Representatives and Committee Chairs
Ben Carron, M.D., State Legislative Representative
Dr. Benjamin Carron graduated Summa cum laude with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2008 from the University of Colorado. He received his medical degree in 2015 from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Dr. Carron is currently in his senior year of adult psychiatry residency at UCSD and is also the Chief Resident for the Outpatient Psychiatric Services in Hillcrest and Community Psychiatry Program Track. He has been on council since 2017.
In 2017, he received the “Best Team Player Award” from UCSD. He was also the recipient of the Irwin I Rosenfeld, M.D. Endowed Award for the Outstanding Student in Psychiatry from the Medical College of Wisconsin (2015); Gold Humanism Honor Society (2014); Civilian Appreciation Award from the Clement J Zablock VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI (2012) and the Dr. Elaine Kohler Summer Academy of Global Health Research Scholar from the Medical College of Wisconsin (2011).
He serves on council because creating positive change is multidimensional, occurring from the individual level to the system level.
stephanie martinez, m.D., Resident-Fellow co-Representative
Stephanie Martinez, M.D., is a resident physician at UC San Diego. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and then continued her medical education at University of Nevada School of Medicine. There, she was the Vice President of her medical school class in Las Vegas, and she became a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. While in medical school, she also became involved with teaching and mentoring activities, which included working with more junior medical students. Stephanie would also engage with high school students in order to spark their interest in science and guide them to a path in medicine. Additionally, she often worked with the underserved community and has a wide array of special interests in psychiatry which includes community psychiatry and college mental health.
Eric Rafla-Yuan, M.D., Resident-Fellow co-Representative
Eric Rafla-Yuan, M.D., is currently a resident physician in the University of California San Diego Psychiatry Training Program. He graduated in 2016 from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he also completed a Certificate in Biomedical Ethics at the Vanderbilt Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. He received his bachelor’s degree from Chapman University where he studied biology and chemistry. He has a special interest in examining the way that culture influences health policy and decision-making and the relationship between ethics, policy, and the law. He has been an active member in both organized and academic psychiatry—currently serving as the resident-fellow representative of the San Diego Psychiatric Society branch of the APA as well as the resident chair of the bioethics group of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. He is an award-winning researcher and is actively involved in multiple research projects in the fields of forensic psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and biomedical ethics.
Maria Tiamson-Kassab, M.D., DFAPA, FAPM, Assembly Representative
Dr. Maria Tiamson-Kassab is a clinician, educator and administrator who has made and continues to make significant contributions to the clinical and academic aspects of psychiatry. She has written articles and has made many national and regional presentations on various topics in Psychiatry and Consultation-Liaison or Psychosomatic Medicine. She has authored a "Practical Guide to Psychosomatic Medicine" and wrote chapters in a book on Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr. Tiamson-Kassab has made outstanding contributions to the Department of Psychiatry at New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center and moved to the VA, initially in Hudson Valley, New York where she received the VA Secretary Hands and Heart Award and then at the San Diego VA Healthcare System. At the San Diego VA, she oversaw the Acute and Intensive Care Services and was the Associate Chief of Psychiatry.
Dr. Tiamson-Kassab is currently the Director of Psychiatry and Psychosocial Services at UCSD Moores Cancer Center and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD. In addition, she is a member of the UCSD Physician Well-being Committee and the H.E.A.R. Committee.
She is also a Fellow of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and a member of the council of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine where she is the Chair of the Membership Standing Committee. Dr. Tiamson-Kassab was a past President of the Psychiatric Society of Westchester in New York and their former Assembly Representative to the APA.
Dr. Tiamson-Kassab was member of the SDPS Executive Council from 2013-15. She was on the SDPS Planning Committee for the DSM5 Conference, Trauma Conference and Integrating Mental and Medical Care Conference.
She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
In 2015, Dr. Tiamson-Kassab received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Liaison Psychiatry in New York.
Steve Koh, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H. is Clinical Assistant Professor at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Director for UCSD Community Psychiatry Fellowship, and UCSD Outpatient Faculty. He was Clinical Faculty in Dept of Psychiatry at Naval Hospital Balboa in San Diego, where he was psychiatrist at the Naval OASIS residential program for complicated PTSD, imbedded geriatric psychiatrist for Naval Hospital Internal Medicine Dept, and Attending for Consult Liaison Services.
He is the Immediate Past President of the San Diego Psychiatric Society, Chair of Early Career Psychiatrists at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), member on the APA Council on Government Relations and Advocacy. He is past member of APA Council on Healthcare Systems and Finance, Board of Trustees, Minority Fellows Chair, Assembly of MITs Chair, and Chair of American Medical Association's Resident/Fellows Section Public Health Committee. He sits on the Board of San Diego NAMI and recently elected to Board of Glenner Center. He was Resident Alternate Director of San Diego County Medical Society and represented at the California Medical Association House of Delegates. He is member of Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry with the Psychopathology and Publications Committee. He was past Board Member of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP).
