Amishi jha, pH.d., university of miami

Chief Science Advisor for Becoming Jackson Whole

Dr. Amishi Jha is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, prior to which she was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California–Davis and received her postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging. She studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, and resilience.

With grants from the Department of Defense and several private foundations, she has been systematically investigating the potential applications of mindfulness training in education, corporate, elite sports, and the military contexts. In addition to her own published body of research, her work has been featured at, the World Economic Forum, NPR, the Aspen Institute, the Pentagon, the Journal of Special Operations Medicine, and Joint Force Quarterly. Dr. Jha’s research with members of a military special operations unit was recently featured in The New York Times.

At the Summit, Dr. Jha will present the keynote address on the utility of mindfulness for the whole leader and whole community. As Chief Science Advisor for Becoming Jackson Whole, she has played an integral role in crafting the Summit agenda and desired outcomes. Dr. Jha will continue to serve in an advisory capacity post-Summit.


sona dimidjian, ph.d., university of colorado boulder

Dr. Sona Dimidjian is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Renée Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on cultivating mental health and well-being among women, children, and families by engaging people’s capacities for learning skills and promoting community change. She studies and develops programs and practices in education and healthcare settings, with an emphasis on navigating key developmental transitions, such as the perinatal period, early childhood, and adolescence. She also has a longstanding interest in expanding access, scaling, and sustaining effective programs, using both digital technology and community-based partnerships.

Current projects in her lab focus on promoting healthy body image among young women, preventing depression and supporting well-being among new and expectant mothers, and enhancing mindfulness and compassion among youth, families, and educators. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, philanthropists, and foundations that are dedicated to supporting positive social and community impact. She is the recipient of numerous awards acknowledging her teaching and clinical research. She received her BA in psychology from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Washington.

Dr. Dimidjian will present on empathy, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy as tools for whole community health.

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dorrie fontaine, ph.d., university of virginia

Dean Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN – a critical care and trauma nurse for over 4 decades, and the Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor – has led the University of Virginia School of Nursing since 2008 and is a champion of interprofessional education, training students for compassion and mindfulness, and the driver of the School’s expansive diversity and inclusion initiative.

Founder of UVA’s signature Compassionate Care Initiative in 2009, Fontaine lectures widely on the importance of teaching resilience practices to nursing and medical students as well as clinicians to help create healthy work environments where all can flourish.

Dr. Fontaine received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and her Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. She has taught and held academic leadership positions at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and the University of California at San Francisco.

Dr. Fontaine will present on UVA’s Compassionate Care Initiative.


jim gimian, foundation for a mindful society

Founder, Mindful Cities Initiative, and Becoming Jackson Whole’s Fiscal Sponsor

James Gimian is the Executive Director of the Foundation for a Mindful Society, an independent nonprofit with the mission to foster the growth of mindfulness in mainstream society through media, community-building activities, conferences, and more. He was launch publisher of Mindful magazine and, initiatives of the Foundation, which currently reach over 2 million people every month.

James has worked in magazine and trade book publishing as well as bookselling since 1972, specializing in mindfulness and meditation. He is co-author of The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict — Strategies from the Art of War (2008), and the general editor of the best-selling Art of War: The Denma Translation (2001). James has taught mindfulness meditation as well as the application of the Art of War to leadership throughout North America and Europe since 1978.

James has served as a key advisor since the inception of Becoming Jackson Whole and has been instrumental in our first phase of work. He will facilitate several panels during the Summit.


Alexis harris, ph.d., compassionate schools project

Dr. Alexis Harris, a faculty affiliate of the University of Virginia’s Youth-Nex Center, is interested in the intersections of developmental science, education science, and prevention science. Her work employs qualitative and quantitative methods to develop a better understanding of how the interactions between developing youth and their school and community contexts influence social emotional development and wellbeing. She has been involved in the implementation and evaluation of multiple intervention strategies to promote social emotional competence and wellbeing and to prevent the negative consequences of stress, including school-based universal social-emotional learning interventions, contemplative/mindfulness-based approaches, and professional development for educators.

She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from Pennsylvania State University, where she developed a contemplative wellness-promotion intervention for educators, the CALM program. She is currently located in Louisville, Kentucky, directing implementation of the Compassionate Schools Project.

Dr. Harris will present about the impact of mindfulness practices in Louisville schools.


gerry myers, crim fitness foundation

Gerald (Gerry) Myers came to the Crim Fitness Foundation, Inc. of Flint, Michigan in 2005, having previously served as President and CEO for the John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation of Palm Springs, California. He received a B.A. degree in communications and did postgraduate work at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

He began his career as Legislative Aide to the Speaker of the House of Michigan and then went on to serve as Associate Executive Director of the National Council on Alcoholism. Continuing his work in the public health and policy sectors, he became National Marketing Director for the New Day Healthcare Corporation and then CEO for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, Inc., the SSI Institute and the Palomar Pomerado Health Foundation. He has wide-ranging experience in coalition-building and community outreach as well as strategic planning and non-profit fund development.

Gerry will present lessons learned through the Crim Fitness Foundation’s efforts to transform Flint into a more mindful community.