the Life Group LA presenters have been chosen for their exemplary
expertise, passion and compassion for the HIV community, and are all
leaders in the field.
Their dedication to helping people grow by acting from their hearts
provides participants with the necessary information to make informed
about their treatment and life paths. They and the Caring Volunteers
is what makes The
POZ Life Weekend Seminar a truly life altering and
enhancing experience. Below is the growing list of presenters that volunteer
time and support The Life Group LA.
Dr. Eric S. Daar, M.D.
Dr. David Hardy, M.D.
Dr. Mchael S. Gottlieb, M.D.
Dr. Peter Jerome Ruane, M.D.
Dr. Jeff St. John, Ph.D.
Nurse Lynne Romanowski, RN, BA
John Sovec, MA
Michael Yang L.Ac
Jacques Chambers, CLU
Michael J. Van Essen
Neva Chauppette, Psy.D.
Gary A. Oliphant
Michelle J. Sherman. RPh
Ellyn Silverman, RD, MPH, PA-C
Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu
Kalani Das, MT-BC
Dr Octavio Vallejo, MD
F. Lisa Sterman, M.D., MPH
C. Nathan Bergeron
Garry George Bowie
Mark Edgar Stephens
John "JD" Dennem
Dr. Eric S. Daar, M.D.
Dr. Daar received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and his clinical and research fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA. Dr. Daar is a member of the faculty at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and is the Director of the Division of HIV Medicine. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine.
Dr. Daar is a member of numerous scientific societies, the recipient of many grants and author of numerous original scientific articles published in prestigious medical journals. He has been a reviewer for many scientific and clinical journals and an Associate Editor of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. In addition, he has lectured throughout the world on Infectious Diseases and in the area of HIV and AIDS. Dr. Daar has also received several awards for education including the Golden Apple Award at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA School of Medicine Award for Excellence in Education.
TheBody.com awarded Dr. Daar their
HIV Leadership Award for
'Outstanding Physician'. Read the article here
Dr. David Hardy, M.D.
Dr David Hardy is an Associate Professor of Medicine-in-Residence at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), CA. He gained his medical degree from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, in 1981, completed a residency in internal medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California in 1984 and a clinical fellowship in infectious diseases and immunology in 1986 at UCLA School of Medicine. Later in his career he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in basic retrovirology in 2002, also at the UCLA School of Medicine.
A diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr Hardy is also a member of numerous professional societies including the American Academy of HIV Medicine, for whom he serves as a member of the National Board of Directors and Chairman of the California/Hawaii Chapter as well as the International AIDS Society. He works with several community organizations, including Project Angel Food, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the Medical Advisory Committee of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Since 1988 he has been President of the Los Angeles Physicians AIDS Forum, which he co-founded. He has served on the scientific committees for various national and international HIV congresses.
Dr Hardy has been principal investigator on a number of HIV clinical trials, and is currently undertaking a 5-year NIH grant-funded study developing and optimizing HIV-1–based vectors for vaccine and gene therapy applications.
• Hardy WD; Chunren Liu; Yiming Xie; Tom Folks; Irvin Chen. Foamy Viruses (FVs): Potential Vectors for HIV Vaccine and Gene Therapy Applications. Presented at the12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, February, 22-25 2005, Boston, Massachusetts [Abstract # 262].
• Hardy WD; Chunren Liu; Yiming Xie; Tom Folks; Irvin Chen. Foamy Virus (FV)
Vectors Persistently Express High Levels of HIV-1 gag: Potential for HIV
Vaccines. Presented at the 13th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic
Infections, February 5-8, 2006, Denver, Colorado [Abstract # 472].
• Goodgame JC, Pottage JC, Jablonowski H, et al. Amprenavir in combination with lamivudine and zidovudine versus lamivudine and zidovudine alone in HIV-1-infected antiretroviral-naïve adults. Amprenavir PROAB3001 International Study Team. Antivir Ther 2000;5:215–25.
• Jacobson MA, Hardy D, Connick E, et al. Phase 1 trial of a single dose recombinant human interleukin-12 in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with 100-500 CD4 cells/microL. J Infect Dis 2000;182:1070–6.
• Javaly K, Wohlfeiler M, Kalayjian R, et al. Treatment of mucocutaneous herpes simplex virus infections unresponsive to acyclovir with topical foscarnet cream in AIDS patients: A phase I/II study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 1999;21:301–6.
• Pollard RB, Peterson D, Hardy WD, et al. Safety and antiretroviral effects of combined didanosine and stavudine therapy in HIV-infected individuals with CD4 counts of 200 to 500 cells/mm3. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 1999;22:39–48.
• Kahn J, Lagakos S, Wulfsohn M, et al. Efficay and safety of adefovir dipivoxil with antiretroviral therapy: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 1999;282:2305–12.
• Lalezari JP, Holland GN, Kramer F, et al. Randomized, controlled study of the safety and efficacy of intravenous cidofovir for the treatment of relapsing cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with AIDS. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovir 1998;17:339–44.
• Hardy WD, Hitt RS. Designing salvage antiretroviral regimens. Some basic guidelines and use of resistance testing. Postgrad Med 2000;107:149–53,157–60.
• Whitley RJ, Jacobson MA, Friedberg DN, et al. Guidelines for the treatment of cytomegalovirus diseases in patients with AIDS in the era of potent antiretroviral therapy: recommendations of an international panel. International AIDS Society – USA. Arch Intern Med 1998;158:957–69.
Dr. Michael S. Gottlieb, M.D.
It has been a quarter century since Dr. Michael Gottlieb, a 33 year old immunologist at UCLA, began to puzzle over a handful of cases of unexplained pneumonia in previously healthy men. The cause was Pneumocystis, a rare infection observed only in patients with severe immune deficiencies. These patients were deficient in CD-4 cells, critical white blood cells that activate the body’s defenses. Because of the public health importance, he published a brief report on June 5, 1981, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report. The date of that report is the official start date of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Later that year he published a detailed paper in the
New England Journal of Medicine. He because the first physician to describe a new disease that would later become known as AIDS.
Dr. Gottlieb has been involved with AIDS for the life of the epidemic. Over the ensuing 25 years he has remained prominent in HIV treatment and research. He was physician to Rock Hudson, and following the actor’s death from AIDS, joined with Elizabeth Taylor to launch the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation established by his patient Elizabeth Glaser. Dr. Gottlieb is prominently featured in the book
And the Band Played On, a chronicle of the early years of the AIDS epidemic written by the late Randy Shilts.
Dr. Gottlieb has a unique perspective as one of the first researchers to test antiviral drugs targeting HIV and continues as a investigator in HIV clinical research. He is an author on more than 60 publications in medical journals including a recent editorial in the
New England Journal of Medicine.
