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Health and Wellness will be offering a variety of online programming throughout the Spring 2020 quarter. For event schedules and information please see our calendar or email us at


For any general Health & Wellness questions or to schedule a workshop, please email or call our office at (805) 893-2630. For more information on a specific staff member, see below.

Professional Staff

Sharleen O'Brien, Psy.D, Director

Sharleen O’Brien is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of health promotion programs & strategies to improve student success at UCSB. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 2003 from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and has expertise in the areas of health psychology, mindfulness meditation, sleep health, and psychological well-being. Dr. O’Brien maintains her license of 13 years as a psychologist in the state of California (Psy20314) but, in recent years, was inspired to shift her focus from clinical practice to supporting health from a broader perspective. She is passionate about designing programs to foster habits, knowledge, and an environment that supports the health & well-being of students at UCSB and in the community.  Sharleen brings over 10 years of management experience, and 20 years of practice and teaching multiple aspects of well-being. She is honored to work with young adults to support their success and to promote a culture of health & wellbeing for the UCSB community. In her free time, Sharleen enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, yoga, movies, cooking and gardening.

To contact Sharleen, email or call 893-5480.


Julian De Vita, Health Education Generalist

Julian De Vita was born in Vermont, but was raised across the country in Santa Clarita, California where he consequently went to Six Flags Magic Mountain too much.  A graduate from UCSB with a B.S with Biopsychology, he has worked in the Department of Health & Wellness since he was a Freshman. Originally as a Health & Wellness Chair at San Nicolas, he continued in the department in the following years, he worked as a Health & Wellness Chair Coordinator and Internship Coordinator within the department. He also furthered his interest in data management and helped implement the system in his work. Alongside Health & Wellness, he volunteered at the Santa Barbara Hospital in the Simulation Lab and in Partners in Wellness to further his experience in the medical field.  In his free time, he’s busy watching or playing soccer, checking out new places in Santa Barbara, or tinkering with tech.

To contact Julian, email or call 893-2169 .


Joanna Hill, Health Education Specialist

Topics: Eating Disorder Prevention & Body Image, Meditation, Internships, Health & Wellness Advocate Program

Joanna Hill is originally from “the” Valley (San Fernando). She started as a student in The Department of Health & Wellness in 1996. She was a Relationships Peer, summer theater actor and instructional assistant before she earned her BA in Sociology in 1997. She has worked for the UCSB Arts Library, UCSB Alumni Association, and with autistic men at the Devereux Foundation. Joanna’s staff career in Health & Wellness began in 2001 as advisor for the Sexual Health Peers and the Relationships Peers. Over the years, she has trained students, staff, and faculty on all areas of Health & Wellness, her favorites being body image and meditation. Joanna currently oversees Health & Wellness Internships, the Advocate Program, and the eating disorder prevention/body image program. Joanna enjoys exploring Santa Barbara with her family, their 2 cats and sweet dog, Maisy.

To contact Joanna, email or call 893-4163.


Lorie Morris, Office Manager

Lorie Jean Morris grew up in Utah but moved to Santa Barbara to enjoy a more temperate climate! She received her B.A. in Psychology from CSUCI. Lorie is the Office Manager for the Health & Wellness Programs. Coming from a background in banking, customer service and accounts payable, Lorie makes sure the Health & Wellness staff and interns have the resources they need to successfully put on workshops, events, classes and activities. Her favorite quarterly event to be involved in is UCSB Dog Therapy Day. When she’s not helping interns with events, Lorie is out taking photos or Photoshop classes. You can find her on Sundays down at the Cabrillo Art Walk selling her photography.

To contact Lorie, email or call 893-4081.


Jacqueline Ovalle, Health Education Specialist

Topics: Nutrition, Food, Nutrition & Basic Skills Program (FNBS), Why The Fruit?

Jacqueline Ovalle was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Riverside County. Her passion for health, food science and nutrition led her to Davis, CA where she received her B.S. in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis and certification as a National Food Protection Manager. At UC Davis, Jacqueline served as a Resident Advisor for UC Davis Student Housing and conducted research for the Department of Nutrition. She also held leadership positions with the Environmentally Conscious Nutritionally Alive Population organization, the UC Davis Leadership Council and the Student Nutrition Association. She has served as a Dietetic Technician at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital where she applied her expertise in clinical dietetics and food safety management. Her previous work includes Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at the California Department of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, Camp Kaiser, and Winters Healthcare Foundation. In addition to her work, Jacqueline enjoys spending time at the beach and with her loved ones, trying new food recipes, traveling with her spouse, hiking and an occasional competitive match of air hockey.

To contact Jacqueline, email or call 893-3434.


Jason Stone, MS, Health Education Specialist

Topics: Sexual Health, Relationship Health, Gaucho Safer Sex Peers, Clinical Contraceptive Peer Counseling, Sexual Health Coalition, Graduate Student Wellness Program, Digital Wellness Programs, Active Minds

Jason Stone, a Santa Barbara native, has always been passionate for people, health, and wellness. This led him to receive his BA in Sociology with a minor in Exercise Science and a Master of Science in Health Promotion & Physiology with an emphasis in Wellness. With a love of helping people thrive, he holds credentials as NASM CPT, NSCA CSCS, and NASE CSES. He is also a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, and a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist. Jason has served UC Santa Barbara with Housing, Dining, and Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) in the areas of injury prevention, ergonomics, safety and wellness programming. He also served as coordinator of the system-wide UC WorkStrong occupational health program. He currently serves as staff advisor for UC Santa Barbara’s Active Minds chapter, and is a certified mindfulness meditation teacher specializing in queer and trans meditation groups. He is a fitness and wellness fanatic and you will probably see him either at the gym, or cooking up healthful, nourishing meals in his spare time. As a lover of innovation, design, and organization, Jason also engages in hobbies like music composition, interior design, and event planning.

To contact Jason, email or call 893-4347.


Michael "Maka" Takahara, Health Education Specialist

Topics: Positive Psychology, Life Skills, ED 191W, Marketing Coordinator, Meditation

Michael Kenji Takahara was raised in Monterey Park and received his B.A. in Psychology from UCSB in 1993. He worked at UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Services as an assistant resident director before joining Health & Wellness in 1996. Michael is passionate about Health & Wellness because “it allows me to give back to the community that made me who I am. I love helping students develop meaning in their lives, building their skills, strengthen their positive relationships, achieve their goals, and increase their positive emotions.” He thinks it is funny that he stars in a weekly web series, Mondays with Maka. In addition to enjoying his family, Michael volunteers his time with Catholic Engaged Encounter, enjoys comic book geek culture, plays guitar, and enjoys the ocean and clouds everyday.

To contact Maka, email or call 893-8297.


Emily Teter, Health Education Specialist

Topics: Meditation, Sleep, Stress Reduction, Alcohol & Drugs

Emily Teter grew up in Carpinteria, California and received her Bachelor's in Anthropology from UCLA. She worked with various student organizations as an undergrad including The Watts Tutorial Program, where she was a tutor and student mentor. One of her favorite experiences in college was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. Emily enjoys many outdoor activities, especially those involving the ocean. She is a certified Mindfulness Facilitator with the Department of Health & Wellness and is passionate about meditation, mental health and overall well-being.


To contact Emily, email or call 893-3434.