Rochester, Minnesota


Benzo.Roberto@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


Dr. Benzo is the founding director of the Mindful Breathing Laboratory, which develops and tests interventions that promote a participatory model of care, fosters self-awareness and consciousness of human behavior, and studies the impact of these interventions on biologic markers and health outcomes.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are the main chronic conditions studied. However, interventions in other chronic diseases processes, such as heart failure and chronic pain syndromes, are also being considered.

Dr. Benzo is part of the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center at Mayo Clinic, where his work on mindfulness and meditation is utilized.

Focus areas

Current research projects include:

  • Effect of motivational interviewing-based counseling for self-care and pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after being hospitalized for an acute exacerbation (Dr. Benzo PI: RO1 National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • Preoperative rehabilitation (breathing awareness practice -self efficacy-based training — inspiratory muscle training) before lung cancer resection in patients with COPD and high risk of post-operative complications (Dr. Benzo PI: RO1 National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute)
  • Cell phone-based activity monitoring plus motivational interviewing counseling to maintain physical activity in COPD (Dr. Benzo PI: R44 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging)
  • Motivational interviewing counseling to maintain physical activity in COPD
  • Mindfulness-based intervention (modified mindfulness-based stress reduction) in COPD
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction for Mayo Clinic employees
  • Effect of a meditation-based program on telomere length and function (in planning phase)
  • Determining the relationships between self-efficacy for walking, actual walking
  • Device-guided slow breathing in COPD patients with clinically significant dyspnea

Significance to patient care

The beneficial effect of conscious breathing and awareness of the breath has been proposed for centuries. Bridging the ancient knowledge with new science is at the core of Dr. Benzo's research in the Mindful Breathing Lab.


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Medicine


  1. Master of Science - Epidemiology Harvard University School of Public Health
  2. Fellow - Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Medical University of South Carolina
  3. Resident - Internal Medicine Medical University of South Carolina
  4. Internship - Internal Medicine West Virginia University
  5. Research Fellowship - Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine West Virginia University
  6. Resident - Internal Medicine Instituto de Investigaciones Medicas, University de Buenos Aires
  7. MD Universidad Nacional de Rosario

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