Teaching Team

Meet our teachers and staff members!

Ampudia, Mariana

Mariana Ampudia

Youth Program Teacher

Mariana is a certified Mindfulness Instructor for kids and teens. She took a mentoring and certification training program at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. She also completed an intensive teacher training in the Mindfulness in Schools Education Project (MiSP - .b program), a program launched in the UK, having obtained a certification to teach this dynamic, classroom-based program to middle and high school students. She is currently working to become certified to teach the Making Friends with Yourself Program, which is a Self-Compassion curriculum for teens based on the ideas and research of Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer taught at the Center for Self-Compassion. Since 2015, she has been working with the Youth and Family Programs Division at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. At this time, Mariana provides support in Mindful and Compassionate Parenting Workshops and will start offering training on this to parents in Mexico. Mariana strongly believes in the power of Mindfulness. This has inspired her to concentrate her studies on helping children and teens develop self-regulation, resilience and social-emotional skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Her passion for teaching children and teens has inspired her to pursue further training in the Little Flower Yoga Program. This also motivated her to start a Stress Reduction Program where she applies her knowledge to teach in economically underdeveloped areas in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she has been teaching a multiage group of teens and pre-teens. Mariana is a multicultural woman. She spent eight years living in Europe. This has helped her better understand how different societies work. Her native language is Spanish and also speaks English, French and German. She spends her free time traveling and producing wine at her vineyards in Ensenada, Mexico with her husband.

Atala-Doocy, Lisette

Lisette Atala-Doocy

Certified MBSR Teacher

Lisette Atala-Doocy is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor who also holds a Certification from The Mindfulness in Schools Education Project, a program originally from the UK. Furthermore, she received a Certificate of Attendance from the Omega Institute on Radical Acceptance: Pathway of Emotional Healing & Spiritual Freedom led by Tara Brach. She is Co-Founder of the Bilingual Center for Mindfulness, which promotes mindfulness courses in Spanish and English.

Lisette's strong conviction about the benefits and power of mindfulness practice has inspired her to passionately promote these techniques within our community. She has been teaching MBSR, Mindful Yoga and Mindful Living in Spanish and English for several years in the San Diego – Baja California regions. The mindfulness programs she has led in various institutions include the School of Medicine, Baja California State University and a Scripps Clinic women's group. She has been spearheading a Mindful-Living group for more than six years. In addition to having practiced meditation for over 23 years, Lisette has also studied classical music and linguistics while making significant contributions to the San Diego art world over the course of many years.

Ballentine, Amy

Amy Ballentine

Youth, Family & Education Program Teacher

​Amy Balentine has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist in Memphis, Tennessee since 2004. She is the owner and CEO of Memphis Center for Mindful Living, LLC where she and others offer psychotherapy, mindfulness classes, yoga, and retreats. She specializes in work with children and teens as well as in anxiety, depression and trauma with all ages. She collaborates with others through the center in research studies in the area of mindfulness interventions. She is also involved in creating mindfulness tools for children. Additionally, she is also a behavioral health consultant at Christ Community Health Services in Memphis, providing integrated health care and mindfulness interventions to the underserved. She is a qualified teacher in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction through UCSD Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute Additionally, she is trained in teaching the A Friend in Me: An Emotional Strength Training Program for Children.

Becker, Michelle M.A., LMFT

Michelle Becker, M.A., LMFT

MSC Teacher Trainer
Compassion for Couples Teacher

Michelle Becker, M.A., LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in San Diego, CA utilizing mindfulness and compassion based psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is a teacher trainer for Mindful Self-Compassion and co-founder, along with Dr.’s Germer, Neff and Hickman, of the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. She is also co-founder of the San Diego Center For Well Being and co-developer of the Mindful Living for Couples program. Michelle enjoys helping individuals, couples, families and groups to find a meaningful and satisfying way of life.

