Our Story

In late 2014 and after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the founders of the Invictus Institute of Colorado, Sam Peterson and Jeffrey Haugland were both mentally and physically spent. Once they returned to the places and the people they loved they found themselves struggling to complete simple everyday tasks. When they sought help from the established medical system they were both prescribed a multitude of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication and antipsychotics and told to “soldier on.” They would soon be case studies for the ineffectiveness of prescription medication to treat post-traumatic stress, anxiety and suicidal ideations.

“Right now, there are a countless number of combat veterans struggling not to take the loaded gun sitting on their nightstand and put it into their mouth. I know this because on Christmas Day 2014, after returning from my second tour in Afghanistan, I was that guy. If it weren’t for the people closest to me who wouldn’t allow me to quit on myself I wouldn’t be here.” – Sam Peterson

“After tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, I was exposed to blasts that ultimately lead to multiple traumatic brain injuries, spinal fusion and severely limited my cognitive and normal daily function. Easy, everyday tasks became a challenge through the migraines, and I found myself not being able to recall what I was doing or where I was going while driving. Things that once were easy became very hard, and depression set in. I was told this was the quality of life I should get used to. I asked my doctors to figure out a way to treat me because the life I was left with was not the type of man or father I was willing to be. I was prescribed medication after medication with no improvement. After months of not being able to pick up my 15-pound son and being told that this diminished, damaged version of my former self is what I need to get used to, I came to the conclusion that I was the problem. And like so many before me, the quickest way to remove the threat was to put a gun in my mouth and make all the pain go away. I credit my son with saving my life, because had he not cried at that very moment, I may not be here to share my story and serve others like us.” – Jeffrey Haugland

We understand what it is like to be the hopeless patient. We have had first-hand experience with how our current system creates lifelong patients, rather than addressing the root causes of symptoms. After experiencing this first hand and watching the people around suffer and then succumb to suicide we decided to do something about it.

The Invictus Institute of Colorado isn’t just an organization for treating combat veterans it was created to be a beacon of hope to anyone suffering from mental health disorders. We have assembled a fantastic team of clinicians who share our passion for creating positive change in this industry. We believe that with our treatment protocls we can give our patients a fighting chance at a higher quality of life.

Our Story

In late 2014 and after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the founders of the Invictus Institute of Colorado, Sam Peterson and Jeffrey Haugland were both mentally and physically spent. Once they returned to the places and the people they loved they found themselves struggling to complete simple everyday tasks. When they sought help from the established medical system they were both prescribed a multitude of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication and antipsychotics and told to “soldier on.” They would soon be case studies for the ineffectiveness of prescription medication to treat post-traumatic stress, anxiety and suicidal ideations.

“Right now, there are a countless number of combat veterans struggling not to take the loaded gun sitting on their nightstand and put it into their mouth. I know this because on Christmas Day 2014, after returning from my second tour in Afghanistan, I was that guy. If it weren’t for the people closest to me who wouldn’t allow me to quit on myself I wouldn’t be here.” – Sam Peterson

“After tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, I was exposed to blasts that ultimately lead to multiple traumatic brain injuries, spinal fusion and severely limited my cognitive and normal daily function. Easy, everyday tasks became a challenge through the migraines, and I found myself not being able to recall what I was doing or where I was going while driving. Things that once were easy became very hard, and depression set in. I was told this was the quality of life I should get used to. I asked my doctors to figure out a way to treat me because the life I was left with was not the type of man or father I was willing to be. I was prescribed medication after medication with no improvement. After months of not being able to pick up my 15-pound son and being told that this diminished, damaged version of my former self is what I need to get used to, I came to the conclusion that I was the problem. And like so many before me, the quickest way to remove the threat was to put a gun in my mouth and make all the pain go away. I credit my son with saving my life, because had he not cried at that very moment, I may not be here to share my story and serve others like us.” – Jeffrey Haugland

We understand what it is like to be the hopeless patient. We have had first-hand experience with how our current system creates lifelong patients, rather than addressing the root causes of symptoms. After experiencing this first hand and watching the people around suffer and then succumb to suicide we decided to do something about it.

The Invictus Institute of Colorado isn’t just an organization for treating combat veterans it was created to be a beacon of hope to anyone suffering from mental health disorders. We have assembled a fantastic team of clinicians who share our passion for creating positive change in this industry. We believe that with our treatment protocls we can give our patients a fighting chance at a higher quality of life.

Sam Peterson – Co-Founder & CEO

Sam is a former US Army Bomb Technician who has served multiple tours in Afghanistan. He and Jeffrey Haugland founded the Invictus Institute in order to bring access to more effective care to patients suffering from mental illness

Mary Poffenbarger R.N.

Mary has over seven years of experience in the medical field as a registered nurse and has extensive operating room experience.

Jeffrey Haugland- Co-Founder & COO

Jeffrey is a former US Army Bomb Technician who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and sustained multiple injuries in the line of duty. Jeff’s drive to help others suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress comes from his  experiences as a patient.

RET. SGM Pepe Ramirez MSW

Pepe served on active duty in the Marine Corps for twenty years and retired with a rank of Sergeant Major. Upon his retirement, he took on the position of Combat Operational Stress Control Regional Training Coordinator (COSC RTC). Pepe has been working with military service members to overcome PTSD, depression and traumatic brain injuries since his retirement and specializes in the administration of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Ronald Minter M.D.

Dr. Minter is a board-certified anesthesiologist and Army National Guard Veteran who has a passion for serving people that has been developed over his more than 20 years of anaesthesia experience. Dr. Minter attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin and completed his residency at SUNY Stonybrook. In 1995 Dr. Minter relocated to Massachusetts to serve as the chief of pediatric anesthesia at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1999, he started at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and was eventually promoted to their chief of the Department of Anesthesiology/Medical Director of Perioperative Services. For nearly 20 years Dr. Minter was a member of Harvard Medical Schools faculty. After too many long MA winters Dr. Minter relocated his family to Colorado and began to privately practice anesthesia.

Medical Director

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