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UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center



About the Instructors

About the Instructors

Guest Speakers




Frank Baird, MA, LMFT, LPCC, Instructor

Frank Baird holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is a solution-oriented mindfulness-based Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. He has taught graduate level therapists in training at Phillips Graduate Institute and California State University, Northridge and supervised therapists-in-training at Valley Trauma Center (a sexual assault recovery center) and Phillips Graduate Institute (in their Postmodern Therapies Program). He was founder and Clinical Director at NOW House Therapy Center. He is founder of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, The Men's March to End Men's Violence Against Women, an organization that facilitates 400+ international Walk events each year. Frank is dedicated to helping people cultivate inner peace, live more fulfilling lives and be active contributors to their communities and the world. Frank is a UCLA MARC Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who teaches mindfulness in a variety of settings, including Kaiser Permanente, Sherman Terrace, Reseda, CA, his private practice in Westlake Village, CA and various other community and private settings when requested.
Gael Belden, MA, Instructor
Gael Belden began her meditation practice over 35 years ago. In 2000 she was lay-ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh, was certified to facilitate mindfulness by UCLA's MARC program, and has completed the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training. Gael teaches the MARC's online mindfulness classes and works closely with the CMF program, leads retreats, classes in self-compassion, and has created mindfulness and compassion curriculum for distance-learning high school students.  She has worked with teens in both a retreat setting as well as educational settings.  She has an MA in Mythology and Depth Psychology, weaving myth, poetry and story into her mindfulness work. She is keenly interested in the intersection of mindfulness and nature - especially pertaining to water. She is the author of "Soror Mystica" and "Roam: Ojai's Hip, Little Hiking Guide."
Natalie Bell, Instructor
Natalie Bell has been practicing mindful awareness and meditation since 1985.  She lived in an ashram for a year in 1989 dedicating herself to intensive study and practice of meditation and awareness.  Natalie studied neuropsychology and became a Physical Therapist working for 17 years as a hospital clinician, Director of Rehabilitation, and a clinical specialist for medical devices. Natalie founded Mindful Wellness to bring mindfulness training and coaching to individuals and corporations with a focus on self-compassion to promote well being.  She teaches many groups including physicians and healthcare teams, corporate groups, and teachers, bringing awareness practices for self-regulation, greater balance, focus and creativity. As a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, Natalie leads workshops and classes for MARC and Teach For America.   She is a trained teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). Natalie believes passionately that through awareness we have the capacity for renewal, of body, mind, and spirit.
 Matthew Brensilver, PhD, Instructor
Matthew Brensilver, PhD, served as a Buddhist chaplain at USC for four years and teaches about the intersection of mindfulness and psychotherapy at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. Matthew was trained by Noah Levine, with whom he teaches at Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and is currently in the Spirit Rock/IMS teacher training program. He conducts research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine.     
 Nicholas Brüss, MA, LMFT, Instructor
Nicholas Brüss holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies and has practiced Vipassana meditation intensively in the U.S., Burma and Thailand. He has been cross-trained in multiple arenas with compassion at their core such as mindfulness, attachment-based psychotherapy, somatic-based trauma resiliency, nonviolent communication and end of life presence. Nicholas is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and Stanford University trained Compassion Cultivating Training teacher. He is the Director of CompassionLA, an organization impacting lives with connection cultivating programs for groups, communities and businesses. Nicholas has a keen interest in offering mindfulness and compassion-based practices and has found that they are transformative in BIG and small ways.
Stella Chow, PsyD, Instructor
  Stella Chow, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist (California License: PSY 21978) who enjoys working with children, adults and families in her private practice in Los Angeles. She received her training in mindfulness facilitation through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Stella used to work as a staff psychologist at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services, where she provided mindfulness psychotherapy groups for UCLA students and trained psychology interns in incorporating mindfulness in their clinical work. She is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese and hopes to bring mindfulness to different communities.
Daniel Davis, Instructor
  Daniel is a co-founder and a teacher at Perfectly Here, a nonprofit mindfulness training organization. He currently works with UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and is the Buddhist Chaplain at USC. He is affiliated with Abhayagiri Monastery under the guidance of Luang Por Passano. Daniel was an active member of InsightLA, where he helped build the organization by teaching and serving on its Executive Council. He has trained and taught mindfulness to children with Susan Kaiser Greenland. He has formally practiced Theravada and Zen meditation since 1986.
Vivian M. Hermiz, Instructor
  Vivian M. Hermiz is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who has trained in Christian, Buddhist, and secular mindfulness practices, with extensive training in the Plum Village tradition founded by the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. She is an authorized instructor of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Practices Program (MAPs).
From Fortune 15 companies to youth groups, Vivian develops tailored programs to meet the unique needs of individual and group clients.
Gloria Kamler, MA, Instructor  
Gloria Kamler, MA, is a holistic educator and stress relief expert, who has taught mindfulness meditation for the past 20 years. She facilitates all levels of the Mindful Awareness Practices or MAP classes at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). In addition to teaching at UCLA, Gloria leads mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) classes and retreats in Los Angeles as well as other U.S. cities and internationally. Over the course of her career, Gloria has trained with mindfulness leaders such as Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, founder of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program (MBSR), teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center as well as Shinzen Young, PhD., founder of Vipassana Support International. Gloria earned her B.S. in education from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University. She has maintained a personal meditation practice for more than three decades and her dedication to living mindfully is an integral part of her life.
 Eric López-Maya, Ph.D., Instructor

