Steven D. Hickman, Psy.D.
Executive Director, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness
Dr. Steven Hickman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and has a joint appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor in the UCSD Departments of Psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Hickman is the Founder and Director of the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, a program of community building, clinical care, professional training and research. Since founding the Center in 2002, he has taught over 40 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses, as well as adapting the program for nurses, medical students and other professional and clinical populations. The Center for Mindfulness has also become a global leader in providing professional training in the burgeoning field of mindfulness-based interventions for professionals of all sorts. Dr. Hickman is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine. He is married and has three teenage children, affording him ample opportunities to practice what he preaches.
Managing Director, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness
Guiding MBSR Teacher
MBSR Teacher Mentorship
Allan Goldstein is the Managing Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, Certified MBSR Teacher, MBSR Practicum Teacher Trainer, and Mentor. Working in collaboration with Dr. Steven Hickman, Executive Director, he has contributed to the development and evolution of the UCSD CFM Professional Training Institute and Certification programs and the center's UC San Diego Health System's group mindfulness programs and teaching staff. He is a member of the working committee of the Mindfulness International Integrity Network. Allan has had a passion for learning, teaching, and providing mentorship for teachers of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs since participating in his first program in 1993. He began his professional training at the UMass Center for Mindfulness in the year 2000. Allan has taught MBSR extensively to groups and individuals in various health care, university, military, business, and community settings, including the virtual world of Second Life. Allan's strong passion for promoting and facilitating the valuable teachings found within MBSR and Mindfulness-Based Programs has propelled him on a journey that continues to unfold in mystery with his love for this sacred work.
Michelle Becker, MA, LMFT
Guiding MSC 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 Director of Compassion Programs at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness where she also teaches Mindful Self-Compassion and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Michelle is a teacher trainer for Mindful Self-Compassion and co-founder, along with Drs. 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 people find a meaningful and satisfying way of life. For more information on Michelle’s work and schedule please visit her website: MichelleBeckerLMFT.com.
Christy Cassisa, JD
Director of WorkLife Integration
Christy’s career—which has traversed science, education, and the law—allows her to apply her unique background to her passion of helping people lead happier and more productive lives. As one of the founders of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness WorkLife Integration Programs, she has been deeply involved in the effort to bring mindfulness to workplaces of all kinds. She has developed and taught numerous mindfulness-based programs and workshops for law schools, international corporations and attorneys, including Mindful Leadership, Introduction to Mindfulness for the Workplace and Brain Fitness for Lawyers. She is an MBSR teacher with the Center and she is also Principal Consultant with Donocle, a legal consulting company. Prior to joining UCSD, Christy worked for 9 years at a Fortune 500 corporation in account management where she honed her skills in client presentations and relationship building. Christy graduated with a JD from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Law and a BS in Life Sciences from Missouri Science & Technology, is certified to administer both the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® and the EQ-I 2.0, and is also trained as a professional coach. Christy lives with her husband and two daughters in San Diego, CA, and practices mindfulness when snuggling with her girls, walking in nature and cooking.
Rebecca Cherry, MD, MPH
Dr. Cherry is a practicing pediatric gastroenterologist at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego. She takes a special interest in the treatment of chronic pain in children and adolescents, and in the use of non-pharmacologic treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders. In her clinical practice, she encourages patients to explore the connection between mind and body. In addition to her specialized medical expertise, Dr. Cherry has trained in clinical hypnosis. She has an MD degree and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and did her post-graduate training at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Swati Desai, Ph.D., LCSW
Director of Campus Relations
Swati Desai, Ph.D., LCSW, is a psychotherapist, a meditation
practitioner, and a trained Mindfulness Meditation teacher. Originally
from India and trained in computer information systems with a doctorate
from Anderson School at UCLA, Swati became a practicing psychotherapist
20 years ago. She followed her passion for integrating her Eastern roots
with Western psychology by practicing Mindfulness based psychotherapy
and by creating an App(2meditate)/Website(www.2meditate.com). Her
meditation training has been under the Vipassana (Mindfulness or
Insight) approach from Indian master Guru Goenkaji, Trudy Goodman at
InsightLA, Los Angeles, and Chris Germer for Mindful Self Compassion. To
learn more about Swati's work, check her website www.swatidesai.com.
Cassondra Graff, MS, LCSW
Speakers Bureau Director
Guiding MBSR Teacher
Senior MSC Teacher
Cassondra Graff, M.S., LCSW., is a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in San Diego, CA integrating mindfulness and compassion based approaches into psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is the Speakers Bureau Director at the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness where she also teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Parenting and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). She is co-developer of the Mindful Living for Couples program.
