Mind & Life Institute Names New President

Susan Bauer-Wu, End-of-life Care Specialist, Healthcare Advocate, and Leader in Contemplative Studies in Higher Education Joins Organization Dedicated to Building New Academic Field

(Hadley, MA) November 3, 2015 – The Mind & Life Board of Directors confirmed the selection of Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN as the new president of the Mind & Life Institute (MLI). Bauer-Wu, will formally take up the appointment December 1, 2015, succeeding interim president and board member Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, and former president Arthur Zajonc, PhD, who served the Institute since 2011.

Co-founded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, together with contemplative neuroscientist Francisco Varela and entrepreneur Adam Engle, MLI was founded nearly 30 years ago to bridge the fields of science with the insights of humanities and contemplative traditions.
Bauer-Wu will lead the organization known for convening top scientists and scholars, along with contemplative and humanities scholars, as a way to more fully study, research and understand the science of the mind. MLI has successfully helped to develop and build the field of contemplative studies through funding more than 130 young scholars researching this area.

“I am deeply honored to serve as the next president of this remarkable organization,” said Bauer-Wu. “Mind & Life is a catalyst for profound good in the world through its unique orientation of bridging the sciences, humanities and wisdom traditions with practical issues that matter. I look forward to partnering with the wider community on this important work together,” she added.

In welcoming the new president, the Mind & Life board chair Thupten Jinpa added, “My colleagues on the board and I are delighted to welcome Professor Susan Bauer-Wu as the new president of the Mind & Life Institute. With her outstanding credentials as a research scientist, her foundation in nursing and her leadership role in the Compassionate Care Initiative, Professor Bauer-Wu brings a rare combination of intellect, heart, and social awareness that is in tune with the vision of the Mind & Life Institute. With her appointment, Mind & Life has found its new leader from within its own fellowship community, which is a source of particular joy. We look forward with enthusiasm to working with Professor Bauer-Wu to further the vision and work of the Mind & Life Institute and its community of scientists, scholars, and contemplatives.”

Professor Bauer-Wu was chosen to lead the Hadley-based organization as she has dedicated her own career to the same mission of MLI, alleviating suffering and promoting well-being. With a foundation as a registered nurse caring for individuals with cancer and mental illness as well as those facing the end of life, she went on to a productive academic career studying and applying contemplative practices in health care and higher education. She comes to MLI most recently from the University of Virginia (UVa) where she was the director of the Compassionate Care Initiative and the Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the UVa School of Nursing and the UVa Department of Religious Studies. Bauer-Wu completed doctoral studies in psychoneuroimmunology, followed by post-doctoral training in psycho-oncology and behavioral medicine.

Her first full-time faculty appointment was at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) where she collaborated with the UMass Center for Mindfulness, integrating her personal meditation practice and professional work as a researcher and teacher of mindfulness-based interventions. She then went on to Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she led a robust research center that focused on enhancing cancer patients’ quality of life and quality of clinical care. Later, Bauer-Wu was at Emory University as an associate professor of nursing and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar. There she co-created the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies and contributed to the teaching of Tibetan monastics in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative.

Bauer-Wu has a long history connected to MLI as a Fellow, a Varela Grant reviewer, a contributor to the Summer Research Institute, a presenter at both International Symposia of Contemplative Studies, and a member of the Research Advisory Council. In addition to her many scholarly publications, Bauer-Wu is the author of a book for the lay public, Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion & Connectedness.

About the Mind & Life Institute
The Mind & Life Institute is committed to building a scientific understanding of the mind and its potential as a way to help reduce suffering and to promote human flourishing. The institute aims to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between contemporary science, philosophy, humanities, and contemplative traditions and promotes an integration of first-person inquiry through meditation and other contemplative practices into traditional scientific methodology. This approach is designed to facilitate the investigation of an individual’s subjective experience in a rigorous, scientific way. For more information, visit mindandlife.org.

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