Bhatti, Tahir MD

Tahir Bhatti, MD

Wellness Physician

Tahir Bhatti, MD has been a faculty member at the UC San Diego School of Medicine since 1997, working both in the Department of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry as an Associate Clinical Professor. He is currently a Wellness Physician providing meditation instruction and Life Coaching through the UC San Diego Concierge Medicine, UC San Diego Executive Health & Wellness, UC San Diego Center for Wellness, and UC San Diego (Dean Ornish) Cardiac Rehabilitation & Wellness programs. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Brown University, completed his medical training at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, began his residency training in psychiatry at Rush Medical Center in Chicago and then completed his residency and a clinical research fellowship at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He became a meditation practitioner in the early 1990's to cope with some stress related health issues. He worked with t'ai chi, qigong, yoga, mindfulness and other forms of sitting meditations. His dramatic improvement with meditation led him to conduct studies on Complementary & Alternative Medicine during his Clinical Research Fellowship. He was awarded one of the first Fellowships to Explore Alternative Therapies in the UCSD School of Medicine. He studied the effect of t'ai chi in patients with chronic low back pain, stress and anxiety. His current clinical work at UC San Diego is focused on teaching the principles and practice of meditation to inspire and empower his patients to claim their optimal health while embracing their most loving and authentic self.

Cullen, Margaret

Margaret Cullen

Certified MBSR Teacher
MBEB Teacher

Margaret Cullen is a licensed psychotherapist and was one of the first ten people to become a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher.  For over 20 years, she has pioneered secular contemplative programs for a wide variety of populations including physicians, nurses, HIV positive men, cancer patients, overweight women, military spouses college students, clinicians and educators.  She has developed and taught contemplative interventions for research studies at Stanford, UCSF, Portland State, Penn State, University of Michigan, and University of Miami.  In 2013, she developed a mindfulness and compassion program (MBAT - Spouse) for military spouses that she piloted at Ft. Drum, Maxwell Air Force Base, and Joint Operations Special Command.  In 2015, she co-authored a book on Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance (MBEB), an evidence-based program that she piloted across the US and Canada.  She has also designed and co-delivered teacher trainings for both MBAT-Spouse and MBEB.

As a clinician, Margaret has been a facilitator of support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones for 25 years.  In 2010, she was invited by Thupten Jinpa to contribute to the development of the Compassion Cultivation Training, first through the Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education at the Stanford School of Medicine and currently as Founding Faculty for the Compassion Institute.  A meditator for over 35 years, she has sat dozens of intensive retreats ranging from ten days to three months and has written extensively on mindfulness. Nothing brings her greater joy than contributing to a more compassionate world.

Davis, Helen Ph.D, LMFT

Helen Davis, Ph.D, LMFT

Qualified MBSR Teacher

Helen E. Davis, Ph.D, LMFT. is a licensed psychotherapist in group practice in Rancho Bernardo. Helen began her journey in meditation over 30 years ago. It transitioned to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in 2013 when she took the 8-week MBSR class at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. She has completed the MBSR Teacher Training Intensive under the direction of Susan Woods, LICSW and Char Wilkins, LCSW and attended the Advance Teacher Training facilitated by Dr. Steven Hickman and Beth Mulligan, PA-C.

Helen teaches mindfulness programs in her group practice and has incorporated mindfulness-based treatment for anxiety, emotion regulation, depression, trauma and self-esteem into her practice where she has worked as a therapist for over 23 years. Helen's intent and passion is to offer MBSR and mindfulness to help individuals with emotional and physical pain find greater peace, contentment and wellness. Helen is married to a wonderful man and they have one beautiful daughter.

Dhamija, Anish

Anish Dhamija

MSC Teacher-in-Training

Anish Dhamija is a Physician Resident at UC San Diego Family Medicine and Psychiatry program and he’s a trained Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) teacher at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Anish’s journey to becoming a MSC teacher began as a curious graduate student at UC San Diego in 2011 when he volunteered to present about a “hot new topic” in the psychology field at the time — mindfulness. It was then, by good fortune, that he discovered that UCSD was a national hub for mindfulness and he later signed up to take the MBSR course from the Center’s Founding Director, Dr. Steve Hickman.

Life took him away from San Diego for several years, but he had the fortunate chance to return as a physician resident at UC San Diego. He was inspired to take the MSC course soon after his professional training began. He found the tool of self-compassion to be simple but incredibly powerful — it not only helped him better confront the burnout, failures, and difficult encounters that so commonly afflicts those in his profession, but it also allowed him to be more forgiving of himself when he could not meet his own lofty standards.

After completing his course, Anish decided to teach MSC to further improve his fluency in self-compassion, hoping to further enrich his own life and the lives of his patients, colleagues, and future students.