He has been in the private practice of medicine since 1987, and teaches at the medical school at UCLA. Dr. Gottlieb is a trustee of the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA,
www.thegaia.org, a not-for-profit organization that conducts HIV/AIDS relief in Malawi.
Dr. Gottlieb is a graduate of Rutgers University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He trained in immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine where he was a fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Science Award from the Center for the Study of Immunology and Aging (1995), the Caregiver of the Year Award from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (1993), the Spirit of Hope Award from Being Alive (1994), and the Dr. Howard Brown Award from Christopher Street West (1988). He is a member of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Rutgers University.
Dr. Peter Jerome Ruane, M.D.
Private Practice, Infectious Diseases and HIV Physician
Los Angeles, California
Peter J. Ruane, MD, is a private practice physician specializing in infectious diseases and HIV in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Ruane received his medical degree at University College Dublin in Ireland. His US training began with a residency in Internal Medicine at Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minnesota and was completed with a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.
Dr. Ruane is certified by the American Board of Infectious Diseases and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He has spoken on and been published in a number of scientific journals on topics such as outbreaks of community-acquired methicillin-resistant
Stahphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in gay men and the safety efficacy and tolerability of treatment regimens for patients infected with HIV.
He is a Voluntary Faculty Member in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Dr. Ruane’s primary research interest is HIV, HIV resistance management and outcomes. He has authored or co-authored many articles on this topic, having been published in such medical journals as
AIDS, HIV Clinical Trials, and Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
Dr. Jeff St. John, Ph.D.
Dr. Jeff St. John, Ph.D., is a renowned self-help expert, author and motivational speaker. This inspirational man is the co-author of
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cosmetic Surgery and author of the new book series, ™ Get Out of the Way—I’m Late for My Life!. He is known for his unique ability to empower and impassion large and diverse audiences and has enjoyed tremendous success over the past ten years in educating millions of listeners to live, love, and work more passionately through his consults, classes, seminars, motivational audio tape with 6 time Ms. Olympia Winner Cory Everson, and radio and television appearances. He has appeared on ® Spiritual Principles for Powerful Living The Caroline Rhea Show (pilot), Talk or Walk, Men are from Mars…Women are from Venus, Oh Drama and several news programs. In addition, his own KCLA radio show, Ask Dr. Jeff, stimulated the hearts, homes, and workplaces of over half a million listeners each week in Los Angeles in 1998 and 1999.
Dr. Jeff holds a Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Counseling Psychology. In addition, he is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and earned a credential in Lifestyles and Weight Management through The American Council on Exercise. These credentials have provided a broad platform for him to author over 40 self-help guides on subjects such as Dating & Love Relationships, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Parenting, Teen Issues, Health & Fitness, Business & Work Relations, Spirituality, and Personal Enrichment for Penguin Putnam’s and Alpha Book’s Lifelong Learning Channel.
Visit Dr. John's web site
Nurse Lynne Romanowski, RN, BA
Lynne Romanowski, RN, BA, has worked in the LA basin as a nurse for the past three decades. Specifically her work with the gay and lesbian community has spanned more than fifteen years. Her workshop is interactive for those who want to participate in looking at their life with new a perspective on behavior patterns that work and do not work in their lives. The goal of her group work is to enable the individual to pick and choose tools and attitudes that will bring a sense of well being to their daily activities and relationships. The workshop is laced with laughter as we explore the many joys of life's roller coaster ride. But like riding a roller coaster you must fasten your safety belt as we climb the hills and enjoy the downside of the track together.
John Sovec, MA
John Sovec, MA, is a therapist, advocate and educator in the HIV/AIDS community with close to twenty years experience presenting workshops and retreats. John’s primary emphasis is in facilitating emotional healing for those living with the disease, specializing in issues surrounding intimacy, communication, empowerment, as well as grief and loss. Recently he has expanded his focus to concentrate on working with adolescents addressing such issues as self-esteem, peer pressure, HIV/AIDS, safe sexual practices, and sexual/gender identity.
In private psychotherapy practice in Pasadena, John’s therapeutic approach is an eclectic blend of modern therapy styles that assists clients in cultivating the tools they need to take control of their lives and live to their fullest potential. Each therapy session is designed to create a safe environment in which to explore personal challenges and build on the strengths each client already possesses.
As a respected trainer and presenter in both the corporate and non-profit sectors John focuses on cultivating clients’ natural strengths while encouraging them to manage and build from their challenges.
John has designed professional training modules and seminars for the Walt Disney Company, Washington Mutual, Phillips Graduate Institute, L. A. Shanti, The Life Group L.A., the City of West Hollywood and The Mountain Aids Foundation as well as appearing at corporate events for British Airways, Ford, Puma Sportswear, and other internationally recognized companies.
An accomplished writer, John is a regular contributor to Yogi Times Magazine, Yogi Times Business, and the e-zine FindBliss.com. He is a certified Yoga teacher whose spiritual journey has allowed him to open up to the healing power of the heart. “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
To find out more, visit
Michael Yang L.Ac
Michael Yang L.Ac., has been in acupuncture practice since 2000, although it seems much longer. The son of well known acupuncturist, Dr. Larissa Yang, Michael spent a lot of his childhood in acupuncture clinics. During his training, his academic knowledge and the “family secrets” were added upon through extensive travel and study throughout Central and South America witnessing what traditional medicine looked like in the Western hemisphere.
Michael draws on his experience as a yoga therapist and martial artist as well as a specialist in integrative nutrition to aid his clients in achieving optimum health both inside and out. Not only an accomplished speaker, Michael will be publishing his first book, “Where Are They Hiding All The Fat Chinese People-the modern science and ancient secrets of weight loss,” in 2008
To find out more, visit
Lauren Daniels - HealthRhythms Facilitator™
Lauren Daniels is an Endorsed HealthRhythms Facilitator™ for Remo drums, and a regular HealthRhythms facilitator at the Remo Recreational Music Center in North Hollywood. She is completing her music therapy internship through Arts and Services for the Disabled and Cal State University, Northridge. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and percussion from Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
Simeon Denn at 55, is a freelance writer/photographer and yoga and meditation teacher based in Los Angeles. Professionally trained in New York, he has studied and taught dance, yoga, and meditation for over 35 years; owned and operated dance and fitness studios in Hawaii; and is a certified yoga, feng shui, shiatsu therapist and Integrative Quantum Medicine practitioner. His fine art photography is represented by the Skidmore Gallery.
He is the creator of Qi Yoga, a mind/body system that integrates hatha yoga, qigong (energy work), and Pilates with an emphasis on meditation.
Den has been HIV positive for over 25 years and presents workshops and seminars in stress management and alternative health protocols, in particular to national HIV/AIDS support organization.
His upcoming book, Urban Meditations, includes eight easy-to-follow beginners’ meditation exercises and eight insightful ruminations on the ironies and laughable absurdities of contemporary urban life, including his observations on love, money, weight loss, spirituality & Quantum mechanics, death & dying, aging with grace, dignity, and a sense of humor.
