Clinical Panel: "Effects of Contemplative Training in Vulnerable Populations"
Moderator: Doris Chang
Panelists: Linda Carlson, David Creswell, and Cheryl Woods-Giscombe
This session will feature talks on how contemplative and mindfulness-based training can help to enhance social connectivity and aid in the development of individual and societal flourishing in vulnerable and marginalized populations, including older adults, African Americans and people living with chronic medical conditions.
Mindfulness training to decrease loneliness and enhance social connectivity in older adults
Loneliness is a major risk factor for morbidities and accelerated mortality among older adults, and there are few evidence-based interventions for helping lonely older adults. This talk will describe new findings from a recently completed randomized controlled trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (vs Health Education Program) in N=191 lonely older adults.
Cheryl Woods Giscombe
Reducing physical and mental health disparities in African Americans through the use of mindfulness-based interventions and contemplative practices.
African Americans experience disproportionately high rates of chronic health conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inadequately treated mental health conditions, which are influenced and exacerbated by multi-level psychosocial and historical determinants and chronic psychological stressors. Dr. Giscombe will share evidence supporting the potential benefits of culturally-congruent, mindfulness-based and contemplative practice interventions designed to reduce health disparities and promote well-being at individual, community, healthcare system, and policy levels.
Mindfulness-based interventions for people living with medical conditions: Focus on coping with uncertainty and fostering connection and meaning
Coping with chronic illness such as cancer or cardiovascular disease comes with a host of psychosocial challenges including living with uncertainty, loss of control and an unpredictable future. Mindfulness training has shown improvements in terms of symptom reduction and improved coping, but also helps people find benefits in traumatic experience, enhance a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and develop a connection with larger humanity. This talk will summarize research in this area with a focus on fostering connection and meaning through mindfulness-based interventions.