Ebihara, Yuka

Yuka Ebihara

Trained MSC Teacher

Yuka is a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Trained Teacher and a Making Friends with Yourself (MFY) Teacher-in-Training, currently serves the Center for MSC as the Regional Coordinator for Australasia. She is a Japanese/German hybrid born in Japan, having spent formative years in Australia, lived as an expat in Thailand, NZ and China. Her professional background is in the field of entertainment/media where she worked as a radio show host and a news program anchor, and she is also experienced in translation/interpretation. Yuka assisted Dr. Christopher Germer in the capacity of interpreter when he led a 5-day Intensive MSC in Kyoto, Japan in 2018, which enriched her own self-compassion practice and led her to aspire teaching it. Now based in Tokyo, she facilitates MSC programs to groups and assists individuals learn to practice mindfulness and self-compassion. She particularly enjoys working with women in leadership positions and those who are parenting. Yuka has an academic background in Social Psychology and received her M.A. from the University of Tokyo. 

三代続く江戸っ子ですが、遺伝的には日本とドイツの血を受け継いでいます。オーストラリアで思春期を過ごし、タイ、ニュージーランド、中国で子育てを経験しました(2019年より東京在住)。多様性、ジェンダー平等、地球環境といったテーマに大いに関心があります。社会を変えるリーダーとしての力とセルフ・コンパッションの関係について深く考察中。現在、Center for MSCのアジア・オセアニア地域統括コーディネーターとして、世界に広がるMSC講師のコミュニティづくりを進めています。

Falcon, Corrie

Corrie Falcon

Certified mPEAK Coach

After a decorated career as a world class swimmer, Corrie was first exposed to mindfulness on a yoga retreat in 2002.  A certified yoga instructor and the former Head Swimming Coach at the University of California, San Diego, Corrie incorporated mindfulness concepts into her athletes mental training routines.  Now as a certified mPEAK (Mindfulness Performance, Enhancement, Awareness & Knowledge) Coach, Corrie works with athletes and teams to increase their performance through the power of present moment awareness.  Corrie lives with her husband and 2 young children in Solana Beach, CA.

Glaser-Reich, Joseph MAPP

Joseph Glaser-Reich, MAPP


mPEAK Coach and Research Coordinator

Joe Glaser-Reich serves as a rotary wing search and rescue professional and rescue swimmer in the federal government. He practices, coaches, and teaches mindfulness as a way of being that supports both high performance and sustainable well-being. Joe is a certified mPEAK (Mindful Performance Enhancement Awareness & Knowledge) coach and an Assistant Instructor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program where he earned his master’s degree in 2018. He regularly works with high performers to integrate mindfulness, positive psychology, and performance psychology to enhance performance and resilience. Joe also has extensive experience integrating mindfulness at an organizational level having co-led a mindfulness pilot project designed to advance wellness, resilience, and performance across multiple federal agencies. Prior to his current roles, Joe sailed on an ice breaking buoy tender for a year and taught English in Thailand on a Fulbright Scholarship. In his free time, Joe enjoys meditating, hiking with his wife and dog, reading a print newspaper, writing, hanging out on a surfboard with his wife (his dog doesn’t swim too well), and occasionally catching a good wave.

Harth, Noriko Morita

Noriko Morita Harth

Managing Director, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness
Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

Noriko Harth is a Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor, Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor and the Managing Director of UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Noriko trained in MBSR under the direction of Beth Mulligan, Susan Woods, Char Wilkins, Patricia Rockman and Allan Goldstein, and trained in MSC under the direction of Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff, Michelle Becker and Steven Hickman. Born in Japan, she moved to the States in 1985. Noriko feels that her life transforming journey of discovering and exploring mindfulness practices has allowed a more balanced life and identity between these two cultures. Noriko strongly believes practicing mindfulness and bringing its principles into her life has and continues to help her grow as a person. She feels passionate about bringing these practices to other people's lives. It is her mission to share what she has learned, what she continues to learn, to our community. In addition, Noriko sees an opportunity, based on her own integration experiences, to introduce mindfulness programs to the Japanese community.

