Healer. Teacher. Actor. Filmmaker. Journalist. Humanitarian. Bodhisattva.
Dr. Jamie Lauren Zimmerman, Beloved of Many Nations
The JZLP sends prayers of comfort for Jamie’s family, all who loved her, and all who love her still.
We extend a warm welcome to all who find fresh inspiration in learning the layers and triumphs of Jamie’s incredibly rich life. She has now passed the baton of total wellness to us, and together:
Please join the JZLP email list to stay in touch and collaborate on honoring this beautiful soul by carrying her life’s work ever forward.
Jamie’s Life by Harkiran Gill
Jamie was born on December 31, 1983 in Santa Barbara to her mother Jordan. She was the light of her mother’s world and a gift to all of us. For someone so remarkably accomplished, Jamie was the most humble person you’d ever meet. She was grounded, pure, and at her core followed a very simple vision. She saw suffering and tried to end it. She saw pain and tried to heal it. She found bliss and tried to extend it.
Prior to attending to UCLA Jamie was an actress and performed under the name “Jamie Lauren” on such shows such as 7th Heaven, Boston Public, and The Practice.
Jamie started UCLA in 2004 and graduated magna cum laude in 2008. In the summer after her freshman year Jamie spent several months living and working in the Amazon Basin of Peru. Upon returning to UCLA she initiated ongoing medical work in Maclovio Rojas, an informal settlement near Tijuana. She spent her weekends conducting community surveys, performing screenings, and helping translate for healthcare practitioners (without being formally taught, she was able to converse in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German). Her Spanish skills allowed her to advocate for patients who needed medical attention and she was even able to use her Spanish to connect a doctor with an orphanage where the children were not receiving adequate medical care.
During that same year she was also a resident assistant in the residence halls at UCLA where she helped build a safe, supportive, and inclusive living-learning community for undergraduate students. As a resident assistant in Rieber Hall, and later Hedrick Hall, and Hilgard Suites she was able to support the academic mission of UCLA, promote citizenship, and foster personal development among her residents.
During her 3rd year of college she became a Rhodes Scholar Finalist and was accepted to medical school for Mt. Sinai’s Humanities and Medicine Early Assurance Program. During the summer after her 3rd year at UCLA she collaborated with an Operating Partner of the United Nations and was awarded the Strauss Foundation Grant (an honors research award) to fund a documentary that she produced and directed in Zambia. The documentary was called “Far From Gone” and it captured the stories of Congolese refugees living in camps along the DRC border.
“Far From Gone” premiered in the International Documentary Association film festival in Los Angeles and played at other festivals in the U.S. and Europe.
During her fourth year at UCLA she worked with her research mentor Dr. Jared Diamond, the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and developed a course that used multimedia to introduce students to the stories of people affected by forced migration. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She also won the prestigious Charles E. and Sue K. Young Distinguished Senior Award only awarded to three undergraduates in the entire University.
While in medical school she served as the senior clinician at East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership which was Mt. Sinai’s free clinic that served low-income residents of the Harlem community. She was also co-president of the Physicians for Human Rights chapter and was honored at a national conference with the “Emerging Leaders Award.” She helped create her school’s first-ever elective in “Health, Human Rights, and Advocacy” which expanded into a four year track. She was Mt. Sinai’s first ever Global Health and Media Fellow which was a fellowship that utilized media to create projects that inform, enlighten, and inspire.
The focus of her fellowship was “meditation medicine” with an emphasis on projects that use mindfulness, stretching, and breathing exercises to foster resilience in at-risk youth. She concurrently began working as the director of “Quiet Revolution” a documentary film which followed the stories of youth in inner-Baltimore, who were being introduced to yoga and meditation. This documentary would also include interviews she conducted with neuroscientists and leaders in the field including Dr. Mehmet Oz, Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dan Goleman.
Jamie went on to become a medical journalist and wellness maven for the Medical Unit at ABC National News in New York.
She also partnered with Goldie Hawn, working through the Hawn Foundation as a mindfulness advisor for Mindup, training educators and school administrators to teach meditation to children.
Jamie was a pioneer in meditation medicine and helped so many through her efforts and meditation sessions in her community, work place, and even Capitol Hill. She was a medical doctor, an author, a journalist, a filmmaker, an actress, a humanitarian, a friend, a niece, a cousin, a sister, an aunt, and a daughter.
Beyond her accomplishments, what made Jamie so special to all of us was the depth to which she illuminated and inspired everyone around her. One of the most inspiring things about Jamie was how she approached life.