He is recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including AAGP Stepping Stones, SDPS APA district branch grant, Group for Advance of Psychiatry, APA Minority Leadership Program, Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence, and Academic Geriatric Resources Center, SDPS ECP Award, UCSD Lew Judd Research Award, and UCSD Dept of Psychiatry Teaching award. He has given expert testimony at regulatory hearings at the state level and participated at APA Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. He is involved in research at San Diego Hospice and has past research experience at Johns Hopkins Hospital, NIA, UCSD and Palo Alto VA Hospital.
Dr. Koh received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology at the Johns Hopkins University in 1999. He received Masters in Public Health from the JHU alumni executive board member and started a student run consulting group. He received Medical Doctor degree from University of California at San Diego, School of Medicine in 2006 where he was AMSA Chapter co-president and Chair of Fellowship in 2011. He then finished Geriatric T32 Research Fellow at University of California, San Diego, under Dr. Dilip Jeste in 2012.
Timothy Liu, M.D. is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. He graduated from residency and fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. He is currently in private practice in Del Mar and also consults at a number of community mental health agencies. He serves as the Early Career Psychiatrist Representative at the San Diego Psychiatric Society.
Robert Myslin, M.D., Uniformed Services co-Representative
Dr. Myslin received his BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley in 2004 and his medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in 2008. He is currently in his third year of adult psychiatry residency training at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
He believes it is important to belong to the American Psychiatric Association because the field of psychiatry is constantly evolving, and helping guide the ongoing changes and future directions of psychiatry is a crucial component of ensuring patient advocacy, patient safety, and the delivery of high quality mental health care.
Savannah Woodward, M.D., Uniformed Services co-Representative
Dr. Woodward received her B.S. in Psychology and Chemistry from the University of New Mexico in 2013 and her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University in 2017. She is currently in her second year of adult psychiatry residency training at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from Southwestern Medical School, during which time he did an elective in consultation-liaison psychiatry at Harvard Medical School's Massachusetts General Hospital. During his residency, Dr. Ornish was the recipient of the first Chairman's Research Prize: Lewis L. Judd Award for Research Excellence. Dr. Ornish is double-board-certified in general and forensic psychiatry and holds the title of Clinical Professor, UCSD School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. He has published in the American Medical Association's The Archives of Internal Medicine, JAMA, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and others.
Dr. Ornish has an active private-pay clinical practice, with a special interest in psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and geriatric psychiatry. He has served as a forensic psychiatric consultant and expert witness in civil and criminal cases and for various agencies of government, including the San Diego District Attorney; the United States Attorney; the Attorney General; the San Diego County Public Defender; the Medical Board of California; and for prominent civil law firms. Dr. Ornish is a Past President of the San Diego Psychiatric Society. He also holds a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do karate.
Dr. Anoop Karippot is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in San Diego, CA. He received his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky and fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Bingham Child Guidance Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY. . He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Karippot is also certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine and a Registered Polysomnographer.
Dr. Anoop Karippot is the Medical Director of AKANE Institute of Behavioral Medicine (www.akaneinstitute.com ). He is the Vice-Chief of Psychiatry at Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego and Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. He serves as Medical Director for the Palomar Medical Center Sleep Disorders program at Palomar Pomerado Health, Escondido, CA. He is the current chair of San Diego Psychiatric Society Child and Adolescent section. He is also an elected Board member to the California Sleep Society. He is one of the founding members and the Past- President of the Pennsylvania Sleep Society. Most recently, Dr. Karippot has held faculty appointments in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Sleep Medicine and Adult Psychiatry and at Penn State University Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA and University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY. He now has medical staff privileges at Scripps Mercy Hospital, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, Palomar Pomerado Health, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, and Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Karippot started practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine in the San Diego County since 2010. Dr. Karippot has focused his research and clinical practice on the integration of psychiatry and sleep medicine with emphasis on early detection, prevention and management of chronic illness like depression, ADHD, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and their association with academic dysfunction, obesity and poor quality of life.
Dr. Karippot is a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Psychiatric Association. He has been an active member of Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine with contributions to several current practice parameters in sleep medicine. He has numerous publications, abstracts, book chapters and oral presentations to his credit on various topics in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and sleep disorders. Dr. Karippot is an avid speaker and has given presentation on various topics of psychiatric illness and sleep medicine for local organizations in San Diego and has chaired educational seminars at national and international conferences.
