Skip to Content

Mindfulness Institute - Meet the Team

The Mindfulness Institute is a new Whole Health program focused on improving the health and well-being of Veterans and Staff, through the promotion of evidence-based Mindfulness Training across the VA Portland Healthcare System.

Mindfulness Institute VA Portland image

Meet the Team

Picture of Dr. Timothy Wright, Clinical Psychologist

Tim Wright, PsyD - Director, Mindfulness Institute, and Qualified MBSR Teacher

Dr. Wright has a clinical psychology doctorate from University of La Salle, PA, with specialist training in palliative care at VA Portland HCS. In a prior career (and life), Dr. Wright worked as an organizational psychologist and change consultant in the UK. His clinical and research (not to mention personal) interests are grounded in contextual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based interventions, with an emphasis on medically-involved populations.

Currently, he works part time with the VA Portland HCS, as a Clinical Psychologist with the Center for Integrated Pain Clinic, as a Whole Health Educator, and more recently, as founding Director of the Mindfulness Institute. Through his work and prior learning experiences, Dr. Wright has had the good fortune of integrating personal and professional interests in eastern/Buddhist psychology. However, at present his primary focus (and practice!) centers on navigating the rich chaos of a young family of 4 kids in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Picture of Ellen Kessi, licensed clinical social worker

Ellen Kessi, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Ellen has been a licensed clinical social worker at VA Portland for over 20 years. She has worked in a variety of settings and programs, including oncology, neurology and polytrauma. She currently is the social work care coordinator for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clinic.  She is a certified mindfulness facilitator (VA CALM) and is passionate about the VA's roll-out of Whole Health – working with veterans in the areas of health and wellness.   She enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, as well as travel with family and friends.​

Picture of doctor Hidalgo, Psychologist

Nina Hidalgo, PhD

Dr. Hidalgo has a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Oregon with specialist training in primary care/mental health integration as well as women's health from VA Portland.  In addition, she is a certified mindfulness facilitator (VA CALM) and registered yoga teacher (500-RYT). Fascinated with the complexity of mind-body relationships and their capacity for healing, Dr. Hidalgo brings passion to her role as a pain psychologist and mindfulness facilitator in the Center for Integrative Care at VA Portland. Dr. Hidalgo also grounds her work in her values of accessibility, cultural humility, and social justice. Outside of her role at the VA, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, nature, and her favorite four-legged friend (Cooper).  ​