Tribute to Dr. Jake Locke - Mindfulness Works: Innovating and Sustaining Mindfulness Programs
Dr. Jane Garland, Member, BC Children’s Hospital Centre for Mindfulness Council | October 2, 2019
It was almost a decade ago that Dr. Locke began to develop the Mindfulness and Resiliency Skills for Adolescents (MARS-A) in collaboration with Dr. Dzung Vo, supported by a pilot research grant from the BC Children’s Hospital Mental Health Program. The success of the MARS-A program further inspired Dr. Locke’s initiative and diligence in creating mindfulness groups suitable for teens, parents, and adults with various mental health needs, as well as training groups for medical students, physicians, psychologists, and other professionals.
Dr. Locke began his personal mindfulness practice early in his adult life, and found it to be a source of strength and clarity in his work life, first in Family Medicine and then in Psychiatry. In 2003, convinced by a growing body of literature supporting the benefits in health care, he undertook progressive levels of professional training, initially in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and later in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
With the success of MARS-A, Dr. Locke began to explore ways to implement Mindfulness practices in other clinics, flexibly modifying MBSR and MBCT techniques to fit each context. These Mindfulness groups were well received by both families and staff. Dr. Locke observed that the addition of the Mindfulness component to a preexisting ADHD Parent Training program was “like magic”, allowing distracted and stressed parents to make meaningful shifts in their understanding and behavior. Another innovative group arose after Dr. Deidre Ryan commented that, while there was a Mindfulness group for mothers in Reproductive Mental Health, there was no support for postpartum fathers. In short order, Dr. Locke and his son Dr. Brad Locke were offering Mindfulness for Dads of Newborns.
Research funding to support infrastructure has been an important ingredient in helping to establish these new Mindfulness group initiatives. However, the most significant factor in sustaining them has been Dr. Locke’s personal commitment to implementing Mindfulness in hospital and medical educational settings, as well as in his private practice. Dr. Locke has demonstrated a collaborative approach, developing partnerships across departments, including Adolescent Medicine and Reproductive Mental Health, and has generously responded to the call to share the results in Continuing Medical Education and research co-presentations with Dr. Dzung Vo and others. Together, they have trained and inspired health professionals across Canada and North America.
Dr. Locke’s personal observations reaffirm the research findings: Mindfulness works. This recognition has led him to steadily innovate and to willingly face the challenges of implementing Mindfulness across multiple diagnostic groups, clinical settings, and educational contexts. Watching him in action, it is clear that an important factor in his achievements is his own nature, which is practical, flexible, and steadfastly hard working. He is also blessed with a calm demeanor, reflective capacity, and a willingness to collaborate. Dr. Locke points out that the key to his perseverance has been the process of Mindfulness itself, with its capacity to nourish, inspire, and sustain meaningful work.