The Mindfulness Center

About Us

The Mindfulness Center

About The Mindfulness Center

The Mindfulness Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization which promotes health and self-healing, for individuals and the community, through charitable, educational and research programs in mind-body practices.


The mission of The Mindfulness Center is to facilitate the evolution of the standard of health care from one of managing disease to one of fostering health, and to be a model for a new health care paradigm.  We fulfill this mission by bringing mindfulness to all dimensions of life, and empowering people to use evidence-based, best practices of self-care, thereby addressing health care disparities by making health care accessible to all.

Our Philosophy on Wellness: What is Needed in Our Health Care

Given the health care crisis in our country today, the extraordinary costs of health care, and the high incidence of chronic debilitating diseases, we need a new cultural paradigm for considering our well-being. What is needed is a health care system that empowers the self to heal naturally, embraces optimal well-being, empowers us to be compassionate towards others, and teaches gratitude for the Earth's great abundance.

Read More About Our Charitable Programs in Action!

Our Team

  • Each teacher knows the power of their teaching to offer a path to healing and well-being;
  • Each teacher is willing to teach their gifts, to empower others;
  • All of our teachers are willing to participate in clinical research trials to further the scientific body of medical understanding of our practices and offerings.  

Our Story

The Mindfulness Center was founded in 2009, by Deborah Norris, Ph.D. and her two daughters, Jessie and Jacqueline. In 1996, Debbie was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, which left her in chronic pain; doctors said there was no cure and nothing could be done. Debbie, a research scientist, began researching the underlying causes of her condition and took up practices to reverse these causes. Debbie began doing things to gradually increase her physical, mental and emotional well-being, including gentle yoga for the physical pain, nutritional changes to increase her energy and meditation to relieve stress. By incorporating these practices, Debbie reversed her condition and returned to an active, healthy life. After an accident in 1999, Debbie suffered a traumatic brain injury and was diagnosed with seizures, impaired vision and chronic headaches. Once again, Debbie researched ways to heal herself using mind and body practices, and once again, Debbie was able to heal herself and live a healthy life free of seizures and pain. This personal health journey is what led Debbie and her family to open The Mindfulness Center: to continue to explore mind-body practices through research, practice and teachings, and spread this information to others, so that all may enjoy health, happiness and optimal well-being. Together with a team of health experts and educators, they seek to create a model of the new paradigm for health care.

Deborah Norris, Ph.D., Founder and President

Photo courtesy of Lise Metzger

Dr. Norris is the Founder and President of The Mindfulness Center. She is a health scientist and pioneer in the field of Mindfulness with over 40 years of experience in education, research and programming. Also an innovative businesswoman, Dr. Norris leads a team of over 100 therapists, health care providers, faculty members, researchers, business and development personnel, board members and volunteers toward a new healthcare paradigm.  The community health programs led by Dr. Norris and conducted in collaboration between The Mindfulness Center and area hospitals, government agencies, schools and other non-profits, represent the forefront of integrative healthcare, empowering community members to live healthier, more mindful and fulfilling lives. 

 Dr. Norris has a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in psychology/ psychopharmacology. She is the Founder and Director of the Psychobiology of Healing program and Psychologist-in-Residence in the Department of Psychology at American University. Dr. Norris teaches and conducts research in behavioral medicine, and other complementary and integrative approaches to wellbeing. Trained extensively in mind-body therapies, ranging from traditional medical and psychotherapeutic practices to holistic and integrative therapies and lifestyle practices, Dr. Norris brings meditation and other lifestyle wellness programs to the forefront of your health plan. Dr. Norris was previously on the faculty in the Psychiatry Department at Georgetown University Medical School, and taught research principles in psychopharmacology to the Medical residents at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center. 

Dr. Norris worked for 15 years as a health scientist specializing in neurotoxicology and environmental illnesses at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where she authored USEPA Neurotoxicity Testing Guidelines, and was the U.S. lead scientist for the European OECD Neurotoxicity Testing Guidelines.  She also co-authored the USEPA and the OECD Developmental Neurotoxicity Testing Guidelines and numerous regulations and Test Rules. 

Dr. Norris has studied a number of mind-body-spirit modalities. She has intensive training through the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies in the theory and practice of Gestalt Psychotherapy and meditation. She has also trained with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Integrating her studies of mind and body, Dr. Norris is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and is certified in exercise physiology by the American College of Sports Medicine and other certifying organizations. She is registered as a 500-hr E-RYT with Yoga Alliance, and C-IAYT with the International Alliance of Yoga Therapists.  She has been a certified instructor for the Arthritis Foundation.  In her quest for continuing education in healing modalities, Dr. Norris is also trained and certified in a number of forms of bioenergetic healing, including Reconnective Healing (TM) with Dr. Eric Pearl. She has studied ballet and modern dance with principles from many companies including the Royal Danish Ballet, the Harkness Ballet, Honya Holme, Erica Thimey and many others.  Dr. Norris has over forty years of experience in health sciences, exercise and dance, receiving her first National Science Foundation Research Fellowship at NIH in 1974, and apprenticing with the New York City Ballet in 1976. 