HIV+ Fifth District Commissioner
Los Angeles County Commission On HIV
Brad has been living with HIV since 1982. He served on the Board of Being Alive Los Angeles and eventually became President during the early to late 90s. With friends he Co-facilitated Positive 20s out of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian center in the early 90s. When he turned 30 he started a group for people in there 30s. Brad has sat on many Boards including The Pedro Zamora Youth Clinic at its inception and Partner’s Adult Day Health CARE, the list continues to grow as he is invested in music education for children and human rights issues. Today he is seated as the HIV+ Fifth District Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission On HIV, he is Co-Chair of the Priority and Planning Committee. Brad has been speaking as a motivational speaker at national leadership and educational forums and has even offered testimony on life saving drugs for PLWH/A in Washington before the Federal Drug Administration, before the California Legislature on advocacy issues and in the reauthorization hearings for the Ryan White CARE Act. You may even see Brad on T.V. or in talk shows as an expert HIV Service Planner. Brad continues to advocate and speak out on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS giving a face to the disease in situations when few have done so or were unable.
You can contact Brad at
firstname.lastname@example.org for speaking events
as a trainer and regarding HIV/AIDS Health Education.
Walt is an epidemiologist and a longtime AIDS activist. He has lived with HIV for 20 years and says he is very grateful for reaching age 62, "an age I never expected to see when I first started out with this disease." Walt has earlier been a civil rights worker, a community organizer, a junior high school teacher, labor union organizer and registered nurse. He went to graduate school at age 45 in order to gain more skills and credentials to help defeat AIDS, getting his Ph.D. from UCLA's School of Public Health. He's been an activist for social justice continuously for 47 years, since leading a demonstration of fellow high school students against legality enforced racial segregation in his native south at age 16. Since moving to LA in 1989, Walt has been a member of Being Alive, writer for its Newsletter and President of its Board of Directors for four years. He currently co-chairs the Southern California HIV Advocacy Coalition and is national Board Chair of CHAMP -- Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project.
Walt firmly believes, with one of his personal historical heroes Frederick Douglass, the "power concedes nothing without a struggle." The progress we have achieved thus far is because we made our demands heard with a loud voice and worked in the halls of power for years to gain better treatments and wider access to them. The work we still must do to end this epidemic both domestically and worldwide, and to provide compassionate support for all those living with HIV, likewise requires a reawakened sense of advocacy, activism and struggle.
Walt brings this history and perspective to the
POZ Life Weekend Seminar presentation: "Together We Are Making a Difference."
The moment Maegen stepped onto her rental mat 5 years ago in her acupuncturist's wellness center, she knew there was no turning back. After almost 10 years of being out of the dance world she had loved growing up, yoga was the first time she was able to experience what dance had given her for so many years - a sense of deep mind-body connectedness coupled with profound physical and mental release and rejuvenation...as well as a great way to challenge herself physically. As her practice deepened, she found yoga to be a perfect marriage of the solace she found in the physical and her passion for mental health and facilitating positive growth. Yearning to share this experience and passion with others, Maegen completed her 200 hour training at Black Dog Yoga with the amazing team of Peter Barnett, Jenny Brill, Margaret Buckley, Maria Cristina Jimenez, and Sigrid Matthews in April of 2012.
Maegen is deeply motivated to help people (and herself) become the best possible versions of themselves and uses yoga as an entry point into this process. She seeks to provide a space where students can recognize and experience the profound effects of connecting the mind and the breath with the intricate movements of the body.
Jacques Chambers, CLU*
Jacques Chambers is an independent benefits counselor in private practice assisting people with disabilities obtain access to benefits, both public and private. He is recognized as an expert on Social Security Disability and on health, life, and disability insurance and their impact on persons dealing with life threatening medical conditions.
He counsels clients and advocates on their behalf, and he regularly writes and speaks on insurance. He has worked with the California legislature on benefits legislation, and has served as an expert witness in insurance litigation. He was part of a task force on HIV and Insurance commissioned by Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and the report he wrote was used as a basis for legislation that increased protections for insurance consumers.
He was Manager of the Benefits Program at AIDS Project Los Angeles for almost ten years. Prior to joining APLA as an insurance counselor in 1990 he spent twenty-five years in the health insurance industry, as a group health underwriter and an independent agent marketing group and individual health and life products.
*Chartered Life Underwriter
Michael J. Van Essen
The former Corporate Director for Benefits Establishment at Pacific Clinics, a Behavioral Health Organization, headquartered in Arcadia, CA. Pacific Clinics serving over 14,000 consumers throughout Southern California Mr Van Essen has vast experience in assisting people navigate a difficult system.
As Corporate Director of Benefits Establishment, he administered and supervised all aspects of public disability benefits for Pacific Clinics consumers, their families and their Case/Treatment service providers. He assisted those most in need by navigating income and healthcare coverage systems, such as California State Disability Insurance, Social Security Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medi-Cal.
In addition to the above, he have authored, developed and – for the past six years – taught a credited course in Benefits Establishment at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. He also currently serves as Chairman of the Governance Committee of California’s Statewide Independent Living Council, appointed by the Governor.
richard kearns is the writer, editor, photographer, designer, publisher and chief assistant bottlewasher of
aids-write.org, a blog (web log) which he describes as a cross between journalism and poetry, a virtual public art installation for the practice of personal, political, cultural and spiritual activism.
kearns began publishing the site just before gay pride a year ago.
in one sentence: “
aids-write.org is a virtual public artspace, meetingplace and hometown/npo for a diverse, inclusive community of activist artists, thinkers and persons whose aim is to compose, record, document, listen to, reflect upon, feel, communicate and “mythologize” our aids/hiv stories and experiences, intending to create a cultural context for social change, and thus to be a significant pro-active voice in all health, social and environmental public-policy-related decisions by offering wise counsel drawn from our accumulated visions.”
For the last thirteen years, Kearns taught Qigong as a self-help modality of traditional Chinese medicine, which he learned as a part of his own healing journey. His Qigong coaching and one-on-one work is developed specifically for HIV-infected individuals—hivers. He currently teaches a weekly Qigong class for Beingalive LA, a local grassroots self-help aids service organization. He holds certifications as a personal trainer and a group exercise instructor from the American Council on Exercise.
Kearns was an adjunct instructor of journalism and creative writing at Loyola Marymount University before his retirement in 2002. He has been a writer, editor and designer specializing in print media since 1971.
his website address is
Brian Risley is the Lead Treatment Educator at AIDS Project Los Angeles where he coordinates the Treatment Adherence/Education program for one of the largest HIV/AIDS service organizations in North America. Brian serves as the Co-Chair of the Hepatitis C Task Force for Los Angeles County, he sits on the HIV Commission of LA County’s Treatment Standards of Care Committee and the advisory board for UCLA CARE Center and Harbor-UCLA’s HIV Research and Education Institute. Brian has facilitated the longest-running support and education group for those newly diagnosed with HIV in Los Angeles County, called “Positively New”.
