Michelle C. Chatman
Michelle Chatman, PhD, is Associate Professor of Crime, Justice, and Security Studies at the University of the District of Columbia. Michelle earned her doctorate in cultural anthropology from American University and teaches courses on urban inequality, youth development, and restorative and juvenile justice. A member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education since 2011, Michelle has been active in numerous CMind initiatives including the 2015 discussion on Race, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Contemplative Movement; 2015 Summer Session faculty; presented at several ACMHE annual conferences, the 2016 Building Communities discussion held at the Fetzer Institute; and has served on the 2015 & 2016 ACMHE Conference Planning Committee.
Michelle is a vibrant leader on her campus and directs the UDC the Mindfulness & Contemplative Learning Initiative. Dr. Chatman is enthusiastic about spreading culturally relevant and critical contemplative approaches that foster belonging, justice, and liberated learning. Michelle shares her “Coltrane Meditation” and “Ancestor Vision Exercise” in workshops, faculty development sessions, and in her classes. In Fall 2020, she co-facilitated a campus reading of Rhonda Magee’s The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities through Mindfulness (2019).
She is particularly interested in exploring contemplative practices for racial healing. To that end, she founded The Black Mindfulness Summit, a community for Black contemplative practitioners from the African Diaspora. A practitioner of the Yoruba/IFA faith for over 20 years, the teachings of this ancient tradition, along with influences from her Christian upbringing, serves as the basis of Michelle’s contemplative practices. Dr. Chatman has lectured on contemplative practices and social justice at numerous institutions in the U.S. Her TEDx talks, How Africa Changed My Life and Healing the Harm in Schools, along with other public lectures can be found on YouTube. In addition to her teaching and research, Michelle’s life is fulfilled by her family, beaches, dancing, and karaoke.
Dr. Lenwood Hayman is Associate Professor of Behavioral Health Sciences in the School of Community Health & Policy, Morgan State University. As a teacher, he works to inspire social-justice-minded scholars to ask questions on the health issues situated in the communities from which they come. His research focuses on addressing the social, psychological, structural, and environmental influences of well-being in marginalized populations. Specifically, Lenwood’s practical scholarship is motivated by his drive to better understand how contemplative practices enhance well-being and social cohesion amongst emerging Native American adults, African-American men and boys, and first-generation and non-traditional college students. Lenwood’s theoretical scholarship, however, is centered on the scientific study of agaptic love in efforts to operationalize and ultimately cultivate Beloved Community.
Member, Board of Directors
Ameena Batada is a professor of health and wellness at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA), a public liberal arts teaching university in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Ameena came to contemplative practice as a parent-to-be, and has practiced and supported others in their practices for many years. Early in her professional career, she co-created and implemented KIDSHINE, a mindfulness program for early elementary school children, and facilitated mindful parenting groups at Tench Tilghman Elementary School in Baltimore City, MD. Ameena is so grateful for the communities and programs of the Association of the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE), CMind, and at her own institution, which have kept her afloat in an academic setting. Over the years, Ameena has conducted research on the ways that effective teachers utilize contemplative practices and how school-based mindfulness programs can support student learning. She also has contributed to the growth of the contemplative practices and pedagogy community and the development of a certificate in contemplative inquiry at UNCA. At the heart of her teaching about community health, health communication, and health justice is the belief that community and systems transformation happen in tandem with individual transformation. Ameena has a DrPH in health communication and an MPH in maternal and child health, and before joining UNCA she worked at Sesame Workshop India and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Member, Board of Directors
Joseph W. Belluck, Esq., graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1994, where he later served as an adjunct lecturer on mass torts. He is a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP, which focuses on asbestos, consumer, environmental and defective product litigation.
Mr. Belluck previously served as counsel to the New York State Attorney General, representing the State of New York in its litigation against the tobacco industry, as a judicial law clerk for Justice Lloyd Doggett of the Texas Supreme Court, and as Director of Attorney Services for Trial Lawyers Care, an organization dedicated to providing free legal assistance to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Belluck has lectured frequently on product liability, tort law and tobacco control policy. He is an active member of several bar associations and in May 2016 was elected as the new chairman of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates allegations of misconduct against state and local judges in New York.
Member, Board of Directors
Stephanie Briggs is owner/designer of Be.Still.Move., a program of contemplative, compassionate community building through embodied movement and arts-based learning. She has created racially sensitive self-care programs for the STEM Women of Color Conclave, Howard University Hospital, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and developed a program of yoga and tap dance called “Tapping into Yoga.” She is a recently retired Assistant Professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County.
