The International Positive Psychology Association is grateful to the Health Division Leadership Team for their capable stewardship and significant contributions to the field of positive health. Notable accomplishments include developing the division’s charter and presenting the Contributions in Positive Health Award at each World Congress.
President: Liana Lianov
Dr. Liana Lianov chairs the Happiness Science and Positive Health (HSPH) Committee of American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), which convened the inaugural Summit on Happiness Science in Health Care in 2018 to address strategies for integrating positive psychology and well-being interventions into health care. Dr. Lianov is a leader in the international lifestyle medicine movement, including spearheading the development of lifestyle medicine core competencies for health providers by a national blue ribbon panel and serving as lead faculty for the first of its kind comprehensive lifestyle medicine curriculum. She is the vice-chair of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and a past president of ACLM and has served on the boards of both ACLM and the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM). She continues to lead the expansion of lifestyle medicine, emphasizing the key role of positive psychology in the field. Previously, Dr. Lianov worked at the California Department of Health Services in a variety of public health and health care programs, including expansion of mental health services. She is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine and completed a psychiatry fellowship.
Past- President: Gail Ironson M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Gail Ironson is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Miami. She has over 200 publications in the field of behavioral medicine applied to HIV/AIDS, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, is past president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research Society, and is current or past member of the editorial board of five journals. She has directed or co-directed federally funded research studies investigating psychological factors in long survival with HIV/AIDS, stress management in HIV and cancer, massage therapy and immunity, and the biological effects of trauma in underprivileged people, people with HIV, and people at risk for HIV. She is one of the core investigators in the nationwide Templeton Landmark study on Spirituality and Health and established and runs the trauma treatment program at the University of Miami Psychological Services Center.
Dr. Ironson earned her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, her M.D. at the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed her residency in psychiatry at Stanford University. She is passionate about advancing the field of positive health psychology and bridging the disciplines of medicine and psychology. Her goals for the Positive Health and Wellness Division are to promote collaboration across disciplines, publish in leading healthcare journals, promote best practices and mentor undergraduate and graduate students interested in the field.
President- Elect: Joel Milam, PhD
Joel Milam, PhD, is an associate professor of research at the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He is also a faculty member of the USC Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research and the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research encompasses the field of positive health psychology, examining the roles of positive and protective psychosocial and behavioral factors that can influence health and wellbeing. This includes health promotion interventions and the positive psychosocial and behavioral changes in response to major life events/stressors/disease. He has examined these changes among adolescents and adults, including ethnically diverse and clinical (e.g., persons living with HIV, cancer) populations. He is currently involved with several projects examining behavioral interventions among people living with cancer & HIV/AIDS. One of these projects, among childhood cancer survivors, includes posttraumatic growth and health behaviors in response to a cancer diagnosis. Other projects include safer sex and medication adherence interventions.
Secretary: Margarita Grueskin
Margarita Grueskin is a Yoga Health Coach and speaker. She has been studying yoga, meditation and Ayurveda since 2008, and began her studies of Logotherapy in 2012. Margarita became certified as a Registered Yoga Teacher and Meditation Instructor through the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, IL and also received extensive training with the Chopra Center in yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, receiving a certificate as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Educator. Margarita also received training as a Yoga Health Coach through the Worldwide Association of Yoga Health Coaches, as a life coach with Brian Johnson’s Optimize coach program, and most recently became an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist through the Himalayan Institute. Margarita received her Academic Associates in Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy in 2017 and is working towards her Diplomate in Logotherapy.
In 2008, Margarita opened up her first yoga studio in Houston, TX, establishing it as the first eco-friendly studio in the state, where she served as lead instructor and studio director. Upon relocating to San Antonio, Margarita became co-founder of a non-profit, iDoYoga, which organizes local yoga community events and supports free yoga classes to at-risk and underserved members of the community.
Margarita teaches yoga at national conferences and present on wellness, yoga and Ayurveda. She is creating a year-long signature online program, combining principles and practices from Yoga philosophy and Logotherapy, and she is working on her first book. Margarita lives in San Antonio, TX.
Communications Lead: Manika Jain
Manika is a consultant and project manager with an educational background in psychology and neuroscience. She has worked in the academic, private and public sectors in varied industries, guiding industry experts to make critical and research based decisions. Her work has included research design, data collection, and analysis in academic settings; client and project management for Pharmaceutical and Biotech clients in the private sector; and analytical and creative problem solving while mediating between Government officials, implementing agencies and the Executive Committee at UNEP.
Manika holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from McGill University and a certificate in Business Strategy from Cornell University. She has a passion for psychology and behavioral neuroscience, and thirst to understand how these fields can lead to an improved lifestyle. Alongside her studies, she has worked in research laboratories at McGill University, Montreal’s Children’s Hospital and Douglas Mental Health University Institute to develop a strong understanding of varied research methods and disciplines within psychology (health psychology, learning and developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, etc.)
Community Lead: Dr. Sandeep Kulshrestha
Human Capital Consultant and a Positive Psychology Educator/Practitioner/Coach. Dr. Kulshrestha’s passion is to network with people in the impactful field of Positive Psychology and aid in education as well as research on Positive Psychology. He is inspired by the “E” of the PERMA Model and envision helping people get engagement and meaning. He is also passionate about Positive Health and currently reading more and more on Plant based diet/lifestyle medicine and its connectivity with Positive Health and Wellness.