Dr. Macdonald has been practicing as a family physician for over 30 years. She attained her BASc from the University of Guelph and her medical degree from the University of Toronto, followed by a postgraduate residency in family medicine. She has had an active private practice treating a range of patients, from newborns to palliative care. She worked in chronic care institutions, occupational and insurance medicine, urgent care walk-in clinics and cancer detection clinics. She has been on staff at the University of Toronto Health and Counselling Center for over 20 years, caring for a diverse student population with complex psychological, social and physical conditions.
Through her exposure to a wide range of challenges, problems and illnesses patients brought to her attention, Dr. Macdonald has not only dealt with the wide spectrum of health and disease, but she has also come to appreciate the limitations within the health care system. She has come to realize the importance of participatory medicine as a a crucial component of western medicine that is all too often neglected. As a way of addressing this deficiency in how healthcare is delivered, she became involved in mindfulness training. As a mindfulness teacher she helps people realize how mindfulness practice can help us modify certain aspects of our lives by becoming conscious of our attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, emotions and relationships. This endeavor can deeply affect our health in positive ways.
Dr. Macdonald’s meditation experience began over a decade ago with Dr. Treyvaud at the Mindfulness Centre in Oakville, when she took the introductory Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Since then she has continued with his intensive mindfulness teachings by attending the weekly Mindsight Intensives for several years. She went on to study mind/body medicine with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and further deepened her MBSR training through the teacher training program at The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society at the University of Massachusetts. She broadened her experience of mindfulness-based interventions through professional trainings with Zindel Segal in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MB-CBT) and with Dr. Jean Kristeller in MB-EAT (eating awareness training). To further enhance her expertise in Vipassana insight meditation she studied with Shinzen Young, and with S.N.Goenka who is associated with the Insight Meditation Society. She has also trained with Jack Kornfield and Daniel Siegel, interfacing Buddhist psychology with Interpersonal Neurobiology. Dr. Macdonald has also studied with Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer, the originators of the Mindful Self-Compassion 8-week program, as well as others in the self-compassion community. She is qualified as a trained teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion. She maintains an active Hatha Yoga practice (past training at the Helen Duquette Yoga Studio) alongside her daily meditation practice.
Her personal dedication to the practice of mindfulness has been transformative in both her personal and professional life, and she continues the ongoing journey of strengthening her embodiment of mindfulness as a way of being moment by moment.
At the Mindfulness Centre, she leads most of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs.