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Green Leaves

Dr. Liza J. Rankow is an interfaith minister, educator, activist, and writer. Her lifework centers the deep healing that is essential to personal and social transformation. Liza is the founder and former Executive Director of OneLife Institute, an organization that served for 17 years to support the wellbeing of frontline change-makers.

Liza has been a spiritual counselor and teacher for more than three decades. She works with individual clients, facilitates healing retreats, and offers classes and workshops in a variety of community and academic settings. Her topics include: Mysticism & Social Change, Sustaining the Soul of Activism, Deepening the Well (multifaith spiritual formation), and several different courses on the life and work of Dr. Howard Thurman. She is the producer and co-editor of the six-CD audio collection, The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman (Sounds True, 2010).

Previously, Liza practiced as a clinical PA in pediatric hematology-oncology at Duke Hospital. From there she moved into community health research and education, particularly related to LGBTQ+ issues. Liza was the project director on one of the first three federal pilot grants awarded under the Women’s Health Initiative to study the health of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women. Her professional publications and resource materials contributed to defining this then-emerging field.

One of Liza’s most profound influences has been her journey with chronic life-threatening illness. It cultivated a spiritual wisdom within her that informs her work with others, and gave her life a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Her intimacy with suffering allows her to engage the suffering of the world with a sacred tenderness.

Her publications include anthologized essays, creative nonfiction, and poetry, and academic articles in both theological and medical journals. She is currently completing her first full-length book.


Liza holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Transformation from Union Institute & University, Bachelors and Masters degrees in Health Sciences from Duke University School of Medicine, and a B.A. in Human Development from Hampshire College.


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©Vaschelle Andre

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