DSWI Advisory Board

Meet Our Board Members

We are proud to have a strong advisory board that brings new and diverse levels of expertise to the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute in areas such as nutrition, brain health, women’s health, and exercise physiology, just to name a few. The Advisory board meets regularly to discuss relevant health and coaching topics, strengthening and complementing our education development and ensuring that our students and candidates stay up to date on the latest information. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and professions, each DSWI student and coach benefits from the expertise behind the science-based education they receive.


Dr. Lisa Masterson pioneered the evolution of women’s healthcare into the 21st century. A specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility, adolescent gynecology, and family planning, where Dr. Masterson redefined the role of a gynecologist. However, most people will recognize her as the Emmy-nominated co-host of the Emmy-winning hit syndicated daytime medical talk show, The Doctors, and her popular weekly lifestyle podcast Heath in Heels with Dr. Lisa.

Dr. Masterson’s unique practice includes a myriad of services not found in today’s traditional gynecological medicine, paving the way for advancement in her field. Genecology merges with esthetic services at her Ocean Oasis Medical Spa, which offers customized spa treatments as well as exercise and nutrition programs that cater specifically to each phase of a woman’s life.

At the forefront in education, Dr. Masterson holds seminars on adolescent sexuality for teens and parents and has written Go Figure, a workbook for young girls detailing the changes throughout their bodies.

Her reach stretches across borders. Striving to provide global medical relief to underdeveloped regions, Dr. Masterson has created Maternal Fetal Care International (www.mfci.net), a charitable organization dedicated to making every mother and child count around the globe. MFCI brings volunteer physicians to treat needy women and children and provides medical supplies, equipment and training to elevate the standard of medical care and decrease the mother-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. In addition to establishing birthing centers in Kenya and India, Dr. Lisa Masterson co-founded in Eritrea the first OG/GYN residency program in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

Indeed, it is because of her life-saving work with MFCI, and her contribution to the medical field, Dr. Masterson was honored in 2007 by the Santa Monica Red Cross, the recipient of The Golden Rattle Award in 2008 by the March of Dimes, and again in 2009 as a member of the cast of The Doctors by the Santa Monica Red Cross at their annual Red Tie Ball.

Dr. Masterson’s work with MFCI, which is tackling one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, earned her the honor of addressing the United Nations Foundation’s Social Good Summit in New York back in September 2010. In addition, Dr. Masterson has been recruited as a “Champion” for the UN Foundation’s Girl Up program, which inspires American teenage girls to help raise money to support health and educational programs that will improve the lives of teenage girls in impoverished areas around the world.

As a child, Dr. Masterson was propelled into fulfilling her dreams and given the strength and tools to make a true mark on the world. Indeed, Dr. Masterson comes from a long line of extraordinary women. Her grandmother, Mattie Ruth Smith, was the eldest of twelve children in Louisiana, whom she helped raise before becoming a schoolteacher in black schools throughout the state. Dr. Masterson’s mother, La V’onne, was a professor at the University of Washington and subsequently served in the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She then moved on to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and was offered the directorship of the EEOC’s office in San Diego, where Dr. Masterson attended The Bishop’s School, a well-respected private school in La Jolla.

Still, the journey Dr. Masterson took towards becoming a doctor was hardly paved as readers will discover in Dr. Masterson’s poignant and powerful memoir titled Paper Dollhouse published by Globe Pequot.

Upon graduation, Dr. Masterson entered Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and went on to Medical School at the University of Southern California. In 1993, during her first year as an Obstetrics and Gynecology intern at USC/County Hospital, Dr. Masterson’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. A year later, Ms. La V’onne Smith passed away leaving behind a remarkable legacy.

Continuing to champion for equality in healthcare and to decrease the extremely high maternal mortality rate in the United States , Dr. Masterson has started a new charity, Mobile Mom Squad. The mission is to serve underserved Mothers and their babies through support, education and compassionate healthcare.

mahtab jafari


Mahtab Jafari is Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Director of the newly launched “The UCI Center for Healthspan Sciences” at the University of California, Irvine. The focus of her research is on slowing the aging process and adding healthy years to human life through a science that she introduced as Healthspan Pharmacology. She is also a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, author, and mentor.

Using fruit flies as her main model system, her work focuses on 1) evaluating the impact of botanical extracts and dietary supplements on lifespan and healthspan, 2) evaluating the adverse effects of dietary supplements, and 3) evaluating the impact of natural products on the phenotypes of Drosophila models of human diseases. One of the main objectives of her research is to establish fruit flies as a pre-clinical model system to study natural products. She also conducts educational research on the impact of Life101, a course that she teaches to undergraduate students on adopting healthy lifestyle choices and stress management.

