National CBCT® Certified Teachers


Pollyanna Casmar, PhD

Dr. Casmar serves as an Associate Clinical Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and as a Staff Psychologist working with veterans at the San Diego Veteran’s Administration. Together with Emory and other UCSD faculty, she has created a CBCT (trademark) manual for treating PTSD for a feasibility trial. This trial resulted in a multi-site trial across the USA. The manual has also served as a basic template for interventions at the VA in aging now underway, and for proposed trials in chronic pain. Pollyanna has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for 25 years.



Gloria (I-Ling) Chien

Gloria (I-Ling) Chien is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University, and she teaches Buddhism and Asian religions. Gloria received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. She conducts bibliographic analysis of the Tibetan Buddhist master Tokmé Zangpo's (1295-1369) biographies and Collected Works in order to shed light on the cultural legacy of Tibetan Lojong, or mind training.  Partly inspired by her research on Lojong meditation, Gloria became a certified CBCT®  teacher. In the spring of 2018, she taught a CBCT®  course to help Gonzaga students promote their emotional well-being and enlarge their ethical concerns. Gloria includes CBCT® practice in her other course offerings. She is working on writing projects concerning how CBCT®’s learning models align with Ignatian pedagogy and how CBCT® contributes to contemplative studies.


Debra Disney

Disney earned a clinical master’s degree in counseling from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  In addition to being a certified teacher of CBCT®, she has additional certifications in Mind-Body Bridging and Cultivating Emotional Balance.  Her passion is combining the best of western psychology with the wisdom of contemplative practices to help people build resilience in the face of life’s challenges.  After working for 20 years in hospice care, oncology, and nursing education, she joined the University of Illinois College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine in 2018.


Sally Dodds

Dodds is a CBCT® teacher and 20-year meditator. She emphasizes meditation for health and well-being and to promote compassion for the environment. For 30 years, she was a professor of psychiatry at two universities. In a recent study, she taught CBCT® to breast cancer survivors and authored the article on its effectiveness. Now retired, she is a docent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and emphasizes compassion and mindfulness in nature conservation. A clinical social worker, Dodds is also an experienced psychotherapist.


Lisa DuPont, M.S. ( Gyalten Chime)
DuPont has a combined 25 years’ experience as a school psychologist and Buddhism monastic.  Her background is in the  application of psychology in serving children, families and communities, and in Buddhist study and meditation. She has helped develop and implement primary prevention programs, provided counseling and consultations and has worked in both private private and public placements for children and teens with emotional, physical and mental needs. She has a passion for teaching CBCT® in Santa Cruz, Ca. as a form of secular ethics where compassion can be taught and practiced in a systematic and pragmatic manner regardless of one’s race, religion, nationality.

Contact: SantaCruz

Ronaldo Fraga

Ronaldo Fraga is a mechanical engineer and executive, born in Brazil.  His more than 40-year journey in Buddhism has been the guiding principle for everything he has done.  It started in Nepal in 1975 with Lama Yeshe.  It shaped how he grew and managed a $30 million/year manufacturing plant, and it propelled him to Emory University’s Cognitively-Based Compassion Training program to become a certified teacher in this special mind training protocol.  His ultimate goal is to bring CBCT® into the corporate world.  He first taught CBCT® at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.


Karen Goble, MA

Karen works to advance public health in the Sandhills and eastern North Carolina as Continuing Medical Education Director at Southern Regional AHEC.  She is an ordained Chaplain through her teacher Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center and serves in hospital and community settings.  Karen earned her BA in Philosophy and Religion from Appalachian State University and Master of Arts in Health Education and Promotion from East Carolina University.  Karen’s research and professional interests focus on contemplative practice and resilience.  She is a certified Integrative Health Coach and CBCT teacher.


Carolyn Graham

Carolyn Graham was a professional educator for more than thirty years. She continues to be a teacher at heart and is especially passionate about walking others through research-based processes such as CBCT® that enhance mind-body well-being, including immune system functioning.  She is also willing to travel to teach.


