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Grant giving

AMRA aims to support the early career development of promising mindfulness researchers. The AMRA Early Career Scientist Award (ECSA) offers $500 to eligible trainees to support advancements in mindfulness research and practice.

The ECSA award is a non-repayable grant made available to doctoral students, postdocs, and junior faculty within three years of their terminal degree. The basis for evaluation is a first-author peer-reviewed publication and two letters of recommendation from a mentor. Submit your (1) CV, (2) one paragraph bio, (3) pdf of the accepted article, and (4) the two letters of support to info@goAMRA.org with the heading "ECSA Award." The application cycle is open each year from June 1 through July 31 and the candidate will be selected in September of the same year. 

Congratulations to our previous grant awardees!


Emily Lindsay, Ph.D., 2019 Award Recipient

Emily Lindsay is a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Pittsburgh. She studies psychological and biological pathways explaining how mindfulness practices influence stress, well-being, and markers of physical health. She developed Monitor and Acceptance Theory to describe how the core components of mindfulness contribute to cognitive, affective, and health outcomes. 

Lindsay, E. K., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Smyth, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces loneliness and increases social contact in a randomized controlled trial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Lindsay, E. K., Chin, B., Greco, C. M., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Wright, A. G. C., Smyth, J. M., Burkett, D., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials. J Pers Soc Psychol, 115(6), 944–973.


Kimberly Carrière, Ph.D. Candidate, 2018 Award Recipient

Kimberly Carrière is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at McGill University. Her research explores the efficacy of mindfulness-based programs on individuals with overweight and obesity. She is particularly interested in better understanding the independent role that mindfulness plays in reducing obesity-related eating behaviors. She is implementing a mindful eating pilot program aimed at reducing mindless eating in adults with overweight and obesity. This work contributes to the field by advancing our knowledge of the effects of brief mindfulness training programs on weight-related outcomes.

Carrière, K., Khoury, B., Günak, M. M., & Knäuper, B. (2018). Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 19(2), 164–177. 

Khoury, B., Knäuper, B., Schlosser, M., Carrière, K., & Chiesa, A. (2017). Effectiveness of traditional meditation retreats: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res, 92, 16–25. 


Stella Cruz, 2017 Award Recipient

Stella establishes village health care cooperatives in concert with  the Peruvian American Medical Society. PAMS honored her in 2012 with a Humanitarian Award. For over 20 years, she has worked to expand access to health in areas fraught with barriers. Stella received teacher training from InsightLA and has trained in the MBSR program and the Facilitator of Mindfulness Practice course. Stella brings mindfulness practices to communities who experience barriers to access due to location and financial hardship. She is the founder of Medicine Pathways Aqui y Ahora Healing Arts, and facilitates Indigenous Ceremonial gatherings which include: Sacred Drumming and Song Circles and Ceremonial Art Gatherings.


Barbara Hartigan, Ed.D., 2016 Award Recipient

Barbara is a now a retired Associate Professor from the School of Education, University of Saint Joseph where she served as the program director of Early Childhood/ Special Education. She studies the impact of mindfulness techniques on early childhood and special education pre-service teachers and their students in urban schools. She focuses on the impact of mindfulness training on personal growth in teachers and their occupational stress.

Hartigan, B. F. (2017). Mindfulness in Teacher Education: A Constructivist Approach to Stress Reduction for Teacher Candidates and Their Students. Childhood Education, 93(2), 153–158. 


Michael Li, PhD., 2016 Award Recipient

Michael is Assistant Professor at the Center for Behavioral & Addiction Medicine and Department of Family Medicine at UCLA. He studies community-based mindfulness interventions tailored to Latinx families, and conducts qualitative studies describing the role of dispositional mindfulness in Latinx sexual minorities for coping with minority stress. He is interested in how mindfulness interventions can be used to ameliorate stress in families.

Li, M. J., DiStefano, A. S., Thing, J. P., Black, D. S.,... Bluthenthal, R. N. (2019). Seeking refuge in the present moment: A qualitatively refined model of dispositional mindfulness, minority stress, and psychosocial health among Latino/a sexual minorities and their families. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

Li, M. J., Black, D. S., & Garland, E. L. (2015). The Applied Mindfulness Process Scale (AMPS): A process measure for evaluating mindfulness-based interventions. Personality and Individual Differences. 


