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The focus of my life from my early 20's has been social justice, healing and advocacy for the emotional and physical well-being of women and under-served groups in the U.S. and around the world.  After my Sophomore year of college, I took a leave and traveled throughout Europe, where I studied American Foreign Policy and worked as a nightclub singer. 

Upon my return to NYC, I worked as a video journalist and writer covering the anti-war movement, national political issues and the women's self help movement.  I also worked as an advocate for city-wide community-based access to/funding for live public channel programming as the emerging Cable TV Networks were competing for city contracts. As part of this effort, I co-authored The Public Access Report, which promoted comprehensive guidelines and requirements for cable companies to obtain franchises to lay cable and provide funding for low-income neighborhoods live local origination centers for public programming. I also continued to write and and perform songs that gave a voice to exploited and disenfranchised women and minorities.

In 1977, funding for a documentary I had started on the women's health movement dried up. Inspired by the work of the Feminist Health Centers, with whom I had worked on several campaigns and who had been the focus of my documentary, I founded a women's health center, The Feminist Health Works (FHW), in Manhattan's West Village. During my 4 years as its Executive Director, I continued to write songs and perform locally in small restaurants and cafes in Little Italy and Tribecca. I also continued to work on international health issues on behalf of and with women in Cuba, Trinidad, Central America and Africa. 

The FHW collective provided clinical, education, and self-help programs for 2500 women, families, and organizations annually. In addition to standard family planning and gynecological care, we provided education and training in a variety of alternative and complementary treatment modalities including gynecological self-help, acupuncture, herbal remedies, nutritional counseling, and natural birth control. Among the Center’s many accomplishments, the FHW published and distributed 40,000 copies of a ground-breaking booklet, "Herbal Remedies for Women" and conducted the only FDA-approved cervical cap study in New York City.

Despite these accomplishments, our growth and ability to obtain funding and reimbursement for our services were limited by our lack of academic/clinical education, credentials and licensure. We were also impacted by growing political tensions between various constituents involved in national reproductive and women's rights issues. 

In 1981, I returned to college through a special CUNY (City University of New York) program that allowed me to co-major in Pre-medical studies and Jazz Composition and Voice. Initially, undecided as to the direction I would take, my final choice to pursue a career in medicine - and ultimately to focus on mental health - turned out to be more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. 

Despite my disillusionment with standard medical training and practices both prior to and during medical school, upon graduation from UCSF, I started a residency there in Internal Medicine. 


I was forced to leave my residency after my internship year in order to assume guardianship of my gravely disabled sister with severe mental illness and lung disease. During that period, I became a national mental health policy leader and a NIMH mental health services researcher, while continuing to advocate for the funding and development of comprehensive recovery-based mental health and substance use services at the local and state levels.


At the age of 47, following the premature passing of my sister , I decided to complete a residency in Psychiatry. Both my sister and mother had suffered from mental illness.  Coupled with my diverse work in advocacy, policy and research in the field, Psychiatry seemed the only choice for me and was clearly the perfect one.

Upon returning to San Francisco, I worked as a staff psychiatrist at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Facility (MHRF) at San Francisco General Hospital and as team psychiatrist with the Kuchichagulia (self-determination in Swahili) Community Focus Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) Team in downtown San Francisco.


In 2004, I opened my own private practice so that I could develop, integrate and provide the best and most effective approaches to helping people with mental health issues. 


From 2008-2015,  I served as the Consulting Psychiatrist for Creating Educational and Behavioral Momentum's (CBEM) crisis intervention teams providing critical intervention services for clients of the California Regional Centers - individuals and families of all ages with developmental and intellectual disabilities and Autism.

I have received numerous awards and scholarships for research and policy work in mental health and am co-founder of a non-profit organization, Pacific Institute for Health Innovation (PIHI).


PIHI is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental disabilities through the implementation of quality management strategies and service programs that effectively promote and sustain recovery from mental illness.

Stone Texture
Pebble Beach

I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the People with Disabilities Foundation (PWDF), whose mission is to provide education and advocacy for people with psychiatric, intellectual and developmental disabilities so that they can achieve equal opportunities in all aspects of life and integration into the whole of society


I am past chair of the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and a member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP).

I do not receive any funding or gifts from pharmaceutical companies nor do I accept free samples of medications for distribution. I have attended continuing medical education programs that were funded by drug companies.

