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Presenter Biographies

Jim Gordan

Dr. Jim Gordon: Center for Mind Body Medicine

A Harvard educated psychiatrist, Dr. Gordon has devoted over forty years to the exploration and practice of mind-body medicine. He is an internationally acclaimed expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. He is the Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, Dean of the Graduate School of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University, a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School, and served as Chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Dr. Gordon also served as the first Chair of the Program Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine and is a former member of the Cancer Advisory Panel on Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the NIH.

Dr. Gordon’s programs of comprehensive mind-body healing have served physicians, medical students, and other health professionals; as well as people with cancer, depression and other chronic illnesses.

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Joan Halifax

Joan Halifax Roshi: Upaya Institute (New Mexico)

Joan Halifax Roshi is an internationally recognized Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and author. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist monastery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Among other areas of interest, Roshi Joan has worked in the field of death and dying for over forty years and is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and she facilitates and leads the annual Being with Dying programs at Upaya. She recently spent three months as a distinguished invited scholar at the Library of Congress and is the only woman and Buddhist to be on the Advisory Council for the Tony Blair Foundation. Roshi Joan studied for a decade with Zen Teacher SeungSahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from ThichNhatHanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism.

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Rodney Yee

Rodney Yee: Urban Zen and Yoga Shanti

Rodney leads teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats nationally and internationally. He has been teaching Advanced Yoga Teacher Training courses at studios across the country for over 15 years. He and his wife, Colleen, are the Yoga Directors of the Health and Wellness Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan’s project to change the healthcare paradigm to include complementary healthcare practices, serving as the core yoga faculty of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program.


Alejandro Chaoul

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD: MD Anderson

Dr. Alejandro Chaoul teaches courses in spirituality and health, complementary and integrative medicine, and end-of-life care at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. He also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Integrative Medicine Program in the Department of General Oncology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he is involved in research using Tibetan mind-body techniques with cancer patients and their support systems. Dr. Chaoul's work, research, and publications focus on mind-body practices in integrative cancer care. In addition to working at the McGovern Center and M.D. Anderson, he also lectures at Rice University's School for Continuing Studies and at the Jung Center of Houston.


Tony Back

Dr. Tony Back: Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Dr. Back treats patients with colorectal, liver, pancreatic, and stomach cancer. Dr. Back has become the resident expert in communication between physicians and patients and acts as a mentor for many new physicians. Dr. Back teaches widely to other doctors and health care professionals on how to have “difficult conversations” with their patients and he mentors young doctors-in-training at SCCA and its parent organizations, UW Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Back holds positions at SCCA, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He has clinical expertise in Oncology, Ethical Issues, and Palliative Care. He graduated Harvard Medical School in 1984 and completed his residency at the University of Washington.

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Richard Freeman

Richard Freeman: Yoga Workshop

Richard Freeman has been a student of yoga since 1968. He has spent nearly nine years in Asia studying various traditions which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Richard’s background includes studying Sufism in Iran, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist practice, Bhakti and traditional Hatha yoga in India. Starting in 1974 he also began an in-depth study of Iyengar yoga, which eventually led him to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as Sanskrit. His ability to juxtapose various viewpoints, without losing the depth and integrity of each, has helped him develop a unique, metaphorical teaching style.

Richard teaches public classes at the Yoga Workshop as well as spending a good part of each year traveling as a guest instructor, teaching at studios throughout the world. As the founder of the Yoga Workshop, Richard sets the standard for the classes at the studio. As part of that he offers Teacher Intensive courses and special classes through the Yoga Workshop and also gives Studio Talks on Indian philosophy at the studio on a regular basis. He is the author of the book, The Mirror of Yoga (Shambhala Publications).


Susan Bauer

Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, well-recognized for her work in integrative oncology and mindfulness, is a clinician, researcher, educator, and meditation practitioner whose work focuses on stress resiliency and the use of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices in the context of cancer and other serious illness, for both patients and caregivers. She is currently an Associate Professor of Nursing and Distinguished Cancer Scholar at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and previously Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and nursing research director at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She is president-elect for the international multi-disciplinary organization, Society for Integrative Oncology, and the author of a new book, Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious and Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, and Connectedness (New Harbinger Publications, 2011).


Colleen Saidman

Colleen Saidman

Colleen Saidman is the director of Yoga Shanti yoga studio in Sag Harbor, NY. Together with her husband, Rodney Yee, she travels and teaches yoga internationally as well as teaching ongoing Teacher Trainings. In addition to presenting the Gaiam Yoga Club as well as several popular Yoga DVD's, Saidman also also helped to create and now co-direct Urban Zen's Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, a world-wide initiative of Donna Karan. She has been featured in the PBS special called The Practical Power of Yoga, she has also been a guest on the Good Morning America Show and co-wrote writing the masters class column for yoga journal fin 2009.

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