A graduate of Columbia University in New York, Cassondra trained in MBSR under the direction of Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and Saki Santorelli, EdD and trained in MSC under the direction of Christopher Germer, PhD and Kristin Neff, PhD. She has also trained in MBSR, MSC and Mindful Parenting through the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Cassondra’s personal mindfulness and compassion practice inspires her work as a teacher, psychotherapist and parent. She believes in the power and potential of mindful awareness to help us navigate life with greater wisdom, health and sense of well-being. For more information about Cassondra's work please visit her website: cassondragrafflcsw.com.
Lori Haase, Ph.D.
mPEAK Research Director
Lori Haase is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and completed her
doctoral training the San Diego State University/University of California, San
Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Haase's training
specialized in neuropsychological assessment; however, she also received
extensive training in multiple empirically supported treatments. In addition to
her clinical training, Dr. Haase is also a neuroscientist. She is currently
investigating the neural substrates of resilience and optimal performance and
their modification through mindfulness training. She has worked closely with a
number of different elite performers including Special Operations Forces, elite
adventure racers, Olympic Swimmers, Olympic Cyclists, and RedBull Athletes. Dr.
Haase has spent a number of years practicing yoga, is a mindfulness
practitioner and is currently in the process of completing her teacher training
in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the UC San Diego Center For
Mindfulness. Dr. Haase is Director, co-developer, and teacher of the Mindful
Performance Enhancement, Awareness and Knowledge (mPEAK) program.
Noriko Morita Harth
Office Manager, UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness
Noriko began teaching MBSR at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness after she completed the MBSR foundational teacher training in 2013. Since then she has completed the Mindful Self-Compassion teacher training under the direction of Christopher Germer, Kristin Neff, Michelle Becker and Steven Hickman. Born in Japan, she moved to the States about 27 years ago. 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.
Lorraine M. Hobbs, MA, CHom
Director, Youth and Family Programs
Guiding MBSR Teacher
Guiding MSC Teacher
Lorraine M. Hobbs is the Director of the Youth and Family 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.
mPEAK Program Director
Senior 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.
Lucas LeardMann, B.A.
Senior MBSR Teacher
Mindful & Compassionate Parenting Teacher
Lucas attended his first multi-day meditation retreat in 2002 and has been meditating and cultivating a mindfulness practice ever since. He holds a bilingual teaching credential and has worked in schools and been a teacher in different capacities 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 and connection. With two young kids at home, he also explores daily the application of these practices in his role as father and husband.
Director of Outreach
Guiding MBSR Teacher
Guiding MSC Teacher
Megan Leuchars is a Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor, a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion Instructor and Director of Outreach at UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. In addition to teaching Mindfulness-based programs, Megan develops and delivers unique customized mindfulness programs for Fortune 500 companies as well as for educational, healthcare, and academic settings. Megan is one of the founders of the UCSD Center's Work-Life Integration Program and teacher trainer for the UCSD Professional Training Institute's MBSR Teacher Training Practicum. 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 the lives they want. Megan believes through compassionate awareness individuals are able to utilize the best resource they have: themselves.
Renée is currently the Project Manager for UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine. 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.
Ni-Cheng Liang, M.D.
Dr. Ni-Cheng Liang is a board-certified pulmonologist, Assistant Clinical Professor, and the Medical Director for Pulmonary Services at UC San Diego Health's Center for Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. She is interested in the use of integrative medicine modalities such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to improve quality of life for patients with chronic lung disease and sleep disorders, and has presented her work at the American Thoracic Society where she is also Co-Chair for the Integrative Therapies Interest Group. Dr. Liang has an avid passion for teaching mindfulness based practices to physicians and has been teaching mindfulness to UCSD medical students since 2013. She will be entering her third year as Course Director for the Mindfulness in Medicine medical school course elective. In 2014-2015 she was awarded the UCSD Academy of Clinician Scholars Kaiser Teaching Award for development of a pilot internal medicine residency well-being program using mindfulness based practices. She has been invited to give mindfulness workshops to a variety of subspecialty physician training programs both within and outside of UCSD. Dr. Liang was featured in an interview on mindfulness in 2015 by San Diego's Channel 6 news. She is also a mother, wife, meditator, and an avid yogi who is actively seeking her certification to teach MBSR. She looks forward to sharing mindfulness with you and helping you develop a different relationship with stress.
Karla Materna, Ph.D.
