Dr. Linda Ellen Carlson

Pronouns: she/her



Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Oncology


Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.355.3207

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Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications Specialist

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Preferred method of communication

Admin Assistant

Adelle Rodger


Educational Background

B.S. Psychology, University of Calgary, 1991

Doctor of Philosophy Psychology, McGill University, 1998


Dr. Linda Carlson has held the Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology since 2007, is Full Professor in Psychosocial Oncology in the Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology. She is the Director of the Alberta Complementary Therapy and Integrative Oncology (ACTION) Centre (ACTION Centre | My Site (, and is Director of Research and continues to work as a Clinical Psychologist at the Department of Psychosocial Resources at Cancer Care Alberta, where she has provided clinical service since 1997.

Dr. Carlson has received a long line of prestigious national and international research and teaching awards throughout her career, highlighted by the Kawano New Investigator Award from the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) in 2006, the inaugural Research Excellence award from the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology in 2010, the Bernard Fox Memorial Award from IPOS in 2019, a Distinguished Scientist award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine in 2023, and the Dr. Rogers Prize in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2023. She was the President of the Society for Integrative Oncology from 2021-2023, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief for the official IPOS journal: The Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research and Practice.

Dr. Carlson's research in Psychosocial Oncology, Integrative Oncology and Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery has been published in many high-impact journals and book chapters, and she published a patient manual in 2011 with Michael Speca entitled: Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery: A step-by-step MBSR approach to help you cope with treatment and reclaim your life, in addition to a professional training manual in 2009 (2nd Edition 2017) with Shauna Shapiro entitled The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating mindfulness into psychology and the helping professions. She has published over 250 peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters, holds several millions of dollars in grant funding and is regularly invited to present her work at international conferences. She presented a TEDx talk entitled Mindfulness for Personal and Collective Evolution in 2016, you can find the video here:


Areas of Research

Area of Focus
  • Psychosocial Oncology
  • Integrative Oncology
Summary of Research

Four focus areas of research for the chair program have been identified: Screening for cancer-related distress, integrative oncology interventions (including mindfulness and complementary medicine approaches), survivorship; and diversity. The goal of distress screening research is to integrate results regarding how best to treat distress into a complete system of identification of distress, triage and referral to evidence-based treatments. The system developed through the Chair program has been used as a template for developing screening for distress programs throughout Canada. Dr. Carlson’s research in Integrative Oncology investigates the usefulness of a broad range of popular complementary interventions for cancer patients, focusing on both quality of life, stress reduction, psychological and biological outcomes such as immune function and stress hormones. Mind-body and complementary interventions offered to patients through this program include mindfulness, meditation, yoga, exercise, acupuncture, Reiki, nutritional counseling and support groups.

Areas of study within the survivorship stream are assessing issues around increased risk for future malignancies, fears of recurrence, effects of treatments on neurocognitive function and learning ability, relationships, sexuality and fertility issues, fatigue, disability and return to work issues. 


  • award, 2015
  • award, 2013
  • award, McGill University. 2011
  • Elected to Fellowship, 2011
  • Graduate Fellowship, McGill University. 2011
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2011
  • salary support award, 2011
  • scholarship, 2011
  • Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Award for Research Excellence, 2010
  • award, 2009
  • Cochrane Distinguished Achievement Award for Research Nomination, 2009
  • Fellowship, 2009
  • Research award, 2009
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2008
  • award, 2007
  • William E. Rawls Prize, Canadian Cancer Society, 2007
  • Kawana New Investigator Award, International Psycho-Oncology Society, 2006
  • award, 2003
  • University of Calgary Department of Oncology Research Excellence Award, 2003
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award, 2002
  • New Investigator Award, Canadian Institute of Health Sciences. 2002
  • Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation Travel Award, 2000
  • Post-Doctoral Oral Presentaion Award, 2000
  • Post-Doctoral Oral Presentation Award, 2000
  • Travel Award, 2000
  • Young Investigator poster presentation Award, 2000
  • Terry Fox Post PhD Research Fellowship, National Cancer Institute of Canada. 1998
  • award, McGill University. 1997
  • Graduate Student Research Excellence Award, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. 1997
  • McGill Alma Mater Fund Graduate Studies - Travel Award, 1997
  • Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University Travel Award, 1996
  • James McConnell McGill Major Fellowship, 1994
  • McGill Department of Psychology Student Travel Award, 1993
  • McGill Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research / SSHRC Student Travel Award, 1993
  • Ontario Government Scholarship - awarded but declined, 1992
  • Louise McKinney Scholarship (Alberta Heritage Trust Fund), 1990
  • University of Calgary - Undergraduate Scholarship, 1989
  • James Rutherford Scholarship, Alberta Heritage Trust Fund. 1986
  • award, Ontario Government. 1985
  • Distinction, 1979