Among his various honors, Brian was recently named one of TheBody.com’s
“ for his quality and scope of work in the HIV community in Los Angeles. Outstanding National Prevention Educators”
Advocacy Relations Manager
Lisa Valtierra has been active in the HIV community since 1996 when she first joined the board of directors of Women At Risk, an organization serving women with HIV in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter she became a public speaker, and in 1997 reached over 10,000 students and professionals. She has also appeared on numerous cable and radio talk shows discussing the various aspects of women living with HIV.
Before joining Abbott Virology in 2001, she had enjoyed a successful sales career, followed by several years of recovery from complications due to HIV. After realizing she was going to live for a long time, she rejoined the workforce as the first Peer Advocate at the UCLA Clinical AIDS Research and Education Center.
She is a Los Angeles native and earned her degree from UCLA in Communication Studies. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area and travels throughout much of the United States as an Advocacy Relations manager for Abbott Virology.
Neva Chauppette, Psy.D.
Dr. Neva Chauppette is a licensed Psychologist in part-time private practice in Los Angeles. She is the full-time Project Director of a mobile medical clinic that provides free and comprehensive HIV, Hepatitis ABC, and STD services to substance abusers in and out of treatment. She is also the Clinical Director of an outpatient, day treatment program for women of color living with multiple morbidities (HIV, HCV, psychiatric illness and substance misuse). Dr. Chauppette is a consultant to numerous HIV and chemical dependency treatment facilities throughout several states. As a consultant, she conducts psychiatric evaluations of multi-diagnosed individuals, offers psychiatric consultation to enhance treatment design, and provides curriculum development, technical assistance, crisis intervention, and staff/client trainings.
Dr. Chauppette has worked in the field of substance abuse and HIV since 1988. She earned her doctorate in psychology from Pepperdine University in 1992. She is licensed as a Psychologist in California.
Jason Kramer is an executive with Nielsen Entertainment, where he specializes in helping movie studios increase the effectiveness of their consumer marketing campaigns. He is on the board of GLivyN (Gay & Lesbian Ivy Network) and Yale GALA (an alumni advocacy group for GLBT students), and frequently speaks on motivational topics for people affected by HIV and AIDS.
Community Educator, Martell began her work with HIV prior to receiving
her own positive diagnosis in 2000. She moved to Los Angeles in
2002, and began networking and connecting with the local community
to learn about treatment and advocacy. An active member of the
community, Martell volunteers some of her free time working with
many organizations serving women infected and affected by HIV.
She served on the board of directors of Women at Risk for two years
and was the recipient of the Woman of courage Award in 2005. Martell
juggles a host of community activities, serving as a member of
the UCLA Care Center Community Advisory Board, and the LA Women's
Caucus on HIV/AIDS.
Nationally, she is a member of the AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition
(ATAC) Steering Committee and the Drug Development Committee (DDC)
In addition to attending national and international conferences
Martell works with the Global Campaign for Microbicides and the
California Micrbocides Initiative (CAmi) providing education and
resources to help women learn about Microbicides and participating
in clinical trials and research. Martell attends Valley College
and having made the distinguished dean's list last semester, plans
to continue working towards social change to improve the lives
of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Doug Bates is a licensed massage therapist, having graduated with honors from the Deep Muscle Therapy School of Delaware in 2000. Trained in Deep and Connective Tissue, Swedish, Trigger Point, Myofascial, Hot Stone, Chair massage, Energy work, and Thai massage techniques, Doug uses all these in an integrative session involving them all, and acts from an intuitive "feel" for his clients, tuning in and working according to that, treating it almost like a "dance".
Doug is a frequent volunteer for AIDS service organizations, and helped the workers at Ground Zero during 9/11.
Doug has a private practice in Los Angeles, works out of a holistic center in West Hollywood and can be contacted at Home: (323) 572-2030 or Cell:
Initially a public school choral conductor, vocalist and concert percussionist, Mr. Perkins received his BA in 1968, with graduate studies in Music Education, Choral Literature and Conducting
(1971-1974) after a stateside stint in the US Special Services' NORAD Band, 1969-1970). In New York City, he worked in traditional graphic art and magazine production then morphed into the Art Director of LA's own Frontiers Newsmagazine, 1986-96. After a near death health crisis in 1999 (AIDS Related Dementia) and a miraculous recovery, he went back to school at age 55 for Graphic Design Certification (Community College of Denver, 2002) graduating with honors and 1st Place in Graphic Design, Emmanuel Gallery Art Show, Denver, CO. In penning his cathartic tome, "Blotto Time: pleasant but confused," the first-person account of how he beat the odds thanks to eating right all along, emerging "a better-built man inside and out."
Returning to LA, Mr. Perkins began weight-training with earnest and more knowledgeable support. From decades of questions food additives and processing practices, then supplementation, his brainchild website for HIV and bodybuilding nutrition launched
www.TheMuscleKitchen.com in 2005; the printed book by the same name is ready for publishing. 2006 was also a busy year entering his first physique competitions and medaling in all three (Mr./Ms. Muscle Beach Venice July 4, 3rd Place: Gay Games VII June 19, Silver Medal), Steve turned 60 and competed in "Excalibur" (an NPC qualifier) Dec. 2, placing third. Combining his deepest skills and passions, the maiden voyage of "HIV + Nutrition," a slideshow/Q&A presentation at "AIDS, Medicine & Miracles" (Sept. 2006, Sausalito, CA) in conjunction with his partner Doug Bates in dual presentations www.Toolbox4HIVWellness.com has garnered great reviews and encouragement for the HIV community, pharmaceutical representatives and AIDS service organizations alike. But more importantly, what came to light for Steve was the realization that "THIS is the real reason for my being here and now: to make the confusing subject of nutrition clear and digestible, and to attest to what is possible.".
Shelley McKittrick, MA, MNM, Community Liaison with Gilead Sciences, started caring for people with AIDS in the mid 1980's as a respiratory therapist in the Los Angeles area. In 1994, she left a PHD program at the University of Virginia to return to Colorado to help care for a sick friend. For 11 years she worked in the Denver AIDS community as a treatment educator, advocate, writer and activist.
She was the Director of Client Services at Project Angel Heart; Administrator for the Denver Ryan White Title I HIV Resources Planning Council; the Director of Treatment Education and Editor of Resolute! Dedicated to Surviving at the People with AIDS Coalition Colorado (PWACC). Shelley also founded and directed PWACC's Peer Advocacy Project which helped assure quality HIV medical care and services for the most disenfranchised PLWH/A in the Denver community. She also founded the HEART Institute (HIV Education Advocates Rallying Together) to help educate the next generation of community HIV treatment educators in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. She was a member of the AIDS, Medicine and Miracles Board of Directors from 2000 – 2003. In 2004-2005 she was a member of the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) Community Liaison Subcommittee. Ms. McKittrick holds Master’s degrees in cultural anthropology and nonprofit management.
