Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN

Susan Bauer-Wu has dedicated her career to 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. Prior to joining the Mind & Life Institute (MLI), Bauer-Wu was the director of the Compassionate Care Initiative and the Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the University of Virginia (UVa) School of Nursing and associate faculty in the UVa Department of Religious Studies and on the executive committee of the pan-university UVa Contemplative Sciences Center.

Bauer-Wu has garnered significant federal, foundation and private funding for work that has led to thoughtful contemplative interventions and programs for people living with serious illness and their loved ones, health care professionals, and university students and faculty. She completed doctoral studies in psychoneuroimmunology funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grant at Rush University in Chicago followed by post-doctoral training in psycho-oncology and behavioral medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.

Her first full-time faculty appointment was at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) where she collaborated with the UMass Center for Mindfulness and when the integration of her personal meditation practice and professional work as a researcher and teacher of mindfulness-based interventions took root. 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 as MLI Fellow and serving MLI. Since 2008, she has been a Varela Grant reviewer, contributor to the Summer Research Institute (as senior investigator, presenter, and reviewer), presenter at both International Symposia of Contemplative Studies, and a member of the Research Advisory Council.

She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, past-president of the Society for Integrative Oncology, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow, and on the board of advisors of Mindful magazine, among other significant honors and service.

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.