Work stress, burnout, and diminished empathy are prevalent issues for health-care professionals. Mindfulness meditation (MM) is one commonly used strategy to manage stress. Measuring salivary cortisol allows for the assessment of serum cortisol level, a known stress level indicator. This study evaluated the association of subject-reported stress symptoms and salivary cortisol in health-care professionals, in an 8-week MM program, with data collected prospectively at baseline and 8 weeks after program completion. Questionnaires [Profile of Mood States—Short Form (POMS-SF), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), and Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI)] measured mood, burnout and empathy.A paired t-test between groups for pre/post-salivary cortisol yielded no significant change. The POMS-SF was most sensitive to change (mean increase 12.4; p = 0.020). Emotional exhaustion, measured in the MBI, was also affected by MM (mean decrease 4.54; p = 0.001). Changes in empathy may not have been captured due to either absence of effect of MM on empathy, subject number or scale sensitivity. Baseline and 8-week correlations between salivary cortisol and survey results, and correlations between changes in these measures, were weak and not statistically significant. Nevertheless, psychometric results present a strong case for additional clinical trials of MM to reduce stress for health-care professionals. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.