Esther M. Sternberg, M.D. is a dynamic and engaging speaker, who translates complex scientific research into language that all can understand and provides practical take-home messages for wellness and wellbeing. She lectures nationally and internationally to lay and scientific audiences and is frequently interviewed on radio, television, film, Web, and print media on the mind-body connection; place and wellbeing; workplace wellbeing and health; stress and illness; spirituality, love, and health.
Dr. Sternberg currently holds the Inaugural Andrew Weil Chair for Research in Integrative Medicine and is Research Director for the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona at Tucson. She is the Founding Director of the UArizona Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance, is Associate Director for Research of UArizona’s Innovations in Healthy Aging, and holds joint appointments at UArizona as Professor of Medicine and Psychology, Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and Nutritional Sciences and Wellness.
While at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Dr. Sternberg served as Chief of the Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology & Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health; Director, Integrative Neural Immune Program, NIMH/NIH; Co-Chair NIH Intramural Program on Research on Women’s Health; and established and directed the NIH-Québec Fonds de Recherche International Research Career Transition Award Program.
Her numerous original scientific and review articles and textbook chapters are published in leading scientific journals including Science, Nature Reviews Immunology, Nature Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, Scientific American, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Her two previous books, Healing Spaces and The Balance Within have become lasting cornerstones in the fields that she has pioneered: the science of the mind-body connection and place and wellbeing. The Balance Within, continuously in print since 2000, was made into an audiobook in 2022. Healing Spaces inspired the president of the American Institute of Architects to make health a priority in design of all building types. It inspired a reader to endow a foundation to place original artwork in every hospital room in every hospital in the state of Vermont. It inspired another reader to create a design studio to bring immersive nature environments into hospitals around the country, reducing stress and burnout during the depths of COVID. Her upcoming book, WELL at WORK: Creating Wellbeing in Any Workspace (Little, Brown Spark, Sept. 5, 2023) takes wellbeing into the post-COVID workplace and helps readers bring all seven domains of integrative health into any workspace. Above all these books help readers find healing of mind, body, and spirit in a tumultuous world.
Dr. Sternberg has lectured and keynoted at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.); Nobel Forum (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm); Royal Society of Medicine (London, UK); Woman’s Heart Day (Madison Square Garden NYC & Verizon Center Washington, DC), TEDx Tucson and TEDx Arlington, TX. She has chaired many national and international scientific conferences; is past-President of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation; moderated a panel with the Dalai Lama (2005); was a panelist at the United Nations (Sept. 11, 2008); co-directed a concurrent National Library of Medicine Exhibition and video on “Emotions and Disease” (1997); was an invited delegate to Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit. For her accomplishments, which galvanized establishment of the field of brain immune interactions – the science of the mind-body connection, Dr. Sternberg was recognized by the National Library of Medicine as one of the women physicians who “Changed the Face of Medicine”, and by NIH with the Anita B. Roberts “Distinguished Women Scientists at NIH Lectureship” (2012). In recognition of her contributions to medicine & leadership in Neuroimmunology, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) awarded Dr. Sternberg an Honorary Degree of Doctor in Medicine (Doctorate Honoris Causa) on the 300th anniversary of Trinity College Dublin School of Medicine. She has been awarded the Federal Government’s highest awards, including the U.S. Public Health Service Superior Service Award and the FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation.
For her leadership at the interface of the fields of design and health she has advised the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. General Services Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Defense on the impact of the built and natural environment on human health and wellbeing. In 2012 she Keynoted the Vatican’s 27th Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers on the impact of Place on Wellbeing and Spirituality and met with Pope Benedict XVI. In 2022, she keynoted Walk21 Ireland, Dublin, met with Ireland’s and Scotland’s Junior Ministers of Health, Wellbeing & Drug Abuse, and briefed the Galway City Council on place and wellbeing.
Photograph by Kris Hanning