RMT Faculty

Our core faculty consists of many talented individuals with a diversity of teaching and clinical experiences. The majority of our staff live in Nelson and the surrounding areas but, from time to time, we may also call on visiting faculty from other parts of BC. We will be drawing on instructors who have a strong relationship with the subject material, in particular, those faculty teaching the academic medical sciences. Our massage therapy practical staff are primarily local RMTs with both teaching and clinical experience who are all in good standing with the CMTBC.


James | TCM Faculty | KCCIHS

Dr. James Reddy Kakulavaram, BPT, M.Sc. Anatomy, MD

Dean/ Biomedical Sciences Instructor dean@kootenaycolumbiacollege.com Dr. James has 15 years of international teaching experience. His passion to teach and share medical knowledge has led him to graduate in Bachelors of Physical Therapy (4 ½ years) in 2004 and Masters in Medical Anatomy (3 years) in 2008 from Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Andhra Pradesh, India. Dr. James was bestowed M.D degree with Magna Cum Laude in 2015 from Southwestern University School of Medicine, Cebu, Philippines. In 2011 he founded Anatomy Study Club at SWU. In 2015 he was awarded Best in Leadership and a plaque for his contribution to Anatomy Study Club. His strong academics and enlightening experience in education have helped him to develop innovative concepts in teaching medical and paramedical subjects. In 2015 he moved to Canada and studied French for a year in Gatineau while working as free-lance Anatomist in Ottawa. He also gives online courses for Medical & paramedical, NPTE, USMLE and MCI. In 2016 he moved to Nelson to take up his new assignment at KCCIHS to make learning simple and easy. His teaching principle – “It’s not enough to know, one must understand!”


Veronika Loffelmannova, M.A.

Admin Director / Program Manager admindirector@kootenaycolumbiacollege.com Veronika has over 15 years of international experience working in managerial positions across Europe and Asia. For several years, she worked on European projects supporting hearing-impaired students. She has gained a Master’s degree in Education in the Czech Republic and after completing education courses in BC, she has received the BC Teacher Certificate. During her travels, she visited different countries around the world but she chose to settle down in Nelson with her family.


Lilith Swetland

Administrator admin@kootenaycolumbiacollege.comLilith comes to KCCIHS with a strong background in administration and communications. She has a lifelong interest in a holistic approach to health. Her wilderness farm upbringing gave her the opportunity to learn firsthand about the importance of knowing how to maintain the health of humans and the critters.
Lilith holds a Diploma in Computer Information Systems from Selkirk College and a Bachelor of Commerce from Royal Roads University and has spent a number of years working in administrative roles in academic and medical-related organizations. These skills enable her to be of support to students, faculty, and fellow staff in her role as Administrator.


Jennifer Garrison

Jennifer has years of experience in academia and holds a PhD from the University of Hawaii, a MSc from the University of British Columbia, and a BSc from the University of California at Davis, all in Zoology (Animal Biology). She also has a Diploma in Jewelry and Metal Sculpture Arts from Selkirk College.


Mary | TCM Faculty | KCCIHS

Mary Devan MA, Instructor: Counselling and Communication

Mary received her Masters of Arts degree from UBC in 1989, and her Masters in Counseling from Gonzaga University in 2008. Currently also working as a therapist in private practice and a clinical supervisor of a multi-service agency, Mary has 20 years experience working with people healing from trauma. Mary has facilitated several groups and presented at conferences and numerous workshops both locally and in Vancouver. She has experience with various therapeutic modalities and is a Somatic Experiencing practitioner.

Wendy Birks, RMT, Instructor at KCCIHS

Wendy Birks, RMT, Instructor

Wendy graduated in 1990 from the Sutherland Chan Massage School in Toronto, Ontario. She returned as an instructor about 2 years later and was a valued faculty member there until her recent move to Nelson. Areas of specialty and interest include ethics, professionalism, and legislation. She is also fascinated by the mind-body connection and loves to discuss where massage fits in for people who are looking to heal or enhance this connection. Wendy has worked a home-based practice for over 2 decades and has also had the opportunity to work in a hospital setting, a multi-disciplinary clinic, and a spa. As well as teaching in the classroom, Wendy has also enjoyed working with students in clinical settings, especially working with patients in their senior years, people living with HIV, and those who have cognitive impairments. She would describe her teaching style as collaborative, participatory, and encouraging.

