About Us

Jaquelyn McCandless MD and Jack Zimmerman PhD are the “expatriate” US coordinators of the LDN Mali Research Project. The two have been married for 32 years, working together in Southern California and more recently from their home on the Big Island of Hawaii. They have conducted relationship intensives for couples since 1976 in California, Hawaii, and more recently also in Israel. In 1998 they published, “Flesh and Spirit: The Mystery of Intimate Relationship,” a book that describes their personal journey and approach to relationship as a path of spiritual awakening. Jaquelyn and Jack have continued to merge their experience in partnership, education and medicine as they explore the nature of the healing process, particularly as it relates to the immune system. The current focus of this work is the potential of the opiate antagonist, low dose naltrexone (LDN), to modulate autoimmune illnesses such as autism and AIDS. It is the potential of LDN to prevent HIV+ individuals from developing full-blown AIDS that drew them to the Mali Research Project.

Jaquelyn has a BS from the University of Chicago and an MS and MD from the University of Illinois. She did her psychiatric training at UCLA and the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, and after many years in the private practice of psychiatry began to focus on alternative and anti-aging medicine. In 1996, on learning that one of their thirteen grandchildren was diagnosed with autism, Jaquelyn began an intense investigation and treatment of the bio-medical aspects of this disorder, and in 2001 wrote “Children with Starving Brains, A Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Now in its 3rd Edition (2007) the book has sold 40,000 copies in the US and been published in Indonesia and Turkey. Translations are in the works for Japan, China and other countries. It was during her clinical research on immune issues in children with autism that she learned that LDN activated the heightening of immune factors essential to the prevention of AIDS. That realization inspired her to continue Dr. Bernard Bihari’s work with LDN on AIDS patients that started in 1985 when he first discovered this connection.

Jack has a BA, MA and PhD from Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Southern California, respectively, all in Mathematics. Jack worked as a research mathematician and statistician for many years and was a co-founder of the Oakwood Secondary School in Los Angeles and its Headmaster from 1970 to 1975. In 1979 Jack started the Heartlight School in Los Angeles at which the use of council in schools was initiated. The success of council at Heartlight led to council programs in other independent schools–notably the Crossroads School in Santa Monica in 1982–and Palms Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in 1992. The Palms Council Project, which reached more than seventeen hundred students a year at its peak, received the Education Award from the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission in 1996. Over the years Jack and his colleagues at The Ojai Foundation have started council programs in independent and public schools in Colorado, Washington State, Arizona, New York and Israel, as well as many LAUSD schools in Southern California. In 2006 LAUSD established a Council Practitioners’ Center at its headquarters whose sole function is to bring this process of deep communication to all of its nearly 700,000 students. Jack’s book, “The Way of Council,” (published in 1996 in collaboration with Virginia Coyle) has been widely used by educators, community leaders and therapists in implementing the practice of council.

As the Mali LDN Program evolved, it became clear that preventing those with HIV from developing full blown AIDS was only half the battle. Unless the further spread of HIV in Africa (and other places) could be halted, the epidemic would continue unrestrained. A change in cultural and social mores that supported the empowerment of women and the corresponding understanding of men that would together change the balance of power in intimate relationships was clearly needed. Without the ability of women to say, “No,” and/or insist on condoms—and without changes in the practices of polygamy and parallel relationships, the specter of HIV would continue unabated. This realization led Jack to develop the “Gender Education and Communication Program (GECP) as part of the Mali Project. The GECP uses the practice of council to deepen the communication and education of men and women so that they have the opportunity to take responsibility for preventing the further spread of HIV.

We are optimistic that the current clinical study in Mali will finally provide the much-needed quantitative evidence to the world that this non-toxic, effective, simple-to-administer and inexpensive medication may be the vehicle for saving many lives in the current epidemic of AIDS that is decimating certain countries of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.