Sandra Finkel is co-founder and board member of Jewel Heart Buddhist Center, based in Ann Arbor, with chapters in various parts of the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia. She teaches meditation and Buddhist practice for Jewel Heart chapters as well as for the Open Center and Omega Institute (both in New York). She has taught meditation and mindfulness practice for The Michigan Heart and Vascular Institute and to patients in the MedSport Cardiac Programs at the University of Michigan.
Finkel has 16 years experience as an administrator at University of Michigan Health Systems. She received her M.P.H. in 1988 from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and has presented on meditation and spirituality at several health care conferences, including, "Integrating Alternative Therapies into Health Practices" (Washtenaw County Critical Care Nurses) and "A Holistic Approach to Wellness: Spirituality as a Resource for Health" (Department of Social Work and University of Michigan Medical Center).
Shortly after completing her undergraduate degree in Women's Studies at the University of Michigan in 1978, Finkel traveled to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka from 1979-1981. She lived among Tibetans in Dharamsala, India and studied Buddhism with several prominent teachers there in New Delhi. One of her teachers, H.E. Gelek Rinpoche, agreed to visit Ann Arbor. By 1987, Rinpoche established residence in Ann Arbor and the seeds of a Buddhist Community were sown.
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