She is the 2018-2019 Lenz Residential Fellowship recipient at Naropa University for her project, “Visioning the Eightfold Path: Liberatory Contemplative Practical Empowerment for African-American Faculty,” where she addresses inequities towards African-American faculty, particularly those in predominately white institutions (PWIs), through community-based practices that contextualize Buddhist and African/African-American spirituality wisdoms, incorporating art and movement-based theories, to uncover ways of rethinking and releasing suffering and establishing the groundwork for personal, transformative change through contemplative, communal practices.
In addition, in 2016-2017, Stephanie’s project, “Practical Empowerment: Building Contemplative Communities With Student of Color,” funded by a grant from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, served as a think tank for faculty of color from six institutions focusing on the value of contemplative communities on college campuses, a qualitative assessment that incorporated personal, practical strategies through contemplative pedagogical processes that were partially informed by African/African-American practices for creating safe academic spaces.
Founding Director; Member, Board of Directors
Mirabai Bush is a co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. Under her direction, The Center developed its programs in education, law, business, environment, the military, and activism and its network of thousands of people integrating contemplative practice and perspective into their lives and work.
Mirabai holds a unique background of organizational management, teaching, and spiritual practice. She co-developed the curriculum for Search Inside Yourself for Google, the first program in mindfulness-based emotional intelligence; it has been attended by thousands of Google employees. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, which supports sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. Also at Seva, she co-developed Sustaining Compassion, Sustaining the Earth, a series of retreats and events for grassroots environmental activists on the interconnection of spirit and action. She is co-author with Ram Dass of Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying and Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service, published by Random House; co-author with Daniel Barbezat of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning; and editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live. She is currently working on a memoir.
Mirabai formerly taught writing and English literature at SUNY Buffalo, and directed an innovative program there for diversifying the university and preparing students of color for academic challenges. She also taught in the Smith College School of Social Work and leads an orientation class in mindfulness for first-year Amherst College students. Her spiritual studies include meditation in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She was also a student of aikido master Kanai Sensei.
Member, Board of Directors
Dr. Richard Chess is the Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts & Sciences at UNC Asheville. In this role, he has served as one of the leaders of UNC Asheville’s contemplative inquiry initiative since 2011. He completed the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training Program and is one of the founders of the Asheville Jewish Meditation group. He has published four books of poetry, Tekiah, Chair in the Desert, Third Temple, and Love Nailed to the Doorpost. His essays are included in Stars Shall Bend Their Voices: Poets’ Favorite Hymns & Spiritual Songs and 27 Views of Asheville, among others. For many years, he contributed to “Good Letters,” a blog hosted by IMAGE: a Journal of Art, Faith, Mystery. He is now a regular contributor to “Close Reading,” hosted by SLANT books. He served as the director of UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies for 30 years. He is especially interested in exploring with others the intersections of the arts and spiritual practices. You can find out more about him at richardchess.com.
Member, Board of Directors
Vaishali Mamgain is an Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion at the University of Southern Maine. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her past research focused on the contributions of (im)migrants and refugees in the Maine economy.
Her current research is in contemplative pedagogy; she is passionate about deconstructing epistemology by using embodiedness and immersive practices in the natural world as ways to undo internalized oppression and the “colonization” of contemplative practices. She regularly leads compassion training and anti-racism workshops for faculty and community groups in the US and abroad.
A working contemplative, she has meditated, wandered, and "retreat"ed for many years. In 2017, she completed a 3-year meditation retreat at Samten Ling Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado, and now lives in beautiful coastal Maine where she enjoys swimming in the sea, admiring seaweed, running, hiking, and cooking.
Member, Board of Directors
Lisa Napora, PhD, earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Buffalo (UB), where she currently serves as a Visiting Scholar. She teaches leadership courses, most recently at Daemen College in the Executive Leadership & Change master’s degree program. As an active member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education since 2010, Lisa has presented at several ACMHE conferences, attended the Building Contemplative Communities and the Assessment & Evaluation of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education meetings held at the Fetzer Institute, and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. She also supports the work of the Mind and Life Institute, participating in several Summer Research Institutes both in the U.S. and Europe, and the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership.
A lifelong contemplative, Lisa’s first language is the language of transformation. Her in-depth study of the relational dynamics of inner and outer change evolved into a passion for contemplative education, contemplative leadership, and social systems change to foster wellbeing. As an activist and advocate, she began contemplative community-building at UB in 2013, which grew into an inter-institutional collaborative across the western NY region. In 2016, Lisa directed the first-ever SUNY-funded Mindfulness & Health conference, bringing together contemplatives from 50 higher education institutions across NY State. Since then, her work has fostered the development of a regional multi-sector social change collaborative that fosters more healthy, equitable, and resilient communities. In 2017, the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry published an article on this pioneering work.
