Saki F. Santorelli

Saki F. Santorelli, EdD, MA, is an educator, meditation teacher, and writer. A professor of medicine, he formerly served as director of the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic (1996-2017) and executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (2000-2017). In 1983, he became the first intern in Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Stress Reduction Clinic—the place of origin of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). His entire career in medicine has been oriented around the integration of mindfulness into public health fueled by an abiding trust in the innate brilliance and nobility of human beings. He has plumbed the nature of the healing relationship by working with thousands of medical patients, educating and mentoring generations of medical students, healthcare professionals, educators, and researchers of mindfulness and MBSR. Through his vision and leadership the Center for Mindfulness has transmitted the ethos, practice, teaching, and science of MBSR to individuals and organizations around the world. 

Based on 18 years of intensive MBSR clinical care, in 2001, he founded Oasis Institute—the first school in the world to begin teaching healthcare professionals to become MBSR teachers. He and his colleagues did the hard work of developing curricula that integrated experiential and didactic pedagogy with classical mindfulness meditation retreat training; they created admission standards, competency assessment criteria, and in-depth, life enhancing educational formats and support structures for professionals from around the world intent on teaching MBSR. To date, Oasis Institute has educated more than 19,000 professionals in 80 countries. In 2003, Santorelli founded and, for 12 years, chaired an annual scientific conferences on mindfulness entitled, Investigating and Integrating Mindfulness into Medicine, Health Care and the Society while establishing, in parallel, the John and Maria Kluge Translational Research Symposium on Mindfulness. 

Intent on creating greater access to authentic mindfulness training while networking and supporting a global mindfulness and MBSR community, under the banner of the Center for Mindfulness’ leadership and workplace initiatives, he led mindfulness retreats and worksite programs for leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Furthering this initiative, for five years he codeveloped and taught Cultivating Leadership Presence through Mindfulness to executives at General Mills and more than thirty other Fortune 100 and 500 companies and non-profit organizations. In 2014, he established the annual Fall Teaching Institute at the Center for Mindfulness expanding face-to-face, online, and blended MBSR programs to individuals and learning communities on six continents.

He envisioned and with his colleagues forged INDRA-M, the first international data registry for MBSR and laid the groundwork for cfmHOME—a highly interactive website. In 2015, he Chaired a conference entitled Meeting the World: Exploring the Ethics, Values and Responsibility of Bringing Mindfulness into Society and formally launched the Center’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Initiative aimed at creating greater access to MBSR for underserved, underrepresented people and communities. During his tenure, CommonGood, the Center’s MBSR affiliate network was formally launched with the intention of forging a wide range of national and international MBSR centers.

Saki is a Senior Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, Fellow of the Fetzer Institute and founding member of the Consortium of Academic Health Science Centers for Integrative Medicine. He teaches and presents internationally and is the author of Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine, now translated into nine languages.