Mindful Eating Teacher
Dr. Karla Materna is a licensed psychologist and Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor per appointment by UCSD's Department of Psychiatry. Throughout her career as a teacher and clinician she has had a special interest in working with individuals and groups who have eating concerns and body dissatisfaction. For the past twenty years, since her first professional training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction by Joh Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, she has had a personal mindfulness practice, sought further mindfulness training, and provided mindfulness instruction to select students and clients. Karla loves teaching and is excited to share mindfulness---especially mindful eating. Based upon research findings and experience, she is hopeful its regular practice can improve eating habits and body satisfaction, as well as, increase self-compassion and wellness.
Kalika McClure E-RYT 500
Director of Hospitality
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 at "A Mindful Way Through…"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.
Jennifer A. Miller, Psy.D.
Senior 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.
Luis Morones, MA MFT
Guiding 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.
Marta Patterson, RN
Marta is a Registered Nurse with Certification as a Health and Wellness Behavioral Coach. She practiced many years in acute care, primarily in oncology and research. She currently works as a Behavioral Coach for AbilTo, Inc. with clients who have chronic health conditions. She also has a private mindfulness-based coaching practice. Marta became interested in mindfulness as a way to help clients work with chronic conditions that were not sufficiently helped with traditional methods. She feels strongly about the important role mindfulness can play in medicine and has seen the many benefits when incorporated into a treatment plan. Marta completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher Training and Practicum at UCSD's Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI). She is continuing her studies at UCSD to receive certification through the university.
Deborah Rana, MD
Senior MBSR Teacher
Deborah Rana M.D. is a board-certified pediatrician with an academic appointment in the Preventive Medicine program in the UCSD School of Medicine. She received her Practicum Training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine in Massachusetts. She has been teaching mindfulness to physicians since 2007. Dr. Rana believes mindfulness practice has an important place in helping health professionals develop skills which foster their own health and well-being and in so doing, can enhance their ability to authentically cultivate healing relationships with patients and their families over time.
Ravinder Reddy, M.D.
Dr. Ravinder Reddy is a psychiatrist, author, teacher and researcher. He serves as research consultant to the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, to help develop the Center's research infrastructure. Dr. Reddy is a volunteer faculty at UCSD - Health Sciences Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Prior to moving to San Diego, Dr. Reddy was at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for 20 years, as clinician and teacher. He has been involved in psychiatric education his entire professional career, including being Residency Training Director at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic. In addition, Dr. Reddy has been involved in complementary medicine, with NIMH and other funded research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in psychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia. In 2015, Dr. Reddy published a book, Understanding Schizophrenia: A Resource for Patients and Families and Health Care Professionals, in which compassion and acceptance are highlighted. Dr. Reddy is a practicing meditator, and for many years has been introducing mindfulness to his patients. He is very interested in developing a variety of approaches to recapturing physical and mental wellness in older persons, particularly mindfulness - aging mindfully. To this end, he is on the path to becoming an MBSR teacher, and learning to age with equanimity.
Amy Saltzman, M.D.
Amy Saltzman M.D. is a holistic physician, long-time athlete, mindfulness coach, scientist, wife, mother, devoted student of transformation, and occasional poet. She competed as a varsity gymnast at Stanford, and then as a road cyclist. She currently enjoys cycling, yoga, snowboarding, and running. She is the co-founder and director of the Association for Mindfulness in Education, and recognized by her peers as a visionary and pioneer in the field of mindfulness for youth. Dr. Saltzman has written two books A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions, and A Still Quiet Place for Teens: A Mindfulness Workbook to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions. Her chapter Mindfulness and Sports in Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens offers a glimpse into the practices she shares in her soon to be released book titled Still Quiet Place for Athletes: Transformational and Mindfulness Skills for Fining Flow in Sports and in Life. Dr. Saltzman provides holistic medical care and individual mindfulness instruction to children, teens, and adults. She also offers in person and online, presentations and courses for children, teens, athletes, coaches, parents, educators, and health care professionals. She looks forward to sharing the skills of mindfulness with you, and supporting you in finding flow.
Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) Teacher
Sara Schairer is the founder and CEO of COMPASSION IT, a start-up nonprofit organization and global social movement whose mission is to inspire daily compassionate actions. She invented the one-of-a-kind reversible COMPASSION IT bracelet that is now creating compassionate actions on six continents, 40+ countries and nearly all 50 states. Sara is an inspiring teacher encouraging her class participants to cultivate compassion in their daily lives.
Livia Walsh, RN, LMFT
Guiding MBSR Teacher
Guiding 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.