カリフォルニア大学サンディエゴ校マインドフルネス・センターで、マネージング・ディレクターとして働くと同時に、マインドフルネス・ストレス低減法プログラム(MBSR)とマインドフル・セルフ・コンパッション・プログラム(MSC)を担当しています。マインドフルネスとセルフ・コンパッションを紹介することを目的に、様々な分野の方々と協力しながら、日本語でのワークショップも開催しています。

Hobbs, Lorraine Duran MA

Lorraine Duran Hobbs, MA, CHom

Youth, Family & School-Based Programs Founding Director
Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

Lorraine M. Hobbs is the Founding Director of the Youth, Family & School-Based Programs at the University of California, San Diego Center for Mindfulness.  During her tenure at the Center, she has developed and implemented curricula in mindfulness for multiple age groups and a course in Mindful & Compassionate Parenting.  As a family therapist and former clinical director of adolescent treatment programs, her concern for the adverse effects of stress on the social and emotional development of teens led to pioneering work in the area of self-compassion for teens. She is co-author of Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens & Young Adults, adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion Program and endorsed by Kristen Neff, Ph.D. & Chris Germer, Ph.D.  She is certified to teach MBSR (Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction), MSC (Mindful Self-Compassion), and CCARE (Compassion Cultivation, Altruism, Research & Education), a year-long training program created by clinical psychologists and contemplative scholars at Stanford University.  Lorraine is co-director of the Mindfulness for Adolescents Certification Program. She also consults with educators on integrating mindfulness and compassion-based programs in schools and offers workshops & public talks in the community.

Jordan, Shannon M.A.

Shannon Jordan

Qualified MBSR Teacher

Shannon Jordan, M.A., has spent 25 years helping people thrive in their professional lives. Her work has spanned learning & OD, career counseling, executive coaching, talent management, leadership development, and academic teaching. She specializes in mindfulness in the workplace and has consulted to Fortune 100 companies such as Qualcomm, eBay, PayPal, Cisco, AMEX, Oracle, Microsoft and Genentech. Working closely with the technology and science sectors she’s had an upfront view of stress in our modern workplaces as well as the positive effects empirically based mindfulness interventions can have on performance, resilience and well-being.


Shannon was one of the first to be certified as a Search Inside Yourself teacher (originated at Google), and now serves as a certified mindfulness facilitator and program designer with the Potential Project. She is a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor on the path to certification. Shannon also teaches at UC Irvine Extension and UCSD Rady School of Management, and formerly served on the evening faculty at USD School of Leadership. Although she’s had a meditation practice for 15 years, she only began teaching MBSR after a life-threatening illness in 2014. Shortly after that she left the corporate world in order to share the transformative practices of mindfulness and compassion on a broader scale.


Shannon holds a B.A. in Business and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, is a Board Certified Coach and a National Certified Counselor. She is active with the North County Insight San Diego sitting group, has a dedicated yoga practice, and lives in Solana Beach with her husband, teenaged daughter, and rescue dog.

Kim, Helen Hyun-Chung

Helen Hyun-Chung Kim

MBSR Teacher in Training

Helen Hyun-Chung Kim is an Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher in training. In her previous life she was a board certified psychiatrist in Korea for 15 years, working for underserved communities. During this time she witnessed suffering in the lives of her patients and felt a strong pull towards the field of mindfulness and self-compassion as a way to heal and alleviate suffering. 

With the guidance of the founding director, Dr. Steve Hickman, Helen was able to join the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. At the center, Helen learned various Mindfulness-Based programs from many great teachers. In their teachings she discovered a rich, grounding foundation for her life, filled with awareness, acceptance, ease, and compassion. On her journey of self-discovery and healing, she is witnessing, over and over, her growth and transformation as a human being. Helen is committed to sharing what she has learned with others who may be on their own journey of self-discovery and healing. 

Kirchmer, Peter

Peter Kirchmer

mPEAK Program Director/Trainer
Certified mPEAK Coach
MBSR Teacher

Pete Kirchmer is a Life Coach, Mindful Movement Instructor and Meditation Teacher in Encinitas, CA. As the founder of Mindfulness Based Health, he specializes in helping his clients apply the practice of mindfulness to making healthy lifestyle changes as well as improving performance in both work and life. Pete has completed the foundational training as a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher through the University of Massachusetts Oasis Institute, holds a BS in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through the Coaches Training institute, Center for Applied Positive Psychology and Wellcoaches. Pete is also a Master Trainer for efi Sports Medicine and certified STOTT Pilates Instructor. He is a lifetime learner and an active member of the International Coach Federation and the Harvard Institute of Coaching. Currently Pete has a private coaching practice in Encinitas, is a regular presenter at Rancho La Puerta, a world-class wellness resort in Tecate, Mexico and is on the board of directors for the Encinitas Mindfulness Community.

