Beyond Being logo: Frontiers in consciousness research: Science, spirituality, and wellness

Remy Coeytaux

Remy Coeytaux, MD, PhD, is the Caryl J. Guth Chair in Integrative Medicine and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Stanford University and his PhD in Epidemiology from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and Bravewell Fellow in Integrative Medicine.

Remy’s research and clinical interests focus on holistic and comprehensive approaches to health and wellness. While he was on faculty at the University of North Carolina, he founded the Family Medicine Center Acupuncture Clinic, and he and his wife, Kris, founded Chapel Hill Doctors Healthcare Center, which serves as the professional home for many healthcare providers, including primacy care physicians, acupuncturists, an integrative medicine physician, a naturopathic physician, a gynecologist, a gastroenterologist, and several other holistic-minded healthcare providers. While on faculty at the Duke University School of Medicine, Remy conducted clinical trails and comparative effectiveness research on acupuncture for menopausal hot flashes, nonpharmacological approaches to perimenopausal-related vasomotor symptoms, nonpharmacological approaches to attention deficit disorder, and integrative medicine approaches for post-traumatic headache disorders. As Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Remy is currently leading an initiative to create an integrative medicine clinic at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Sbamini Jain, Ph.D.

Founding Director, Consciousness and Healing Initiative

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, UC San Diego

Dr. Shamini Jain is a psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI;, a collaborative accelerator that links scientists, practitioners, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators to facilitate the science and practice of healing.

CHI was formed through Dr. Jain’s deep desire to bring key stakeholders together to create a coherent and effective movement to move us beyond the “decade of the brain”, into the “age of consciousness and healing”. Partners of CHI include the Miraglo Foundation, Institute of Noetic Sciences, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, San Diego Cancer Research Institute, UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, Westreich Foundation, and Chopra Foundation.

Dr. Jain obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. degree from the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, with a research focus in psychoneuroimmunology.  She conducted her clinical residency at the La Jolla VA Hospital/UC San Diego, and her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. While a graduate student, Dr. Jain received NIH funding and conducted the first-ever clinical trial at UC San Diego on hands-on-healing in cancer survivors, the results of which are published in the prestigious journal Cancer, widely read by oncologists.

Currently, in addition to her running CHI, Dr. Jain is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, and an active member ofUCSD Center for Integrative Medicine’s Research Committee for the past 5 years. She is also a student of Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere in the healing arts. Dr. Jain has published extensively in the areas of psychoneuroimmunology and well-being, integrative medicine, and healing, and has received numerous awards from scientific societies including the American Psychosomatic Society, the American Psychological Association, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, and other societies for her work.

Dr. Jain’s published research in healing has been featured in TIME magazine and CNN, as well as other radio and media. She has a passion for sharing the science of healing, and regularly speaks on topics surrounding healing and well-being, in diverse venues including NATO, TEDx, and major universities and medical centers, health-related conferences and corporations. She also contributes as an author on these topics in online biogs for Huffmgton Post, The Times of India, and Fulfillment Daily.

Dr. Jain’s scientific publications, example talks, speaking schedule, biogs and more can be found at

Bruce Greyson

Bruce Greyson, M.D., is the Chester F. Carlson Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences and Director Emeritus of the Division of Perceptual Studies, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Greyson graduated from Cornell University with a major in psychology in 1968, received his medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate Medical College in 1973, and completed his psychiatric residency at the University of Virginia in 1976. He held faculty appointments in psychiatry at the University of Michigan {1978-1984) and the University of Connecticut {1984-1995), where he was Clinical Chief of Psychiatry, before returning to the University of Virginia, where he has practiced and taught psychiatry and carried out research since 1995. His research for the past four decades has focused on near-death experiences and has resulted in more than 80 presentations to national scientific conferences, more than 100 publications in academic medical and psychological journals, and several research grants and awards. His NDE Scale has become the gold standard for quantifying near-death experiences and has been used in hundreds of studies. He is the co-author of Irreducible MindToward a Psychology for th21st Century (2007), and co-editor of The NearDeath Experience: ProblemsProspectsPerspective(1984) and of The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation (2009). He was a founder and Past President of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, and for 26 years edited the Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Bruce Greyson is the Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia Medical School, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He graduated from Cornell University with a major in psychology in 1968, received his medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate Medical College in 1973, and subsequently completed his psychiatric residency at the University of Virginia. He held faculty appointments and taught psychiatry at the University of Michigan (1978-1984) and the University of Connecticut (1984- 1995), where he was Clinical Chief of Psychiatry, before returning to the University of Virginia, where he has continued to teach and practice psychiatry and carry out research since 1995.