Amy Greene

Rev. Amy Greene, D.Min. is Director of the Center for Spiritual Care for the Cleveland Clinic Health System.  She is a Certified Educator with ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education, and its Board Chair 2081-2019.  She is also certified as a teacher of Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition.  Amy’s passion is being the head chaplain to an amazing institution and being a chaplain educator for future generations of caregivers. 


Rebecca H. F. Ivester

As a certified CBCT® instructor, Ivester endeavors to increase compassion for self and others in the workplace and the world. She sees applications for CBCT® to address “burnout” syndrome in high-stress professions such as teaching and healthcare and as a countermeasure for social, political, racial, and economic polarization in society. With a background in science, she is also interested in assisting research on contemplative techniques.


Deanna Kaplan

In addition to being a certified CBCT® teacher, Kaplan is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Psychology and president of the Arizona Meditation Research Interest Group. Her work for the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics aims to support the scientific understanding and public accessibility of programming that cultivates mindfulness, compassion, and kindness. Her research currently focuses on the mechanisms of change in health, cognition, and social behavior that are associated with meditation and other intentional practices. Kaplan holds a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Arizona and practiced vipassana meditation for six years prior to studying CBCT®.


Leslie Langbert

Langbert has been teaching CBCT® since 2014 and has led more than 100 students through the CBCT® program, including adolescents in foster care, Native American youth, transgender youth, behavioral health professionals, early childhood professionals, and parents of preschoolers. In addition to her role as executive director of the Center for Compassion Studies at the University of Arizona, Langbert is an instructor in the Care, Health, and Society program of the Department of Sociology. She also shares wellness and mindfulness practices with students, faculty, and staff through various campus programs. A licensed clinical social worker, Langber is also a certified yoga instructor, with additional training in yoga therapy, and a mindfulness meditation facilitator. 


Timothy W. Pedigo

Timothy W. Pedigo, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Master’s program in clinical psychology at Governors State University (GSU) in Illinois.  He is authorized as a meditation instructor in the Shambhala Meditation Tradition.  At GSU, he teaches courses in mindfulness and CBCT®.  He is published in the area in mindfulness-based social emotional learning and trauma resilience.


Wendy D. Saunders

Saunders is a CBCT® teacher and senior manager of leadership development for YMCA . She began her career with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles in 1996 and served as an executive director, leading multiple branches before transitioning to the national organization. In 2012, Saunders produced a white paper, “Beyond Civility: Growing Compassionate Love in Communities,” which was published in YMCA of the USA’s Journal of Community Strengthening. She has led CBCT® with leadership team members and staff, adult community members, teens, and older youth. She also leads national Mindfulness and Compassion Workshops (including online webinars) for executives and Love and Compassion Workshops for community members at local Ys in Los Angeles.


Marcelo Bento Soares

Bento is a cancer research investigator and an educator at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP), where he serves as Head of the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology and as Senior Associate Dean for Research. Along with colleagues from UICOMP, Bento has been teaching CBCT since early 2017 to medical students, residents, and healthcare professionals in the two affiliated hospitals – OSF and UnityPoint Health. Bento has also offered CBCT courses to teachers and counselors in the Peoria Public School, and to the leadership of the Peoria Police Department.  Bento is also working towards development of a research program to investigate the relevance of CBCT to cancer survivorship, and to exploit simulation as a contemplative research methodology for the assessment of skills developed in CBCT.


Anthony White

Anthony White is a US Veteran who is a retired law enforcement officer of 28 years. White has local, federal, and international training and career experience. His PHD is in Criminal Justice. White is a professor at Illinois Central College where he teaches criminal justice classes and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes. White is an avid meditation practitioner as well as conducts research in the community on topics such as police and community relationships, race and equity, and gun violence.



Get Involved/Contact

The CBCT® program includes a growing number of certified instructors and is regularly expanding its programming and research areas. We welcome offers of support and ideas for new applications or populations who may benefit from learning the core CBCT® concepts and skills. Please contact Zipporah Slaughter for all inquiries, / 404.727.8166.