Dr. Eva Ritvo: psychiatrist, author & founder, the Bekindr® Global Initiative

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Bio:

Eva Ritvo, MD, a psychiatrist with more than 25 years’ experience prac-ticing in Miami Beach, Florida, is the author of Bekindr - The Trans-formative Power of Kindness and the founder of the Bekindr® Global Initiative, a movement to bring more kindness in the world. She is also the co-founder of the Bold Beauty Project (BBP), a nonprofit that pairs women with disabilities with award-winning photographers creating art exhibitions to raise awareness. A regular on major media, Dr. Ritvo provides expert commentary on TV & radio and is a frequent source for journalists. She is the host of the PBS series, TechVersify and the co-author of The Beauty Prescription and The Concise Guide to Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Ritvo is the former Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the former Vice Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the Univer-sity of Miami. She’s a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatry Association and a member of the American College of Psychiatrists.  She serves on the board of United Community Options (formerly United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida.) In 2015, she was recognized as their National Volunteer of the Year. Dr. Ritvo received her undergraduate and medical degrees from UCLA, and psychiatry residency training at Weill Cornell Medicine.

What do I do best?

Over the last three years, I have spent a lot of time focusing on kindness, so I hope that is what I do best! Practicing psychiatry and raising a daughter with a disability have also taught me much about being kind. I think we have all gotten so distracted that it is hard to remember the simple things we need to do to be kind to one another. I try to do them as often as possible: smile, hold a door open, give someone something (including a compliment), let some-one in front of me in traffic, ask someone how their day is going…Small acts can make a big difference both to the giver and the receiver.  

What makes me the best version of myself?

As I get older, I have found that the need to take better care of myself has become more important if I want to be my best. I demand a lot from myself and need to be in top mental and physical state. A formula that works for me is plenty of sleep, exercise and avoiding alcohol. We live in a very competitive time and proper self-care helps me stay at or near the top of my game.  Surrounding myself with positive people and events that challenge and stimu-late me also helps me reach my potential.  

What are my aspirations?

Personally, I’m excited to see my adult children continue to grow and thrive. They are beautiful young women (22 and 26) and are at very exciting stages of their lives. They are the biggest supporters for all my projects and per-haps, they will work with me in the future as my businesses continue to grow.

Professionally, I would like to see my newest book, Bekindr: The Transformative Power of Kindness impacting people around the world.  The feedback that I have received that most excites me is that readers are thinking more about kindness. This melts my heart and encourages me to spread the message as far and wide as possible! I’m also very excited to be working with award winning film maker Ian Halperin and Emmy award winning producer Patrice Sama-ra to create a Bekindr documentary to help spread kindness.  

My Biggest Success?

In 2014, I co-founded the Bold Beauty Project with Rochelle Baer, LCSW.  We are a Miami based nonprofit that pairs women with disabilities with award winning photographers to create art shows. We have hosted exhibits in Wash-ington, D.C., Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Our work has been seen by over 50,000 at-tendees at these various shows and many more online. My daughter participated as a model and photographer and that experience changed her life.  I wrote about it Bekindr.  I am so proud of this project and want to see it continue to grow.  Our next shows will be at ArtPalm Beach in January 2018 and in Philadelphia in April 2018. After that, we hope to bring the project to Montreal and other cities around the world.  

My Most Challenging Moment?

Starting in 2008, I went through a very difficult separation and divorce. A radio announcer was so kind to me when I was a guest on his show, Louie B. Free, Brainfood for the Heartland. He became my champion and guided me over the phone and we texted ever since. I found it odd that a stranger helped me so much in a time of crisis. That expe-rience inspired me to collect other stories about kind acts by strangers. I created Bekindr.com as a site where peo-ple could send in their stories and read about others. The response was overwhelming. From the stories that were posted, I then chose 64 stories for the Bekindr book which was released November 2017.  Louie and I will meet in person for the first time in 2018 when I come to his hometown of Cleveland for the Bekindr launch.  I dedicated the book to him and my daughters.

My Motto?

BEKINDR!

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My daughters are my favorite people and I learn so much from them. They have taught me to be kind, confident and optimistic. My parents are also my role models.  They are both child psychiatrists and my dad still goes to work 5 days a week at age 87. They live independently and have very active and vibrant lives.  They have both taken excel-lent care of their health and now are reaping the rewards.  

In business, I admire Rochelle Baer, LCSW, who is a visionary and works tirelessly despite her health challenges. Robert Zuckerman, master photographer, has changed my life by assisting my daughter and inspiring me.  He works 24/7 to make the world a better place.  He is a genius and I am blessed by his creativity and enthusiasm especially for our shared projects.  Robert always offers a joke to keep us laughing.  I am also deeply grateful to Ian Halperin, Patrice Samara and Louie Free who are assisting with Bekindr.  I am learning so much from each of them and value their wisdom and experience.  Lastly, I am inspired by Jessica Kizorek, founder of Badass Business Women and crea-tor of TechVersify, a PBS special series I hosted. She is young and brilliant and a constant giver.  I think the genera-tions need to collaborate and see the beauty in what each age brings to the table. Together, we can achieve so much more.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I love to be home.  My family lives in California, Virginia and Michigan so I travel very often to see them and also travel for work, so I relish the time I can be home in Miami Beach between November and June.  During the sum-mer, any place cooler is my favorite place! You can invite me almost anywhere and I will say yes!  My best trip ever was to Asia as it was so different and really broadened my thinking.  I hope to go back and there is already interest in translating Bekindr, so I can  spread kindness wherever I go.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love The Skimm. It gives me the news in bite sized pieces wrapped in humor so I know what is going on and can avoid mainstream media which makes me believe the world is about to end.

My Current Passions?

I am creating an interactive art installation with a team of global artists based on Bekindr and Kindness for ArtPalm-Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center from January 18-21, 2017.  I love meeting new people and it will give me a chance to hear what others think of when they think about kindness.  It will combine my two work passions: The Bold Beauty Project and Bekindr. We plan to replicate the project in San Francisco and go to other cities as there is no place that couldn't benefit from a bit more kindness!  

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