Representatives and Committee Chairs
Eric Rafla-Yuan, M.D., State Legislative and Advocacy Representative
Eric Rafla-Yuan, M.D., is an award-winning researcher in consultation-liaison psychiatry, health policy, and the social determinants of health. He has given numerous talks on a national scale and was recently awarded a large grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for his work tracking the impact of immigration policy on health outcomes in border communities. He has held leadership positions in the San Diego Psychiatric Society, California Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Rafla-Yuan graduated from the Community Psychiatry Program at the University of California San Diego, where he served as chief resident. He attended medical school at the 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 the development of trauma-informed health and immigration policies and the relationship between ethics, policy, and the law.
Steve Koh, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., APA Assembly Representative and Local Legislative Representative
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 a 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.
Steven Ornish, M.D., Distinguished Fellow Committee Chair
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.
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., Communications Committee Co-Chair
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, which he completed in 2016.
As an intern, Dr. Pabbati became involved with organized psychiatry at the district and state level. He started on SDPS Council in 2012 and was the California Psychiatric Association Deputy Representative, the latter position where he represented the interests of psychiatric members-in-training on the state and national level. He has been SDPS Communications Co-chair since 2014.
As a resident, 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.
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.
He continues his involvement with organized medicine because the profession of Medicine, more than ever before, is no long solely the domain of physicians. Clinical outcomes are now impacted by far more than the patient-physician relationship, and so it is becoming increasingly important that all physicians work together. The importance of serving our patients is now matched by the importance of protecting the integrity of our profession
Dr. Pabbati is currently the Medical Director for Achieve Medical Center.
DeeAnn Wong, M.D., Communications Co-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. She was named eight years in a row 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 is a consultant to "Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology Prescriber's Guide: Children and Adolescents," by Stephen Stahl, MD., PhD. She is currently the Medical Director for the International Bipolar Foundation.
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.
Sabrina Renteria, M.D., Child and Adolescent Co-Representative
Sabrina Renteria, M.D. received her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2015, she obtained her medical degree at the Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Renteria did her adult psychiatry residency at UCLA-San Fernando Valley and then an additional two years of sub-specialty training in children and adolescents at UCSD, where she also served as chief fellow.
She is the child psychiatrist at Aspiring Families, a private group practice in San Diego. She is also one of the emergency room psychiatrists at San Diego County Mental Health.