LeardMann, Lucas

Lucas LeardMann

Certified MBSR Teacher
Mindful & Compassionate Parenting Teacher

Lucas attended his first meditation retreat in 2002 and has been cultivating a mindfulness practice ever since. He has a teaching credential and has been a teacher, trainer, and group facilitator for many years. For Lucas, mindfulness has been integral to learning new ways of relating to the inevitable stresses of teaching, work, parenting, and daily life, as well living life with more presence, connection, and ease. With two kids at home, he explores daily how mindfulness and compassion inform his role as father and husband. Lucas has found a calling in the work of sharing mindfulness with others. He feels especially passionate about providing ongoing support to those who've completed courses at the center or are beginning to explore, and wish to deepen the practice in their daily lives. 

Lewis, Renee

Renée Lewis

Youth, Family & Education Programs Acting Director
Certified MBSR Teacher

Renée is the Acting Director of the Youth, Family & School-Based Programs at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. With education as her background, Renee is very interested in mindfulness for teens and adults alike. In 2013, Renée was hired as the Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Mindfulness. At this same time is when Renée attended her first MBSR class. Since then she has been practicing daily and has developed a passion for teaching mindfulness. She attended the MBSR Teacher Training in 2015 and since then has been sharing mindfulness with women's groups, teens, and various health centers including Moore's Cancer center.

Mangold, Joerg

Joerg Mangold

Youth, Family & Education Programs Teacher

Joerg is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor (MBSR), a Certified Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Instructor (MBCT), a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor (MSC), a Certified Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living Instructor (MBCL), a Mindful Parenting and MYmind Instructor (Programs by Susan Boegels, NL) and Positive Neuroplasticity Instructor (PNT). He is the author of Mindful Compassionate Parenting (MCP), a Mindfulness and Self-Compassion-Program for Parents and author of the corresponding book for parents in Germany, where he is living and where his program is certified and subsidised by the health system. He is a Teacher Trainer for MCP in Germany.

He has more than 25 years of clinical experience as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist specialized for children, adolescents and families. He has a Teaching assignment for Mindful Parenting at the University KPH Wien/Krems (Vienna).

Matsumoto, Makiko

Makiko Matsumoto

MSC Trained Teacher

Makiko is a certified Hakomi practitioner and a Trained Teacher in MSC. Born in Japan, she lived in Portland, Oregon for more than a decade, where she encountered the Hakomi method: a form of mindfulness-centered somatic psychotherapy. After teaching in several educational fields in Japan and the U.S., Makiko has been in private practice since 2015. Makiko currently lives in Japan, offering individual therapy sessions and teaching mindfulness and self-compassion classes in person and online.  

米国ハコミ研究所・認定セラピスト/MSCプログラム講師の松本真紀子です。思えば幼い頃から、真の平和や調和について思いを巡らせていました。マインドフルネスとコンパッションについての学びが、その私の問いに大切な鍵をもたらしてくれたこと、心から感謝しています。現在、教育や医療などの様々な分野でマインドフルネスとコンパッションが広まることを願って、対面とオンラインで入門講座や8週間コースを日本語で教えています。これからもマインドフルネスとコンパッションを通じて、たくさんの方達とつながる機会を心から楽しみにしています。

McClure, Kalika E-RYT 500

Kalika McClure E-RYT 500

MBSR Teacher

Kalika McClure E-RYT 500, is a certified Hatha yoga instructor. She has been directing, designing and teaching yoga classes and workshops for the past 30 years in Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York. Her passion and life's work has been offering to support, empower, and guide students toward the pursuit of good health, in all areas life. Assisting them in lowering stress and attaining optimum health and well-being through the practices of yoga, meditation, and healthful cooking-coaching. Kalika completed her MBSR foundational training under the direction of Steven D. Hickman Psy.D. in 2012. Kalika teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. She is Co-Founder, Co-Director and Teacher for the "Women's Mindful Way" programs. These programs are designed specifically with women's needs in mind. Having been a long time practitioner of meditation and yoga, Kalika has found her on going lifestyle of cultivating mindfulness from her own practice continues to be an invaluable gift. She likens it to the gift that keeps on giving.​

Miller, Jennifer Psy.D.