Today, Shelley is a Community Liaison with Gilead Sciences providing HIV treatment education and support to the greater Los Angeles HIV community. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Women Alive Coalition. Her most important job, however, is raising her daughter Grace with her husband, partner and AIDS activist, Al McKittrick.
Shelley supports the
POZ Life Weekend Seminars by presenting on topic’s that include, Treatment Adherence and Understanding Your Lab Reports and has also brought in specialists in to present on "Beyond the Numbers: Your HIV Treatment Goals and Facts About Lipoatrophy", HIV and Aging.
Joseph Leahy – Sr. Community Liaison, Tibotec Therapeutics. Joseph has 11 years experience working as an administrator for an HIV Clinic in Los Angeles. For 5 years he served as Vice President of Let There Be Hope Medical Research Institute. In 2005 he spent one year as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Western Drug Medical Supply before joining Tibotec. In 2006 he served on the board of L.U.C.E.S. (Latinos Unidos Contra El SIDA). This year Joseph served on the host committee for the U.S. Conference on AIDS held in Palm Springs in November. In his current role as Sr. Community Liaison for Tibotec where he supports the educational efforts of the AIDS Service Organizations throughout Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
The POZ Life Weekend Seminars by presenting on topic’s such as, HIV 101, HIV-Hep C, Co Infection.
Gary A. Oliphant
Gary A. Oliphant - Vice President / Branch Manager Wells Fargo Bank, West Hollywood Office, began his Banking Career in 1978 in Retail Banking- With his leadership, the West Hollywood store has earned several prestigious awards including The 2005 Small Business Award from the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the 2006 City of West Hollywood Disability Advisory Counsel Service Award.
He is a Certified Dream - Life Coach, and a Certified Leadership Management Facilitator, he also serves as a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.
His active and ongoing community involvement includes personally raising money for the California Aids Ride, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the C.I.T.Y x1 youth program in West Hollywood and the Los Angeles Aids Walk.
In 2006 he was honored by Christopher Street West with the Sheldon Andelson Award for his unusual strength and outstanding direction as a leader in constant support of the LGBT community. Gary has been directly supportive of the LGBT community, but has also worked with Wells Fargo Bank’s corporate giving to support deserving LGBT organizations.
Gary’s generosity has been experienced by countless customers who have benefited from the tools he has made available, including: promoting financial education, shared accounts information, property management and encouragement to practice strong business principals.
The presentation he contributes to
The POZ Life Weekend Seminars are on Financial Planning and Estate Planning.
Cathy Olufs is an HIV+ activist, treatment educator, writer, and public speaker. Diagnosed in 1995, Cathy got her start in activism as a treatment educator for a women’s HIV organization in Los Angeles. In her current position as the Education Director at Center for Health Justice in West Hollywood California, Cathy leads a team of health educators who work directly with HIV positive and at-risk individuals in correctional settings. Outside of her employment, Cathy is a co-founder and current President of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), a national group of new and veteran AIDS activists working to improve research and access to care for people with HIV/AIDS
She is also the former co-chair of their Drug Development Committee. Prior to ATAC, Cathy was a member of the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Community Constituency Group where she served as the community representative to the Women’s Health Committee for several years. Cathy is married and the mother of two adult step-sons who are serving in the military. She is currently working toward a Masters Degree in Organizational Management at Antioch University Los Angeles.
Michelle J. Sherman. RPh
With the vision to create a holistic global community for people impacted by HIV/AIDS, Michelle Sherman founded MichRx Pharmacist Consulting Services, Inc. in 2005. MichRx Pharmacist Consulting Services, Inc is a top provider of innovative services and solutions for people reaching HIV/AIDS patients, caregivers, and service providers. The mission of the company is to promote the state of well being through comprehensive pharmaceutical care, diet, exercise and emotional well being. The company is committed to providing cutting edge, quality educational programs and consultation services to physicians, nurses, case managers, pharmacists, corporations, associations, clinics, government agencies, community service providers, and HIV/AIDS patients.
Ms. Sherman is a nationally recognized HIV Specialist Pharmacist practicing in Orange County, California for over fifteen years. She has extensive experience and expertise with HIV medications, adherence and resistance issues, ADAP, CalOptima/Medi-Cal, Medicare Part D issues, HIV Sensitivity issues and pharmaceutical care services for HIV infected individuals.
Ms. Sherman obtained her Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the Witwatersrand School of Pharmacy, Johannesburg South Africa. She moved to California in 1987 and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS community for over fifteen years. Ms. Sherman is also certified in the following areas: Dyslipidemia from American Pharmaceutical Association and Immunizations from the California Pharmacists Association, and has completed the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists HIV/AIDS Pharmacotherapy Traineeship, the HIV Pharmaceutical Care Specialist program at the University of Buffalo and is also a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Level II and Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor Level 1.
Ms. Sherman’s professional affiliations include the following:
American Pharmaceutical Association, California Pharmacists Association, Orange County Pharmacists Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, the American Academy of HIV Medicine and South African Pharmaceutical Society.
Professional accomplishments include the following:
Pharmacist of the year for PayLess Drug Store- 1991, 1992 and 1993; Member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Pharmacists Association since 1992 in the capacity of chairperson of the HIV Task Force; President- elect of the Orange County Pharmacists Association in 1995 and President in 1996; Local Pharmacy Association of the Year Award for 1996 awarded by the California Pharmacists Association and Orange County Pharmacists Association Dutch Hofstetter Community Service Award for 1999. Awarded the first Advancement of Pharmacy Specialties Award in February 2001 by the California Pharmacists Association. Nominated for Innovative Pharmacist of the year award for 2002 by the California Pharmacists Association, Certificate of Special Congressional recognition presented by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in 2004 & 2006, and Women who make a difference in Orange County with recognition from State Senator Joseph Dunn, the California State Assembly and Orange County Supervisor Lou Correa.
Ms. Sherman’s professional and community service is extensive and includes the following:
Volunteer at Shanti Orange County for over fifteen years; speaker and facilitator at numerous HIV Conferences and Continuing Education programs, member of the City of Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee, Member of the Advisory council- Cognitive Services Reimbursement for Pharmacists Caring for HIV/AIDS Patients- AIDS Drug Assistance Program, appointment to AIDS Drug Assistance Program Medical Advisory Committee, and she is also and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and Assistant Clinical Professor, University of California Irvine College of Medicine Volunteer Faculty.
Ms. Sherman has also participated in four California AIDS rides, two as a rider and two as a member of the medical crew.
Michael Blomsterberg - Master Certified Life Coach
Michael Blomsterberg has earned a “Master Certified Life Coach” designation from Coach For Life, an International Coaching Federation (ICF) approved program. He is an author, a visionary, and a spiritual teacher.