Dr. Jafari received her Doctorate in Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and completed her residency at the University of California, San Francisco. She was on the faculty at the UCSF School of Pharmacy prior to joining the faculty at UCI. She has served as the Director of the Cholesterol Clinic and the co-Director of the Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program at UCI Medical Center. In 2001, she joined Abbott Laboratories as a senior scientist in the Neuroscience group and eventually became a regional Medical Scientific Manager. In 2005, she was recruited back to UCI to develop a new major in Pharmaceutical Sciences and helped develop the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Dr. Jafari is the recipient of a number of teaching and mentoring awards including the 2008 and 2013 UCI Distinguished Professor Teaching Award, 2008 UCI Chancellor’s Award for Fostering Undergraduate Research, and the 2011 and 2013 UCI Pharmaceutical Sciences the Most Inspirational Professor Award. One of her courses, Life101 that focuses on stress management and adopting healthy lifestyle choices, is offered to students on all 10 University of California campuses.


Sean Foy is an exercise physiologist and behavioral coach who is internationally known as an authority on fitness, weight management, and healthy living. As an award-winning author and motivational speaker, Sean has earned the reputation as “America’s Fast Fitness Trainer”. With an upbeat, positive, and sensible approach to making fitness and personal wellbeing happen, even with the busiest of schedules, he has taken his message of “Fitness at the Speed of Life” all over the world.

Foy is the author and creator of the proven metabolic makeover book, “The Burst Workout” and coauthor of the New York Times #1 bestseller, “The Daniel Plan”. Foy has also authored the Wellness Councils of America’s award-winning physical activity and exercise books, “Fitness That Works” and “Walking 4 Wellness” and is the co-creator of the Wellness Councils of America national “On the Move” Initiative, inspiring and training over 200,000 employees and hundreds of companies throughout the United States. Foy is also the Founder and President of “Stronger U Academy”, an international personal development organization dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of people all over the world.

Among numerous awards, Sean has received the “Nike Go” Top National Health Education Program Award and the California Governor Health Educator of the Year Award. Foy also developed an award-winning children’s health and fitness program, “LEAN KIDS” with best-selling author Dr. William Sears. Foy is also the developer and trainer of the signature fitness program for The Biggest Loser® Pro Training program.

As a husband and father of two, as well as President and founder of Personal Wellness Corporation, an international health and wellness education and consulting firm, Sean understands “busy” and brings his real-life fitness and wellbeing solutions to audiences wherever he goes. Appearing on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and other popular national television outlets, he has spent the last 30 years testing, researching, and sharing his findings on how to crack the code to making transformation work and maximizing potential.

Sean has helped thousands of individuals all over the world with their wellness needs as an author, personal trainer, counselor, motivational speaker, and business owner and is committed to encouraging everyone to attain optimal well-being for body, mind, and spirit!


Dr. John Ratey is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, and 11 books published in 17 languages, including the groundbreaking ADHD “Driven to Distraction” series with Ned Hallowell, MD. With the publication of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”, Dr. Ratey has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. His most recent book, “Go Wild”, explores how we can achieve optimal physical and mental health by getting in touch with our caveman roots, and how we can “re-wild” our lives. 

John grew up in the steel working town of Beaver, Pennsylvania, where an unlikely love of tennis led to competing in the US National Juniors and being offered an athletic scholarship to college. He attended Colgate University, where he was a Washburn scholar, receiving his BA in philosophy before moving to Boston. Finding work at Harvard’s Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) as an attendant, John was often assigned with caring for some of the most difficult patients, inspiring him to learn more about how to help those with mental health challenges. Seeing a career in Psychiatry as the path, he completed his science requirements at Harvard before returning to Pennsylvania to attend the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, where he won multiple awards for scholastic achievement in Psychiatry. Returning to Harvard for his Psychiatric training, John was eventually named inpatient chief resident. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Elvin Semrad Teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and was appointed Harvard’s Assistant Director of Residency and Medical Student Training, a position he held for 9 years. It was during these early years at Harvard Medical School that he began his groundbreaking research on aggression, autism and ADD, leading to a career of speaking and teaching around the world. 

Dr. Ratey’s work in Attention Deficit Disorder came after he and his former student, Ned Hallowell, recognized and diagnosed their own ADD, prompting them to write a book to raise awareness and an understanding of the diagnosis to a lay audience. Published in 1994, “Driven to Distraction” became a bestseller, with over 2 million copies in print, and is still considered one of the Bibles of ADD today. Dr. Ratey and Dr. Hallowell went on to write “Delivered to Distraction” and “Answers to Distraction”, and have become recognized around the world as authorities on the subject. They continue to collaborate and are currently working on a new book. 

