It is estimated that over 11.5 million individuals are diagnosed with cancer in the US each year (according to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database for 2007). As of 2010, there are also at least 11.7 million cancer survivors. Medical facilities are increasingly devoting resources to support patients and survivors through integrative care services including focus on yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, nutrition, exercise and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Reiki, art therapy and massage. This integrative view of healing has demonstrated a positive impact in improving quality of life for both cancer patients and survivors.
As use of these integrative therapies in patient care and after care expands, it is more and more recognized that similar practices can have a significant and positive impact on the capacity and life quality of the cancer caregiver; and that with healthier caregivers, the entire circle of healing for cancer patients improves. In an effort to expand the conversation and adoption of integrative therapies for both patients and caregivers, we have organized the inaugural Cancer Caregiving and Caregivers Symposium.
It is our hope that by providing a platform that brings together some of the leading teachers and researchers in the fields of cancer care, neuroscience and integrative medicine with members of the caregiver community we will help catalyze the conversation around the effects of mindfulness practice (yoga, meditation, MBSR, breathing techniques) and integrative care as an integral part of the healing process.
Leslie Kimerling, Founder and President of Isis Partners, and Mary Taylor Director of the Learning Center at the Yoga Workshop came together to create and host the Symposium. Together, they are underwriting this launch year in the hopes that it will become an annual event. Having both experienced firsthand the importance of self-care while in the role of caregiver they are committed to facilitating education for professional and non-professional caregivers so that the role of caregiver as beneficial and integral parts of any caregiving program can flourish.
Leslie Kimerling is Founder and Managing Director of Isis Partners, an advisory firm that works with health-related early stage and growth organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit market places. Isis partners with its clients to provide strategic, financial, organizational and turnaround advisory services, often serving in an interim C-level management capacity. Isis also works with investors providing due diligence and advisory services to portfolio companies. Isis commits 10% of its time to providing these same services pro-bono to health related non-profits.
Leslie’s commitment to cancer caregiving began over 10 years ago when she established a yoga program for women cancer survivors in NYC in conjunction with her client OM Yoga. Through this work Leslie saw the power of self-care as integral to the healing process. The value of integrative care as part of the cancer care continuum was further re-affirmed in Leslie’s work as President and COO of Navitas Cancer Rehabilitation Centers, an early stage healthcare company committed to providing integrative outpatient rehabilitation services to cancer patients and survivors. The launch of this Symposium is the culmination of over 10 years of personal and professional commitment made possible by the unique partnership with co-founder Mary Taylor.
Leslie holds an MBA with Honors from UCLA, an MA in Economics from Stanford University and a BA with Honors in Economics from The University of Pennsylvania. She is founding board member of StreetSquash an after-school youth enrichment program integrating academic tutoring with squash instruction, community service, and mentoring for children and young adults from Harlem, New York. She also serves on the board of StreetSquash’s sister program, Mile High Squash in Denver and of The Wellness Initiative in Boulder, CO. Leslie also serves as advisor to women entrepreneurs through her partnership with Astia.org.
Mary Taylor Co-Founded the Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado with the aim of bringing awareness to the beneficial impact of yoga and mindfulness practices on the healing process. As Director and a primary teacher at the Yoga Workshop and its Learning Center she has devoted that past 24 years to teaching, community building and offering programming that looks deeply into the role of mindfulness practices as part of an integrated and balanced life.
For the past 12 years Mary has combined her interest in exploring the beneficial impact of yoga on improved quality of life, in particular for those with life limiting illnesses and those in the role of caregiver. She is part of the faculty of the Being with Dying Program at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has worked closely in program development and in the role of faculty for the Urban Zen Integrative Care Training program. Her work has also focused on the exploring the neurological impact of yoga and meditation through research development at University of Colorado and participation in the Mind and Life Center in their Summer Research Institute and their upcoming International Symposium.
Mary holds a BA with High Honors in Psychology from the University of Florida. She also holds a Grand Diplome from L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes in Paris and studied extensively with Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. She is the author of three cookbooks, and co-author of What Are You Hungry For? Women Food and Spirituality, (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). She travels and teaches internationally.