Instructors and leaders of Live Well with Brain Injury classes and events come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but all share a desire to help individuals with brain injury live well.
Harrison Carmichael: SLI Brain Injury Wellness Center Manager
I was first introduced to brain injury through my studies in Neuroscience at Bowdoin College, graduating with my B.A in that subject in 2017. In the summer of 2016 I was fortunate enough to have an internship with Supportive Living, Inc. where I was able to apply my knowledge of neuroscience and psychology by assisting in various wellness programs that helped survivors of acquired brain injury (ABI) improve their quality of life in important ways. Since then, I have continued working with survivors of ABI as the manager of the Brain Injury Wellness Center. In this role, I am responsible for coordinating our many wellness programs including adaptive exercise, yoga, music and art programs, horticulture, and more. Every day I appreciate the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with disability from ABI by working alongside the excellent staff and interns at SLI.
Urvashi Chogle, DPT: Chair Yoga & More
I completed my Physical Therapy training in Mumbai India in 1992. After moving to the United States in 2003, I completed my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions. I have worked with a varied diagnosis of patients but pursued my specialty in treating patients with Brain Injury, Stroke, Neurodiagnoses and Amputations. I continue to serve at a rehabilitation hospital and have over 25 years of work experience. In this time, I developed an interest in yoga and its various benefits and underwent training for the same.
I developed a chair-based yoga program on the principles of yoga as I strongly believed that it can be implemented for all individuals with abilities. Any individual with Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Degenerative Arthritis, Amputations, Stroke or is confined to a wheelchair is able to easily follow this program at chair or wheelchair level. Aging individuals using assistive devices can also participate safely. It has proven to improve functional mobility, reduce pain, improve breathing patterns decrease anxiety, improve focus and concentration and overall well-being. My therapy skills help me in understanding the needs of participants.
An artist from childhood, I always enjoyed drawing, painting and “making things.” The strong art department at Burlington High School and my art teachers inspired me to develop my talents and strive for a career in the arts. I received my BFA from Salem State College and my MA from Tufts and The School of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
I recently retired from Arlington public Schools (MA) where I taught art for twenty-two years at Arlington High. During my teaching career, sixteen collaborative mosaic tile murals and painted murals created by my students were installed in municipal buildings throughout Arlington.
“I am fortunate to witness firsthand how art transforms lives...the process of making art brings a sense of peace and joy to me and others.”
Elaine O'Rourke: Train Your Brain
Elaine O’Rourke, is a 500 hr and C-IAYT Yoga Therapist & Teacher since 2003. She has several yoga certifications and anatomy trainings. From her many years of teaching a variety of group classes, to private classes to diverse populations, she can naturally adapt to whoever she is teaching and draws from her vast well of knowledge. Additional is she a teaching faculty member in the YogaSpirit School and well as other teacher training programs. She teaches all sorts of workshops, has assisted at programs Kripalu and leads international yoga retreats. Elaine is a well known and gifted Sound Healer, Level 2 EFT Coach and Reiki Practitioner.
Elaine has the versatility, experience and knowledge to guide you through a practice that is appropriate for your body and your unique constitution. A practice plan can include yoga postures with modifications, meditation, relaxation, breathing techniques and mind/body techniques. She has an extensive background with the senior population through chair yoga and therapeutics. She has also worked with kids and adults with learning disabilities and brain injuries through Developmental Movement programs at Active Healing Inc.
Her certifications since 2003 include, 200hr Sivananda Organization, 200 & 500hr YogaSpirit Studios, Anusara Immersions, Doug Keller Anatomy Therapeutics along with many classes and workshops from some of the top teachers including Barbara Benagh, Patricia Walden & Shiva Rea. She is a student of life, an avid world traveler, loves adventure and stepping into the unknown.
Parker Pereira: Assisted Exercise
I graduated from Framingham State University in 2016 with a BA in Psychology. While attending FSU, I stayed connected with the community by interning at Horizons for Homeless Children as a Playspace Activity Leader. I was daily exposed to needs of the less fortunate for more support financially and through awareness. After graduation, I interned as an Acquired Brain Injury Physical Fitness Trainer in fall of 2017. I currently work as an Intern Supervisor and I am on the fundraising committee of team Supportive Living Incredibles.
Marcy Schwam: Assisted Exercise
Marcy has an amazing background in athletics, especially running really long distances. She held world records in the 100K, 24 hour endurance run and was the first woman to break 6 hours for 50 miles. Marcy also had a long working career with Reebok and the Adidas Group as the head of US Retail Marketing.
Now Marcy shares her experience and passion as a trainer for seniors at the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead. This YMCA began collaborating with Supportive Living in 2017 to build assisted exercise programs for individuals with brain injury. Marcy's passion for movement exactly duplicates Supportive Living's emphasis on movement in assisted exercise programs.
"People need to move," says Marcy. "This has been my firm belief throughout my life. It doesn't mean we can all move the same. Whatever a person can move, they should."
Live Well with Brain Injury classes are provided by Supportive Living Inc., Advocates Brain Injury Services, and Live Well Program Partners. Live Well activities are supported by The Statewide Head Injury Program, a program of Community Based Services, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.