Lisa is Co-founder and Director of The Mindfulness Alliance (TMA), a non-profit organization that unites practitioners, groups, and organizations to foster awareness-based social change. TMA combines the power of mindfulness practices and the power of community-building to advance collective wellbeing. Lisa’s TMA work focuses on building community-based transformation hubs, fostering the development of collaborative social impact networks in other regions, re-envisioning leadership models, and developing contemplative governance structures. Lisa consults, gives talks and workshops around the country, and promotes the infusion of awareness-based practices within all systems and across all sectors – engaging whole systems to foster wellbeing.
Member, Board of Directors
Amy Pucino, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where she is also engaged in the Contemplative Community Circle of faculty and staff who share contemplative practices with each other and with students. Amy is trained in teaching meditation through The Mindfulness Center of Maryland. Her academic interests include practicing community-based learning and research, building social justice curriculum, and using contemplative practice en route to both strengthening the use of the sociological imagination and working towards personal, professional, and societal growth. Otherwise, she especially enjoys being outdoors with her growing family and compassionate community.
Alberto López Pulido
Member, Board of Directors
Alberto López Pulido is founding chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies and Director of the Turning Wheel Educational Project at the University of San Diego. Through his teaching and scholarship, Alberto embraces an ethnic studies pedagogy that is committed to living and teaching education that is relevant for BIPOC communities with a solid commitment to decolonizing all master narratives and epistemologies that originate and inform all formal institutions of higher learning.
Over the years, Alberto’s commitment to community epistemologies have been enriched with his discovery and application of Contemplative Practices via his teaching, research, and practices. Over the trajectory of his career, Alberto is best known for his Cajitas or Sacred Boxes Project that invites and welcomes a contemplative approach that he has come to define as “Situated Contemplation” that invites an intersubjective discovery of self and their relations through an intergenerational framework. His unique pedagogy is featured as one of the case studies in Laura Rendon’s groundbreaking book in contemplative studies by the name of Sentipensante (sensing/thinking) pedagogy. He is currently at work expanding and refining this work with a new essay that provides a more applied framework in adopting and teaching this contemplative approach. He has taught this approach in timely workshops offered by CMind over the years where he utilizes Chicano Park in the community of Logan Heights in San Diego, California.
Lila Shane is the Executive Director for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Lila attended Sarah Lawrence College where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology with a focus on clinical psychology. Upon graduation, she moved back to NYC and started a career in finance where she was trained in investments and trading securities on the stock market.
After the events of 9/11, she left her work and home in NYC and moved to Western Massachusetts. Soon thereafter she took a job at CMind where she worked for 10 years doing administration and finance. Her time at CMind introduced her to alternative methods of leadership and relationship building through integrating contemplative practices in the workplace. In 2012, Lila transitioned her work from CMind and joined the Mind and Life Institute as the Director of Finance for almost five years.
Lila was introduced to Metta meditation at a young age and has sustained that practice, amongst others, for more than 20 years. As a parent, Lila is devoted to emboldening her child to treat themselves and others with kindness and to practice non-judgment in all communication and action. Lila is committed to living consciously and with compassion for all beings.
Carrie J. Bergman
Carrie Bergman (she/they) first joined CMind in 2000 as an Administrative Assistant and has helped to coordinate projects across all of CMind's initiatives. In 2015 she became Associate Director, providing oversight and support to CMind’s programs and communications while creating its websites, resources, and publications. Carrie was instrumental in launching The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, and continues to provide operational support for JOCI and ACMHE.
Carrie’s personal connection to contemplative methods as a powerful force for change is rooted in her experience of engaging with transformative practices as an undergraduate student. She graduated from Dickinson College with degrees in Studio Arts and Anthropology and worked for Dickinson’s museum and fine arts department before joining CMind. As a multimedia artist and archer, she is particularly interested in creative expression and movement as means of intra- and inter-personal inquiry and transformation.
Events & Outreach Manager
Maya Elinevsky (she/her) organizes the Center’s conferences, webinars, workshops, and retreats. She holds a BA in Communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts from Greenfield Community College, and is currently completing a Master's degree in Nonprofit/Public/Organizational Management from Bay Path University. Her professional experience lies in event work and customer service at organizations including Smith College Alumnae Relations and the Media Education Foundation. Maya enjoys taking walks with her new dog, Mabel, and exploring the beauty right outside her door. Balancing her role at CMind with being a full-time student, she has found daily yoga practice and time in nature to help stay grounded and focused.
Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Consultant
Dr. Kamilah Majied is a mental health therapist, clinical educator, researcher, and internationally engaged consultant on building inclusivity and equity using meditative practices. She teaches clinical practice to graduate students employing psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based, and artistic approaches to well-being. She also teaches research methods, social and organizational policy analysis, and community organizing through a social justice lens. Kamilah has taught contemplative practice from several perspectives including mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness, and racial justice, Buddhism and mental health, and mindfulness practices to preserve the environment. She gave opening remarks at the first White House Conference of Buddhist Leaders on Climate Change and Racial Justice, where she also facilitated a dialogue on ending racism amongst the internationally represented Buddhist leadership. After 15 years of teaching at Howard University, Dr. Majied has recently joined the faculty at California State University, Monterey Bay as a Professor of Social Work. She serves as the Diversity and Inclusivity Consultant for the Contemplative Coping During COVID-19 Research Project at the University of California Davis, Center for Mind and Brain. Drawing from her decades of contemplative practice and diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership, Dr. Majied engages people in experiencing wonder, humor, and insight through transforming oppressive patterns and deepening relationships towards ever-improving individual, organizational and communal wellness.