Dr Kevin Underwood, RMT Program Faculty

Dr Kevin Underwood, Chiropractor (retired), Director of Health Sciences, Instructor, Anatomy and Physiology, Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Kinesiology, Anthrology

Kevin graduated in 1985 from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto at which time he entered private practice in Nelson until 2016. He spends his free-time taking photographs, playing hockey, volunteering with the Rotary Club and Touchstones Museum & Art Gallery.

Deanna McClure RMT Faculty KCCIHS

Deanna McClure RMT, Clinical Manager / Supervisor, Program Development

Deanna McClure has lived in Nelson since 2004 with her husband and two children. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology with a major in Gerontology as well as duly registered in Ontario and British Columbia as a Registered Massage Therapist. She has been practicing massage therapy since 2000 and been involved in her own private practice, a rowing club, hospital care, heli-skiing operations, multidisciplinary clinics and spas. She enjoys time kayaking, reading, camping, travelling and cooking Asian cuisine. Her favourite motto is “don’t chase the pain.”

Forrest MacIvor | KCCIHS RMT Faculty

Forrest Mac Ivor RMT, Instructor Massage Skills, Advanced Techniques/Myofascial Techniques

Originally from Oregon, Forrest specializes in myofascial mobilization using an assortment of techniques including myofascial release, joint mobilizations, neuromuscular therapy, craniosacral, muscle energy, and visceral manipulation. He focuses primarily on realignment to the osseous structures and balancing connective tissue restrictions. Forrest grew up with a mother who practiced massage therapy and he himself graduated from Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy in 2007. Soon after, he moved to the Kootenays and this has been home ever since. He is passionate about teaching and sharing his many years of experience.

nitu karmacharya

Dr. Nitu Karmacharya, B.Sc. Biology, MD, Instructor

Dr. Nitu graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Southwestern University, Cebu, Philippines in 2012, and received her Doctor of Medicine degree from Emilio Aguinaldo College, Manila, Philippines in 2016 and completed her Postgraduate Internship in EAC Medical Center, Cavite, Philippines in 2017.
She worked as a Medical Officer in Madhyapur Hospital, Bhaktapur, Nepal in 2018. She moved to Nelson and has been teaching in KCCIHS since 2019.
She has 7 years of International and Canadian teaching experience.
She has always been passionate about helping others. She has volunteered in multiple health camps, study clubs, red cross and was an active scout member for 9 years.
Her passion for health and medicine has led her to join KCCIHS. She teaches biomedical sciences and research.


Lizette Tucker, RMT, Program Coordinator, Instructor

Lizette comes to Kootenay Columbia College of Integrative Health Sciences (KCCIHS) with many years experience as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). She has been practicing since 1999 and has taken numerous post-graduate courses through the College of Massage Therapists of BC (CMTBC) over the past 24 years. This training has included courses in Osteopathic Techniques through the Barral Institute, She has also attended many RMTBC symposiums, Conferences and workshops ranging from Myofascial System, Pain Science and other Rehabilitative and Mental Health.

In addition to her clinical experience and training, Lizette currently sits on the board of the Registered Massage Therapists of BC (RMTBC) and was previously a board member of the CMTBC. This brings a solid foundational knowledge of the requirements of massage therapy as a Regulated Health Care Provider.

As the clinic owner since 2012 of Trail Integral Therapeutics, Lizette is well-versed in the business of massage therapy.

She enjoys being an instructor, using her experience and training to help fulfill the foundational knowledge that is needed as a new grad to become a solid clinician and completing the Registration requirement examination.

Lizette enjoys being a massage therapy nerd, answering questions for the profession of massage therapy and being a mentor and instructor.

