Remembering Carrie Mangels Phelps

By Luann Fortune, Ph.D.

A pioneer in the mind-body medicine and integrative nutrition fields, Saybrook professor and alumna Carrie Phelps, Ph.D., BCC, CWWS, passed away on Oct. 6. Carrie was a Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) alumna and chair of the Integrative Wellness Coaching (IWC) program. We remember her as kind, funny, brilliant, inspirational, compassionate, and deeply committed to her field, her friends, and all those she served, and she served everyone. She was devoted to shifting healthcare to promote optimal wellness for communities and energize well-being for individuals to expand potential, foster fulfillment, and enrich lives. Her work inspired the work of numerous Saybrook students, alumni, and faculty to promote advancements in mind-body medicine techniques and applications, research, and scholarship.

Carrie’s accomplishments in scholarship and practice were outstanding. These were important to her, and they will remain important contributions to our field, our work, and our Saybrook community. Carrie was with the MBM community from the start: Carrie was in our second cohort beginning in 2010. She earned her Ph.D. at Saybrook in Mind-Body Medicine in 2014, with a specialization in Healthcare Systems. Carrie also held a B.S. from Colorado State University and an M.S. from the University of Denver in exercise science.


Mind-Body Medicine Department Chair, Devorah Curtis, Ph.D., witnessed Carrie’s journey through her successful career. “Carrie was a humble, brilliant scholar/practitioner who loved talking about health and wellness coaching, related theories, and how to integrate the practices in daily life. We often discussed these topics which evolved into the idea of launching a mind-body coaching program. She mentioned it would be her dream to create a program like this and teach full time.”

“Carrie believed in this dream and made important decisions to make this happen. Over the past seven years, I witnessed Carrie transition from corporate work to full-time student to adjunct faculty and business owner to core faculty and department chair of the coaching program,” Dr. Curtis said. “She lived a life on purpose to serve others in the field of integrative health and wellness through teaching, coaching, and mentoring.”

Carrie was the creator and chair of the Department of Integrative Wellness Coaching from July 2017 to Aug. 2019. Grounded in her extensive practice experience and clear scholarship, Carrie developed, implemented, and conducted the new IWC program in response to a growing need and awareness of the power of wellness coaching.

Dean of College of Integrative Medicine & Health Sciences Donald Moss, Ph.D., worked with Carrie as a graduate student at Saybrook, and continued working with her in the mind-body medicine field.  He eventually recruited her to serve as chair of the Department of Integrative Wellness Coaching. “From the beginning, she distinguished herself as a thought leader on issues of health promotion and wellness coaching. The department benefited enormously from Carrie’s understanding of coaching and her perspective as a national leader in the movement to create the certification standards for health and wellness coaching.”

Carrie’s contributions extend far beyond Saybrook. In Feb. 2016, Carrie joined the National Wellness Institute (NWI) as the Director of Membership and Resource Development. She also served on the NWI Board and the NWI Council for Wellness Accreditation and Education (CWAE). In Carrie’s own words, “NWI was formed to realize the mission of providing health promotion and wellness professionals unparalleled resources and services that fuel professional and personal growth. This mission continues to drive the National Wellness Institute and forms the basis for the annual National Wellness Conference, the most highly acclaimed professional conference in health and wellness.”  Previously, Carrie served as the Director of Integrative Medicine at the Institute of Healing Arts, and the Vice President of Membership and Program for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.

Carrie was a national consultant of significant breadth. For over 20 years she led and supported wellness initiatives around the country. She was a board certified wellness and life coach, and a coach trainer, teaching certification courses throughout the US. Carrie was a frequent presenter at national conferences and served as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and National Consultant for Activate America, which included strategic planning, project management, impact analysis, executive coaching, and leading organizational change initiatives.

At Saybrook, the depths of her reach throughout the community is immeasurable. Working with students and colleagues in the field and beyond, she was always willing to offer support and mentorship.

Julie Cerrato, Ph.D., Integrative Wellness Coaching Department Interim Chair, credits Carrie with introducing her to Saybrook and her current career path. “I have no words to express my gratitude for her introducing me to Saybrook, mentoring me, allowing me to grow and develop my identity in my role, and honoring me with the opportunity to carry on her work. Certain people touch our lives with inspiration, wisdom and grace. Carrie Phelps enriched my life on a daily basis and her voice echoes on my path.”

The Saybrook community mourns the loss of our friend and colleague but is celebrating her contribution with a scholarship for two students in the Integrative Health Sciences program. The scholarship is designed to support students who embody the deep passion and commitment to humanistic values to pursue masters and doctoral degrees in integrative medicine and health science disciplines and apply their knowledge to holistic health practices. You can read more about the scholarship here.

The mind-body medicine field has lost a pioneer and the Saybrook community has lost a friend. But we were all touched personally by her kindness and professionally by her contributions. With the Dr. Carleen Mangels Phelps Integrative Health Sciences (IHS) Scholarship we hope to continue to bring light and encouragement to those aligned with the values she embodied. You can support this scholarship here by clicking the dropdown box and selecting her scholarship.


Remember Me – Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.

I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
Remember me.

Remember me in your heart:
Your thoughts, and your memories,
Of the times we loved,
The times we cried,
The times we fought,
The times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never have gone.

Carrie is survived by her husband, Todd Phelps. For those wishing to send condolences, Todd’s address is Todd Phelps, 1240 Washington Ave. Stevens Point, WI 54481. A memorial fund has also been established in Carrie’s name.