Jennifer A. Miller, Psy.D.

Certified MBSR Teacher

Dr. Jennifer Miller is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist—PSY17908. Dr. Miller began her mindfulness training in 2010 under the direction of Dr. Steve Hickman, Allan Goldstein, and Lorraine Hobbs. She teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Dr. Miller is the owner of Mindsmith, A Psychological Professional Corporation in La Mesa, CA, specializing in mindful psychology; offering mindfulness-based treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress disorders. Dr. Miller is also a Co-Founder, Co-Director, and Teacher at "A Mindful Way Through…" Programs. These programs are designed specifically with women's needs in mind. Dr. Miller is married and has two spirited elementary school children. Practicing mindfulness has been and continues to be a daily blessing in this full life.​

Morones, Luis MA, MFT

Luis Morones, MA, MFT

Certified MBSR Teacher

Luis Morones, MA, LMFT is a certified MBSR  guiding teacher and licensed psychotherapist. He has trained as an MBSR teacher with Dr. Steve Hickman at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and is a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher. He has a special interest in making accessible mindfulness-based programs in diverse communities. He has taught mindfulness programs in Spanish in the U.S. and in Mexico. He is currently a teacher in a National Institute of Health research study exploring the potential benefits of MBSR in reducing cognitive deficits in the aging process. He has a private psychotherapy practice in which he specializes in mindfulness, spirituality and self-compassion based therapy. He has had a mindfulness practice since 1987 when he began attending classes with Jack Kornfield.

He is blessed immeasurably by his wife, family and a full-catastrophe life.

Patterson, Marta RN

Marta Patterson, RN

Certified MBSR Teacher

Marta is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness and a mindfulness instructor at eMindful. She also has a private mindfulness-based coaching and yoga practice. Marta discovered mindfulness several years ago and found it to be a transformational practice in her life. 
“As I began practicing meditation and applying mindfulness to everyday life I became more self-aware. It has been liberating to know that there is always a choice of how we respond to whatever life brings us.”
Marta has a background as a Behavioral Coach with a leading technology-enabled provider of lifestyle and behavioral health solutions. Prior to that, she worked for several years as a Registered Nurse primarily in oncology and research. She feels strongly about the important role mindfulness can play in mental and physical health and has seen the many benefits when practiced regularly. 

Piscitelo, Shauna OTR/L, RYT 500,CYT.

Shauna Piscitelo, OTR/L, RYT 500,CYT.

Youth Program Teacher

As an Occupational and Certified Yoga Therapist Shauna has been leading health and wellness programs specializing in pain and stress management for over 25 years.  She completed MBSR teacher training and mentoring through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and studied under Dr. Amy Saltzman to teach the Still Quiet Place curriculum for children and adolescents.  Since founding Soulutions for Balance  in 2008, Shauna delivers mindfulness programming to corporate and school settings in the greater San Diego area. 

"The true secret to happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life." William Morris

Poe, Burrell

Burrell Poe

CCT Teacher

Burrell Poe is a U.S. Army Veteran from the West Side of Chicago. Burrell is very passionate about social and environmental justice and dedicates his time to furthering solutions for these issues. Burrell is on the Board of Compassion It and the Anthropocene Alliance. Burrell works as the Director of the Chicago Peace Fellows at the Goldin Institute. Burrell is working with the Goldin Institute Global Associates in Colombia and Uganda to refine a new curriculum on the themes of peacebuilding and tools for forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation.

Prager, Megan, MA

Megan Prager, M.A.

Compassion Programs Director
University Liaison
Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

Megan Prager is the Compassion Programs Director at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness and Co-Founder of Mindful Labs . Megan is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor (MBSR), a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor (MSC), a Certified Compassion Cultivation Instructor (CCT), an Adjunct Faculty member at San Diego State University, and a Lecturer at UC San Diego Rady Business School. She is also a Teacher Trainer and Mentor for the UC San Diego Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute and for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. In addition to teaching Mindfulness-based programs, Megan specializes in developing and delivering mindfulness and compassion trainings for Fortune 500 companies as well as for educational, healthcare, and academic settings. She is currently collaborating with Universities to establish and instruct Mindfulness and Compassion courses at the collegiate level. In all her ventures, Megan's passion and mission are the same: to empower individuals with an understanding of the important role they play in shaping their lives and well being. Megan believes through compassionate awareness individuals are able to utilize one of the best resources they have: themselves.

