Malena Price is a fourth-year Clinical Psychology PhD student at the University of Miami studying the impacts of mindfulness training on psychological health outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She is currently completing a practicum position at Galen Hope Mental Health where she supports the psychological recovery of patients living with eating disorders and complex co-occuring conditions. Prior to beginning her doctorate, Malena completed a Fulbright Research Grant in Amman, Jordan where she provided psychosocial support to Sudanese refugees seeking asylum there. After she completes her doctoral studies, Malena will work for a humanitarian organization bringing evidence-based psychological services to individuals suffering from acute psychological symptoms in crisis settings. Malena is also a 300-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, a proficient Arabic speaker, and a mindfulness practitioner.
Yikai is a PhD student in counseling psychology at the Culture, Emotion, and Health Lab at New York University and a member of Mind & Life’s Young Adult Advisory Council. His research interests primarily focus on cognitive and emotional processes underlying adaptive coping and psychological well-being across cultures. His current constructs of interest include contemplative practices, emotion beliefs, psychological flexibility, insights, dialectical thinking, and acculturative and race-based stress. Currently, Yikai is interested in investigating emotion beliefs across cultures and how culture shapes emotion beliefs and influences the process of self-reflection. Additionally, he is interested in mapping out the underlying cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes of psychological flexibility and exploring how psychological flexibility influences coping with acculturative and race-based stress among ethnoracial minorities. He is also interested in ways to promote equitable access to quality mental health services among underserved communities on the individual level as well as the policy level. Yikai is committed to building lasting community partnerships and advocating for social justice in the mental health field and beyond.
José Godoy is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Mindfulness Teacher based in Asunción, Paraguay. He has been offering Mindfulness trainings in Paraguay since 2014 and he currently offers courses based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) programs. He also leads Mindfulness retreats, workshops, webinars and professional trainings. He has had extensive trainings to teach Mindfulness. Some of them include foundational trainings with Mindfulness Africa in South Africa, silent retreats with monastics in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, the 2017 Oxford Mindfulness Centre’s Summer School, daily online sessions with Jon Kabat-Zinn in 2020, international Mindfulness conferences and more recently the Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Course with Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. His work experience includes the implementation of Mindfulness Based Programs in local hospitals, schools, universities, companies, governmental institutions, professional associations, NGOs, sports centers, and private trainings. Moreover, José has been offering Mindfulness teacher’s trainings for people in fields such as psychology, education and medicine who are interested in becoming Mindfulness instructors. Besides this job, José also offers private psychological sessions. He is also the founder of Mindfulness Paraguay and cofounder of the Paraguayan Mindfulness Association. Both Mindfulness Paraguay and the Paraguayan Mindfulness Association pursue the mission of promoting Mindfulness in the country and make it more accessible to people who might benefit from it regardless of ability to pay. In order to fulfil this mission, he also offers free trainings and scholarships. In this regard, José has been offering in site Mindfulness trainings for parents of children living with multiple disabilities since 2014. Moreover, he has facilitated talks and workshops free of charge in public schools, universities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and foundations reaching different groups, such as doctors, nurses, students, teachers and patients living with chronic diseases.
Demond Hill Jr. is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Social Welfare. As a researcher and mental health practitioner, he focuses on the emotional well-being of Black children/youth in educational settings. Specifically, utilizing critical theories, his research looks at three important areas: (1) the whole development of Black children/youth with a specific focus on their emotional development, (2) the impact of oppression on their emotional lives, and (2) schools as sites of wellness and/or violence. Demond is unapologetically committed to collectively creating a laboratory and therapeutic world for Black children, Black youth, and Black families.
With a sensitivity to processes with social impact and an interest in contributing to the personal and collective well-being of communities, Alejandra has managed resources for over ten personal and third-party projects with cultural, social, and artistic approaches since 2016. Each project has involved artistic and ancestral techniques aimed at raising awareness, enhancing self-knowledge, and creating sustainable projects over time for communities.
She enjoys actively participating and working with causes that help individuals align with their life purposes and connect territories with their vocations, thus contributing to their autonomy and the development of their talents and skills. This positive impact facilitates economic growth and emotional stability for the communities involved.
Aproteem Choudhury is a Community Health and Mind Body Medicine Consultant with experience engaging, mobilizing, and uniting disadvantaged communities, clinical populations, and healthcare institutions through contemplative practices.
After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, TX, Aproteem Choudhury felt called to help his hometown. He trained with the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM) and helped form the Greater Houston Healing Collaborative to serve those touched by the storm with connective, intimate, and empowering mind body skills groups.
