Experts to discuss how mindfulness can improve HE

The two-day conference will be hosted by the University of Warwick

The event is set to explore how mindfulness can enable both students and teacher to get more from higher education is being held on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June. 

Experts from Australia and the United States will be speaking at Mindfulness in Health and Higher Education, which has been organised by the university and Warwick Medical School.

Dr Craig Hassed, Associate Professor at the University of Monash, is one of the pioneers of mindfulness teaching in medicine and will be a key note speaker at the conference. Dr Hassed’s visit is part of the visiting educator scheme managed by the Warwick International Higher Education Academy and facilitated by the Monash Warwick Alliance, an award-winning partnership between the two universities.

The conference will build upon the growing body of evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness. Although it will have an emphasis on medical education where much of the pioneering work has been done, it will also look at how to effectively teach mindfulness across a variety of courses from law to teacher training and to professionals who provide services to student such as librarians and counsellors.

Mindfulness is described as paying attention on purpose to what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Becoming more aware of the present moment can help people understand themselves and others better and experience afresh things that they may have been taking for granted. 

Mindfulness is described as paying attention on purpose to what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment

Sarah Stewart Brown, Professor in Public Health at Warwick Medical School is organising the event with colleagues from Warwick Medical School, and Leicester Medical School and the University of Warwick Centre for Life Long learning. She said: “The conference is particularly focussed on experience of designing, implementing and evaluating mindfulness courses.

“It is thought that trainee doctors, other health professionals, trainee teachers, lawyers and managers can benefit from mindfulness, both at university where it supports learning and memory and after they graduate it improves professional performance. There has been research that indicates fewer medical errors occur and there is less professional ‘burnout’ when doctors practice mindfulness. Research also indicates it encourages greater compassion within teaching and health care.  

“There will be many opportunities at the conference to engage with the practical issues relating to applying mindfulness in a university setting such as workshops and panel discussions. The conference is suitable for a wide range of audiences from the higher education and professional education fields.” 

The event will be opened by Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick. Keynote speakers include Dr Craig Hassed, Monash University, Australia,  Professor Ron Epstein from Rochester University, USA and Professor Alvaro Guerra who is Chancellor of Albert Einstein University, Mexico. 

The University of Warwick has a Mindfulness Research Network which seeks to promote quality research in the field of mindfulness by providing an interdisciplinary forum across the university and beyond. 

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