Eric López-Maya has an extensive background practicing mindfulness and integrating it into different scenarios in workplaces and clinical settings. He is Director and Founder of the Mexican Institute for Mindfulness, a leading Institution in Mexico that offers mindfulness-based interventions for mental health, well-being and stress reduction, both for companies and the general public. He also collaborates with the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center as a guest lecturer. He is a clinical psychologist and holds a PhD in Health Psychology and has led and collaborated in contemplative research projects in Mexico, United States and Germany. He holds a certificate in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA and has completed professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also a Guiding Teacher for the Mindful Schools Program.

 Mitra Manesh, Instructor
Mitra Manesh is a mindfulness educator & a senior corporate consultant with more than 25 years experience in teaching, coaching, and advising. Her corporate clients include Hugo Boss, The Capital Group, KPMG, and The Senate of Canada. For 3 decades Mitra has been studying and practicing a range of meditation techniques.  She started her mindfulness  journey in Australia, studied in Asia, and North America with renowned Buddhist Monk, the Venerable Dr. Vivekananda, and graduated from the Sacred Path program at the Shambhala Meditation Center of Los Angeles. Currently, Mitra teaches Mindful Awareness Practices at UCLA's Semel Institute, where she also coaches CMF participants. Mitra has served as a Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission in Ontario, Canada, a journalist with her own show & weekly program on OMNI TV and CBC, and a senior executive at numerous profit and non-profit entities. Today, Mitra takes her in-house Corporate Mindfulness Practices training to workplaces where she helps reduce stress & increase productivity. Also, she has a private mindfulness-based personal/couples/family coaching practice, leads mindfulness living and meditation groups, and runs retreats. Since 2011 Mitra has created and led ongoing contemplative art viewing/creation experiences at the Hammer Museum & other art institutions in Southern California.
 Robert McClure, LCSW, Instructor
 1. Gloria1.jpg Robert McClure, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, CEAP, is the manager for the Sharp Healthcare Employee Assistance Program, and his expertise includes employee assistance, brief counseling, critical incident management, consultation and training. His experience as a mental health professional has included positions with Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, United Airlines, Pacific Bell (AT&T), United Behavioral Health, and Blue Cross of California/Anthem-WellPoint. Robert is a Certified Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) teacher for Stanford University Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE), and a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator (2014) for UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. He teaches compassion training and mindfulness meditation to healthcare professionals.
Megan Morbitzer, Instructor
  Megan Morbitzer is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator through UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She is co-founder of the NOW House Mindful Awareness Center. Megan has more than 15 years of personal practice and intensive study of meditation and is passionate about helping adults and children live with greater ease, self-awareness, kindness, and joy. Megan has experience in teaching Mindfulness in a variety of areas including the LA prisons and jails, families, and in elementary schools. She has formal training in MBSR and with Mindful Schools. Megan has a BS in Computer Science. As a former Sales Executive and as a mother of two young boys, she loves sharing the practice of mindfulness with others and strongly believes in the power of mindful awareness to heal and re-connect us to our own inherent sense of ease and well-being. Her greatest teachers are her husband and two children.
Manijeh Motaghy, PsyD, Instructor
Manijeh holds a Doctorate degree in Psychology of Organizational Management Consulting. She is the Founder of Mindful Business Institute and Co-Founder of Mindful Valley with over 20 years practice in yoga and meditation and over 10 years intensive experience in Mindfulness meditation and related teachings. As the Co-Founder of Mindful Valley, Manijeh has coordinated and lead over 50 day-long retreats including Work-Life Balance and continues to lead weekly Mindfulness study groups in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas and West Hills. She has trained and taught Mindfulness to hundreds of individuals, executives and staff at corporations, non-profits, health-care and academic settings. Manijeh is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator by the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Board of Behavioral Sciences and an Authorized MAPs Teacher. As a dedicated practitioner, she infuses mindfulness into her life, training, consulting and speaking engagements to optimize success and well-being for all involved.
Lucinda Phillips, Instructor

Lucinda Phillips is a Mindfulness Facilitator based in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. She has a degree in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, part of the Semel Institute of Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the School of Medicine. In 2002 she began studying Tibetan buddhism and practicing mindfulness meditation in both England and the United States.  She volunteers as a teacher of Mindfulness and Meditation at the Los Angeles Central Library. She has worked in the film business for 20 years as a Writer, Producer and Director and has incorporated mindfulness and meditation into her daily working life. She is also a founding board member of the non-profit parks advocacy organization "Friends of Griffith Park" which is dedicated to preserving Griffith Park as L.A.'s signature green and open space.As a dedicated practitioner she has found that mindfulness has transformed both her creative process and personal wellbeing. Since 2002 has been attending silent retreats regularly each year.

