The perfect team of co-founders: yoga teachers + non-profit managers + family medicine physicians + business advisors + YOU!
Leadership Team & Board
Greg Van Hyfte, MA, MA/HAP, RYT 500 - Co-Director & Co-Founder / Secretary
In his role, Greg helps YogaCare secure partnerships with community health centers and non-profit organizations to develop affordable and culturally responsive programs. He co-coordinates the strategy, business development, and fundraising of YogaCare programming. He has been practicing yoga since 1999, has been teaching in English and Spanish since 2006, and is certified by Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level. Current teaching includes gentle hatha, alignment-based yoga at YogaCare's program at Chicago Family Health Center and Meditacion en Espanol independently at Gilda's Club. Greg helped co-found the Socially Engaged Yoga Network (SEYN) currently convened by YogaCare. He is also President & Principal Consultant of GrowthVisionHealth, a consulting company that works with nonprofit organizations on grant writing and management, fundraising, program development, and applied program evaluation and research. Greg earned a Master of Arts in Social Sciences, a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration, and a Graduate Certificate in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago, and he is a Schweitzer Fellow For Life.
Julia Pedersen, CYT 200 - Co-Director & Co-Founder / Treasurer
Julia's role involves overseeing the programs, marketing, events, SEYN, and operations of YogaCare. She co-coordinates strategy and the development of YogaCare's teacher training curriculum and training tools for community-focused yoga teachers to build the capacity of community centers to operate quality yoga programming. She brings over 15 years of diverse business experience from Baird & Warner and Nordstrom while working in sales, management, training and development, marketing, analysis, and procurement. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Moksha Yoga Center and is finishing a 500 hour Certified Yoga Teacher this year. Some of her additional training and teaching includes Prenatal Yoga, Yoga for Kids and Families, Yoga for Cancer Survivors, and a former faculty member at Yoga Circle under the guidance of Gabriel Halpern. Julia currently teaches Yoga for Pain Relief at YogaCare's program in partnership with Howard Brown Health 63rd Street in Englewood. Julia also helped co-found the Socially Engaged Yoga Network (SEYN) currently convened by YogaCare. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Merchandising Management from the International Academy of Merchandising and Design.
Kelli Bosak, LCSW - Volunteer & SEYN Coordinator
Kelli has served as a volunteer with YogaCare and Socially Engaged Yoga Network (SEYN) since Spring 2016 after first attending SEYN meetings in 2014. She serves on the leadership team and contributes to many initiatives of YogaCare, including on-boarding volunteers, grants, Self-Care for Health Care, yoga classes and group visits, and co-coordinating SEYN. Kelli is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing behavioral health services at PCC Community Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center on Chicago's West Side in the Austin community. She is a Schweitzer Fellow for Life and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration (SSA). While in graduate school, Kelli completed her Schweitzer Fellowship project developing and leading weekly trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness groups for women in Cook County Jail. Prior to attending SSA, Kelli served a two-year term of AmeriCorps service in Philadelphia, where she supervised volunteers and coordinated operations at a community resource center providing direct social services to community members. Kelli received her Bachelor of Arts in French and anthropology from the University of Michigan and is in yoga teacher training at Tejas.
Kohar Jones, MD - Medical Director & Co-Founder
Dr. Jones serves as community site collaborator, business strategist, and investigator on YogaCare research that provides evidence for the benefits and operations of YogaCare programs. She is a family physician with a passion for partnering with patients and communities to promote health. Dr. Jones served as Director of Community Health and Service Learning at the University of Chicago Medicine, and practiced family medicine at Chicago Family Health Center in the South Chicago neighborhood from 2008 to 2015. Her past work includes Harken Health and Iora Health as Physician at the South Loop Chicago location, seeing patients and developing programs with an eye towards preventive health and wellness. She currently serves as Medical Director at Heartland Health Outreach and is delighted to be able to prescribe yoga for her patients for pain, stress and general health. She completed her medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine and is a Schweitzer Fellow for Life.
Sonia Oyola, MD - Board President
Dr. Sonia Oyola is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Chicago and board certified in Integrative Medicine. She currently sees patients at Heartland Health Centers on Chicago's north side and mentors medical students in the practice of underserved medicine at a federally qualified health center. She completed Dr. Andrew Weil's fellowship at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in 2013 and is also a certified yoga instructor through Yogaview. Her clinical work emphasizes Mind-Body Medicine for underserved communities , preventing physician/student burnout and for stress management. She is the founder of Be Alright, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created in 2009 that supports of survivors of domestic violence and Chicago-area domestic violence shelters. She is grateful for her wonderful husband of 19 years and 3 precious children.
Aggie Stewart, MA, C-IAYT - Board Member
Aggie brings a plethora of knowledge from a variety of backgrounds: as a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, writer, editor, and writing teacher. Aggie is a writer trained as a yoga teacher at the 500-hour level (2009) and as a yoga therapist (2011) at the American Viniyoga Institute, Essential Yoga Therapy, the Integrative Restoration Institute (IRI) and the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga. In 2017, she also became an accredited Buteyko Breathing Method provider. Her past experience includes being the Accreditation Manager for International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Aggie also worked in healthcare publishing and for healthcare organizations such as Children's Hospital, Boston, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and the Joint Commission. She has taught writing and communication skills at Loyola University, Chicago, and Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. She incorporates her love of art, creativity, and the natural world into all levels of her work and has published several articles and blog posts on the Yoga of Writing and is writing a book on the subject.
Jenifer Cartland, PhD - Board Member
Jenifer is a dedicated student of yoga and is committed to supporting the strategic efforts of YogaCare. She serves as the Vice President for Data Analytics and Reporting at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and as a research associate professor at the Northwestern University Medical School. Jenifer received her doctorate in political science from Loyola University of Chicago and has worked for almost 30 years as a public policy analyst focusing on child and adolescent health and welfare issues. Jenifer taught Program Evaluation in Northwestern University’s master’s program in public health for many years. Much of her research has involved working collaboratively with community organizations to improve their capacity to provide services to children and adolescents.
Honoring Past Board Members
Nubia Ptah, MS
Nubia is an Educational Consultant and Resource Specialist with over 20 years of Entrepreneurial endeavors. She has a strong sense of community which is best shown through her need to inform. Having completed undergraduate and graduate work at DePaul University (B.A. in Black Studies, M.S. in Public Service Management), Nubia has used her knowledge to further her agenda for the community by founding a nonprofit with an entrepreneur base. She regularly attends YogaCare classes at Chicago Family Health Center and has become an advocate for yoga in the community. Making yoga the center of her lifestyle has led her to encourage others on this journey of holistic living.
Kevin Stephens, MD, MBA
Kevin has over 4 years of experience in the health industry and is training to become a primary care physician. He is experienced with implementing sigma six and lean production techniques in the healthcare setting. He received a Molecular Biochemistry & Biophysics Bachelor of Science degree from Yale College and is currently enrolled in the MD/MBA program at the University of Chicago with concentrations in Quality & Safety, Operations, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.
Kristin Cho, MBA
Kristin has 5 years of experience leading business expansion strategy projects working with companies from various industries. She has experience in building financial models, delivering negotiations with governments, building strategies for global and domestic expansions and acquiring new clienteles. She received a Finance and CPA accounting Bachelor of Science degree from New York University Stern School of Business and is currently enrolled in the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Marketing and Strategic Management. She is a licensed CPA in the state of New York.