June 12, 2019
Dear Valued Constituents of the Center for Mindfulness,
Just over 40 years ago Jon Kabat-Zinn began seeing patients with chronic disease in the basement of our Medical Center. His hypothesis was simple — the practice of mindfulness could help alleviate the pain and suffering associated with chronic disease. Now, 40 years later, thanks to Jon’s pioneering work, we know unequivocally that mindfulness can not only reduce pain and suffering, but can also be used as an adjunct to standard medical care for a multitude of diseases and as a preventive measure to reduce the incidence of stress related illness. The progress that has been made these last 40 years in our understanding of the power of mindfulness has been nothing short of remarkable. That’s why I am excited to be announcing that the mindfulness programs currently offered through the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our academic partner, will be transitioning back to our healthcare system —exactly the place where Jon’s vision began 40 years ago.
With this transition comes a renewed commitment by UMass Memorial Healthcare to integrate mindfulness into our clinical and population health programs and more fully leverage the power of mindfulness to improve the lives of our patients, our caregivers and the communities we serve.
Our initial course offerings will include the world-renowned 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, community workplace and wellness trainings, global online offerings, and Mindfulness-based Teacher Education training. These innovative programs — universally identified as the gold standard — have been developed for professionals, clinicians and educators to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives as well as their work with patients and students. In addition, we are currently developing a new course specifically for caregivers that we anticipate offering this fall.
I could not be more excited about this transition as well as the opportunity to work with all of you to further the incredible work Jon started here 40 years ago.