Contact Megan Prager: meganprager@gmail.com

Website: www.mindfullabs.com  

Rana, Deborah MD

Deborah Rana, MD

Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

Dr. Deborah Rana is a board-certified Pediatrician and an HS Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine & Public Health. Dr. Rana received her MD from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and completed her residency in Pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Prior to moving to UCSD, she was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where she completed her fellowship in Medical Education. Dr. Rana is also a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher. She joined the Center for Mindfulness in 2010 where she currently teaches MBSR and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Dr. Rana has presented many national workshops for faculty physicians on resilience and well-being applying the tools of mindfulness and self-compassion to clinical medicine. She also co-authored a national on-line curriculum developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics on resilience for residents, fellows, and faculty . Dr. Rana continues to see patients at San Ysidro Health, whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of underserved communities.

Schairer, Sara

Sara Schairer

Compassion Cultivation Training Teacher

Sara Schairer is the founder and executive director of Compassion It®, a nonprofit organization and global social movement whose mission is to inspire daily compassionate actions and attitudes. She created the one-of-a-kind reversible Compassion It® wristband that inspires compassion on six continents, 50+ countries and all 50 US states.

​Sara develops and leads experiential workshops on burnout prevention, implicit bias, mindfulness, and compassion. A senior facilitator of Compassion Cultivation Training® (CCT) course developed at Stanford, Sara has led courses at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, Kaiser Permanente, the Naval Medical Center, Donovan Prison, and Las Colinas Women's Detention and Reentry Facility. She also facilitated trainings in Africa sponsored by the Botswana Ministries of Health and Education.

​Sara is contributing author to the book The Neuroscience of Learning and Development: Enhancing Creativity, Compassion, Critical Thinking and Peace in Education and guest blogs for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Her most rewarding and challenging role is being the mother of 12-year-old Hannah.

Shah, Cheryl

Cheryl Shah

Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

​Cheryl’s 20+ years of corporate experience have led her to the conclusion that there must be a better way to live and work. She has seen firsthand the negative impacts of long work hours, stress and pressure on individuals and the resulting emotional and mental pain suffered in the workplace. Her extensive work experience informs her teaching, makes her an accessible and empathetic teacher and helps her translate mindfulness into a language that is relevant and applicable to corporate life.

Cheryl first discovered meditation in college when her wandering mind caused difficulties with her studies, and she learned about mindfulness when she discovered MBSR in 2005. In 2010, she began to explore mindfulness more purposefully, taking a UCSD MBSR class, followed by the then brand new Mindful Self-Compassion program. She subsequently attended an intensive 10-day silent Vipassana retreat at the Southern California Vipassana Center in Joshua Tree in 2013, and emerged transformed from this experience. This led her to decide that she wanted to bring mindfulness to others and she is currently pursuing Certification through the UCSD Professional Training Institute. She has attended the MBSR Teacher Training Intensive and UCSD Practicum and has taught several MBSR classes onsite at Qualcomm.

Cheryl’s current day job is as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at a privately held company in San Diego and her previous employers include NRG, Sprint, CareFusion and Jack-in-the-Box. She lives with her husband and two daughters in San Diego and enjoys cooking, spending time with good friends, hiking, exploring farmers markets and spending time with family.

Sondoozi, Tarane PhD

Tarane Sondoozi, Ph.D.

Certified MBSR Teacher

Dr. Tarane Sondoozi holds a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology and is currently an Employee Assistance Professional and adjunct faculty for Scripps Health Center for Learning and Innovation. She is an author, a master story teller, a well sought after speaker and innovative teacher whose work fosters professional and personal wellness and growth. Dr. Sondoozi is interested in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program to improve quality of life, especially for patients with life altering diagnosis and/or procedures such as cancer, cardiac or bariatric surgeries. She has been offering Mindfulness Based Practices for physicians and employees at all levels of the organization throughout Scripps Health as part of their Wellness Program since 2013. Dr. Sondoozi has an avid passion for promoting Mindfulness Based Practices as part of her professional work and as part of her healing approach in dealing with her own breast cancer.

