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Help us in welcoming CIHM's new Director of Development
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds is excited to announce the selection of Molly Schmidt as the Center's new Director of Development. In partnership with the UW Foundation, Molly will manage CIHM's major gift efforts and annual giving initiatives and work to strengthen relationships with donors and friends of the Center. Molly brings over eight years of successful non-profit experience to the Center, with the last four years focused specifically on building external relationships and development. She has a strong background in communications, project management and event planning and holds a MA degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Most recently she served in leadership roles at the UW-Madison's School of Business and Loyola University Health System.

While at Loyola University, Molly built countless relationships with alumni, friends and supporters of the University, helping to establish and build a robust and successful fundraising program. In this role she also contributed to the Health System's capital campaign, as well as ongoing stewardship efforts and donor events. Prior to joining CIHM, her role at the UW-Madison School of Business focused on developing a comprehensive and engaging annual giving program. She helped create a strategic plan for the program and managed all aspects of the School's student campaign team activities including managing new student teams, coordinating logistics and educating students on the value of philanthropy.

"Strengthening relationships with those interested in the mission of the Center is very important to us," says CIHM Executive Director Barb Mathison. "We were looking for a candidate who was passionate about the work we do here. Molly exceeded our expectations."

For Molly, the more she learned about the Center, the more she became hooked. "The Center is truly an inspiring place, and what I find most inspiring is how the research is impacting the community. The Center has the potential to change the quality of life for many, and I am thrilled to be part of that effort."

Molly looks forward to connecting with all those interested in learning more about how they can become part of the work we do at the Center. "I enjoy this work because of the relationships you build," she expressed. "You have the opportunity to engage individuals with the mission of an organization and invite them to support in a meaningful way, however they are able."

Send Molly an official welcome note! Email her at

CIHM Receives $1.7 Million Dollar Grant to Study the Compassionate Brain
Just announced by the UW-Madison last week, CIHM plans to launch a new series of studies aimed at understanding how laboratory measures of virtuous qualities such as compassion relate to behavior in the real world. The 'real world' measures include observing responses to a person in need, charitable contributions and "ecological momentary assessments" such as text messaging a person to query what they are doing in that moment. These methods will help scientists understand how transferrable lab measures are to the real everyday life.

This research is made possible by the three-year, $1.7 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation and builds on Founder Davidson's earlier work using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to document changes in the brain associated with meditation and related contemplative practices.

In this new series of studies, CIHM researchers will create both laboratory and real-world measurements to track changes in brain function and behavior.

"We will be tracking changes in the neural correlates of virtuous character traits such as compassion, kindness and altruism,'' says Founder Davidson. "Then, we want to see if the changes we can see in the brain scanner are correlated with changes in everyday life."

Read the official press release here >>

A New Article Highlights CIHM: 'Taking the Measure of Mind'

We're pleased to bring you this new article from our friends at Shambhala Sun. In it's upcoming March issue, senior writer Barry Boyce reports on his recent visit to the Center, where he spent time talking with Founder Davidson, touring our facilities within the Waisman Center and learning from our CIHM team about the diverse range of research projects currently underway.

Click here to read the entire story. We also encourage you to read Boyce's editorial in the March issue, where he more personally describes his visit with us. A special thanks to Krakora Studios of Madison, Wisconsin, for the amazing photos displayed in this story!

Tell us what you think! We'd love to hear your perspective, insights or questions about the article. Email us at

Upcoming Events Around the Country
Our collaborative partners and affiliated organizations have some exciting events coming up! As part of the Center's mission, we aim to inform our growing community about opportunities to engage and attend. We encourage you to learn more about these great events!
HAPPY film screening: February 11, 2012 - Madison, WI and many other locations!
On World Happy Day - February 11, 2012 - thousands of people will join together in communities across the globe to experience the film HAPPY and begin their journeys toward healthier, and happier lives. Madison will feature a screening at 11 am on Saturday, February 11 at the AMC Star Fitchburg 18. Click here for online ticket purchases or find a screening near you here. HAPPY highlights the work of CIHM Founder Richard Davidson and is the latest film from Academy Award® nominated director Roko Belic.

Being Human 2012: March 24, 2012, San Francisco, CA
Everyday, fresh insights from science and philosophy shed new light on the processes of human experience - the how of feeling, thinking, and believing - and invite us to 
redefine who we are as human beings. If you're interested in exploring new territories around human processes such as how we perceive and 'make sense' of the world and how we relate to others and ourselves, join us for this landmark gathering. Pioneers on the frontier of human understanding will guide us on this exciting exploration: Richie Davidson, David Eagleman, Paul Ekman, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jane Hirshfield, and more. Join the conversation. Register today at Live streaming of this event will also be available. CIHM will post information as it becomes available and you can also visit for further details.
Founder Davidson's first Madison book talk! April 3, 2012, in partnership with the Wisconsin Academy
At an Academy Evening talk held in partnership with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, Founder Davidson will discuss his new book, 'The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel and Live - and How You Can Change Them' due out March 1, 2012. In this first local book talk, Founder Davidson will discuss with the audience why after thirty plus years of work and research, he decided it was the right time to write his first popular press book. He'll share the concept of Emotional Style and the six dimensions he's defined within it. Most importantly, he'll take us through how we as individuals can employ simple strategies to 'shift' our styles through practice. Davidson will also share his perspective on why incorporating these types of training into classrooms and K-12 learning is a much needed step toward transforming education in America. Click here for more details.
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