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Peggy Spencer

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UNM Sponsored Retreat for Student Veterans

May 15 - 19, 2019

With Peggy Spencer, MD

The UNM Student Veterans Retreat assists military veterans in the transition from military life to student life using these three interwoven components:

  • Mindfulness training. Mindfulness has been defined as “present moment awareness without judgement.” Using simple breath and body awareness, you will learn to quiet your mind and focus your attention. Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve health, mitigate pain and manage stress. We use meditation, movement and creative arts to teach and practice this vital skill.
  • Camaraderie. Veterans have unique experiences not shared by the traditional college student, and going to college as a veteran can be a lonely venture. We offer a forum for meeting and getting to know other veterans, through group discussions and simply by being together. It takes a veteran to know a veteran. Make new friendships and help each other navigate the post-military and university landscape.
  • Nature. Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center comprises 130 acres in the Tusas Mountains, surrounded by 300,000 acres of Carson National Forest. We have group hikes and time for individual exploration. The natural beauty is stunning. Here you will get away from city noise and e-bombardment.  Without traffic, cell phones or internet service, you can experience the healing power of the wind in the trees, the sun on your face and a million stars at night.

You can learn more about the retreat HERE.

Peggy Spencer

Peggy Spencer, MD, is the founder and director of the UNM Student Veterans Retreat. Her medical training consists of medical school at University of Arizona and Family Medicine residency at UNM. She worked at UNM Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) for 25 years before transitioning in 2015 to the Veterans Administration Hospital, where she now serves as a primary care provider. The seed for her interest in serving veterans was planted in childhood during the Vietnam War, when she was distressed to see veterans struggling mightily upon their return home. Later, as Peggy cared for students at UNM before and after their military service, this interest ripened into a passion as she witnessed the changes wrought by combat and the challenges faced by these nontraditional students transitioning from military to civilian life. Peggy’s experience with Mindfulness includes Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training, Hakomi Mind-Body Therapy, various Mindfulness retreats and courses, and most importantly her own regular meditation practice. As a result, she holds a deep conviction that mindfulness is a powerful tool for meeting life’s challenges with equanimity and authenticity. The UNM Student Veterans Retreat is a result of combining her passions for veterans and mindfulness into an experience she feels privileged to share.

Dr. Spencer is joined by a highly qualified staff of teachers and counselors. Contact for details.