Dr. Greyson was one of the founding members of the International Association for Near­ Death Studies, and served on its Board of Directors and as its President and Director of Research. For 26 years he edited the Journal of Near-Death Studies, and he has served as editorial reviewer for many other medical and psychological journals. He was the senior editor of The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects , Perspectives (Charles C Thomas, 1984), co-author of Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and co-editor of The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of lnvestigation (Praeger, 2009).

In addition, his research has resulted in more than 75 presentations to national and international scientific conferences, 25 invited book chapters, and more than 100 publications in academic medical and psychological journals, including mainstream medical and psychological journals such as the American Journal of Psychiatry; British Journal of Psychology; Death Studies; General Hospital Psychiatry; Hospital and Community Psychiatry; JAMA; Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease; Journal of Religion and Health; Lancet; Medicine and Psychiatry; Mortality; Neurology; New England Journal of Medicine; Obstetrics & Gynecology; Omega; Perspectives in Biology and Medicine; Psychiatric Services; Psychiatry; Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics;; Revista de Psiquiatria Clinica; Resuscitation; and Suicide and LifeThreatening Behavior.

Dr. Greyson’s research for the past three decades has focused on the aftereffects and implications of the near-death experience, and has been honored with the William James Award from the University of Virginia and the William C. Menninger Award from the Central Neuropsychiatric Association. He has been elected a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has been given Outstanding Contribution awards from the International Association for Near-Death Studies and from the Parapsychological Association.

His near-death research has received grant funding from the Institut fiir Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene; Funda ao Bial; Consciousness Research and Training Project, Inc.; Institute ofNoetic Sciences; University of Michigan Psychiatry Development Fund; and University of Connecticut Research Foundation.

Edward F. Kelly

Edward F. Kelly is currently a Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics and cognitive science from Harvard in 1971, and spent the next 15-plus years working mainly in parapsychology, initially at J. B. Rhine’s Institute for Parapsychology, then for ten years through the Department of Electrical Engineering at Duke, and finally through a private research institute in Chapel Hill. Between 1988 and 2002 he worked with a large neuroscience group at UNC-Chapel Hill, mainly carrying out EEG and fMRI studies of human somatosensory cortical adaptation to natural tactile stimuli. He returned full-time to psychical research in 2002, serving as lead author of Irreducible Mind (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007) and Beyond Physicalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). He is now returning to his central long-term research interest – application of modem functional neuroirnaging methods to intensive psychophysiological studies of psi and ASCs in exceptional subjects (httP:// ).

Jeffery C. Olsen

Olsen is a best-selling author and inspires audiences internationally with his intriguing personal story of perseverance and inner strength. In 1997, Jeff experienced a horrific automobile accident which inflicted multiple life-threatening injuries, including crushing both his legs. His left leg was amputated above the knee. The most devastating outcome of the accident was the loss of his wife and youngest son, both killed instantly. At that time, Jeff had profound spiritual experiences, which gave him insights and gifts not common in today’s world. After almost six months in the hospital and eighteen surgeries, Jeff found the courage to carry on, heal, care for his living son and eventually thrive in his career and community contributions.

Jeff has appeared on many national and international radio and television programs sharing his insights and gifts.

Professionally Olsen is a conceptual thinker, a proven team leader, and a die-hard brand enthusiast. He is currently Executive Director of a national consumer engagement agency, involved in marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies across the country. Jeff brings vision and passion to everything he does. With accolades from the New York One Show, the Clio Awards and Communication Arts, Jeff takes his place among the lynch pins of his industry. Couple his creative recognition with appearances in Forbes Magazine, the Inc. 500 and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist Award and you have a winning combination of talent and tenacity.

He also participates on several local Boards and Committees, including The Road Home, The National Ability Center and the Utah chapter of IANDS.