In her personal statement applying to medical school she wrote: “Someone once told me that in Chinese, the word for problem also means opportunity, and I live by the philosophy that there is no differentiation between the two. While my successes have been exhilarating, it is the challenges that have most strengthened my character. Although difficulties faced in life may be daunting, and at times seem insurmountable, I believe they can also be a unifying force that invigorates great minds to work together toward a future of less suffering.”
Her secret was simple: to focus on her vision of helping end suffering. From a young age Jamie was taught by her mother to dream big and she did. She kept a vision board and was able to accomplish just about everything on that board in her short life. What she recognized and would often point out was that fear and faith are on opposite sides of the same spectrum. Thus in pursuing her dreams she recognized that she had a choice to act from fear or faith. She knew that if she gave into the fear of not accomplishing what she sought to accomplish she would remain stagnant in making her dreams a reality, whereas if she acted from faith she would be actively stepping towards making her dreams a reality.
Jamie used every experience she had to develop herself into a stronger more resilient person. As a teenager she faced a lot of rejection when she would go out on acting auditions and not get the role she wanted. This early rejection didn’t defeat her, she used it as an opportunity to conquer and move past her fear of failure and rejection. She taught herself that rejection actually wasn’t something to be feared because life went on if she didn’t get a role. She conquered her fear of rejection by realizing that if things didn’t work out there was always a new role she could prepare herself for and thus she channeled and used her energy to act from a place of faith where she focused on preparing herself for success instead of dwelling on rejection.
This lesson stayed with her for the rest of her life and gave her the courage to fearlessly pursue her dreams since the fear of failure didn’t have power over her anymore. Thus, she turned rejection into an opportunity to learn how to conquer her fear of failure and to pursue her dreams from a place of faith instead of fear.
In medical school she struggled with the realization that she didn’t want to spend her life practicing clinical medicine in a hospital. This was a hard realization for her to admit because she wanted to heal people and she believed medicine was such a noble profession. So what did Jamie do in the midst of such a struggle? She once again applied her philosophy about a problem being an opportunity and she used her struggles to fuel an internal quest for clarity. She started meditating regularly and often, and through this process realized that her true bliss was found and experienced in practicing meditation and using her platform to give voice to stories that she felt needed to be told.
Once she made this connection she acted once again from a place a faith instead of fear and created a global health and media fellowship at her medical school. She started working on the Quiet Revolution, a documentary about the potential of mindful awareness to promote physical and emotional health among inner-city Baltimore students. Through her determination and perseverance she was ultimately able to make her passion her paycheck by becoming a journalist and wellness maven at ABC National News, a meditation teacher, and a motivational speaker.
It didn’t stop there for Jamie, she ultimately wanted everyone to quite simply find their bliss and connect with whatever makes them feel most alive and invigorated on a daily basis. This was her ultimate dream, and the beautiful thing is that this dream can still come true for her.
In the wake of losing her she’d want us to remember how much she loved us, how much she believed in us, and most of all how badly she wanted us to find our bliss.
So on her behalf, I ask that in her memory with whatever time we have left, we make the most of it and try to lead the kind of life that she did where she used problems as opportunities, where she chose to act from faith instead of succumbing to fear. I ask that we do what she so eloquently talked about in her medical school personal statement, that in the face of such a difficult loss, we use it as a unifying force that invigorates us to work together toward a future of less suffering.
This starts both individually and collectively with us finding what makes us feel most alive in this world and committing to help ourselves and each other accomplish our dreams, make our passion our paycheck, and ultimately that we each find our bliss.
Jamie in her own words:
“Jamie Zimmerman, M.D. is a physician, meditation teacher and author who lectures internationally on “meditation medicine” and living with passion and purpose. Her voice has been featured on ABC.com, Yahoo News, MindBodyGreen, Yoga Journal, and The Huffington Post Live. A meditator since age 16, Jamie has had the privilege of studying with many of today’s leading instructors, teaches in Spanish and English, and offers free guided meditations at jamiezmd.com.
Passionate about global health, Jamie has lived and worked around the globe—from Belize, Haiti and the Thai/Burma border to Congolese refugee camps and the Amazon rainforest. She believes that healing—on the individual and global level—happens from the inside out. In this vein, she recently organized and hosted a “Unite for Peace” event with bestselling author Marianne Williamson in New York City.
As a teenager, Jamie performed on such shows as 7th Heaven, Boston Public and The Practice. Jamie now combines her backgrounds in television, meditation, and medicine as a health journalist and mindfulness maven at ABC National News in New York, where she’s teaching many of her colleagues to meditate. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature, exploring museums, yoga classes, cafes, and outdoor concerts with friends.
Jamie speaks regularly at businesses, events, schools, hospitals, and conferences across the United States and abroad.”