AU Press Releases

Alfred University professor to critique meditation as medicine at Bergren Forum

Dr. Shannon A. Hickey, assistant professor of religion at Alfred University, will present “Meditation as Medicine: A Critique” on Thursday, April 8, during AU’s Bergren Forum at 12:10 p.m. in Nevins Theater, Powell Campus Center. The program is free of charge and open to the public.

Hickey will survey and critique recent efforts to promote Buddhist meditation in medicine, particularly the practice of “mindfulness.”

“While mindfulness does seem to offer important therapeutic benefits, the process of medicalizing and commodifying it also generates several problems,” said Hickey. She will talk about the things that get lost in translation from congregation to clinic. They are, she said, the religious and ethical dimensions of meditative training, the benefits of long-term communal support, and a systemic analysis of illness that considers dynamics of race, gender, and socioeconomic class.

Hickey is a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Alfred University. She holds a Ph.D. in religion and modernity from Duke University. Ordained as a priest of Soto Zen, which she has practiced since 1983, Hickey has served as a professional chaplain in medical, psychiatric, and university settings.

This spring, Hickey is teaching meditation in a non-religious manner at Alfred University every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1 p.m. in the Knight Club, Powell Campus Center. The class is free and open to all.

For more information about meditation, contact Hickey at

The Bergren Forum, sponsored by the Alfred University Division of Human Studies, meets Thursdays during each academic semester at the University. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch; coffee and tea will be available.