Since his invitation to the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s international Faculty, Apro helps deliver large-scale comprehensive professional training programs in mind body medicine. Realizing that a public health approach is needed to transform trauma in individuals and communities, Apro has focused his work on developing capacity building programs that emphasize contemplative care after (and during) collective trauma.
Following the Robb Elementary school shooting in May 2022, Apro began traveling to Uvalde, TX to lay the groundwork for such a program. Nearly a year later, Apro now leads, and helps mentor a 150 member coalition of caregivers in the rural community integrate mind body medicine into their daily lives and work.
At home in Houston, TX, Apro is the mind body interventionist at Texas Children’s Hospital where he is developing a similar community of contemplative care, providing direct services to patients and providers, as well as conducting research on the feasibility and impact of delivering mind body interventions for children facing behavioral health challenges.
Dr. S. Ama Wray is a tenured Professor of Dance at the University of California, Irvine, and an improviser, choreographer, director, teacher, and scholar. Formerly known as Sheron Wray, she began her career as a dancer with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and later with Rambert Dance Theatre. Dr. Wray has also performed with JazzXchange Music and Dance Company, which she founded and directed, collaborating with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Mojisola Adebayo and Derek Bermel. Wray received a Ph.D. from the University of Surrey, where she developed her theory and practice of Embodiology®, based on West African principles of human. As its custodian it is now practiced as restorative movement method which leads to human flourishing. Embodiology’s distinctive breath-informed, rhythmic movement and music concepts have shown evidence-based efficacy in elevating vitality, wellbeing and resilience, along with emboldened activation of community cohesion. She has received numerous awards and fellowships for her work, including the UK National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts and an Emerging Scholar Award from the International Comparative & International Education Society in 2018. At UC Irvine, Dr. Wray leads The Africana Institute for Creativity, Recognition, and Elevation, a multidisciplinary concern that focuses on solutions to problems encountered in populations that have been historically and contemporaneously misserved. Emanating from her work with AICRE, she is a lead collaborator on the AI4Afrika initiative that has functioned as a content partner to the United Nations in Geneva to move the globe toward realizing the sustainable development goals. Dr. Wray is also writer, and with her monograph forthcoming, has published work including “Embodiology – Neo-African Knowledge Production” and “A 21st Century Dance Manifesto”, She continues to inspire students and dancers around the world with her innovative approach to movement and her commitment to social justice.
Nirmal Govindaraju led and conducted professional research on nanomaterials and wide bandgap semiconductors for 13 years in the US before moving to India in 2017 to work on science and math education for low-income children and adults.
Along the way, he has experienced, first-hand, the critical importance of social-emotional well-being for children to learn and thrive. He believes that humans are built to learn “naturally” when provided safe and supporting environments. Also, he has often found that tapping innate intelligence of individuals and communities leads to sustainable change and development. He also has a passion for science and math and is working on demonstrating that students, especially those often branded as “slow” or “poor” learners, are adept at constructing and applying science and math conceptual understanding when given structured and scaffolded learning environments with scope for exploration.
He holds a PhD in materials science and engineering from North Carolina State University, USA.
Sam is from Zimbabwe where he co-founded the Chikukwa Research Trust (CRT), which focuses on mindfulness-based trauma healing, regenerative agriculture, and social theatre across twelve villages. Sam is a Theatre of The Oppressed practitioner, establishing a ToTO network in Zimbabwe as well as conducting trainings across Ghana, Kenya, The United States, The Philippines, and occupied Palestine. His research includes health systems strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa, humanitarian funding models, and the psychology of hierarchy formation and collective mobilisation. He has a B.A. in Social Psychology and Global Health from Yale University and is currently completing his MSc in African Studies at Oxford University. Sam is on the Mind and Life Young Adult Advisory Council and is a 2019 Dalai Lama Fellow. He has been awarded the Davis Projects for Peace, the Howland Fellowship, and the Thompson Prize for public service for his work
Wangũi wa Kamonji is a regeneration practitioner who researches and translates indigenous Afrikan knowledges into experiential processes, art and honey. Her work is motivated by the twin challenge of healing and generating new realities for the present and future. Informed by research using academic and indigenous methods; storytelling in written and oral forms; traditional Afrikan dance and movement practice; and facilitating spaces for critical consciousness and transformation, Wangũi seeks to provide rooted embodied tools for Afrikans to heal the colonial traumas of past and present, and (re)create ways to live regeneratively with themselves, Earth and ancestors again i.e., for us to decolonise and reindigenise. Her work involves ancestral connection, dance choreographed dance, improvisational movement, ancestral song, ritual design, indigenous food, oral storytelling, written poetry, fiction and non-fiction essays, collective creativity, processwork, and nervous system regulation with the Resilience Toolkit™. Wangũi is based in Ongata Rongai, East Afrika and online @_fromtheroots.