Leading Voices Delivering Transformative Accredited Education

The Heartfulness Institute Empowering Healers Conference 2023 brings together some of the world’s foremost doctors, researchers and healers who will share deep insights and proven practices that can be put into practice in clinical settings.

Rohit Parmar

MD (Cardiology)

​Inspiring and Aspiring from the Heart

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Dr. Rohit Parmar is a cardiologist based in Dallas, Texas. He is board certified in Cardiovascular Diseases and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. 

Dr. Parmar received his medical degree from the University of Bristol and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and fellowship at University of Texas Medical Branch.

Currently he is a practicing cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center/ Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine/ Baylor Dallas and is the Managing Partner of Cardiology Consultants of Texas.

Dr. Parmar is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to his patients and is known for his compassionate and patient-centered approach.

He is also passionate about community service, voluntary service and meditation. He has been practicing meditation since 2001 and is a meditation trainer with the Heartfulness Institute.

Sarah Jones


Claiming Wellness for the Healer — Tailor Made for You

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Dr. Sarah Jones is a board-certified family physician who’s embraced a holistic approach to health throughout her career.  As a teacher of Family Medicine at four different residency programs since graduating from residency in 1999, Dr. Jones has added to her “menu” of choices for the patients and communities she serves by gaining additional training in medical acupuncture, integrative medicine, and in 2020, board certification in Lifestyle Medicine.  

Dr. Jones maintains an active lifestyle, including hiking, skiing, and once upon a time, running marathons.  Upholding the 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine, Dr. Jones embraces a Whole Foods, plant forward diet for her family of 6 as well as for anyone who will listen J.  To this end, she has helped start an organic, edible meditation garden at a church located in a food desert in the northern California county where she resides.  She invites others to participate in this meaningful work, citing community and connection as the strongest pillar of health. 

Collaborating with likeminded colleagues, Dr. Jones was thrilled to launch a six-part “Lifestyle Medicine for Physicians” series for physician colleagues, entailing group discussions to better understand the evidence behind each of the lifestyle medicine pillars and gain insights from one another, in addition to addressing specific health needs of each group participant. 

Offering the perspective as a “recovering perfectionist”, Dr. Jones is thankful to embrace the growth and healing associated with confronting past trauma, the power of forgiveness, and the richness of finding joy in each day.  Moving from achievement and accomplishment to pursuing a meaningful life, she finds practicing gratitude, maintaining strong faith, and regularly connecting with nature, people, and her pandemic puppy as sustainable ways of promoting and ensuring wellness amidst life’s storms.


Sobha Sunderrajan

MD (Nephrology)

Yoga for Wellbeing & Unity and Heartfulness Meditation

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I am Board certified in Family practice and Internal Medicine and have a fellowship in Nephrology. I was a faculty in the University of Missouri, Columbia. From 1987-2018, I practiced in Internal medicine and Nephrology in Southern California. I moved to Bay area in 2018 and worked part time till 2020. Currently I am working as a volunteer Physician.

I got trained and certified in Yoga in 2013 at Yoga Shakthi school in Irvine. I am trained in Chair Yoga, Veterans Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. I also got trained in Ayurvedic Counselling by Kerala Academy of Ayurveda, California.

Fadel Zeidan

Ph.D., Associate Professor, UC San Diego

Mindfulness Meditation and the Brain

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Fadel Zeidan, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. He currently holds leadership positions in the UCSD T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion, UCSD Psychedelic Research Health Initiative, and the Mind and Life Institute. Fadel’s current research is focused on determining the psychological, physiological and neural mechanisms that mediate the relationship between self-regulatory practices and health. Specifically, Fadel’s work examines the mechanisms of action supporting mindfulness meditation on pain and well-being. To date, he and his team have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation is mechanistically distinct from and more effective than placebo, distraction, and relaxation.

His research is currently funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to conduct placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess if and how mindfulness affects chronic pain. His research program has expanded to investigate the effect and mechanisms involved in the modulation of trauma and enhancements in compassion. His team is currently conducting studies to identify how mental training can cultivate behavioral and neural mechanisms supporting compassion and empathy in patients, law enforcement officers, and community dwellers. His work has also been featured in traditional media outreach (CNN; NPR; Time Magazine, CBS and others), Tedx, and recently personally presented his work to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in Mongolia. Fadel was also awarded the National Institutes of Health Mitchell Max Award for Research Excellence and is the principal investigator on numerous NIH grants examining the effects of mental training on well-being.

Alpana Soni

MD, General Surgeon

Claiming Wellness for the Healer — Tailor Made for You

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Dr. Alpana Soni is from the Midwest.  After she was born in Himachal Pradesh, India, she immigrated with her parents to Dayton, Ohio, “The Heart of it All,” where she grew up until she went off to college in the Chicago area at Northwestern University.  She studied in the Honors Program of Medical Education, thereby completing her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the McCormick School of Engineering, and then matriculating to the Feinberg School of Medicine for her MD.  She went on to General Surgery Residency at the University of California at San Diego.  During her residency, she completed a NIH T32 research fellowship at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX in the surgical oncology department with a mentor who is a breast surgical oncologist.  After gaining an appreciation for basic science research and working on a project culminating in a podium presentation at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress and publishing a paper, she returned to UC San Diego to complete her clinical residency. Upon completion, she moved to northern California after marrying her husband Vinod, and went to work for The Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, CA, one of the first Kaiser Hospitals in the system soon after the organization was established in post-World War II Northern California.  She is proud to work at an organization where the bottom line for the patient is in alignment with the bottom line for the organization, and the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct.  This allows for there to be space for healing the healer.  