 Heather Prete, Instructor 
Heather Prete is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, self-compassion teacher, and mindfulness in recovery coach. She began her formal training with Tibetan compassion practices in 1998 and has received teachings both in the US and in Asia. Her work includes training PHDs at Tarzana Treatment Center, as a guiding teacher for Mindful School's online adult courses, and working with those in recovery at Alternatives Treatment Center. She is creator of Alternatives' Mindfulness Workbook for Abstinence and Moderation. Heather also spent 20 years in the theater, is published in the book Remembering Arthur Miller and has appeared in such publications as Time Magazine and The Times of India. She found mindfulness transformative to her own creative process and works with actors through the Khan Institute teaching her program Mindfulness for the Actor. Since 2000 Heather has remained committed to yearly retreats ranging from 7 to 30 days in length and has completed three teacher trainings.
Brian Shiers, Instructor
Brian Shiers, UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator, has studied integrated meditation practice and embodied mindfulness methods at the Gurdjieff Foundation Los Angeles since 1993, and Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist practices for over eleven years.  He has a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Mindfulness & Psychotherapy at the Phillips Graduate Institute, and is a Certified MAPs Instructor, leading classes for UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center off-campus in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Burbank.  Brian also works exclusively with the UCLA women's varsity volleyball teams, providing mind training to access flow states more reliably as well as provide for a more whole-person development of the student athlete.  In addition, Brian consults with corporate clients such as Salesforce.com and Mattel to tailor mindfulness programs around workplace wellness and executive performance. Brian is passionate about sharing mindfulness practices with people searching for inner balance, bridging the gap between science and experience, spiritual practice and everyday life.
Samantha Snowden, MA, Instructor
Samantha Snowden has her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UCLA and her Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, Samantha taught graduate-level courses on Mindfulness-Based Interventions with Children and conducted research related to mindfulness in schools. She has mentored, counseled and taught mindfulness both within local community centers and schools as well as abroad, most recently in Peru.

Daisy Swan, MA, Instructor
Daisy Swan, is a UCLA Certified Mindfulness Facilitator who teaches MAPS I and II Classes. She began studying Tibetan buddhism and practicing mindfulness meditation about 30 years ago. Incorporating mindfulness into programs she offers through her business as a career coach and strategist, Daisy helps stressed out clients from corporate, legal, entertainment, tech and other career paths, and workshop participants, find their way to more clarity and satisfaction as they make life, work and organizational transitions. Daisy has also earned her Certification as a Professional Co-Active Coach from the Coaches Training Institute, and her Certification as a Somatic Coach from the Strozzi Institute in Petaluma, CA. She regularly attends silent retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.

Deborah Eden Tull, Teaching Assistant for the CMF Program
Eden, founder of Mindful Living Revolution, is a meditation and mindfulness teacher, author, and sustainability consultant who teaches the integration of compassionate awareness into every aspect of our lives. She spent 7 years as a monastic at a silent Zen Monastery and she has been traveling to, living in, or teaching about sustainable communities for the last 23 years. She teaches engaged awareness practice which emphasizes the interconnection between mindfulness practice and global sustainability. Eden is a UCLA-Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and is both a facilitator for MARC's Intensive Practice Program and a teaching assistant for UCLA's Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation program. She also facilitates The Work That Reconnects, which was created by Buddhist scholar and eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, helping people to bring mindfulness to healing our relationship with the state of the world. Eden currently resides in Ojai, California and offers retreats, workshops, and consultations nationally.


Guest Speakers 


Jill Satterfield

Jill Satterfield is the founder of Vajra Yoga + Meditation, a synthesis of meditation and yoga, contemplative and compassion in action practices. She was named "one of the 4 leading yoga and Buddhist teachers in the country" by the Shambhala Sun Magazine, and is also the founder and Director of the School for Compassionate Action: Meditation, Yoga and Educational Support for Communities in Need.
As a pioneer in the field of mind body awareness, Jill has been teaching internationally, consulting and instigating mindful and creative educational programs for over 29 years.
Jill is part of the founding faculty of Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Mindfulness Meditation for Yoga Training and leads professional teacher trainings internationally. She was the scholar and teacher in residence at the Kripalu Center  consulted with many leading mindfulness organizations and has been featured in the New York Times, More, Crains, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga Magazine UK and NL and Happinez Magazine NL amongst others.
She teaches and has created Integrative Mind Body programs in hospitals, addiction centers, alternative to incarceration facilities, on silent meditation retreats and in many yoga centers world - wide.

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MARC programs are co-sponsored by the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.

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