PH&W Leadership Team

The International Positive Psychology Association is grateful to the Positive Health and Wellbeing (PH&W) 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 Division’s “Contributions in Positive Health Award” at each IPPA World Congress.

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Lisa Honig Buksbaum, MAPP, MBA
Division President

Lisa is a passionary: a visionary driven by great passion and action. An author, intuitive healer, well-loved inspirational speaker, and expert workshop leader and facilitator. More

CEO & Founder, Soaringwords

Lisa has shared her wisdom with thousands of people throughout the world. Three experiences with death and illness in her family during a ten-month period motivated her to launch Soaringwords, a not-for-profit organization devoted to inspiring children, families, adults, seniors, and health care professionals to take active roles in self-healing to experience greater physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Since 2001, Lisa has shared Soaringwords’ SOARING into Strength Positive Health Initiatives with more than 500,000 people. She is the author of SOARING into Strength: Love Transcends Pain, her debut memoir.

Lisa graduated with honors from The University of Pennsylvania; holds an MBA in Marketing from Columbia University Graduate School of Business; and a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania. She has a certificate in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a certificate from the American Institute for Mental Imagery.

Lisa is President of IPPA Health and Wellbeing Division; and the Board of the Coincidence Project. She’s been featured as an expert on ABC News, Fortune Small Business, USA Today, Delta Sky, and CEO to Watch in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. She won a Lives That Make a Difference Award from A&E Networks, a National Mothering That Works Award from Working Mother Media, inducted into YMCA Academy of Women Achievers Hall of Fame. She was on the board of Advertising Women of New York, the leading organization for executive women in communications.

Lisa has been a keynote speaker, moderator, and panelist at IPPA; European Positive Psychology Conference; Canadian Positive Psychology Conference; International Positive Education Network and led workshops as scholar-in-residence and at grand rounds at leading universities, medical schools, and nursing schools. She has led award-winning employee-engagement professional development workshops at Fortune 500 companies including Accenture, Cigna, Cisco, Deloitte, Lilly, Meta, Google, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, New York Life, SONY, Verizon, and Viacom. Lisa lives in New York City with her husband Jacob. Her pride and joy are her two grown sons Jonathan and Joshua, daughter-in-law Evelyn, and adorable grandbaby Charlotte. She gets her energy from swimming each day and connecting with people in fun and meaningful ways.

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Joel Milam, PhD
Past President

President of the Health and Wellbeing Division, is a Professor (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Medicine) in the Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). More

Dr. Milam is a Professor (Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Medicine) in the Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Dr. Milam is a behavioral-scientist with a focus on adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivorship and cancer control/supportive care and has received multiple NIH grants to examine the long-term quality of life/wellbeing and health care utilization among diverse populations of AYA cancer survivors. He is Co-Leader of the Cancer Control Program at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI. He is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Young Adult Cancer Survivorship Research, a dual-institution (USC & UCI) interdisciplinary research and community collaborative.

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Michael MacDonald, DSC

As a person succeeding with a disability, Michael has focused his career on supporting other individuals with disabilities. More

With a broad background that includes working for insurers, schools, and employers, he currently works with Jazz’s employees as they balance the needs of a safety critical work environment with their own unique health challenges and abilities.   He has recently developed coursework for Dalhousie University on Building Positive Workplace Cultures that leverages positive psychology to foster workplace health.  As a member of the IPPA Positive Health & Wellbeing leadership team, Michael draws on a background in psychology, health and safety, and health leadership.

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Kathi Norman PA-C, DMSc

Kathi Norman PA-C, DMSc is the creator of Positive MedicineTM and owner of Positive Health & Well Being, LLC., a company that serves patients and providers using positive psychology concepts. More

She obtained a master’s degree in biomedical science and is a graduate from PENN’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. Kathi went on to complete a doctorate in medical science and holds the title of Dr. Kathi Norman.  She is currently working in psychiatry using Positive MedicineTM.