What Michael enjoys most in the world is bringing people’s light into their consciousness. He is set apart from others in his field in that he feels people’s pain. Along with 24 years of experience empowering clients and putting them back on their own team, he now has over 23 years of sobriety from drug and alcohol abuse and over 15 years of abstinence from bulimia and anorexia. He is nine years cancer-free, and has survived the dissolution of a 12-year relationship, bankruptcy in his early twenties, and physical and psychological abuse as a child.
He combines the tools that come with being a Master Certified Life Coach with his vast life experience. The result is a large amount of knowledge, understanding, compassion, and insight. He’s been there, and he understands.
Read more at
Michael Blomsterberg web site.
Ellyn Silverman, RD, MPH, PA-C
Bachelors of Science: Douglass College, Rutgers University-Nutritional Sciences; Masters of Public Health: University of South Carolina-Public Health Administration; Physician Assistant: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Fellowship in Metabolic Disorders: University of Southern California; Registered Dietitian: since 1986
Work related experience:
Owner: ECS Nutrition Services: Medical/Nutritional Consulting;
Consultant: CSI Center for Special Immunology: HIV Dietitian 1996-present;
Territory Manager: Digestive Care, Inc : 2005 to present;
Speakers Bureau: Various HIV and related topics;
Author: Various HIV nutrition related articles and textbook chapters
Lives in Long Beach, CA….Mother of two daughters in college…blackbelt in karate…likes to paint watercolors and travel….active in the American Dietetic Association HIV Nutrition Dietetic Practice groups.
Michael graduated from the University of Washington, School of Pharmacy in 2005 with a Doctorate of Pharmacy. Immediately after graduation, Michael moved to Los Angeles to complete a residency at the Jeffrey Goodman Clinic where he specialized in Immunology.
Today, Michael is the Specialty Pharmacy Manager focusing on clinical care for the Los Angeles Metro area. Using the advanced Walgreens Pharmacy network, Michael is able to help manage patients throughout the area making sure there is no interruption in care. His main focus is on medication adherence, side-effect management, and personalized service while always being aware of confidentiality. Michael loves meeting with patients and talking face to face and is always willing to help resolve any issues that arise
Danny was taken to his first yoga class on a date in the summer of 2001. That date turned into a lasting relationship -- with yoga, not with the date! After moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Danny discovered the joy-filled Anusara yoga community. Soon he was immersed in teacher trainings and advanced studies with some of the country's top Anusara teachers, including John Friend, Sianna Sherman, Noah Maze, and Darren Rhodes. Inspired by his teachers, Danny offers yoga as a practice we can use to cultivate virtues of courage, truth, compassion, joy, and service. Danny loves watching his students discover their own strength and beauty through the practice. His classes are fun and challenging and he uses stories, poetry and heart-oriented themes to inspire his students to express their poses from the inside out.
Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu
Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu is Professor of Medicine and the Director of the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE Center). He is a native of California and received his undergraduate and medical education at the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. Since 1984, he has been on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr Mitsuyasu is the Associate Director of the UCLA AIDS Institute responsible for overseeing the clinical therapeutic and biomedical prevention areas. He is an established clinical investigator with over 25 years of experience in HIV clinical trials research and patient care. He established one of the first clinics for Kaposi's sarcoma and AIDS malignancies at UCLA in 1984 and has directed the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE Center) since its inception in 1990. He is the group chairman of the NCI-funded AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) and also leads the CHRP-supported Network for AIDS Research in Los Angeles (NARLA). Dr. Mitsuyasu's research interests include clinical trial investigations of cytokines, immune-based therapies, vaccines and gene therapies for HIV and treatments for AIDS-related malignancies.
Claes Lilja has been studying and working with the Enneagram since 1993 and went through the professional teacher training program at the Enneagram Institute with Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. He also worked as Director of Programs and Operations for the Institute and produced personal growth retreats throughout the world. He has been featured as an Enneagram expert on FOX News, CNBC News (with Chris Matthews), Starting Over (NBC) and in many news and magazine articles. He is the creator and head facilitator for
Brotherhood Retreats—an organization dedicated to producing body-mind-spirit retreats for HIV-positive gay men. He leads workshops on meditation and personal growth in both Europe and the USA.
Claes is an active community volunteer for The Life Group LA and other health and arts organizations. He is also an independent artist and filmmaker. His documentary on sex, Beyond Vanilla, was a great success on the international film festival circuit. He was nominated for a Weho Award as Outstanding Photographer in 2008 and 2009. Born in Sweden, he lived in France, where he went to business school at E.S.C.P., before coming to the U.S. to study theater and film.
Tad began practicing yoga in his local gym. As fun as that was, it wasn't until he found Anusara yoga that he fell in love with yoga and discovered the world of possibilities that yoga had to offer. Tad has studied with some of Anusara's most beloved teachers, including Sianna Sherman, Noah Maze, Darren Rhodes, and John Friend, the founder of Anusara. It was his teachers' extraordinary generosity that inspired him to begin teaching yoga. Tad believes that the strength of yoga is in the people that practice it and the supportive community that surrounds them. His goal is to guide students in the discovery of their own strengths and to inspire them to make an openhearted offering back to their communities outside of the yoga studio.
Spiritual Life Coach/Reiki-Meditation Practitioner/Speaker
Born in a small town in MT. Learned at a very young age that to be who I was- was wrong and unacceptable if I wanted to be loved. Came out of the closet at 19 filled with shame and guilt of who and what I was. I defined myself by the way others viewed me or the way I perceived them to view me. Being a natural born empath and healer- I always felt different. I lived my life trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be. At 23- I was diagnosed with HIV. As a result I gave up on life found drugs and realized I didn't know how to live. Slowly over the next 7 years I began to realize the pain anger shame and guilt that I was burying in my body was killing me. I was the victim of my own life. At 30 I realized that if I didn't begin to cherish the life I had left to live I might as well already be dead. I began using my intuitive and empathic abilities to assist others to find their own light and heal. And thus became my journey as a healer. I slowly began letting go of the labels I and society had placed on me as who I was: Gay/HIV Poz/Drug Addict. I had always resented self defining labels. I have Developed a program of Self Discovery and Healing called "Living Through the Chakras" and was blessed as a spiritual teacher of the Chakras (7 Aspects of Self) by SadGuru Sri Mata Amritanandamayi (AMMA). I have also developed a line of Blended Essential Oils (Chakra Sents). Since then My life has been about assisting others to understand and awaken to the alignment of self through and understanding of the Subtle energies within the body. I believe the old proverb "Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; but teach him to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime". Through Life Coaching/Reiki-Bodywork and public speaking my path and my purpose is to give people the tools to step out of the shadows of shame and guilt held within their being and teach them how to heal from within: becoming the Creator of their own Truth/Reality instead of the Victim of Circumstance.
