Mindful Millennials

A Mindfulness Program for Young Adults

About the Program

Mindful Millennials
is a program providing mindfulness and other self-care mind-body programs for young adults, particularly those diagnosed or suffering with chronic health conditions. The millennial generation is currently the fastest growing population of health care consumers. Millennials are also highly motivated to seek mindfulness-based programs.

Mindfulness-based programs will initially be offered in-person, as a foundation for exploring best-practices for addressing the multi-modal conditions currently afflicting the millennial population. To address the world-wide urgency for mindfulness programs for young adults requesting these programs, our ultimate goal is to make available a web-based, community-focused program for young adults to access evidence-based resources to address chronic health conditions to improve quality of health and quality of life.

Our Founders

Mindful Millennials was developed by Deborah Norris, Ph.D. and Santi K.M. Bhagat, M.D., M.P.H., and with the assistance of a partnership between the non-profit organizations of Physician-Parent Caregivers and The Mindfulness Center.

The Mindfulness Center

The Mindfulness Center is a non-profit organization that promotes health and self-healing, for individuals and the community, through charitable, educational and research programs in mind-body practices. The Mindfulness Center supports the Mindful Millennials program through curriculum development of the program, conducting classes, program marketing, providing space to hold the weekly classes and maintaining program social media accounts and web pages.

Physician-Parent Caregivers

Physician-Parent Caregivers a non-profit organization with a mission of advancing the quality of life and independence for all young people with chronic conditions & disabilities and the well-being of their families. Physician-Parent Caregivers supports the Mindful Millennials program through assisting in curriculum development of the program, program marketing, participant recruitment and fundraising.

Mission and Vision

Our Mission:

To bring mindfulness to the millennial generation through in-person and online mindfulness programming for the purpose of empowering them with self-care practices leading to long-lasting physical health.

Our Vision:

Producing and delivering in-person and multi-media web-based mindfulness programs that through clinical trials demonstrate efficacy in relieving chronic conditions and restoring long-lasting physical health, quality of life and happiness for the millennial generation.

About the Class


Mindful Millennials meets in-person weekly at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Throughout the eight-week program participants learn mindfulness meditation skills, including breath focused exercises and body-awareness practices. Participants are young adults from the DMV area, ages 18-35. Individuals 35+ years are also welcomed.

The health benefits of mindfulness meditation are vast. Some of the most powerful benefits include the following:

  • Helps regulates emotions
  • Reestablishes neurochemical and hormonal balance
  •  Improves attention & mental performance
  •  Relieves symptoms of anxiety
  •  Relieves symptoms of depression
  •  Improves quality of sleep
  •  Reduces memory loss
  •  Reduces chronic pain
  •  Alleviates symptoms of  PTSD
  •  Relieves symptoms of gastrointestinal and other digestive conditions. 
  •  Reduces rheumatoid symptoms of arthritis, lupus and other chronic conditions

Individuals who have the following conditions may benefit from mindfulness meditation:

  •  Anxiety disorders
  •  Asthma
  •  Autism Spectrum Disorder
  •  Cancer
  •  Chronic pain
  •  Cystic fibrosis
  •  Type I and II Diabetes
  •  Emotional/Behavioral disorders
  •  Seizure disorder/ Epilepsy
  •  Genetic disorders
  •  Mental illness
  •  Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (or other hormonal disorders)
  •  Other rare disorders

In order to improve our understanding about the effects of mindfulness meditation on health outcomes, we ask that participants complete anonymous questionnaires each week. Participants will answer questions about their health symptoms and meditation practice. It will take participants approximately 5-20 minutes to complete these surveys. We ask that participants complete these surveys in return for access to the free mindfulness meditation program.

Our Leaders

Dr. Deborah Norris

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. She is trained extensively in mind-body therapies, ranging from traditional medical and psychotherapeutic practices to holistic and integrative therapies and lifestyle practices.

Santi Bhagat, M.D., M.P.H.

Founder of Physician-Parent Caregivers

Dr. Santi Bhagat, MD, is a mother of a young adult with a chronic medical condition, a physician, and the founder of a grassroots non-profit charitable organization, Physician-Parent Caregivers (PPC). Her experience with the health care system’s inability to provide safe quality care for her critically ill child provoked her to study health policy and conduct formal research on the ability of physician-parents to obtain quality care. This research pointed to the need for a national policy and advocacy organization to help all families of children with chronic health conditions.

PPC’s work on health care transition revealed a lack of systemic supports for young adults who grow up with childhood-onset health conditions. PPC seeks to advance policy change for young adults with chronic conditions in health care, education, work, society and government. Dr. Bhagat works at the interface of health policy, medicine, disability and advocacy to identify strategies that will enable young adults with chronic conditions to live full lives. Through PPC, she leads a national multi-stakeholder group of policy experts, physicians, disability experts and advocates, parents and young adults in meetings, workgroups and community building. Dr. Bhagat fosters partnerships with leading national organizations and connects with young adults and parents in the community. She has co-chaired national multi-stakeholder roundtables, authored policy briefs and medical articles and held charity events.