Songer, William

William Songer

Administrative Coordinator, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness

W​illiam is a 2017 graduate of the University of California, San Diego where he majored in Psychology and minored in Education Studies. He works as the Administrative Coordinator for the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness where he coordinates program registration along with program outreach especially through social media platforms. Hired in December of 2017, William took his first MBSR class in January of 2018 where he was first introduced into the world of Mindfulness.

Walsh, Livia RN, LMFT

Livia Walsh, RN, LMFT

Certified MBSR Teacher
Certified MSC Teacher

​Livia Walsh is a nurse and licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Encinitas, California. She developed pursued training in the area of holistic/integrative health including mindfulness, which she has integrated in over 45 years of her professional career. She completed the MBSR training program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Omega Institute under the direction of Jon Kabat Zinn, Saki Santorelli and the senior teaching staff. Ms. Walsh also taught MBSR at the Senior Center in Encinitas and in her previous role as clinical supervisor at San Diego Hospice with interns as well as with patients. She integrates mindfulness with her clients in private psychotherapy practice. She teaches mindfulness-based interventions to graduate/post-graduate students and professional groups. Ms. Walsh teaches the Mindful Self Compassion program at UCSD as well as in her private practice, having trained with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, founders of the MSC program. Ms. Walsh believes strongly in the mind-body connection and in an integrative approach to achieve and sustain optimal health and well-being.

Yokomori, Yoshiko

Yoshiko Yokomori

Qualified MBSR Teacher

Yoshiko Yokomori is a Qualified MBSR teacher. Having an academic background in education and career as an HR professional at a global corporation, Yoshiko's passion has always lain in human development and supporting people realize their full potential. Inspired by the embodied teachings from her experienced teachers such as Kate Mitcheom, Beth Mulligan and Hugh O'Neill, Yoshiko finds joy in sharing what she has learnt from her ongoing mindfulness journey. Growing up in Japan and the United States, her multi-cultural experience motivates her to serve diverse populations in both Japanese and English.   

Young, Juan Humberto

Juan Humberto Young

MBSAT Teacher/Trainer

Dr. Juan Humberto Young combines extensive business experience in leading management positions and as entrepreneur and investor with a thorough and wide-ranging academic education and a long-standing meditation practice. This has led him on a personal quest to integrate awareness, mindfulness and meditation with business, organizations and management education, where he feels fresh approaches are urgently needed. The MBSAT program of Mindfulness-based Strategic Awareness Training is one of the fruits of this quest. The program with its foundations, practices, notes and illustrations is detailed in his book Mindfulness-based Strategic Awareness Program – A Complete Program for Leaders and Individuals published by Wiley in 2017. It addresses an active, non-clinical population as well as mindfulness teachers interested in teaching MBSAT.

Another result of Dr. Young's personal quest for a more integrated management education has been an Executive Master program in Positive Leadership and Strategy that he designed and implemented under the aegis of a European business school. The MBSAT Teacher Training (MBSAT TT) started in 2018. Since its launch Dr. Young has trained 4 internationally highly diversified cohorts of MBSAT teachers. From 2019 onward the MBSAT TT has been running under the aegis of Singapore Management University in cooperation with Mindfulness Initiative at SMU. In addition to a doctorate in management from Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Young has Master's degrees in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MSt, University of Oxford), Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP, University of Pennsylvania), in Finance (MBA, University of Chicago), Risk Management (MSc, University of New York) and Public Administration (MPA, Harvard).

Dr. Young is an Affiliated Faculty Member of Singapore Management University SMU and currently leading a research project on the effects of the MBSAT 8-week training. Besides his teaching activities he is actively involved in an agrobusiness project in Latin America, managing an investment portfolio and continuing his practice in advisory services from his base in Switzerland. Dr. Young is a first dan black belt in Aikido granted by the Aikikai-Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan.

Zeidan, Fadel Ph.D.

Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Dr. Fadel Zeidan, PhD is the Executive Director at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UCSD.  He and his laboratory  have discovered the neural processes supporting mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based pain relief. Recently, he and his team have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation is mechanistically distinct from and more effective than placebo, distraction, and relaxation. His research is currently funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and has disseminated his findings through traditional media outreach (CNN NPR Time Magazine CBS  and others), Tedx  and recently personally presented  his work to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in Mongolia. In his new role at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, Fadel will focus on expanding his research to focus on working with different patient populations and user-friendly approaches to promote the self regulation of pain. Fadel is especially excited at examining ways to integrate mindfulness from the lab to the clinic and community.