James Carmody, PhD is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and Population and Quantitative Health Sciences Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine. His interest is in the qualities of attending to experience that are associated with distress and well being and how these can be modified. As such, his research is on the psychological and neural mechanisms of mindfulness and mind-body processes more generally, including the evolutionary and biological imperatives that these programs mitigate. He is principal investigator on several NIH-funded clinical trials of the clinical effects and mechansims of mindfulness training. Jim is a New Zealander and studied and practiced in Zen, Tibetan, Theravada and Advaita traditions in a number of countries over forty-five years. He has been a therapist, an instructor in the UMass Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and Director of Research for the Center for Mindfulness. He teaches mindfulness courses for clinicians with the goal of making the conceptualization and psychological mechanisms of mindfulness straightforward, jargon-free and practically accessible for patients. His work has been featured in national and international media including the New York Times, NPR, and ABC.
Ph.D. University of Iowa, 1971
NIH/NCCIH R01AT009680 (Co-I) (Burns PI) 08/1/18 - 7/30/23 Evaluating Specific and Non-Specific Mechanisms in Two Distinct Complementary/Integrative Interventions for Chronic Pain. A multisite trial with Rush Medical Centre and Vanderbilt Medical Centre to compare the effect and mechanism of mindfulness training and spinal manipulation therapy on chronic low back pain.
NCCAM R01AT0083931 (Multi-PI Pbert/Carmody) 09/3/2014 - 08/31/2020 Asthma Symptom Management Through Mindfulness Training. The goal of this study is to evaluate the effect of participation in a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program compared to an active control on asthma symptom control, and the role of increased perceptual accuracy in intervention-related changes.
NINR 1 R01NR013910 (Co-I) (Burns, PI) 9/25/13 - 8/24/18. Mechanisms of Psychosocial Pain Treatments. The goal of this study is to evaluate two competing models of mechanisms by comparing four interventions: Behavioral Activation, Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Pain Education.
NCCAM 1 R01AT006948-01 (Co-I) (Bock, PI) 7/1/12-6/30/17. Efficacy of Yoga as an Alternative Therapy for Smoking Cessation. This trial tests the efficacy of Yoga as a complementary therapy for smoking cessation. Adult smokers will be provided with smoking cessation counseling and randomly assigned to either Yoga, or a Control group given a Health & Wellness program to control for contact time. Also tests mediators of efficacy and the relationship between maintenance of yoga practice and smoking status.
U.S. Veterans Administration (Co-I) 10/1/11 - 9/30/13. A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for PTSD.The VA has made it a research priority toevalaute new treatments for PTSD, a mental illness prevalent among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This trial evaluates the efficacy of mindfulness meditation and associated biomarkers.
NCCAM, (R21) Carmody (Site PI) (S Lazar PI) 7/01/07 – 10/30/10. fMRI Investigation of Mind-Body Stress Reduction An examination of brain function and its relationship to psychological variables in mindfulness-based stress reduction compared to the relaxation response.
NCCAM (R21 AT002910-01) Carmody (PI) 9/01/05 - 9/31/10. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Hot Flashes. The goal of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and trial the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction in reducing hot flash frequency, severity, bother and quality of life for women experiencing severe hot flashes.
NINR (R01 NR009257-01A1) Carmody (Site PI) (Bauer-Wu PI) 8/05/05 - 05/31/2010. Mindfulness Meditation in Bone Marrow Transplantation. A study to evaluate the effect of mindfulness meditation on the quality of life and immune parameters of patients going through the bone marrow transplantation process. A two-site trial with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
NCCAM (R21 AT002938-01A1) Carmody/Pbert (PI) 1/10/06 - 9/31/09. Asthma and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. A randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of participation in mindfulness-based stress reduction compared with a respiratory-health education program on asthma symptoms.
NCCAM (R21 AT002938) Carmody/Pbert (PI) 6/1/07 – 9/29/09. Immune Function in MBSR for Asthma. Supplemental grant to study an immunoregulatory model of changes in immune function associated with psychological and clinical changes in participants in the mindfulness-based stress reduction for asthma trial.
Samueli Foundation (Co-I) 10/1/2006 - 9/30/2008. A trial of mindfulness based stress reduction on the Hippocampus in Iraqi Veterans with symptoms of PTSD. To assess the effects of MBSR on prevention of PTSD in returning Iraq war veterans at risk for PTSD, and to assess brain mechanisms, including the hippocampus, memory and cognition, that may mediate this effect.
U.S. Army (CFMRP DAMD17-02-1-0091) Carmody (PI) 01/02/01 - 12/31/05. A Holistic Quality of Life Intervention for Men with Secondary Prostate Cancer The goal of this RCT is to test the hypothesis that an intervention that integrates dietary change and mindfulness-based stress reduction will significantly increase participants’ QOL through improvements in their social, emotional and physical well-being (including reduced PSA velocity).
NCCAM (R21 AT01327-01) Reiff-Hekking (PI) 9/30/02 – 5/31/04. Exploring the Effect of Meditation on Hypertension The overall goal of this two-year proposal is to gather preliminary data evaluating the effectiveness of Vipassana Meditation Training on reducing blood pressure in mild hypertensives.
Public lecture on March 6, 2013, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand:
National Public Radio Morning Report on the Psychiatry Neuroscience article on increases in gray matter associated with mindfulness training:
Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon program:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation nationally broadcast radio program ‘All in the Mind’ on Dr Carmody’s research on the role of meditation in medicine:
References to, and Articleson Dr Carmody’s mind-body research haveappeared in:
New York Times (#1 on the most emailed list for 5 days - Jan 29-30 Feb 2), top 10 for 3 more days
Boston Globe Lifestyle section cover
WBUR – Anthony Brooks 2/7/11
NIH/NCCAM “In the news”
UMass Medical School's Newsletter
Others: ABC Good Morning America, Prevention, Men’s Health, Readers Digest, Boston Herald, ABC World News with Peter Jennings