Dr. Bhagat promotes policies based on the patient-physician relationship and person/family-centered design. The heart of her work is centered on giving a face and voice to these young adults and their families. Dr. Bhagat received her medical degree from Bangalore University and completed her residency in pathology and laboratory medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center. She received her MPH from the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Sciences. She is a member of Disruptive Women in Healthcare, and she serves on the advisory boards for the Kaiser Permanente Institute of Health Policy and Got Transition/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement. Dr. Bhagat, an advocate for young adults with chronic health conditions (Young Invisibles), decided to collaborate with Dr. Norris, Aurora, and Katherine to help bring complementary and integrative treatment methods to this patient population.

Aurora Hutchinson M.A. 

Meditation Instructor and Wellness Educator at The Mindfulness Center

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. Aurora is the meditation teacher for the Mindful Millennials program.

Katherine Curtin

PhD Candidate in American University’s Behavior, Cognition and Neuroscience program.

Her research focuses on complementary and integrative treatment modalities that reduce pain and anxiety. She is particularly interested in the relationship between chronic pain, anxiety and mindfulness- specifically how mindfulness can disrupt the cycle of chronic pain and anxiety. Katherine has her M.A. in Experimental/Biological Psychology and a B.S. in Art Therapy. In addition to developing the Mindful Millennials research protocol, she developed and conducted two randomized controlled trials. She assessed the feasibility of administering lavender aromatherapy during venipuncture to pediatric patients at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC as well as the ability of mind-body practices to reduce stress-related alcohol consumption in undergraduate students at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

She has worked on three R01 NIH funded clinical trials at Children’s National Medical Center in the area of palliative care research and is currently assisting in writing a grant proposal for study investigating the physiological mechanisms of Mindfulness-based Art Therapy. She hopes to use her research to help validate complementary and integrative treatment methods, in order to incorporate such techniques into the standard of care and make them more accessible to all populations.

Join the Class

Individuals interested in participating in the Mindful Millennials program should follow the link below to complete quick screening criteria. Given that this program is currently a pilot research study, participants need to meet inclusion criteria. We ask that all individuals participating in the class be 18 years or older. To find out if you are eligible and to sign up for the class, please CLICK HERE. If you have any questions about participating, please contact Katherine at: MeditationStudy01@gmail.com

The class is free of charge. Participants will attend eight one-hour meditation classes at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The class will meet each week on Mondays from 6-7pm.

Please note that since this is a research study, participants will be asked to complete questionnaires on a weekly basis. The questions will be about health symptoms and meditation class experience. It should take 5-20 minutes a week to complete the questionnaires.

Partnering with Mindful Millennials Brings Impact

We believe that dynamic partnerships with corporations, institutions and nonprofit organizations are essential to promoting access to affordable complementary and integrative health care. Through sponsoring the Mindful Millennials program, an organization can be on the forefront of cutting-edge research and health policy development. Donations from sponsors will directly improve the lives of young adults with chronic health conditions.


In order for Mindful Millennials to deliver lasting impact, we depend on your generous support. If you are interested in becoming a partner for change, please contact Roxanne at Roxanne@TheMindfulnessCenter.org. We encourage corporate, institution, organization and individual sponsorship to help us achieve our goal to improve the lives of young adults in our community.

Donations go directly to program costs. We provide a modest stipend to the meditation teachers. Additional funds are used for program development and web-development, as well as program marketing, including maintaining social media accounts and web pages, and for program overhead (use of space at The Mindfulness Center).

If you’d like to sponsor a young adult, you can donate directly to that cause. Sponsorship for a named individual for the full eight-week program is $200. • Our initial plan is to receive funding to run the pilot program for at least 10 months with 30 young adults. In order to do so, we need to meet the following goals:

  • Develop evidence-based curriculum for a mindfulness program for millennials effective in relieving symptoms of pain, and improving quality of sleep and quality of life.
  • Raise $1,000 to begin this program at The Mindfulness Center in 2016.
  • Raise $5,000 to complete Phase 1 of clinical testing In-Person Program .
  • Raise $5,000 to complete Phase 2 of in-person program.
  • Raise $30,000 for development of web-based program.
  • Raise $10,000 for clinical trials of web-based program.
  • Raise $15,000 for marketing and distribution of web-based program.

Donating is simple and easy to do! Just choose the amount of your gift and your donation will go directly to the program. Suggested giving level for an individual is $50, for a small organization is $500, and for a large organization is $1,000 or more. 

Ten months after beginning the program or after 30 young adults have completed the program (whichever is sooner), we will re-evaluate our donation goals. At that time, we hope to extend the program online, in order to provide increased access for millennials.