Doing more for the Himalayan peoples and their cultures.

This volunteer NGO project looks very good to me. I don’t personally know anyone working with them, and I’m not sure how I came to be on their mailing list, but I’m glad I am; they all look like peeps I’d like to have as friends. Take a look at what they are doing to help the people of Nepal and surrounding areas.  –Sky

About Us

Himalaya Project is a Chicago-based non-profit organization consisting of 5 volunteer board members who share the wish to provide education and public health to an entire district of Nepal. We see the benefit of preserving Himalayan culture and its medical practices so that they may directly benefit our friends in Dolpo and so the medical traditions are not lost.

Board of Directors

Mark Sobralske
Executive Director

Mark Sobralske is a practitioner of Chinese medicine, studies Tibetan language at the University of Chicago, and is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. With the changes of the last 50 years in Dolpo, Nepal, Mark recognizes the value in preserving the unique cultural heritage of Himalayan medicine in the trans-Himalayan region. Mark is inspired by the talent and experience of the board of directors and the advisory board and finds it a privilege to learn from and work with them.
Kenny Wong

Kenny Wong is Secretary for Himalaya Project. He strongly believes in the organization’s mission of self-empowerment through education, traditional healthcare, and the preservation of a way of being. He studied philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he read books and cut hair to fundraise for Nepal’s earthquake relief and Himalaya Project. He has previously worked with two nonprofits in education – Chicago’s Peace Corner Youth Center and the Jacaranda School in Malawi.
Mason Stabler
Treasurer and Social Media Director

Mason Stabler joined the board of directors of Himalaya Project in 2014. He is a fourth year student at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine where he will receive his masters of science in acupuncture and oriental medicine. He received his BA in biology from Kenyon College.
Dr. Lori Howell
Education Director

Drawing on a background in academia, Dr. Lori Howell focuses on the design, implementation, program evaluation and student learning for our school for Himalayan medicine. Dr. Howell is an advocate for education, healthcare, and the preservation of traditional medicine. She is a member of Illinois Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ILAAOM), International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine (IASTAM), and Association of Traditional Medicine Chiangmai Northern Thailand (ATMCNT). Dr. Howell practices traditional Chinese medicine and is Associate Professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Shristi Dugar
Board Member

Shristi Dugar is a Nepalese freshman at Northwestern University studying Material Science and Engineering and Economics. She is passionate about teaching self-sufficiency to communities lacking basic necessities like electricity, water and healthcare. Her passion for social entrepreneurship motivates her work with Himalaya Project. She is actively involved in social initiatives in Nepal, focusing on reconstruction and rehabilitation after the April 2015 earthquake and women and youth empowerment. She wants to participate in Himalaya Project to learn, grow and help provide the Dolpo community self-sustaining medical education and healthcare.
Hannah Kupferschmid
Board Member

Hannah Kupferschmid is in her first year at the University of Chicago studying Global Studies and South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Her interest in Global Health and the Tibetan language led her to the Himalaya Project, and she is excited to be a member of the team. Hannah has volunteered for the non-profit “For Hearts & Souls” in Iraqi Kurdistan, and she is looking forward to helping the people of Dolpo preserve their traditions and gain access to medical education.

Advisory Board

Himalaya Project’s Advisory Board provides strategic advice and support to the Board of Directors in areas of expertise including navigating the education and medical communities in Nepal and the trans-Himalayan region, non-profit organization and management, fiduciary responsibility and accountability, clarity of communication to Nepalese and north American audiences, brand recognition, strategic planning, marketing, and team building.

Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche
Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche was born in Dho Tarap, Dolpo in 1982 and recognized as the third reincarnation of Dolpo Nyinchung Tulku Rinpoche. He received early monastic training in Namdroling Monstery, India and entered Nyingma Ngagyur Institute at age 15, distinguishing himself in Tibetan literature, poetry, history and Buddhist studies. In 2007 he was became a full-fledged teacher at the Institute. He is the subject of an award-winning documentary “Dolpo Tulku-Return to the Himalayas.” Currently, he travels throughout Asia and Europe teaching Buddhist philosophy, conducting seminars and raising awareness about the needs of people in Dolpo. He founded The Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation in 2010 to promote protection of the environment and culture, improve healthcare and promote integration of modern and traditional education.
Amchi Namgyal Rinpoche
Dr. Namgyal Rinpoche serves the people of Dho-Tarap, Dolpo running an herbal clinic, teaching meditation and conducting healing rituals. He received his initial teaching through the lineage of his grandfather, Lama Gartung Rinpoche and received the traditional Medicine Buddha empowerment from Ghagar Rinpoche, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and His Eminence Shechen Rapjam Rinpoche. Namgyal Rinpoche founded Dolpo Mentsee Khang in conjunction with the WWF Nepal initiative for cultural and natural preservation of the Tibetan culture in the Dho-Tarap Valley. He is the current President of the Dolpo Amchi Association, Chairman of the National Himalayan Amchi Association and advocates for recognition of Himalayan Medicine as a primary healthcare resource in Nepal.
Amchi Ngawang Thinley
Dr. Ngawang Thinley has directed the Tibetan Medicine Department at Shechen Clinic and Hospice in Boudhanath, Nepal since 2000. Born in Thimphu, Bhutan in 1975, Ngawang attended Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute in Darjeeling, India. Following his studies, Ngawang helped set up a Tibetan medicine clinic at his alma mater. In 1998 he helped to create Shechen Rabjam Public Trust Project, a mobile clinic providing free health services to 46 destitute villages in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. Inspired by his mother to pursue a career in medicine, Dr. Ngawang Thinley treats the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of his patients whose illnesses range from the common cold to incurable cancer.
Dr. Yangbum Gyal
Dr. Yangbum Gyal is a traditional Tibetan medical doctor and licensed acupuncturist currently practicing at Human Nature in Madison, WI, Medicine Buddha Healing Center in Spring Green, WI and Life Force Healing Center in Evanston, IL. An accomplished translator and teacher of the Tibetan language, Dr. Gyal has taught language and Tibetan medicine at Indiana University-Bloomington, authored the Tibetan Medical Dietary Book: Vol I, The Potency and Preparation of Vegetables and translated One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn into Tibetan. Dr. Gyal is also working as a training officer focusing on translation and interpretation at the Cultural Linguistic Service, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
Sienna Radha Craig, Ph.D.
Sienna Radha Craig is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. She is co-editor of Himalaya, the journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies and chairs the Medical Advisory Board for One Heart World-Wide. She co-founded DROKPA in 1998, a non-profit whose mission is to partner with pastoral communities in the Himalayas and Central Asia to implement grassroots development and catalyze social entrepreneurship. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at Cornell University in 2006. The major focus of Sienna’s research, writing and teaching is the investigation of contemporary Tibetan medicine as a globalizing “complementary and alternative” medicine. She has published widely – from scholarly articles to poetry, creative non-fiction and journalism to children’s literature.
Matthew R. Barton, CPA
Matthew R. Barton, CPA is a partner at Weinberg, Barton & Company, a public accounting firm specializing in tax and strategic financial planning for small to mid-size business. Matt is a graduate of Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina where he received his BBA in Accounting while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune. Matt serves on the board for Evanston American Youth Soccer Organization, Warren W. Cherry Preschool and Curt’s Café, Evanston.
Dylan Lott
Dylan Lott is an Instructor and doctoral candidate in anthropology at University of Illinois at Chicago. His research examines the development of emerging neuroimaging research fields and technology sectors within South and East Asia. In addition to his work with the Himalaya Project he is—with the support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation—working to preserve and repatriate the linguistic materials and tribal artifacts of the Parintintin, an indigenous people of Brazil.
Stephen B. Starr
Stephen Starr is Principal of Stephen B. Starr Design, Inc., a design and communication consultancy in Evanston, IL. Stephen is a former president of the Chicago Creative Coalition, organizer for the Chicago Weekly Sitting Meditation Group and founder and organizer of the Chicago Web Professionals. Stephen designs web-based and print communication and edits language for north American audiences for Himalaya Project. He is interested in the wisdom of indigenous spiritual traditions and its evolution in the unfolding story of human life.
Diane Testa
Diane A. Testa, M.A., is founder and president of Koi Consulting Group, Inc., which offers business, marketing and leadership consulting services. Diane is passionate about her mission—enabling people and organizations to live their purpose and move forward with clarity, strength and courage. She remains behind the scenes of the Himalaya Project, helping with strategic planning, marketing strategy, and team building. She is most interested in helping to educate the western allopathic world about the ancient wisdom of eastern medicine and to ensure the people of Dolpo receive basic medical education and health care.






