Liza Rankow

I am an interfaith minister and the founding director of OneLife Institute, an Oakland, CA-based nonprofit organization working at the intersection of spirituality and social transformation. I have provided counseling and offered classes and workshops in spiritual development for over 20 years, in both community and academic settings. As a scholar and activist, my main interest is exploring the powerful synergy between spirituality and social change. I maintain a special emphasis in the life and work of Dr. Howard Thurman.

I am the producer and co-editor of the six-CD archival audio collection, “The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman” (Sounds True, 2010), a CD project exploring the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Triumph of the Human Spirit (2001), and Inner Oasis guided meditations for healing and renewal (2011). Print publications include essays in the Journal of Religious Thought, Pastoral Psychology, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation Magazine in addition to articles in the medical literature and popular press. Currently I’m working on a book examining the theological and paradigmatic context of “mystic-activism” from an interfaith perspective, and offering practical applications of this wisdom for the critical issues of the present day.

In my previous professional life, I practiced as a PA in pediatric hematology-oncology at Duke Hospital, and from there moved into community health research and education, particularly related to LGBT issues. I worked as a trainer and consultant for medical professionals, Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) agencies, and community based organizations in the provision of culturally competent care to diverse populations, and developed extensive resources for community and professional education.

I regard the classroom as sacred space, and seek to create a compassionate community among the circle of learners in each course – whether in person or online. In addition to the intellectual content, my classes emphasize personal and spiritual development and a commitment to social justice.