From the start of MKM’s collaboration with M-DCPS in the educator-training mindfulness initiative, MKM’s board members took the lead in ensuring that a comprehensive assessment and evaluation component, and a formal research/assessment program, coincided with the implementation of the program.

MKM’s Research Committee, chaired by MKM Board of Directors member Dr. David J. Lee[1], collaborated with the Research Department at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM), University of Massachusetts Medical School, directed by Dr. Judson Brewer[2], to implement and manage the MKM – M-DCPS Research Study.

The assessment they have implemented includes a longitudinal study over a 48-month period beginning with an extensive pre-training survey of M-DCPS educators participating in the MBSR trainings.

Preliminary results from the 2015-2016 participants who volunteered to participate in the research study indicate significant improvement in mindfulness levels. Two measures of mindfulness were administered: the short form of the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the short-form of the Self-Compassion Scale. For both scales overall mindfulness levels increased significantly from pre-test levels.

In addition, there were significant increases in sub-scales indicating that educators showed improvement in observation skills, acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reactivity to inner experiences. Higher levels of self-reported mindfulness in response to mindfulness training have shown to be correlated with a range of psychological benefits.

Results to date indicate significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and fatigue with a corresponding significant improvement in social satisfaction. These findings are consistent with reports on the effectiveness of MBSR in other studies with the strongest effects seen more in mental health as opposed to physical health domains.

[1] Dr. Lee has a Ph.D., and is a professor and researcher at the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

[2] Dr. Brewer has an M.D., a Ph.D., and is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the UMass Medical School.