Our Work at the Veterans Administration:
Since 2011, Christiane Wolf and Greg Serpa have been working together to expand the use of mindfulness-based interventions at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We outline some of our work here and include links to helpful resources.
Greg Serpa is a clinical psychologist who began his work at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System as an intern in 2003. At that time, he had more than 20 years of personal meditation experience and, with the support of the VA psychology supervisory staff, started a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy informed group in a day treatment program treating Veterans with mood disorders. By 2011, Greg, now a member of the teaching faculty, was leading a weekly Mindfulness in Recovery program popular with both Veterans and trainees in psychology, psychiatry, social work, addiction therapy and nursing. He created one of the first Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs for Veterans within the VA system.
In 2011, Christiane and Greg began their collaboration at Greater Los Angeles VA (GLA). InsightLA and Christiane joined GLA as external contractors with national expertise in teaching mindfulness to ensure fidelity to best practices and started the VA CALM program with a combined team of InsightLA teachers and VA teachers and practioners. As part of GLA’s designation as a national Center for Innovation, Greg was asked to become a full-time mindfulness teacher and teacher trainer for the VA, the first federal employee in this role. Christiane, trained as a physician, is a nationally recognized MBSR teacher trainer and a supervising teacher at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. Greg trained with Christiane to be an approved MBSR teacher and they started teaching many classes together as well as training VA staff to facilitate mindfulness.
VA MINDFULNESS HIGHLIGHTS
Mindfulness Toolkit Videos (they are all posted on our video page, too)
Video One: What is Mindfulness?
Video Two: Why Mindfulness at the VA?
Video Three: 4 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness
Video Four: Beginning a Mindfulness Practice
Video Five: Mindfulness and Compassion
VA Audio Guided Practices
Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation
Media Resources guide
Click on “Downloadable Audio Files” and scroll to bottom of page
VA MINDFULNESS PUBLICATIONS
Serpa, J. G., Taylor, S. L., & Tillisch, K. (2014). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in veterans. Medical care, 52, S19-S24.
Hempel, S., Shekelle, P. G., Taylor, S. L., Marshall, N. J., Solloway, M. R., Miake-Lye, I. M., … & Shanman, R. (2014). Evidence Map of Mindfulness. (This evidence map gives a great overview – and visual- over the current research on mindfulness interventions)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC)
Silent Meditation Retreats (MBSR and MSC)
Mindfulness in Recovery
Mindfulness for Tinnitus Distress Relief
Mindfulness for Chronic Pain
Introduction to Mindfulness (via video telehealth)
Mind Your Business
FOR CLINICAL STAFF
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (live and via video telehealth)
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) (live and via video telehealth)
Introduction to Mindfulness (department drop-ins and on line course)
Introduction to Compassion (department drop-ins and on line course)
Mindfulness sitting group
Mindfulness Facilitators Training Program (certification course)
Our work at the VA has been possible due to the efforts and commitment of many collaborators. First and foremost, Sandy Robertson, Chief of Patient Centered Care, is the visionary leader who established GLA’s role as a Center of Innovation for a wide variety of integrative health modalities including mindfulness. The leadership and staff at the national Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation has played an essential role in expanding the use of mindfulness throughout the national network.
We are deeply grateful for the ongoing support from our VA-CALM team includes Joni Cohen, PhD, RN, Wendy Schmelzer, LCSW, Paloma Cain and Linda Good.