Moving Closer to School Opening | Possible Partnerships | Site

Moving Closer to School Opening | Possible Partnerships | Site Visits

Since raising the funds to start our vocational school for Tibetan medicine in 2015, it has been a long and winding path to move forward with our project; certainly not a straight line to the top of the mountain for our team!

In the past year, we had a number of obstacles put in our path including things not happening as planned with the original partner organization that we intended to work with in Nepal from the beginning. Fortunately, all of these obstacles occurred early and so we have been able to explore other options in terms of partner organizations.

Now, after learning a few things, we feel like we are in a better position than we were originally when we first began. Sometimes it works out like that and in the end its all for the best. Though it has taken us more time, we are talking to multiple possible partner organizations in Nepal which have a similar mission and vision as ours and things are finally looking up and better than we could have ever imagined in the beginning.

Hopefully soon, we’ll have a memorandum of understanding with these organizations in hand, and we can begin to share all the details of our partnership with you! And finally, the next step after the partnership piece is solidified, we’ll plan to open the school.

To bring us to this point, in 2017, a few of our board members travelled to Nepal at various times to attend meetings with the new potential partners.

Lhakpa Tsering, our Himalaya Project field coordinator has been indispensable in arranging meetings, and negotiating the terms of the potential memorandum(s) of understanding we are pursuing.

In just a few days, Lhakpa will head to Dolpo with a group from the Nomads Clinic, led by Upaya Zen Buddhist teacher, Joan Halifax, in order to offer free check ups and healthcare to the local people from their team of experts. Read more about the Nomads Clinic and Upaya Zen Center here.

As our field coordinator, he also happens to be stopping in the village in which our school may soon be located. Lhakpa will perform a site visit and have a few meetings with the school staff regarding our potential collaboration. Exciting things to come!


Introducing Our Newest Board Member | Hannah Kupferschmid

We are so excited to introduce to you our newest Board Member, Hannah Kupferschmid, who joined the team in March of this year!

Hannah is beginning her second year at the University of Chicago studying Global Studies and South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Hannah’s passion for Global Health stems from her experience volunteering in Iraq in 2016 through For Hearts and Souls, a non-profit organization that sends a team of doctors to developing countries to conduct heart surgeries. Additionally, Hannah became interested in Tibetan medicine after taking a year of the Tibetan language in college and traveling to Tibet this summer to learn about Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism art.

Outside of academia, Hannah enjoys running outdoors, hiking, reading historical fiction novels, and traveling to new places to learn about their cultures.

Welcome, Hannah! We couldn’t be more proud and pleased to have you on our team.

Get To Know Our Board of Directors

While most of our Board has remained the same over the past year, there are some slight changes. We hail from across the country and globe, which is why our board meetings have recently migrated from in-person to online, Google Hangouts.

Here are some quick facts about our hardworking and talented team!

Mark Sobralske: Mark is a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, enjoys motorcycling, Tibetan Buddhist meditation, and is passionate about providing health care and education to underserved rural areas.

Dr. Lori Howell: A learned scholar on Chinese Medicine, Dr. Howell teaches courses relating to this subject at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine – Chicago and has a private acupuncture practice in Evanston called In Fine Fettle. Lori also likes traveling and has studied in both China and Thailand.

Kenny Wong: A 2016 graduate of the University of Chicago with degrees in Philosophy and International Studies, Kenny now works at Innosight in Boston. Kenny has interests in design, cutting hair (which he did to raise money for the 2015 Nepal earthquake), and rock-climbing.

Mason Stabler: After graduating from Kenyon College with a degree in biology, Mason studied acupuncture at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. In addition to practicing acupuncture in Vermont, Mason enjoys foraging for medicinal and edible mushrooms, and has found many types this summer, including Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Chaga.

Shristi Dugar: Shristi is a rising junior at Northwestern University and studies material science, engineering, and economics. She is from Kathmandu, Nepal, and has greatly helped the Himalaya Project gain contacts in the region. Most recently, Shristi has joined Jeffery Snyder Group as a research intern in the field of thermoelectrics.

Hannah Kupferschmid: From Dallas, Hannah will be a second year at the University of Chicago. While her biography is above, another interesting fact about Hannah is that she was born in Guam, a small island in the Micronesia, and enjoys going back to visit.

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