in Naha, Okinawa.

Mark M. James, Ph.D. is a currently working as a philosopher and cognitive scientist within the Embodied Cognitive Science Unit at OIST. Mark was awarded the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for his project Locating Virtual Bodies and will use findings from the COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences surveys to inquire into the role of digital mediation in enabling experiences of social connection throughout the pandemic.

Mark has published on topics related to embodied intersubjectivity, habituation, enactive cognitive science, learning, and design (See James 2020, James & Loaiza 2020). Mark was previously awarded the prestigious Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship by the Irish Research Council for his PhD project, entitled Enhabiting Participatory Sense-Making Frames. In that project, he developed an account of how the dynamics of in-person interaction enable the emergence of stable interactive patterns that both perpetuate and transform the cultural order wherein they come into being (see James 2021).

Mark has appeared in numerous public venues to speak and write about the application of philosophical insights to everyday matters, and he is the host of the recently launched Connectomics podcast, where he speaks with guests about the intersection of embodied cognitive science, philosophy, culture, technology and design.

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