Helen Y. Weng is the Next Speaker in the Mudd Lecture Series Helen Y. Weng, a clinical psychologist, neuroscientist and research associate at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Osher Center for Integrative Health, will give a lecture on Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.
Helen Y. Weng, a clinical psychologist, neuroscientist and research associate at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Osher Center for Integrative Health, will give a lecture on Sept. 22, 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater as part of Washington and Lee University’s Mudd Center for Ethics series on “Beneficence: Practicing an Ethics of Care.”
Weng’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled “Intersectional Neuroscience: Bringing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the Neuroscience of Meditation.” This event can also be accessed via livestream.
Helen Weng’s research focuses on meditation and how it may improve social and physical health. Through research, she developed new ways to quantify meditation skills using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to identify mental states of body awareness during meditation.
Weng’s clinical interests include integrating compassion and mindfulness meditation with psychotherapy to treat mood and anxiety disorders, particularly for LGBTQ clients. She completed her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds and Department of Psychology demonstrating the effectiveness of short-term compassion meditation in increasing both altruistic and neural responses to suffering.
Weng earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2014, she joined the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in Training in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM). She also completed a clinical internship at Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinics.
In 2019, Weng received the Mind and Life Institute Service Award and was named one of the 12 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement by mindful.org. She gave a presentation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2012 and 2016. She has given public talks at the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium After Dark series and TedxMarin. Her work has been featured in a variety of public news outlets such as Huffington Post, Mindful Magazine, NPR and The New York Times.
Weng is currently participating in the KIND study (Studying Loving Kindness with Intersectional Neuroscience and Diverse meditators) with the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California, investigating the lived experiences of diverse meditators practicing lovingkindness meditation, specifically in the context of the recent pandemic.
The Mudd Center was established in 2010 through a gift to Washington and Lee from award-winning journalist Roger Mudd, a 1950 graduate of the university. By facilitating collaboration across traditional institutional boundaries, the center aims to encourage a multidisciplinary perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice. Previous Mudd Center lecture series topics have included Race and Justice in America, The Ethics of Citizenship, Markets and Morals, Equality and Difference, The Ethics of Identity and The Ethics of Technology.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the series webpage.