The mental and emotional toll of the last few months has been uniquely exhausting. What effect does this have on our overall well-being? How do prolonged stress and uncertainty impact us in the long run? How can we create personal stability during times of crisis?

Join fellow UW alumni and friends online for a livestream and Q & A with nationally and internationally renowned UW mental health experts. The talk will be moderated by Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.

Richard Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UW–Madison. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds. He has published more than 440 articles and numerous chapters and reviews, and has edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of The Emotional Life of Your Brain and co-author (with Daniel Goleman) of Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association: the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. In 2006, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He served on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences from 2011 to 2019 and is a current member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Mental Health. In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and in 2018, he was appointed to the governing board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. His research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style. He studies methods to promote human flourishing, including meditation and related contemplative practices, and is a friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama who leads international well-being conversations.


Alvin Thomas is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Human Development and Family Studies department of the School of Human Ecology. His research focuses on ethnic identity, father-son engagement and relationships, and mental health in men and boys. He specializes in risks and protections for Black children and youth situated in conditions that imperil them toward negative outcomes. Currently, he is exploring gaps in diversity training specifically related to ‘nonresident fathers’ involvement in service provision to their children., as well as aggressive behavior, social media use, and police interactions for Black youth. An alumnus fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course and the Health Equity Leadership Institute, his work has earned numerous awards, including the Rackham International Student Fellowship, the Patricia Gurin Research Award, and the Center for the Education of Women Graduate Scholarship. (Thomas was the first man to receive an award from the center in its 40-year history.) He was also the recipient of the Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant, which he used to pilot an intervention aimed at addressing the mental health needs of juveniles in state custody in his homeland, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.


A recording of this livestream will be available on uwalumni.com after the event.

Speakers and schedule are subject to change.

This event is hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association®.