Who We Are
PMI – Purple Mountain Institute
The Mindful Veterans Project was founded in 2008 by Richard Vandemark and Dr. Teri Davis to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes to veterans, active duty, reserves, national guard, and their immediate families.
In 2008, Teri told Richard she wanted to start a program for veterans through Purple Mountain Institute. Richard, a Marine Vietnam Veteran, said “Teach MBSR. It’s the only thing that ever helped me.” Richard joined the Marines at 17. He was in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines – “First of The First”. (USMC 1964-67; RVN 1965-66, “C”, 1/1.)
Richard then made a donation to PMI to support Dr. Davis to train with Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santarelli, and the staff at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and MBSR teachers are trained. Until his death in 2013 from an Agent Orange-related illness, Richard paid all the expenses for Dr. Davis to become trained to teach MBSR to veterans, and then the Continuing Medical Education to support her training.
Because of Richard’s great suffering and even greater generosity when he found peace of mind, he worked with Dr. Davis to create a program to bring the same opportunities for inner peace to veterans and service members, their partners and, families.
Dr. Teri Davis (ND)
Dr. Teri Davis is a licensed naturopathic physician (ND), and a certified MBSR instructor; licensed to practice medicine by the State of Arizona since 1978 (Lic. #78-327), and certified to teach MBSR by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Davis practices Integrative Medicine, Women’s Health, Stress Management, Clinical Nutrition, and Energy Medicine. These days she does all of that in her capacity as Executive Director of PMI and Director and MBSR Instructor for the Mindful Veterans Project.
MBSR – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction & Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn
MBSR is an evidence-based 8-week program that was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn nearly 35 years ago. MBSR is taught in hospitals, clinics and communities throughout the world. Mindfulness has been shown to be a learnable set of skills that can result in beneficial changes in the brain, the mind, and relationships.
Since 2008, PMI has been offering free mindfulness instruction to veterans, service members, and their families and partners. We offer classes in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as drop-in meditation classes and activities for VA staff and volunteers, for participants in The Tucson City Veteran’s Court, and for the community.
We began with half a dozen veterans per class, with classes offered four times a year. We now teach about 15 classes a year with up to 30 veterans in a class. We get referrals from the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Healthcare System (SAVAHCS), the Tucson Vet Center, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, private providers, word-of-mouth, and our own direct outreach.