Open Mind, a Community Lecture and Film Series and Special Events 2021

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December 8, 2021

An Open Mind program with Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., author of the #1 New York Times Non-Fiction best-seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma. In this groundbreaking book that has been on the best-seller list for 141 weeks, Dr. van der Kolk transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust and shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including body work, psychodrama, mindfulness techniques, parts work, yoga, and neurofeedback. 

November 18, 2021

An Open Mind program on empathy with Professor Sherry Turkle,  Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Empathy Diaries with Marco Iacoboni, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA and the author of the new book Mirroring People - The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others.

November 4, 2021

Melinda Wenner Moyer, author of the new best-selling book How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes - Science-based Strategies for Better Parenting- from Tots to Teens. In this evidence-based primer, Ms. Wenner Moyer, an award-winning science journalist who covers parenting, science, and medicine, offers parents a clear, actionable, sometimes humorous guide on how to shape their kids into honest, kind, generous, confident, independent, and resilient people...who might just save the world!  

October 19, 2021

In her poignant memoir, Ms. Davis, daughter of the late President Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Nancy Reagan,  eloquently weaves personal anecdotes with practical advice tailored specially for the often-overlooked caregiver of Alzheimer's patients.

October 5, 2021

Miriam Feldman discussed her book, "He Came In With It", the story of how mental illness can affect an entire family and spiral it into chaos. Yvonne Yang, MD, PhD joined in discussion.

September 23, 2021

Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?, co-written by Laura Coyle and Cathy Ladman and performed by Ms. Ladman, one of the country's top award-winning comediennes and stand-up comics. It is the story of her lifelong struggle to be perfect in every way, including attaining what she thinks is the perfect body. 

September 9, 2021

Dr. Uma Naidoo, author of the groundbreaking new book, This is Your Brain on Food - An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, PTSD, ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, and More. Zhaoping Li, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at UCLA,  joined Dr. Naidoo in discussion. 

August 25, 2021

World-renowned experts and high school students discussed how to manage the worries and stress of returning to school, especially after a pandemic, and how to transition to a successful start to the school year.  

June 24, 2021

Michael Moss, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Hooked - Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit our Addictions.  In this powerful exposé, Moss explores the science of food addiction and how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts and legal loopholes in the name of profit over public health.

June 15, 2021

Dilip Jeste, MD, world-renowned neuropsychiatrist and a pioneer in the exploration of the neurobiology and psychology and his daughter Shafali Jeste, MD, discussed his groundbreaking book, Wiser:  The Scientific Roots of Wisdom, Compassion and What Makes Us Good.

June 3, 2021

Dr. Kelli Harding discusses her book, The Rabbit Effect. The book is an eye-opening and inspiring new way to look at our health based on the latest discoveries in the science of compassion, kindness, and human connection. With compelling storytelling and research, Dr. Harding presents an evidence-based framework for you to take charge of your health and happiness.

May 25, 2021

Daniel Lieberman, PhD, discusses why physical activity is important for maintaining brain health and makes the case that humans evolved to engage in moderate lifelong physical activity when it was necessary and rewarding, but otherwise conserve limited calories.

May 13, 2021

The converstion continued virtually! The event featured  #WOW2021 superstars and

preeminent UCLA doctors and researchers in health and science.

May 12, 2021

Professor Yiyun Li discusses her book, Where Reasons End with Dr. Michael Gitlin, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Mood Disorders Clinical at UCLA Semel Institute.

May 6, 2021

The inaugural Open Mind Film Festival is presented by The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. The Friends is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness.

Past Events by year


April 27, 2021

The Friends screened Each and Every Day.  The film profiles nine young people who have attempted suicide or had suicidal ideations as they share their experiences and the ways they have sought help.


April 7, 2021

Simon Baron-Cohen, author of the new critically acclaimed book, Pattern Seekers - How Autism Drives Human Invention. Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA joined Simon Baron-Cohen to discuss the groundbreaking argument about the link between autism and ingenuity.

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March 24, 2021

Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., internationally renowned thought leader, Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University's Mindfulness Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical School, and author of "Unwinding Anxiety" with Julienne Bower, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA Semel Institute


March 16, 2021

Judith Warner, New York Times best-selling author of “And Then They Stopped Talking to Me” in conversation with Safiya Noble, PhD, Associate Professor and Co- Founder and Co- Director, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry


March 9, 2021

Eli, R. Lebowitz, Ph.D., author of Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD: A Scientifically Proven Program for Parents and John Piacentini, Ph.D. ABPP join in conversation about parent-based treatment programs for child and adolescent anxiety.


February 17, 2021

AJ Mendez is joined in conversation by Ronald Braunstein, the Music Director of Me2/Orchstra, Caroline Whiddon, the Executive Director of Me2/Orchestra, Margie Friedman & Barbara Multer-Wellin, filmmakers, Sandy Bartlett, flutist with Me2/Boston, and Mark Jude Tramo, M.D., Ph.D., to discuss the documentary film "Orchestrating Change" that tells the inspiring story of the only orchestra in the world created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them. Me2/Orchestra’s mission is to erase stigma in both the mental health community and through exhilarating concerts to mainstream audiences.


February 9, 2021

Beverlye Hyman Fead, author of "Aging in High Heels - Living a Life with Passion, Hope & Laughter" and Karen J. Miller, Ph.D. , Director of the Memory Care Program at UCLA's Longevity Center discussed living longer lives because of education, new medicines, and the global collaborations. Ms. Fead's book shares advice, using humor and stories, on how to live this longer life well.


January 26, 2021

In Tomboy, Lisa Selin Davis recounts the history, science and psychology of girls who defied gender expectations and looks at the possibilities for their future. The author was joined in discussion with Yalda T. Uhis, MBA, Ph.D, Founder and Director of Center for Scholars and Storytellers based at UCLAHEALTH.


January 19, 2021

Bedlam, explores myriad roadblocks to mental healthcare: the lack of medical research, the paucity of new treatments, a profound shortage of inpatient beds, the enduring stigma, and our disabling shame. The discussion included Bedlam author Kenneth Rosenberg, M.D., Judge Songhai Armstead, DA George Gascon, Felicia Jones, The Honorable Patrick Kennedy, and Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D.


January 11, 2021

Rabbi Steve Leder discussed his inspiring and comforting book, The Beauty of What Remains, that takes us on a journey through the experience of loss that is fundamental to everyone. He was joined in converation by David Reuben, M.D.