She has been an active member of IPPA for over a decade.  During this time, she has worn many hats that include support and presenting in Webinars, panel discussion participant, facilitated presentations and has been an invited speaker at IPPA Congresses and, much more.    She is the Conference Lead for the Health & Wellbeing division.

Dr. Norman’s research is focused on finding and developing factors that promote physical health, psychological wellbeing, and longevity outside of Western medicine.  These factors include engaging with music, volunteerism, forgiveness, unplugging, and getting out into nature.

She is a writer and has published in The Journal of Urgent Care, Positive Psychology News Daily, and the Health & Wellbeing division’s journal the Chronicle.  She has been an editor for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the Chronicle.  She is on the advisory board for Global Positive Health Institute (GPHI).

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Rhonda Cornum, PhD, MD
Division Member

Brigadier General (retired) Rhonda Cornum, PhD, MD has a unique perspective on Psychological Fitness and Resilience, from both a personal and professional vantage. More

Understanding the psychological attributes that enabled her survival and successful repatriation after being a prisoner of war in Operation Desert Storm, she developed, instituted and then served as the first Director of the U.S. Army’s novel Comprehensive Soldier Fitness initiative. Recently renamed Army Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, this strategy represents the model for universal implementation of physical and psychological health promotion within the Department of Defense.  She had previously served as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection, responsible for the policies and procedures to prepare Soldiers and units for deployment, and commanded the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the evacuation hub for Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Europe.  During this assignment, she commissioned development of the Joint Patient Tracking Application and pioneered use of the Nova Lung during critical care air transport.  Doctor Cornum has written or co-authored one book, five book chapters, and numerous scientific articles.  She sits on numerous committees and advisory boards, including the Secretary’s POW Advisory Committee for the VA, the External Advisory Board for the Millennium Cohort Study, and the Global Positive Health Institute. She is a Professor of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr Cornum is Board certified in Urology, a Fellow in both the American College of Surgeons and the Aerospace Medical Association and is a member of the American Society of Nutrition.

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Manika Jain
Communications Lead

Manika is a consultant and project manager with an educational background in psychology and neuroscience. More

She has worked in the academic, private and public sectors in varied industries, guiding industry experts to make critical and research-based decisions. 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.

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Gail Ironson, M.D., Ph.D.
Past President

Dr. Ironson is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Miami and a Board certified Psychiatrist. More

She received her MD from the University of Miami, her PhD from the University of Wisconsin, and did her residency training in Psychiatry at Stanford University.   She has 280 publications in the field of behavioral medicine and positive psychology.  She is the immediate past President of the American Psychosomatic Society, past President of the Health Division of IPPA, and past President of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She is also a past member of the editorial board of five journals. She has directed federally funded research studies investigating psychological factors in long survival with illness (especially HIV), stress management, and treatments for traumatized individuals. She has received 4 awards for her work – most recently from the International Positive Psychology Association (July, 2021) for her research on Positive Psychology and Health. In 2019 she was awarded the research Professor Award from the Academy of consult-Liaison Psychiatry. In 2011 the Society of Behavioral Medicine awarded her the Spirituality and Health Award. And in 1983 she received the Alumni Professor Award from the University of South Florida. Her current areas of focus include examining positive psychological factors (including positive affect, life satisfaction, meaning, compassion, and spirituality) in health and recovery from trauma. She just directed and completed a Templeton funded grant which is the 6 year follow-up examining the predictive power of spirituality and positive psychological factors for health in a nationwide sample.

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Liana Lianov, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACLM, Dip ABLM
Past President

Physician leader in advancing the field of lifestyle medicine, a relatively new area of medicine that focuses on healthy lifestyles as disease treatment and is highly dependent on effective health behavior change strategies, More

including positive psychology approaches. I am also founder and president of the Global Positive Health Institute (GPHI). The GPHI provides positive psychology science summaries, training, tools, and resources to health professionals (in lifestyle medicine and other medical specialties) with the goal of helping them integrate positive psychology approaches into health care.