Our Certified Instructors

We are proud of our certified instructors! See their bios below.

Congratulations to our 2020 class of certified instructors!

  • Leslie A. Barnes
  • Alisa Bright
  • Jennifer Buras
  • Kim Canova-Romans
  • Temeisha Frazier-Wilson
  • Jennifer Fultz
  • Carol Gardner
  • Deborah Hamilton
  • Kerry Harmon
  • Ryan Keyes
  • Jessica Larson
  • Charles "Clebert" LeBlanc
  • Amber Lee
  • Lars Lifrak
  • Katherine McDonald
  • Taylor Pendleton
  • Jennifer Thompson
  • Lindsey Rainier
  • Julieth Williams
  • Saiah Yates


Alisa Bright

Alisa Bright is a social worker at the New Orleans VA Medical Center. She has been practicing Tai Chi for three years and finds her Tai Chi practice critical to her wellness. She provides Tai Chi classes to Veterans in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center and collaborates with other providers at the VA to offer lunch sessions to employees.

Jennifer Buras

Jennifer Buras, LCSW-BACS is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker serving Veterans at the New Orleans VA Medical Center (SLVHCS). Jennifer primarily serves as Education and Training Coordinator for Social Work Service, training MSW interns and licensed Social Workers for the service, in addition to running a small clinic in Ambulatory Mental Health, focused on trauma-informed therapies. Since 2018, Jennifer leads the Tai Chi for Managing Anxiety and PTSD group in the Ambulatory Mental Health Clinic. Along with two colleagues, Jennifer developed this 12 week group focused on arming Veterans with the holistic practice of adaptive Tai Chi, breathwork, and mindfulness, to combat symptoms of anxiety. Jennifer also participates in the weekly Employee Tai Chi program at SLVHCS. Jennifer serves on the SLVHCS Whole Health Steering Committee, the VISN 16 Whole Health Steering Committee, and Jennifer is one of two Network Education Coordinators for Whole Health for VISN 16, where she trains and strategizes with sites across VISN 16 in the best practice delivery care model of Whole Health for our Veterans.

Kerry "Ytai" Harmon

Kerry is a native of Newnan, Georgia. He has studied various styles of martial arts since the age of ten years. He has achieved black belt level in several martial arts systems. He came to realize “Total Wellness” involves the development of Spirit, Mind and Body. For this cause, Kerry adopted the philosophy: “Creating Change from Within.” Kerry is also, a certified tai chi instructor. Kerry currently works at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center Martinsburg, West Virginia as a recreational therapy assistant (RTA). He works with veteran of all various war era, using Tai Chi and Qi Gong as a complementary and diversional approach to pain management for mentally and physically challenged veterans. To date, Kerry has worked with 823 Outpatients, 976 Inpatients and 423 Unique to the clinic veterans and completed 2,124 encounters (hours). Kerry works with veterans in a one to one, group and/or Veterans Video Connect (VVC) format. Since 2018, Jennifer leads the Tai Chi for Managing Anxiety and PTSD group in the Ambulatory Mental Health Clinic. Along with two colleagues, Jennifer developed this 12 week group focused on arming Veterans with the holistic practice of adaptive Tai Chi, breathwork, and mindfulness, to combat symptoms of anxiety. Jennifer also participates in the weekly Employee Tai Chi program at SLVHCS. Jennifer serves on the SLVHCS Whole Health Steering Committee, the VISN 16 Whole Health Steering Committee, and Jennifer is one of two Network Education Coordinators for Whole Health for VISN 16, where she trains and strategizes with sites across VISN 16 in the best practice delivery care model of Whole Health for our Veterans.

Amber Lee

Amber Lee works for Gateway Chapter, Paralyzed Veterans of America (GPVA) - a 501c3 non-profit organization. GPVA works closely with the SCI/D Unit at the Jefferson Barracks VA in St. Louis. Amber has had the privilege of teaching adaptive Tai Chi to inpatients and outpatients of the SCI/D as a volunteer of the SCI/D Recreation Therapy department, as well as leading classes at the Annual Veterans Outdoor Adventures at Trout Lodge event.

Katherine McDonald

Katherine (Kat) is an instructor at the St. Louis VAMC (Jefferson Barracks) in the spinal cord injury and dysfunction (SCI) department and has been doing Adaptive Tai Chi since 2019 and became certified in 2020. She is also a certified yoga instructor and leads yoga classes for this population along with stretch & strengthening classes.

Taylor Pendleton

Taylor is a Recreational Therapist working at the Harry S Truman VA in Columbia, Missouri, and primarily works on the Community Living Center with Long Term Care veterans. Taylor has offered Tai Chi to these veterans in 1:1 settings and in group settings. Taylor have also offered Tai Chi to the inpatient psych units when the opportunity arises. Taylor is originally from Elgin, Oklahoma and has worked at the Oklahoma City VA in the Recreational Therapy department for a short internship before receiving a certification in recreational therapy. Taylor has been in MO since January 2016, and met her husband at her first RT job in MO. They have been together 5 years and have identical twin boys who were born at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and will be one March 2021.

Saiah Yates

Saiah Yates is an orthopedic and pelvic health physical therapist who has worked within the Loch VA medical center for 3 years. She has been teaching Tai Chi for ~1.5 years, and became a certified instructor in 2020. She enjoys leading combination seated and standing Tai Chi classes for outpatient veterans with varied medical backgrounds, from chronic pain presentations to neurologic and oncologic challenges, all are welcome. QiGong, extensive stretching and gentle strengthening are all incorporated within the classes. Saiah enjoys dancing (various styles: ballet, salsa, etc.), reading, and has recently taken an interest in cycling.