Bexley resident Holly Kastan will be recognized as the 2018 honoree of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Stress, Trauma and Resilience Program at the Faces of Resilience dinner.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. today, April 19, in the Franklin Ballroom at the Marriott Columbus University Area, 3100 Olentangy River Road.

In 2005, Kastan teamed up with doctors at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center to cofound the STAR Program. She created the initial vision for the program that now provides education and clinical services in addition to conducting research to assist victims of psychological trauma.

Kastan said she decided to initiate the program after experiencing firsthand the effects of personal trauma. After her daughter, Sarah, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome more than 20 years ago, Kastan said she realized the need for a comprehensive program to assist trauma survivors.

"That experience is something that woke me up about the impact that trauma has on health," she said. "Trauma is quite common among the U.S. population. When we all experience trauma, we feel very much alone."

Kastan, who holds a bachelor's degree in management science and history from Duke University, channeled her grief into action.

She went back to school and earned a master's degree in social work from Ohio State in 2005.

"I began researching how people overcome trauma in their lives, what are the resilience factors," she said. "You can't take a shortcut, and you can't sort of push (the effects of trauma) down. The only way to recover is the painful way ... to get professional help and support from family and friends."

Kastan served as director of the STAR program from its founding in 2005 through May 2014. She continues to further the program's mission of providing support to trauma survivors.

"Without Holly, there would not be a STAR program," said Dr. Eileen Ryan, an Ohio State psychiatrist who works with the program.

"Every family, in some way, is touched to some extent by trauma. We've seen that especially here in central Ohio with the opiate crisis. Very serious trauma -- not only depression, but serious losses. She was able to direct her energies in a way that broadens community support," Ryan said.

Kastan, who now runs the consulting firm HSK Consulting LLC, was born and raised in Bexley, where she still resides. She and her husband, Brad, have three adult children, Rebecca, Sam and Jake.

"I love Bexley. I'm a diehard Bexley person," Kastan said. "I love the changes that are happening in the community. The community's becoming more diverse. We're getting a lot more entertainment and culture. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

Kastan said community support has been essential to her work in helping trauma survivors, and she encourages those interested in making a difference to donate to the STAR program.

"Everybody is going to experience a loss at some point that rocks their world," Kastan said. "We all need to be able to recover and get the help that we need."

For more information about the STAR program and the Faces of Resilience event, visit www.wexnermedical.osu.edu.

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