Sevrin Baker1

Sevrin Baker, Instructor

Sevrin has been practicing for 19 years in the field of Wellness and Kinesiology. He analyzes posture, breathing and movement to determine the underlying habits that are the actual cause of pain and dysfunction in his clients. He uses this information and the plasticity of the brain to reprogram our bodies to be more efficient and mechanically advantageous rather than treat the symptoms specifically. Sevrin strives to help people understand how they came to be in their current predicament through their previous activities and habits. He educates them as to what is a more ideal and efficient way to move and exercise. The concept of grounding, integration of the unconscious / autonomic system using intent, and the emotional and psychological components around injury and recovery are introduced. Tools to address these concepts are either provided or the client is referred to an affiliated specialist. The end goal being to provide them with the tools to understand and correct current and future problems on their own. He has been running a private business since 2010, Co-Instructed a 5th year elective for 4 years at the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences, and currently Instructs in the RMT program at the Kootenay Columbia College of Integrated Sciences.

Alison Aspen

Alison Aspen, RMT, DOMP, Instructor

Alison Aspen graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in 2007. She has worked in a variety of settings including owning a small multidisciplinary clinic from 2013-2020. In 2015 Alison felt pulled to explore a deeper level of education and enrolled in the five-year Manual Osteopath program in Vancouver B.C. Alison completed the program in 2020 and is now dually licensed as an R.M.T. and D.O.M.P. in British Columbia. During the five-year program Alison often found herself explaining concepts to her classmates during study group. This role felt natural to her and ultimately what drew her to the college. Alison customizes her treatments specifically to the individual with an understanding that each patient has a unique story physically, emotionally and spiritually. Alison believes that if the structures are free to move within the body, then the function will be optimized. Alison has recently relocated to the Nelson area and is excited to be a part of the KCCIHS team and looks forward to sharing her experience and knowledge with the students.

Kashka Zerafa Bio

Kashka Zefara RMT, Instructor

Kashka Zerafa has been a RMT since 2011 and was invited to teach within RMT college programs two years later. She has had a full time practice in medical clinics and multidisciplinary settings since graduation. Has participated in massage research studies and travelled internationally with a team of practitioners to treat children and teach paediatric massage as a volunteer. While abroad she has also treated palliative patients coordinated by a hospice program in a team with a Doctor and nurse doing homecare support visits. She’s is happy to join the KCCHS team with a passionate enthusiasm for the profession. She enjoys being around the drive of students and fostering the pursuit of knowledge and skill.

Lesley Usiskin

Lesley Usiskin BCST, RCST, Instructor

Lesley is a long-time resident of Nelson. In 1986, after a tragic accident changed the course of her life, Lesley began exploring alternative routes to healing, especially modalities that considered the health of the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. She took to the woods where she pursued avid study while raising 4 children in ‘back to the land’ style. She is a certified Rebalancing Body Worker, Yoga teacher, and Early Childhood Education Assistant, has a diploma in Social Service work, and completed a mastery level year of intensive study in Vocal Improv. Her most recent certification, that of a Registered Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist is the culmination of a lifetime of learning. Lesley is passionate about BSCT, its subtle, compassionate foundation, its holistic paradigm, and its potential to support transformational shifts within a client’s system. She is inspired to share the principles of this work with clients and students alike.

PAC Program Advisory Committee

The Program Advisory Council is responsible for providing advice on the creation and maintenance of our educational programs. It advises on the needs of potential RMT employers, advances in workplace technology, promotional activities, and potential partnerships for in-reach and out-reach clinics . The membership of the committee is designed to ensure that KCRMTP receives the benefit of diverse and relevant perspectives related to its specific programming.
  • Bisman Arora: BA, CEO & owner, Excel Career College
  • Lori Barkley: MA, Anthropologist
  • Marni Beninger: BA, owner/operator of Mountain Waters Spa in Nelson BC
  • Rose Hoeher: Local business & technology consultant
  • Brent Helgren, RMT and KCCIHS Alumni
  • Deanna McClure: BA, RMT, Head Supervisor of KCRMTP
  • Veronika Loffelmannova: Admin Director, Clinic Manager KCRMTP
  • Joanne Sinclaire: TCMP, BGSc
  • Lilith Swetland, BCom, KCCIHS Administrator