Co-Editor, The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry
David Sable Ph.D. is an instructor in Buddhism at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he has been teaching since 2000. In 2012, David completed the Interdisciplinary PhD program at Dalhousie University in Halifax bringing together the disciplines of education, psychology, and philosophy to study the impacts of applying mindfulness to pedagogical methods. His thesis titled, “The Impact of Reflective Practices on the Dispositions for Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Courses,” was nominated for Best Thesis in the Social Sciences (2012), and his work noted in the National Teaching and Learning Forum 2012 (21(4)). In February 2014, a peer-reviewed article summarizing his research appeared in the inaugural edition of the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry. In November 2014 David offered the webinar/workshop “Developing Indicators for What Matters Most in Your Teaching” through the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education website to over 350 faculty members from six countries. David has also published several peer-reviewed journal articles (2005, 2009, 2011) on transformative learning as well as a chapter in a textbook on Transformative Learning in Online Education (2010). In 2016, David was a plenary speaker at the first mid-Atlantic conference on Contemplative Practices for the 21st Century University.
David has team-taught six courses in contemplative education for K-12 teachers in the Graduate Education program at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). In September 2016 David led the course Inquiry into Contemplative Education and co-led the first offsite, full-credit, residential Practicum/Retreat in Mindfulness/Contemplative Education for MSVU in 2014 and 2016.
David draws on research-based mindfulness practices and applies them to listening, inquiry, and dialogue skills in the secular context of teaching and learning. The instructional design for all his courses includes the set of reflective practices used with students who participated in his doctoral research.
David was initially trained and authorized as a senior meditation teacher by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa. David has led numerous professional development workshops and residential retreats for teachers at all levels. Currently, David is working on a book for educators and trainers on the diverse impacts of reflective practices on learning.
Co-Editor, The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry
Trudy Sable, Ph.D. has worked with and within Indigenous communities for over twenty-five years, liaising between government, universities, and the private sector on numerous projects. For sixteen years (2001-2017), she served as the Director of the Office of Aboriginal and Northern Research (OANR) at the Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies (GRI), Saint Mary’s University to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities to create culturally responsive educational programs and research projects. In this capacity, she has managed numerous innovative projects such as the Ta’n Weji-sqalia’tiek Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website, the community-based Innu Nation Environmental Guardians Program, the Innu Youth film project, and the film Wi’kupaltimk: Feast of Forgiveness. A mainstay of all the projects has been the hiring of Indigenous youth researchers as a means to involve them directly in innovative and culturally relevant research while building their research capacity and skillsets.
Core to Dr. Sable’s research over the past twenty-five years has been to create a dialogue between Western Scientists and Indigenous Knowledge Holders and Elders. As examples, she has worked with Environment Canada, Parks Canada, and the former Department of Energy Mines and Resources to develop research and educational programs looking at different perceptions and knowledges of the Atlantic Canadian landscape. She has written numerous reports and published internationally. Her book, co-authored with Bernie Francis, The Language of this Land, Mi’kma’ki, was shortlisted as the Best Scholarly Book for the Atlantic Book Awards in 2012. Due to this work, she was appointed the first-ever Director of Indigenous Education at SMU to assist the university in responding to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations for redressing the horrors faced by thousands of Indigenous peoples who attended residential school. Her unique role was to “indigenize the academy” across all levels of staff, faculty, and students at the university specifically to create supportive conditions for emerging Indigenous scholars and incorporation of different worldview in teaching and learning.
Dr. Sable is an adjunct professor of Anthropology as well as a part-time teacher in the Atlantic Canada Studies program in which she developed and has taught the Indigenous Peoples of Atlantic Canada: Contemporary Issues course for the past eight years. She has published extensively and presented internationally on the implications of her work on cultural border-crossings for higher education, including at the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education conference on Social Justice at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is a faculty member of the Atlantic Contemplative Centre relating to issues of diversity within Canadian society, particularly in the fields of health and education. She is now is working independently as the CEO of her newly formed TGS Research Management and Educational Consultants. In this capacity, she is working with the Nova Scotia Museum and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre on a museum exhibition exploring the history of Urban Aboriginal Mi’kmaq, while continuing with projects in collaboration with the Innu Nation of Labrador and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq.