Invited Speakers

Helen Lavretsky

Helen Lavretsky, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Helen Lavretsky is a Professor In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and a geriatric integrative psychiatrist with federally funded research program in geriatric depression and integrative mental health (NIMH, PCORI, and NCCIH) using mind-body interventions. She is a recipient of the Career Development award from NIMH and the NCCIH, and other prestigious research awards. Her current research studies include investigations of psychopharmacological treatment of geriatric depression, mild cognitive impairment and the use of Tai Chi and yoga for treatment and prevention of late-life mood and cognitive disorders. She is the Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator awards for research in geriatric psychiatry from the American College of Psychiatrists and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. She is the Semel Scholar in Integrative Mental Health and the Director of the Late-life mood, stress and wellness program and the Integrative Psychiatry clinic.


Christina Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP, FAAHPM is a pioneer and international leader in the movement to integrate spirituality into healthcare in clinical settings and medical education. As founder and director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) and Professor of Medicine at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, she continues to break new ground in the understanding and integration of spiritual care in a healthcare settings.

Ira Byock, M.D is a Founder and Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health, a 50 hospital health system serving communities across 7 states. Dr. Byock advances efforts to measure, monitor and improve whole-person health care systemwide. He is a practicing physician and is based in Torrance, CA.

Rev. George Handzo is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the deployment and practice of professional healthcare chaplaincy. As Director of Health Services Research and Quality at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and President of Handzo Consulting, Rev. Handzo oversees projects devoted to the strategic assessment, planning and management of chaplaincy services and to developing the evidence for the efficacy of chaplaincy care. Rev. Handzo has authored or co-authored over 70 chapters and articles on the practice of spiritual care and chaplaincy care and was the co-principal investigator on a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation investigating the contribution of spiritual care to health care. He is a past president of the Association of Professional Chaplains which in 2011 awarded him the Anton Boisen Professional Service award, its highest honor. He serves on the Geriatrics and Palliative Care Committee of the National Quality Forum the Distress Guidelines Panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Advisory Board of the Palliative Care Quality Network. The Rev. Handzo is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale University Divinity School. He is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Donna Ames, MD is Professor in Residence at UCLA. Her research is focused upon optimizing the clinical care of people with severe mental illness. Dr. Ames is the program leader for the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center, PRRC at the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center. Dr. Ames enjoys her role as a mentor and teacher to numerous students at all levels of professional development within the UCLA community.

Alejandro De Jesus, PhD, BCC, HPC

Degree, Certification and Training
   1. Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX
   2. Board Certified Chaplain (National Association of Catholic Chaplains-NACC; National Conference of Veterans Affairs Catholic Chaplains-NCVACC; National Association of Veterans Affairs Chaplains-NAVAC)
   3. Board Certified, Hospice and Palliative Care (NAVAC)
   4. Special Training and Certificate, Mental Health Integration with Chaplain Service (Joint Project of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015)

Positions and Titles Held
   1. Clinical Chaplain, Hospice and Palliative Care, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX (August 2107 to present)
   2. Clinical Chaplain, Mental Health, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, CA (January 2017-August 2017)
   3. Clinical Chaplain, Hospice and Palliative Care, Veterans Affairs Maine Healthcare System, Togus, ME (October 2013 – January 2017

Gay Walker, RN is one of the founders of Providence TrinityKids Care, a program of Trinity Care Hospice and the only dedicated pediatric hospice program in Los Angeles and Orange counties, she performed research with Dr. Puchalski. As community liaison and program developer for TrinityKids Care, Gay is part of a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and caregivers who are trained to care for the complex needs of dying children.

Trisha Jauchler, MS, MA, RDT-BCT, CBF, CT, CDP is the founder and director of On Bright Wings. She is a trained Death Midwife, Registered Drama Therapist and Board Certified Trainer, and ordained interfaith minister. As a trained Death Midwife, she works in the home, in the office, and in hospice and facility settings with patients who are aging or at the end of their lives. She uses a unique blend of creative Drama Therapy methods, and Death Midwifery techniques such as reminiscence and guidance through Byock's 5 tasks of dying. As a Registered Drama Therapist, she specializes in action techniques using drama, art, music, and movement for personal growth, emotional expression, and skills training. She has over 25 years of experience leading educational, therapeutic, spiritual, and creative groups for adults, teens, and children.

Anna Corwin, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor in the anthropology department at Saint Mary’s College of California specializing in the fields of linguistic and medical anthropology. Anna’s research examines the intersections between aging, embodiment, well-being, social interaction, and language. After completing her PhD in anthropology in 2014 at the University of California, Los Angeles, Anna spent two years at Stanford University as a Thinking Matters Fellow.

Charles Grob, MD's clinical interests include mood and anxiety disorders, as well as the self-medication hypothesis of substance abuse as it applies to substance abuse. His research has included the first FDA approved Phase 1 study of the physiological and psychological effects of MDMA (3,4-methlyenedioxymethamphetamine), a multi-national, collaborative study of the Amazonian plant hallucinogen decoction, ayahuasca, in Brazil and a pilot investigation of the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety in adult patients with advanced-stage cancer. His most recent research has examined the safety and efficacy of an MDMA treatment model with adult autistics with severe social anxiety.

Sara Eaglewoman is a bridge to the multi dimensions. A mystic, visionary and healer of impeccable discernment, she is a conduit and open channel through which the Great Spirit works. With her ability to bring forth the highest alignment and wealth of the body, mind and soul, she brings the gifts of the Eagle Medicine to the trenches of today’s society and ones own personal life challenges. Eaglewoman transforms your life by changing the “outcome” to “become.”

Betty Ferrell, R.N., Ph.D., M.A., F.A.A.N., F.P.C.N., C.H.P.N. has been in nursing for 40 years. Her clinical expertise and research are focused on pain management, quality of life and palliative care. Ferrell is the director of the Division of Nursing Research and Education and a professor at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and her publications have appeared in more than 400 peer-reviewed journals and texts.

Ka-Kit Hui, M.D., F.A.C.P. is the Wallis Annenberg Professor in Integrative East-West Medicine and Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine at the Department of Medicine of the David Geffen School of Medicine. He is also the Chair of the Collaborative Centers of Integrative Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Hui, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, is an internationally acclaimed scholar and board-certified in Internal Medicine, and Clinical Pharmacology, with an expertise in Geriatrics. He is a recognized authority on Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine and is bi-lingual in Chinese and English. Dr. Hui founded the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine in 1993, one of the first integrative medicine centers in the United States. He has developed a model system of comprehensive care that is a patient-centered, problem-solving approach emphasizing health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and is safe, effective, affordable and accessible to all. Dr. Hui has worked with the National Institute of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Health Net, the pharmaceutical industry, medico-legal firms, and the media. He has published over 100 articles, papers, abstracts and book chapters, in English and Chinese. Dr. Hui currently serves on the editorial boards of the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine and Journal of Chinese Medicine. In the past, he has served on the editorial boards of China Anesthesia and Analgesia, eCAM Journal, and Cancer Survivorship. He has been featured in print, radio, television, cable news, and on CCTV, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and the Discovery Channel. Dr. Hui has been awarded numerous grants in areas including integrative medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, asthma, aging, autonomic system regulation, pharmacology and medical education. He has held honorary and visiting professorship in universities in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia.

Yuan Miao is considered an embodiment of the Divine Mother, a dearly beloved teacher, healer, friend, mother, or sister. Just like her name, the Source of Infinite Water, Yuan Miao emanates the infinite love from the source of life to embrace, encourage and support everyone who comes into her energy circle – together moving forward hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart, into the future – the new century.