In Memoriam: David Simon, MD (1951-2012)

SimonHeadshotHolistic Primary Care joins the integrative & Ayurvedic health care communities in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Dr. David Simon on January 31. Beloved physician, teacher, author and family man, Dr. Simon is best known as a pioneer in the clinical applications of meditation, yoga and other mind-body techniques. He was a close collaborator with Dr. Deepak Chopra, and co-founder & medical director of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, CA.

Known to those close to him as "Davidji," ("ji" being a traditional Indian term of endearment), Dr. Simon discovered meditation as a medical student at the University of Chicago, delving deeply into its practice and teaching other students. Relocating to San Diego for his residency training, he broadened his studies to include yoga, Ayurveda and the traditional healing knowledge of Tibet, China and other Asian cultures. All the while, he was building a thriving neurology practice, and directing the Neurologic Rehabilitation Center and the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital.

An encounter with a Vaidya, a traditional Indian practitioner of Ayurveda, transformed Dr. Simon's notion of what a doctor could be. “More than an expert on health, he seemed to be a living representative of a healthy person, balanced in body, mind, and spirit. In this man, I saw the possibility that a physician could be more than a technical master of pathology – a doctor could guide his patients to health through his actions, words, and being,” he writes in his book, The Wisdom of Healing.

Among the many firsts in his career, Dr. Simon was one of the first recipients of a National Institutes of HealthSimonMeditatingA young Dr. Simon discovers the benefits of meditation (Courtesy Simon family) grant to study mind-body therapies, an acknowledgment of the skillful way he embraced and synthesized modes of healing & knowledge systems from diverse cultures.

He was diagnosed with glioblastoma in the Summer of 2010, and continued working and teaching at the Chopra center throughout his 2 year struggle. When asked shortly before undergoing surgery, if there was anything he wanted to say before "going under," he quipped with his characteristic good humor, "I hope more light comes in than gets let out!"

Dr. Simon's son, Max, has made a beautiful series of videos called Return to Wholeness, chronicling Dr. Simon's life and his wisdom & his family's process of coming to terms with death....and life. The Chopra Center has also established a website, www.lovefordavid.com, where friends, family, patients, students and many others share their reflections & remembrances of this great healer.

In addition to his son, Dr. Simon is survived by his wife, Pamela,  daughters Izzy and Sara, as well as countless people whose lives he touched.

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