Linda Carlson

Dr. Linda Ellen Carlson, PhD

Pronouns: she/her



Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Oncology


Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.355.3207

For media enquiries, contact

Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications Specialist

Please submit your media request here


Admin Assistant

Mia Koegler

Office: 403.521.3856


Educational Background

B.S. Psychology, University of Calgary, 1991

Doctor of Philosophy Psychology, McGill University, 1998


Dr. Linda Carlson holds the Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology, 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 Research and works as a Clinical Psychologist at the Department of Psychosocial Resources at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (TBCC), where she has worked since 1997. She also holds a CIHR SPOR-funded mentorship chair in innovative clinical trials, which funds the TRACTION program (Training in Research And Clinical Trials in Integrative Oncology), supporting a multidisciplinary group of University of Calgary fellows studying Integrative Oncology.

Dr. Carlson received the Kawano New Investigator Award from the International Psycho-Oncology Society in 2006; the William E. Rawls Prize in cancer control from the National Cancer Institute of Canada/Canadian Cancer Society in 2007; a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Psychological Association Health Section in 2009, the inaugural Research Excellence award from the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology in 2010, the Arete Award for Research Excellence from the Department of Oncology at the University of Calgary in 2012, the Bernard Fox Memorial Award from the International Psycho-Oncology Society in 2019, the Department of Oncology Luminary Award for teaching in 2020, and the Alberta Oncology Research Excellence Award in 2021. She is also a fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine and the Mind and Life Institute, is the President of the Society for Integrative Oncology, and is Co-Editor-in-Chief for the official International Psycho-Oncology Society 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 200 research papers and book chapters, holds several millions of dollars in grant funding and is regularly invited to present her work at international conferences, most recently in Netherlands, Switzerland, China, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Israel and all across Canada and the USA. She presented a TEDx talk called 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