1. In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you?
For starters, thank you for providing me with a platform to share my story. I don’t have a straightforward, one-liner way to describe myself. I was born in the United States to an Israeli Moroccan family and grew up in Canada. So, right from the start there’s a mashup that can perhaps explain why I have always been interested in different cultures and identities.
2. What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
I think, like any other person, you experience many roadblocks in life, and it’s up to you to see them as obstacles or opportunities. One of the challenges I had to deal with was coming out to a community and family that’s not so accepting. I had to make some tough decisions—for example, to be part of a family that doesn’t accept you.
3. Why did you choose this field? Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are?
I think that my decision to study psychology was for that specific reason: to make sense of what I was going through, to understand myself, and to understand people’s behaviors around me. I got particularly interested in the psychology of relationships, and when I was introduced to Dr. Esther Perel, that solidified it. I was curious to understand dynamics between people, why some relationships flourish while others fail, what are the key ingredients to a healthy relationship, etc. From there, I started doing the work on myself all the while being there for any and all from my circle. I was the “go-to therapist.”
Fast forward fifteen years, and I was hired by the University of Miami as the community outreach contact for the Health Promotion and Care Research Lab, where my job is literally to connect with people and the community at large and build relationships.
4. What is your legacy? Do you care about leaving a legacy?
I don’t know if I believe in “leaving a legacy” per se. I don’t work to leave something behind; I do it because I value those interactions and relationships. I believe lasting relationships stand the test of time much better than anything else.
5. What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
Right now, with everything that we’ve gone through in 2020 (seems like this year never ends!), the only thing I value and think we should do more of is be kind, be honest, communicate our needs, and help one another. There’s too much negativity in everything around us. We need to go back to basics: understand one another and connect with one another.
6. In less than a minute, without sounding like a used car salesperson, tell us where to find you and what is the next big thing that everyone should be anticipating from you?
I’m everywhere! You can follow us on our social media @UMHPAC.
I’m also involved with the COVID vaccine trials (yes, we’re slowly going to get a sense of normalcy back!), so if you’re interested you can send us an email at COVIDvaccine@miami.edu.
Or if you want to participate in clinical research studies (there’s a bunch of perks for doing them), you can call the office at 305-243-3508.
Warrior Flow Insiders is a series highlighting leaders and change agents in yoga, movement, mindfulness, mental health, social justice, and community outreach. Subscribe to Warrior Flow TV to receive future Insider profiles and other news from Warrior Flow TV. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Warrior Flow TV offers hundreds of classes including Vinyasa yoga, meditation, HIIT, Pilates, Barre, full-body workouts, Yin yoga, Restorative yoga, and much more, all for one low monthly or annual subscription fee. And a portion of every subscription supports The Warrior Flow Foundation. Click here to learn more.