Kristin bezai, M.D., Ethics committee chair
Dr. Bezai received her BS in Biology at the University of Michigan in 1987 and graduated from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1991. She completed her adult psychiatry residency training at NYU School of Medicine in 1995.
Dr. Bezai is currently the Acting Associate Chief of Psychiatry at the Veteran’s Administration San Diego Health Services, the UCSD Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship Program Director and Co-Chair of the Ethics Consultation Service at the Veteran’s Administration San Diego Health Services. She has been on council since 2018.
Dr. Bezai received the Roeske Award for Teaching of Medical Students, is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the Academy of Consult-Liason Psychiatry.
She believes is it important to promote professional standards in the field of medicine.
Chaitanya Pabbati M.D. was born in India, but grew up in Singapore, Boston, and Seattle. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Washington in Biochemistry, and spent time working at ZymoGenetics, Inc and in an academic research lab before pursuing a career in medicine. Dr. Pabbati completed his medical training in Rochester, MN at the Mayo Clinic, during which time he received the Gloria Segal Award from the Minnesota Psychiatric Association for outstanding contribution to the field of psychiatry from a mental health trainee. Dr. Pabbati also received a 2010 American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education grant to attend the APA annual meeting and foster relationships with research mentors around the country. During his medical training Dr. Pabbati helped to create a suicide epidemiology database tracking individuals over a 20 year period. He presented these findings at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine’s annual meeting in 2012. In addition to his research projects, Dr. Pabbati was involved in an HIV/AIDS psychiatry program based out of New York, and was active locally within Rochester, MN by working with low-income mental health outreach programs targeting minority populations. After his graduation, Dr. Pabbati moved to California to begin his psychiatric residency at UC San Diego.
As an intern, Dr. Pabbati became involved with organized psychiatry at the district and state level, serving as SDPS Communication Chair and the California Psychiatric Association Deputy Representative, the latter position which he represented the interests of psychiatric members-in-training on the state and national level. Within his program, Dr. Pabbati was involved with the UCSD Curriculum Committee and the UCSD Suicide and Adverse Event Committee. In addition to expanding his research interests, Dr. Pabbati also hopes to assist in advancing organized psychiatry at both the district and state level.
As a resident, Dr. Pabbati has received numerous awards for teaching and research. In 2014, he received the John A. Majda Memorial Foundation Award for contributions to studying physician depression and well-being and the UCSD Psychiatry Resident Educator award. In May 2015, Dr. Pabbati received the American Psychiatric Association Resident Research Award. In December 2015, he received the American Association of Directors of Residency Training Ginsberg Award for Psychiatric Education. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Resident Research Poster Award from the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Pabbati is currently on the faculty of the VA San Diego Health System.
DeeAnn Wong, M.D., assistant communications chair
Dr. Wong is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist in private practice in Encinitas. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Music from Loma Linda University at the Riverside Campus and received her medical degree at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. She completed her General Psychiatry residency at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where she also served as chief resident during her senior year. She subsequently completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCSD in 2001.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Wong is a Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSD and provides lectures on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, childhood Bipolar Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder and Major Depression, as well as one-on-one teaching for adult psychiatry residents and child psychiatry fellows.
In 2009, Dr. Wong became a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was named a Distinguished Fellow in 2014. Since 2011, she has been named each year by her peers as one of San Diego's "Top Doctors" by the San Diego County Medical Society. In 2012, she was honored to be the top fundraiser for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) San Diego Walk.
Dr. Wong has served on the San Diego Psychiatric Society council since 2003 in multiple positions, including Councilor, Secretary and a member of the Ethics Committee.
Michael Takamura, M.D., County Mental Health Representative
Dr. Michael Takamura is an Adult & Forensic Psychiatrist who has been in practice in the Poway area of San Diego since 2006. Prior to opening up his practice, he did his undergraduate studies in neuroscience at Harvard, then his medical degree at UC San Diego, before finishing his psychiatry residency at UC San Diego as well. After his residency, he did a postgraduate fellowship at University of Southern California, at their Psych & Law Institute. He is a part time employee with the County of San Diego at the Forensics Examination Unit, where he conducts primarily criminal forensic evaluations. In his private practice, he does a variety of civil forensic psychiatric work, predominantly as a QME/AME/IME in worker's comp disability. He also serves on staff at Aurora Behavioral Health, a private 80 bed psychiatric hospital in Rancho Bernardo, where he has served on the medical staff since his residency days in 2003. For the SDPS, he has served on Council since he was a resident, back in 2002-2003. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. His greatest accomplishments to date, however, are his two children: Michael Taylor and Sophia Grace.