Jeff has remarried since his automobile accident and adopted two more boys. He enjoys being in the outdoors and contributing to the greater good of his community. His greatest joy, however, comes from simply being a husband, father and friend.

J. Kim Penberthy

J. Kim Penberthy, Ph.D, ABPP was born and raised in West Virginia where she developed a strong tie to the natural world. She attended Wake Forest University and majored in psychology and biology. After graduation, she helped conduct research at the Center for Alcohol Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She then returned to graduate school at Wake Forest University where she obtained a master’s degree in experimental psychology with a focus on evaluative conditioning and the power of human learning potential. She worked at the Duke Cancer Center helping in psychosocial support of patients before obtaining her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Penberthy completed her internship in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine in Norfolk, VA. She went on to complete her fellowship in behavioral medicine in the Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 1998-2000. Dr. Penberthy has also completed her board certification in clinical psychology, as well as a fellowship in humanism in medicine at UVA. She is trained to work with patients who have chronic medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or HIV. Additionally, she is trained to work with people who suffer with addictions, and conducts research exploring effective treatments for people with co-occurring psychological difficulties, addictions and medical conditions. She is a founding member of the UVA Contemplative Sciences Center and studies the therapeutic components of contemplative practices like mindfulness and a variety of psychotherapies. She is also the co­ director of the Effective Coping and Communication Skills for Physicians program, which is a national CME program helping to improve the interpersonal skills of physicians. She joined UVA’s Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences in 2000 and is currently the Chester F. Carlson Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies, where she conducts research exploring the impact of contemplative practices, including mindfulness and meditation. She explores not only the healing abilities of these practices, but also has funded research to explore the positive impact of contemplative practices upon human performance and extraordinary abilities.

Dr. Penberthy is active at UVA and regionally and is on the UVA cancer committee, the Emily Courie Clinical Cancer Center patient and caregiver advisory board, The Steward School board of trustees and the Bryan Innovation Lab in Richmond. She is married to David Penberthy, M.D., a radiation oncologist who practices in Richmond. They have one daughter, Morgan, who attends Wake Forest University. Kim and her family enjoy standup paddle boarding, cycling and meditating.

Jim B. Tucker

Jim B. Tucker, M.D. is Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is director of the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies, where he is continuing the work of Ian Stevenson on children who report memories of previous lives. He is the author of two books that together have been translated into twenty languages, Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives (2005) and Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives (2013), a New York Times bestseller. Dr. Tucker obtained his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He then completed training in psychiatry and child psychiatry at the University of Virginia. A board-certified child psychiatrist, he served as the medical director of the UVA Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic for nine years.

Fadel Zeidan

Fadel Zeidan, PhD is an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine, associate director of neuroscience research at Wake Forest’s Center for Integrative Medicine, and adjunct assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. His research is focused on identifying the behavioral, neural and pharmacologic mechanisms supporting the self-regulation of pain and health. Fadel’s research program is largely directed towards examining the subjective experience of pain to disentangle the constellation of dimensions (i.e., sensory; cognitive; affective) that make up consciousness and awareness. Specifically, he examines the effects of mindfulness meditation, placebo and other cognitive approaches on pain processing and other health-related outcomes.

Ulrike Wiethaus

Ulrike Wiethaus (PhD, Religious Studies, Temple University) currently holds a joint appointment as full professor in the Department of Religion and American Ethnic Studies, and is a 2013 Community Solutions Fellow with the Institute for Public Engagement at Wake Forest University. Her research interests focus on the history of Christian spirituality with an emphasis on gender justice and political history, and most recently, historic trauma, religion, and the long-term impact of US colonialism. As the inaugural director, she has guided the creation of the Religion and Public Engagement concentration in Religious Studies. She has won several awards on innovative teaching strategies and community engagements, including the Donald O. Schoonmaker Faculty Prize for Community Service, Innovative Teaching Award (with Gillian Overing, WFU 2008), the Presidential Library Grant (with Mary Scanlon, WFU 2008), and the Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts Award for Local Community Involvement and Outreach (WFU 2007), and has been awarded a Shively Family Fellowship for 2010 – 2012. She has directed, produced, and co-produced several non-profit documentaries with elders on the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, and most recently edited a non-profit book of poetry and autobiographies by American Indian prisoners at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, NC.