Kalani Das, MT-BC
Kalani Das, is a world percussion specialist with more than 30 years of professional experience. He is a certified Orff-Schulwerk educator, a board-certified music therapist, and is a requested presenter at conferences worldwide. Kalani has worked with music legends Barry Manilow, Yanni, Kenny Loggins, and Rod Stuart. He is the founder of the DCM approach to community music making and a member of the Music Therapy Drumming training team. Kalani has written over nine books and produced numerous instructional DVDs and music CDs. He presents workshops, retreats, and residencies for students, teachers, therapists, and the general public. kalanimusic.com and playsinglaugh.com.
Laura emigrated from Guatemala to the US at age 21 to redesign her life from the bottom up. Eventually, after learning English she returned to school and earned a BA in Psychology at CSLA and a Masters in Business Administration at Walden University. Since 1996 she has educated, trained and empowered women and people living with HIV from diverse backgrounds. She started as a community volunteer and later worked for LA Shanti, first as the Vidas Positivas Coordinator and then as Programs Manager. Years later she joined John Snow Research & Training Institute in Colorado where she provided capacity building for several AIDS Services Organizations in the Midwest, conducted HIV national trainings, and presented at the International Conference for Youth in India. She also has done independent consulting work and motivational speaking. Prior to joining Gilead she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim for 2 ½ years, first as Community Liaison and later as HIV National Accounts Manager. Laura has written articles for Impacto Transnational Magazine, the book Gathering Round the Fire, and is currently a columnist for XQsi an LGBT Magazine. She also continues to volunteer as a motivational speaker and is writing her first book of empowerment to be published in 2012.
Dr Octavio Vallejo, MD
Octavio Vallejo obtained a Doctor in Medicine degree in Mexico in 1981. He holds specialties in Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases along with a Master in Public Health from the University of Miami. Recently Octavio Vallejo got his certification as Health Educator (CHES). Octavio Vallejo came to Los Angeles as a UCLA John Fogarty Fellow to develop new skills in HIVAIDS research and in the process emerged as a vital asset in Los Angeles' AIDS community--a key link between AIDS services and the growing number of HIV-infected Latinos. From 1994-2005, Octavio Vallejo worked at UCLA’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in HIV/AIDS as faculty for the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center. From 2005-2011 he worked at Gilead Sciences, Inc. as Medical Science Liaison. In June 2011 he joined the Department of Treatment Education at AIDS Project Los Angeles. Octavio Vallejo is also a medical advisor to half a dozen community organizations and speaks regularly at national conferences on AIDS including local educational events. He serves in the board of directors of Being Alive Los Angeles. Octavio Vallejo has received the following accolades:
• Recipient Esperanza Award 2007 from de Latino Commission on AIDS to recognize outstanding leaders in HIV.AIDS medical research and treatment.
• Recipient Los Angeles County-National Latino AIDS Awareness award 2007.
• Recipient of Daniel V. Lara Service Provider Award and The Angel Amidst City of West Hollywood Award for collaborative work. Commendation from Governor State of California Gray Davis.
• Selected by Los Angeles Times for publication of a profile work in the field of HIV/AIDS in Mexico and the United States, gaining significant recognition for programs and a letter of commendation from President Clinton and First Charles McKinney Regional AETC Ward for recognition as best trainer.
Sam Page is a fitness coach and sports writer in Los Angeles. For nearly a decade, he has coached hundreds of men and women, helping them to uncover their inner athlete and desire to change their bodies. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from
Gonzaga University and publishing HERO Magazine, he moved to LosAngeles in 1997.
As fitness program director of the
Hollywood Production Centers and TEN TEN Wilshire, and trainer behind top talent of the ABC reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, producers and celebrities rely on him to motivate them to stay in top shape. His sports writing has been featured in USA Today, HIV Plus, PASSPORT, LIVESTRONG and in The Chicago Sun-Times. But it’s not just about celebrity fitness. Click around his website and read the testimonials on the site. Real people, from every walk of life, have found within themselves the power to transform. He’s grateful to have coached such an incredible cadre of men and women; they have deepened his experience and resolve. Visit www.peacelovelunges.com for more info.
James Guay, MFT
James Guay is a Gay Affirmative Psychotherapist in West Hollywood, working primarily with gay youth, adults and couples since 1996. Besides co-leading annual workshops for gay men at Esalen in Big Sur, California, he also films frequent psycho-educational videos on topics such as self-care, communication skills, and creating boundaries.
James has served on the Board of Directors of Gaylesta (The LGBTQ Psychotherapist Association) and AAMFT-CA (The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, California Division).
James is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#mft39252). www.LivingMoreFully.com
Brian Adams, Life Group LA Board of Directors, Secretary
Brian has worked with the HIV community since 1986 and volunteered with L.A. Shanti from 2001 to 2005. He has served as an emotional support group co-facilitator for both our POZ Life Weekend seminars and for a weekly support group for sero-discordant negative partners. He is a native Angeleno and received his BA and MA in psychology from San Diego State University and has been with the Life Group LA since its inception in 2005. In 2013, Brian joined our board of directors as secretary and co-organized the training of new facilitators in 2014. He believes that the work the Life Group LA does is unlike anything else offered and is proud to participate and serve.
Ayako Miyashita, Professor of Law
Ayako Miyashita is the Sears Law Teaching Fellow at the Williams Institute, a research institute focused on LGBT issues at UCLA School of Law. She also serves as the Director of the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project under the Clinical and Experiential Department at the law school. Ayako’s previous practice includes assisting primarily low-income people living with HIV in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
F. Lisa Sterman, M.D., MPH
Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine
California Pacific Medical Center
University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Sterman has been in Private Practice, focusing on Internal Medicine and HIV for the past 21 years in San Francisco. She has also been involved in HIV Clinical Researcher, and has worked on many registrational trials for FDA approved HIV medications since 2000.
She received her MPH from UC Berkley and began working with HIV patients in 1986 while volunteering at San Francisco General Hospital on the AIDS ward, 5A. After doing epidemiologic research at the San Francisco's VA Medical Center in the late 80's, she went on to attend Medical School at Emory University, where she also did HIV research for Emory University Schools of Medicine and Public Health as well as the CDC in Atlanta, GA. She completed her residency with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS at UCSF School of Medicine in 1997.
In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Sterman is currently involved in education of physicians, students, and community members in the field of HIV medicine. Since 2011, she has served on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Aids Foundation and over the past 11 years has donated her time and personally raised over $200,000 through the AIDS Life Cycle.