As an author, Dr. Ratey’s other groundbreaking work includes, “A Users’ Guide to the Brain” and “Shadow Syndromes”. With the publication of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”, Dr. Ratey has embarked on a world-wide mission to re-engineer schools, corporations, and individual lifestyle practices by incorporating exercise to achieve peak performance and optimum mental health. A highly sought after speaker, Dr. Ratey has lectured extensively throughout the US, Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe. His work is frequently profiled in the media, where he’s been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and NPR, as well as in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, Men’s Health, and other national publications. 

Dr. Ratey has functioned as an Adjunct Professor of Sport Science at the National Taiwan Sport University, and as a consultant to the President of Taiwan and the Minister of Education in South Korea. He has served at co-head of the Advisory Board of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport, a consultant to ANTA Kids in China, and on Reebok’s non-profit before school fitness program, BOKS, where he was named Ambassador for Active Kids. In addition, he has a non-profit, Sparking Life, with a mission to promote exercise in the treatment of mental health challenges. 

While he enjoys writing and lecturing, first and foremost, John is a Psychiatrist who cares deeply about his patients. Recognized by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America since 1997, in 2016 he was honored as “Outstanding Psychiatrist of the Year for Advancing the Field” by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. Married, with two children and two grandchildren, Dr. Ratey maintains a private practice in both Cambridge, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California. 


Dr. Vincent Fortanasce is certified by the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Clinical and  Associate  Professor  of  Neurology at USC. He trained at The Institute of Living, an affiliate hospital of Yale University; Nassau Hospital, an affiliate hospital of Cornell University; and at the USC Medical Center. He is a nationally recognized bio-ethicist, author and radio host. LA Magazine selected him as “The Physician for Physicians” and he has been ranked as one of the best physicians in America.

Dr. Fortanasce has treated high-profile individuals such as Pope John Paul II and MLB Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, as well as many other MLB, NFL, and PGA athletes. His outstanding contributions to the medical field and the community have been recognized by President Bill Clinton, Governor Pete Wilson, Representative Drier, and Senators Feinstein, Boxer, and Margett. He is a former board member of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and Law and Medical Combined Board of Ethics.

He has lectured at Stanford University and The Institute of Living at Yale. Dr. Fortanasce was twice named Outstanding Lecturer of the Year at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine for his lessons on the spine, lower back, Alzheimer’s disease, Sleep Apnea, neck disorders, and sleep disorders.

Dr. Fortanasce has published numerous articles and six successful trade books.

The Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription has been hailed as the first comprehensive book to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. His DEAR Program can be attended every Tuesday at 6pm in his office. His most recent work, End Back and Neck Pain, is a patient empowerment book designed to assist people in the diagnosis and prevention of back pain. Athletes throughout the United States and Europe consult him for spinal pain and neuromuscular injuries. He served as the Chief Neurological Spine Consultant for 20 years at USC, St. Vincent’s Spine Center, the Marina Spine Center, and Casa Colina Hospital. He was the Director of Rehabilitation at Methodist Hospital for 27 years.

Dr. Fortanasce has appeared on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Dr. Phil,

Dateline, Good Morning America, CNN’s Paula Zahn Now, Hardball with Chris Matthews, XM Satellite radio and scores of national and local television and radio shows. He has been quoted in Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, in addition to hundreds of other publications.

He is a gold medalist in the Junior Olympics and a 1964 Olympic athlete. In 1994, he was inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame with Tom Seaver and Nolan   Ryan. His Life Lessons from Little League and Life Lessons from Soccer are two of the very few books officially recommended by Little League International and the AYSO.

Dr. Fortanasce and his family reside in Southern California.

Dr Jim Sears


Dr. Jim Sears is a major contributor to the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.  He earned his medical degree at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1996 and completed his pediatric residency at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, The Children’s Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio in 1999. During his residency, he received the honor of “emergency medicine resident of the year.”

o Dr. Jim Sears is a pediatrician best known as co-host of the Emmy Award-winning informational talk show The Doctors. He is a best-selling author and motivational speaker. Dr. Jim has been featured on Parenting.com’s Ask the Experts, and has written for Parenting and BabyTalk magazine. Dr Sears’ medical advice has been featured on Dr. Phil and the PBS parenting series, Help Me Grow. Dr. Jim is an active contributor to AskDrSears.com. He is co-author of The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood, Father’s First Steps – Twenty-Five Things Every New Father Should Know, The Baby Book, among others. Dr. Jim frequently travels the country speaking about the importance of good family nutrition.