Kim Penberthy’s Bio

J. Kim  Penberthy,  Ph.D., ABBP
Professor of Research in Psychiatric Medicine
Chester F. Carlson Professor

Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences
Division of Outpatient Psychiatry
Division of Perceptual Studies
UVA Contemplative Sciences Center

Ph.D. Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University, 1998

Residency: Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Fellowship: Behavioral Medicine, University of Virginia

Certification: Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), 1997


Research Interests: Chronic depression, CBASP, accurate diagnosis of ADHD, ADHD (adult and child), physician-patient therapeutic alliance and transference issues, treatment of alcohol and substance dependence and co-morbid disorders, smoking prevention; mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness based relapse prevention; contemplative practices; Specializes in working with patients with both physical illnesses such as cancer, HIV, diabetes and mental health issues.Additional research interests include; consciousness and psychology at the end of life, and research regarding the use of contemplative and mindfulness practices to enhance the abilities and performance of humans.

Phone:(434) 924-2241

Fax:(434) 243-4743

Kim Penberthy, Ph.D, ABPP was born and raised in West Virginia where she developed a strong tie to the natural world. She attended Wake Forest University and majored in psychology and biology. After graduation, she helped conduct research at the Center for Alcohol Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She then returned to graduate school at Wake Forest University where she obtained a master’s degree in experimental psychology with a focus on evaluative conditioning and the power of human learning potential. She worked at the Duke Cancer Center helping in psychosocial support of patients before obtaining her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Penberthy completed her internship in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine in Norfolk, VA. She went on to complete her fellowship in behavioral medicine in the Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 1998-2000. Dr. Penberthy has also completed her board certification in clinical psychology, as well as a fellowship in humanism in medicine at UVA. She is trained to work with patients who have chronic medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or HIV. Additionally, she is trained to work with people who suffer with addictions, and conducts research exploring effective treatments for people with co-occurring psychological difficulties, addictions and medical conditions. She is a founding member of the UVA Contemplative Sciences Center and studies the therapeutic components of contemplative practices like mindfulness and a variety of psychotherapies. She is also the co-director of the Effective Coping and Communication Skills for Physicians program, which is a national CME program helping to improve the interpersonal skills of physicians. She joined UVA’s Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences in 2000 and is currently the Chester F. Carlson Professor in the Division of Perceptual Studies, where she conducts research exploring the impact of contemplative practices, including mindfulness and meditation. She explores not only the healing abilities of these practices, but also has funded research to explore the positive impact of contemplative practices upon human performance and extraordinary abilities.

Dr. Penberthy is active at UVA and regionally and is on the UVA cancer committee, the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center patient and caregiver advisory board, The Steward School board of trustees and the Bryan Innovation Lab in Richmond. She is married to David Penberthy, M.D., a radiation oncologist who practices in Richmond. They have one daughter, Morgan, who attends Wake Forest University. Kim and her family enjoy standup paddle boarding, cycling and meditating.