Dr. Soni’s practice consists mostly of breast surgery as well as melanoma surgery and surgical management of other skin cancers.  In the past few years, she has pursued Lifestyle Medicine and hopes to gain board certification.  She is part of regional leadership in melanoma surgical care.  She is also lead for the regional general surgeons in curriculum around Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity.  Perhaps most importantly, she is deeply passionate about advancing physician health and wellness, specifically as it pertains to surgeons.  

In the Fall of 2022, she was part of a team of physicians who launched a program in physician health and wellness using the pillars of Lifestyle Medicine, creating a model of care worthy of replication and emulation.  This resulted in powerful outcomes for the physician-patients, which were presented in an International Wellness Conference.  

Dr. Soni is a daughter, a wife, and a mommy to 2 boys aged 9 and 6, who like soccer, and LOVE basketball, especially if the Golden State Warriors are playing.   In her spare time, she marvels at the intersection of all of her professional and personal interests and although finding balance is still a goal for which she strives, she is propelled by her patients’ desire to reverse chronic illness, and prevent disease, whilst saving our planet.  She has been a Heartfulness meditation practitioner since her teenage years and hopes that everyone may learn the benefits of a regular meditation practice, especially those who’s calling is to heal others.

Thomas Liu

Ph.D., Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Bioengineering, UC San Diego

Mind, Body, and Heart: Scientific and Personal Perspectives

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Dr. Thomas Liu is a Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Bioengineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the Director of the UCSD Center for Functional MRI (fMRI).   He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, where he developed signal processing methods for detecting ultra-low frequency magnetic fields along earthquake faults. He then transitioned to fMRI research as a postdoctoral researcher at UCSD.  His research has spanned a broad range of fMRI-related research areas, including experimental design and analysis, innovative signal processing approaches, characterization and modeling of the fMRI signal, multimodal (fMRI, EEG, MEG) imaging of brain activity, and the development of advanced imaging methods and applications. In parallel to his professional career, he has developed a deep practice in the arts of aikido, tai chi, and meditation over the

course of the past several decades. His primary interest is in the exploration of the principles of mind-body integration.

Radheshyam Miryala

MD (Emergency Medicine)

Wellness Elevated – Moving Beyond Diet, Sleep, & Exercise

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Radheshyam Miryala, MD, (simply known as Dr. Rad) is an emergency room physician and the owner of Deer Park Physicians Group, a physician staffing company in Houston, TX. He is the medical director of Community First Emergency Room and founder of iHeart Nature, a popular national natural skin care brand. Dr. Rad is an active investor in multiple real estate and other business ventures. He feels that he is able to living a balanced spiritual lifestyle while pursuing numerous material goals through the tremendous power of meditation.  

 Dr. Rad devotes his volunteer time to the Heartfulness Institute as a meditation trainer by hosting weekly group meditation sessions in his home and various other locations throughout the Houston area. He is an avid speaker and has given talks to churches, corporations, and community organizations on meditation, holistic health, happiness, and many other wellness topics.

He has been passionately involved as a volunteer with the Heartfulness Institute for over 20 years where he has been involved in various projects including writing articles, hosting meditation conferences, developing curriculum, and more.

Jaime Betters


The Power of Plants. Discover the Benefits of a Plant-Centered Diet

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I have worked in the health and wellness field (specifically, nutrition and fitness) for over 21 years and I have been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for 18 of those, though wellness has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. 

I completed my undergraduate degree at Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition. Before deciding to become a dietitian, I worked  as a nutritionist, group fitness instructor and personal trainer at a wellness center on the Omaha Reservation, serving the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. 

From there, I moved to California and completed my post-graduate internship and clinical rotations through UC Berkeley, becoming a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.
I have worked in both hospital and outpatient settings, with sub-specialities in eating disorder treatment, diabetes care and education, and plant-based nutrition. I currently provide medical nutrition therapy for all stages of life, but my greatest passion is in the area of lifestyle medicine, with an emphasis on the power of plant-based nutrition. 

Witnessing the transformational power of a plant-based diet has forever changed how I educate on the topic of nutrition and its ability to improve, stabilize or potentially reverse chronic disease. I have helped people reverse prediabetes and hypertension, improve cardiovascular conditions, achieve weight management goals, improve and alleviate GI symptoms, eliminate or reduce the need for injectable insulin and oral meds with both type 1 and 2 diabetes, improve chronic pain, and so much more! I am eager to spread knowledge and tools to help others implement a more plant-predominant diet and experience the benefits for themselves.

Currently, I work for a healthcare provider and run my own private nutrition practice in my spare time. I reside in Northern California where I live with my husband, 3 children and our family dog. In addition to family time, exercise, and my faith, I really enjoy cooking and learning how to take recipes of various cuisines and adapt them to include more disease fighting plants!

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa

Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

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Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D. has been fully engaged in biomedical research on the efficacy of yoga and meditation practices in improving physical and psychological health since 2001. He has practiced a yoga lifestyle since 1972 and is a certified instructor in Kundalini Yoga.

He is the Director of Yoga Research for the Yoga Alliance, the Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute, a Research Associate at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, a Research Affiliate of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has conducted clinical research trials evaluating yoga interventions for insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic stress, and anxiety disorders and in both public school and occupational settings.

Dr. Khalsa works with the International Association of Yoga Therapists to promote research on yoga and yoga therapy as the chair of the scientific program committee for the annual Symposium on Yoga Research and as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy.

He is medical editor of the Harvard Medical School Special Report “An Introduction to Yoga” and chief editor of the medical textbook The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.

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