Leila Kozak, PhD
Leila's teaching, research experience and interests are eclectic and broad, all connected by a passion for bridging mind and heart, science and spirituality. Her teaching and research have focused on understanding the depths of human connection within intimate relationships as well as within relationships in the medical environment. Her interests include consciousness and spirituality, the new science of love and intimate relationships, the transformation of the culture of care and patient experience through patient-centered and relationship-centered care, and the implementation of evidence-based complementary and integrative medicine in palliative, end of life and geriatric care.
Leila has been a teacher, researcher, organizational consultant and practitioner in the field of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) for the last 35+ years. Initially trained as a researcher in psychophysiology in Argentina, she walked simultaneously in between the "two worlds" of mainstream medical research and that of mysticism, healing arts and the esoteric wisdom. Between ages 18-28, Leila completed her academic degrees and internship at the Stress Physiology Lab, Instituto de Biologia y Medicina Experimental (IBYME), while simultaneously becoming an apprentice of a "curandera" (shaman) who taught her how to use herbal medicine. Exploring an array of spiritual traditions and healing modalities, she studied Theosophy and the work of Alice Bailey, shamanic traditions, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and the work of J. Krishnamurti. She became a massage therapist and a tai chi/qigong and meditation practitioner and instructor, received training in and practiced energy healing and distant intention healing, completed a 2-year medical training in clinical homeopathy, and became an avid student and practitioner of the intuitive art and science of soul-centered astrology. Through a dream, she was called to integrate her healing intention practice along with homeopathy and soul-centered astrology, resulting in a short stint as an "Aquarian Healer."
Leila received her PhD in Psychology from Saybrook University in 2007. In 2009, she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in Evaluation of Complementary & Integrative Medicine at the Center of Excellence in Outcomes Research in Older Adults, VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Between 2012-2019, she was a Clinical Champion and later a Whole Health National Champion and integrative therapies subject matter expert for the Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation and the Integrative Health Coordinating Center at VA Central Office (VACO). She has served as an integrative therapies subject matter expert in numerous VA task forces and committees, developed numerous continuing medical education programs, webinars, medical education videos and integrative therapy implementation toolkits.
Leila has led eight NIH- and VA-funded projects in integrative oncology, palliative care and geriatrics. She is co-founder and director of the Integrative Palliative Care Institute (IPCI), a medical education and advocacy organization. IPCI's mission is to transform the culture of care in palliative, geriatric and end of life care by educating health care providers about evidence-based integrative therapies for palliative care. IPCI first product will be a 9-module program in collaboration with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) available to palliative care providers September 2021.
She is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Family Medicine Department, where she has been teaching in the areas of patient-centered care, integrative palliative care, mind-body medicine, and spirituality to palliative and geriatric physicians and nurses for the last 10 years.
Leila has recently retired from the VA to continue her work in integrative palliative care education and to pursue research and teaching in the field of the "new science of love." This work has brought a new depth to her previous Saybrook research on human connection. Leila is excited about working together as a couple with her life partner, teaching and mentoring couples who are pursuing relationship education as a means to repair their bond and create the fulfilling intimate relationship they desire.