Tsu-Yin Chang,  2015 Award Recipient

Tsu-Yin began studying mindfulness meditation as an undergraduate psychology major at Duke University. She has practiced with highly respected Western teachers including Rodney Smith, Joseph Goldstein, Guy Armstrong, and Steve Armstrong. She attended a three month-long retreat at Insight Meditation Society in 2013. She was invited to join the current international cohort of Community Dharma Leaders at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. In addition to teaching mindfulness in her psychotherapy practice, she leads sits at the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and the People of Color and Allies Sangha, employing self-reflective experiential learning processes to engage others in exploration of their lives and practices. she travels to Myanmar for intensive, long-term mindfulness practice with highly esteemed monastics, including Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. 


Hana Villar, Ph.D., 2015 Award Recipient

Hana is Visiting Lecturer at City University of London and Clinical Director of the Hackney and Waltham Forest clinic. She oversees strategic and business development for evidence-based mental health interventions within the Psychological Therapies, Recovery and Wellbeing departments. She specializes in complex trauma and severe mental health disorders, and using mindfulness interventions and other evidence-based psychological therapies. She studies the mechanisms of change and neural bases of mindfulness therapies on mental health populations, and seeks to develop more accurate measurement tools to measure changes in brain functioning via mindfulness training in mental health populations. 


Caitlin Conner, Ph.D. 2015 Award Recipient

Caitlin is Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg. She studies how mindfulness-based therapies can be adapted and used to improve the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families. Her thesis study looked at the relationships between maternal trait mindfulness, stress, and child and maternal psychopathology among mothers of children either with or without ASD. She is also interested in mechanisms of these treatments. Her dissertation is focusing on a pilot program of adapted Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for young adults with ASD for emotion dysregulation.

Beck K., Conner C. M., White S., Mazefsky C. (2020) Mindfulness 'Here and Now': Strategies for Helping Adolescents with Autism. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 59 (10): 1125-1127.

Conner, C. M., & White, S. W. (2018). Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of Individual Mindfulness Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(1), 290–300.


Eric Lopez Maya, Ph.D., 2014 Award Recipient

Eric is the Director of the Mexican Institute for Mindfulness, a leading Institution in Mexico and Latin America which is part of the Global Mindfulness Collaborative at the Brown University Center for Mindfulness. He is a bilingual and bicultural mindfulness teacher. He is also a Teacher-Trainer in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction trained at the Center for Mindfulness in the University of Massachusetts Medical School and at the Brown University Center for Mindfulness. Eric has led and collaborated in mindfulness research projects in Mexico, the United States, and Germany. He holds a certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Lopez-Maya, E., Olmstead, R., & Irwin, M. R. (2019). Mindfulness meditation and improvement in depressive symptoms among Spanish-and English speaking adults: A randomized, controlled, comparative efficacy trial. PloS one, 14(7), e0219425.

López-Maya, E., Hernández-Pozo, M. D. R., Méndez-Segundo, L., Gutiérrez-García, J. J., Araujo-Díaz, D., Nuñez-Gazcón, A., ... & Hölzel, B. K. (2015). Psychometric properties of the mexican version of the mindful attention awareness scale (MAAS). Psychologia, 9(1), 13-27.


Gillian O’Reilly, Ph.D., 2014 Award Recipient

Gillian was a National Cancer Institute Predoctoral Fellow at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She studies the influence of mindfulness and stress on hunger and satiety over time during a controlled feeding study in a sample of overweight Hispanic adolescents, examine the moderating effects of eating styles on these relationships, and will address the potential for mindfulness training to mitigate the impact of stress on eating behaviors in the current obesogenic environment. She hopes to contribute to the field by advancing understanding of how mindfulness-based interventions can possibly protect against obesity-related behaviors.

O’Reilly, G., Black, D.S. (2015). Considering mindfulness training for obesity-related eating behaviors in children and adolescents: A conceptual review. Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior, 3(3):207-214.

O’Reilly, G., Cook, L., Spruijt-Metz, D., Black, D.S. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions for obesity-related eating behaviors: A literature review. Obesity Reviews, 15(6): 453-461. 

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