Louise Mita, President and CEO of The Art Of Energy, Inc., and founder of Integrative Quantum Medicine™ has studied metaphysical alchemy, the healing and martial arts since 1968. Her background includes Parapsychic Sciences, Reiki, Hawaiiana, Kendo, Kung Fu, Aikido, Hapkido, Jeet Kun Do, and Sho Kon Do. In addition to her private practice she presents lectures and seminars internationally, working with such notable organizations as the Swiss Olympic Medical Center-Bad Ragaz, John Burns School of Medicine, The College of Psychic Studies- London, World Economic Forum, WIN Conference, World Knowledge Forum, International Bridges to Justice, ABL Group, British Petroleum, and the Universities of Hawaii, Alaska and Arizona. Mita is also a certified practitioner and teacher of Chinese Energetic Medicine, Tai Chi, Qigong and Feng Shui.
C. Nathan Bergeron, LMFT, L.Ac.
Mr. Bergeron currently sees individuals and couples as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, and a Licensed Acupuncturist in his office in the Hollywood Hills, California. Nathan is a Certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming) and a TRM (Trauma Resiliency Model) therapist. He is a Voice Dialogue Facilitator & Teacher, and a PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy), Couple Therapist. Nathan obtained his Master in Psychology, with emphasis on Depth Psychology, from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California in 2008. The Board of Behavioral Sciences granted him his Marriage and Family Therapist License in 2011.
Mr. Bergeron obtained his Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine — with top honors (Cum Laude) — from Dongguk Royal University in Los Angeles, class of 2003.
Nathan received his License to practice acupuncture from the California State Board in 2003, graduated from the “Institut Canadien d’Acupuncture” in Montréal class of 1983. He co-founded “La Clinique d’Acupuncture du Bas Saint Laurent” in Rimouski, Québec, Canada in 1986, with Mrs. Lorraine Massé.
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1990, Nathan was introduced to a branch of depth psychology called Voice Dialogue; created by Dr. Hal & Sidra Stone Ph.Ds. From that point on, he began working his personal process with Voice Dialogue, read everything published on the subject, and studied and trained with J. Tamar Stone, M.A., daughter of Hal Stone, and with Martha-Lou Wolff. After many years of studying and training, Nathan began lecturing, teaching and offering Voice Dialogue workshops in Los Angeles, Boulder, Denver and Montréal.
Nathan is certified in EMDR, and in the Trauma Resiliency Model. Both approaches can be used seamlessly, or independently, and allow to access the unconscious memory networks in the brain and mind. Both approaches allow the processing and healing of difficult, emotionally charged (traumatic) memories.
Nathan is on the certification track to become a Certified PACT couple therapist. This cutting edge approach to couple therapy — created by Dr. Stan Tatkin — allows couples to communicate better, co-regulate each other more efficiently, and therefore, re-kindle and reinforce their bond. Ultimately, PACT teaches couple to be in a secure functioning relationship.
Garry George Bowie, Executive Director, Being Alive
Garry Bowie is currently the Executive Director of Being Alive, an agency that has been around for 30 years providing HIV+ clients with comprehensive supportive care & wellness, case management and mental health services. Garry has over 15 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and management with a track record for building successful long-term community relationships. He is well known as a problem-solver, educating boards in governance, with extensive public speaking and fundraising experience.
Being Alive works with over 3,700 clients and delivers more than 15,000 services to clients throughout Los Angeles County. They provide mental health, acupuncture, chiropractic care, hypnotherapy, nuturitional workshops, case management, linkage and engagement to care, medical educational updates, emotional support groups, social activities, art therapy, and services that reduce or eliminate barriers to care for the most vulnerable in the community. Garry has expanded services and collaborations with over 100 service providers in Los Angeles County that the agency is currenty experiencing a 267% in new clients. Garry’s goal in 2015 was to remove as many barriers to care that has been identified in the Los Angeles County Comprehensive HIV Plan 2017-2021.
Garry Bowie was also the former director of the Long Beach AIDS Foundation and also serves on the boards of several local nonprofits and is very active in many community and political circles. He has been a national conference co-chair for The Leadership Conference in 2010 for the LGBT community where over 200 people from all over the nation attended in downtown Los Angeles. He is a Certified Trainer and Faculty of the Board Chair Academy for The Third Sector Company. In 2008, Garry was named “Man of the Year” by the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club for his exemplary service to the community; and received in March of 2010 “Fundraiser of the Year” award from the Southland Honors for his continued community fundraising efforts.
Garry is also an author and former film/video/radio producer of CenPic Media Group. He has produced Grammy nomination contender videos, documentaries, commercials and public service announcements. He was also the original producer of the often controversial and outlandish “Karel and Andrew” talk radio show on KYPA 1230AM before it moved to KFI 640AM to replace the “John and Ken Show”. Garry has won many awards including the prestigious, Telly Award, for the PSA HIV outreach campaign, entitled “Now that you know, what will you do?”.
His extensive background in business, marketing and customer service has resulted in increased capacity and new technology adoption of the many organizations he has helped to further their mission. Partnering with other local nonprofits, Garry has trained other organizations in developing and embracing technology to reach new contributors, moved contributors to major donors and retained existing ones. He is continually developing new collaboration projects with local community organizations and providing capacity training development for grassroots and smaller nonprofits.
Mark Edgar Stephens
Mark Edgar Stephens was born in Polk County, Florida and graduated from Florida State University. His early career was in the world of entertainment in New York City. Subsequently, he was offered the opportunity to travel the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America as an actor, singer, and spokesperson for live productions and televised programming. His years of travel and public appearances were preparation for his current career as a coach and consultant for entertainment, healthcare, and lifestyle companies. Mark's post graduate studies at HMI, College of Hypnotherapy in Los Angeles, CA inspired him to specialize in coaching and consulting focused in body language, communication, NLP, relationship strategies, public speaking, and leadership.
Soon after attending HMI, Mark was tapped by television networks to appear in reality, talk show, and news programming. While working in the media and with individual clients in his private practice, Mark's services were requested by companies, corporations, and non-profit organizations undergoing changes in culture and goals as a result of growth, economic upheaval, and technological advancements. Those companies included Bloomingdales, Paul Mitchell the School, Upward Bound House, Human Rights Watch/Women's Rights Committee, Community Chiropractic, and High Desert Regional Health Center. Those organizations have been key in Mark's continued work with executives, leadership teams, and the communities they affect.
In 2015 and 2016, Mark was recognized and honored with the distinction of being one of the top 30 Body Language Experts in the World. He is also the author of the book, "Who Are You Choosing To Be?" and his book was chosen to be a part of the curriculum for advanced placement psychology classes in selected schools in the State of Florida.
John "JD" Dennem, MA, CADC-II, USN(Ret.)
John received his Masters Degree from CALSTATE LA and is currently attaining a duel Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Integrated Behavioral Health from New Mexico State University. He is considered an expert in: Social Psychology fields of Identity, Intergroup Relations, Stereotype/Prejudice/Discrimation, Counseling Psychology Fields of Stigma, Minority Stress (LBGTQ), Behavior Modification, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Compassion-Focused Therapy.