In her practice, Dr. Norris integrates lifestyle elements of meditation, physical exercise, spiritual development, relaxation therapy, energy work, imagery, nutrition and herbalism for maximal health and happiness! Working with you and your physicians, Dr. Norris and the team members of The Mindfulness Center can help you formulate an integrative approach to your health care.

Click to Learn More about Debbie


Jacqueline Norris, Co-Founder and Executive Director

Jacqueline is a graduate of Frostburg State University, where she majored in Business with a concentration in General Management. During her studies at Frostburg, Jacqueline became Vice President of the Society for Advancement of Management, and attended the Sloop Institute for Excellence in Leadership. At TMC Jacqueline oversees all aspects of business development, marketing and staff training, integrating TMC's mission of mindfulness into its functioning and outreach.  Jacqueline is 200-Hour certified Yoga Teacher.


Jessie Norris Taylor, Co-Founder and Director of Education

Jessie Norris Taylor is Co-Founder and Director of Education at The Mindfulness Center (TMC) as well as a yoga and meditation instructor. She is 200-Hour ERYT with Yoga Alliance and for over a decade has studied a number of yoga and meditation traditions including, Hatha, vinyasa, Iyengar and therapeutic yoga and meditation at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and the Gestalt Psychotherapy Center of Washington, DC and Trauma-Informed Mind-Body practices with the YogaHOPE organization. Jessie has developed and conducted wellness programs for numerous area corporations, hospitals, schools, and government agencies. Jessie is Director of The Mindfulness Center's Yoga Teacher Training program and oversees program and staff development. Jessie recognizes the ability of yoga and meditation to balance and enhance all aspects of our lives and to cultivate optimal wellness of mind, body and spirit. Her background includes training in the arts, sustainable design and feng shui, which brings a unique awareness of the flow of energy in and around us to her work. Through her work and teachings at TMC Jessie hopes to create an environment of healing and wellness from the moment you step in the door, and which you take with you throughout life.

Roxanne Lerner, Development Director

Roxanne is the Development Director at The Mindfulness Center. She is an experienced event management professional with years of success in fundraising and development. Roxanne began her professional career working in Development at a large non-profit organization in New York City and has experience with all areas of event planning, from small fundraisers to large upscale galas. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she majored in Women's Studies. Because of her strong belief in the healing power of mind-body practices, Roxanne hopes to continue to spread awareness of the importance of these self-care therapies, through her work at The Mindfulness Center. Roxanne is 200-Hour RYT with Yoga Alliance.


Aurora Hutchinson, M.A., Mindfulness Programs Director

Aurora Hutchinson, M.A. is a meditation instructor and wellness educator at The Mindfulness Center, in Bethesda, MD, where she teaches group classes, conducts corporate seminars and sees private clients seeking to learn meditation for stress management, improved health, career and family support.Aurora has a professional background in DOD and scientific program management, with an emphasis on research, policy interpretation, technical and scientific writing. She has a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, specifically Psychopharmacology. In addition, Aurora is pursuing her passion for holistic wellness and mind-body practices by completing dissertation work for her Ph.D. in Psychology at American University, specializing in the Psychobiology of Healing. She has completed Meditation Teacher Training with Dr. Deborah Norris, Founder and Executive Director of The Mindfulness Center (TMC) and is currently enrolled in TMC’s Yoga Teacher Training program. Aurora has also received training in Clinical Hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH). Her passion as a scientist is not only in advancing the scientific knowledge of mind-body therapies, but also in promoting and practicing evidence-based, best practices of self-care in hospitals, wellness centers and corporate settings to empower and serve others.

Amanda Skowron, Psy.D, Community Director

Dr. Skowron specializes in mindfulness based interventions and stress management. She has a special interest in women’s health and working with college students. At TMC, Dr. Skowron oversees community and corporate programming for those interested in learning about mindfulness meditation and stress reduction. Dr. Skowron also sees individual clients and offers telehealth visits, in order to increase accessibility to meditation training. For the last four years, Dr. Skowron has taught mindfulness and lifestyle interventions at Casey Health Institute, an integrative medical center that emphasizes mind-body interventions. Dr. Skowron graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology and sociology. She received both her Masters and Doctoral degree from the APA-Accredited clinical psychology program at La Salle University in Philadelphia where she served as Chief Extern. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh where her training focused on stress management techniques. Dr. Skowron has extensive specialized training in mindfulness-based therapeutic techniques. She has conducted research on mindfulness and published articles on postpartum depression. Her passion is to work with a clinical focus on prevention and wellness.


Board of Directors

Deborah Norris, Ph.D.
Founder and President, The Mindfulness Center
Adjunct Professor & Director of The Psychobiology of Healing Program,
American University

Jessie Norris Taylor
Co-Founder & Secretary of the Board, The Mindfulness Center

Timothy Schwartz, J.D.
General Counsel, The Mindfulness Center
Principle, Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz and Gilday, LLC

Rebecca Pettengill, M.A.
Strategic Planning Committee Chair, The Mindfulness Center
Disaster Relief Operations & Program Evaluation, American Red Cross

Jeffrey Schwartz, CPA
Board of Directors, The Mindfulness Center
Board of Directors, Washington Area Music Association
Treasurer, Montgomery College Chapter of AAUP

Theresa A. Stone, M.D.
Chairperson of Medicine, The Mindfulness Center
Internal Medicine Specialist, George Washington University Hospital