  • FDA Controlled Substance Registration for all schedules current

  • License to practice Medicine in California current

Education and Training
  • November, 2000   Passed written board examination of the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

  • June 1997 - June 2000    University of Maryland at Baltimore, School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry

    • General Psychiatry Residency completed June, 2000

  • June 1994 -96    University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry and San Francisco Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

    • National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Public-Academic Liaison Research Fellow

    • NIMH Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • June 1993 -94   University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health Research Training Program In Financing and Service Delivery in Mental Health

    • NIMH Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • June 1991 -92    Mount Zion Medical Center of University of California, San Francisco

    • Internship in Internal Medicine completed June, 1992

  • 1985-91   University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

    • M.D. awarded June, 1991

  • 1988-89   Program in Psychiatry and the Law,  Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston

    • Research Intern

  • 1981-84   City University of New York Baccalaureate Program, City College of New York 
    Major in Pre-Medical Studies, Minor in Jazz Composition and Voice

    • B.A., Summa Cum Laude awarded January, 1985 

  • 1971-72   New School for Social Research & New York University
    Audited Coursework and Independent Studies in Philosophy (Hanna Arendt/NSSR), 
    Political Science (Pedro Cuperman/NYU) and Economics (Steven Hymer/NSSR)


  • 1971   School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
    Coursework in Film Production and Editing


  • 1970-71   University of Paris at Vincennes, Vincennes, France.
    Audited Coursework and Independent Study in Political Science and Sociology (John Gerassi and Theodore Roszak)


  • 1968-70 Syracuse University
    Theater Arts and Journalism Major

  • 2008 - 2015 Consulting Psychiatrist for Creating Educational and Behavioral Momentum (CBEM), an agency that provides critical intervention services for clients of the San Francisco Golden Gate Regional Center and other California Regional Centers, serving individuals and families of all ages with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and Autism.

  • December 2003- Present  Private Practice in Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry, providing integrated individualized psychopharmacology and psychotherapy services to a diverse clientele based on best practices, consumer preferences and a recovery model, and Consultation and Care Management

  • May-Aug 2002   Team Psychiatrist, University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry. Client assessment and medication management for Kujichagulia Project clients, an ACT program serving adult public mental health clients in downtown San Francisco.

  • Dec 2001-Dec 2002  Attending Psychiatrist, San Francisco DPH,  Mental Health Rehabiliation Facility/SFGH
    Psychiatric care and multidisiplinary team management (psychiatric, medical, nursing, substance disorder, rehabilitation, social work) for a caseload of 22 seriously mentally ill inpatients having an average length of stay of 9 months and an age range of 18-68 years. Responsibilities also included forensic responsibilities (conservatorship, involuntary treatment, etc.), family education and counseling, and individualized rehabilitation services. 


  • July-Dec 2000  Clinical Instructor/Staff Psychiatrist, University of Maryland at Baltimore Medical System, Department of Psychiatry.  Medication management, psychotherapy, and team management for a caseload of 90 public adult clients.

  • June 1996-97   Mental Health Services Researcher,  University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry
    Mini-Grant Program of the Evaluation Center @ Health Services Research Institute. 


  • Sept. 1996   Consultant, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
    Independent Reviewer and Review Committee member for a Center for Mental Health Services, Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program (MHSIP) State Reform Grant.


  • 1986-1996   Guardian/Advocate, Boston, Massachusetts/Rockville, Maryland/New York, New York
    Coordination and supervision of all medical, personal, and fiscal affairs for a severely and chronically mentally and physically disabled adult. Responsibilities included generic and intensive case management services; formal on and off-sight clinical management (e.g., service utilization and chart review, review of case summaries and writing of reports, hiring and firing of medical specialists); short and long-term estate planning including management of newly created special needs trusts; development, implementation, and oversight of short and long-term treatment plans; coordination of public and private service plans and entitlements including proactive planning for client transition from the private into the public sector; recruitment, interviewing, and hiring of clinical, financial, and legal consultants (e.g., guardians, accountants, attorneys); and legal advocacy involving litigation and special hearings before Massachusetts, New York and Maryland Probate and Circuit Courts. Supervised and directed distribution of $1.5 million in trust fund assets on behalf of client.


  • Jan.-May 1985   Services Director, Geri-Care, Long Island City, N.Y. 
    Coordinated staffing and operations for clinical services provided by mobile unit teams to elderly clients throughout the greater New York area. Supervised billing. Developed quality assurance guidelines and protocols for team operations and treatment follow-up.


  • 1980-83      Health Education and Program Development Consultant
    Designed and conducted staff and client education and training programs and provided technical assistance to: Planned Parenthood International Student Program; Women's Studies Program, SUNY, New Paltz, N.Y.; New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, Newark, N. J.; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Brooklyn College Women's Center; YWCA, Brooklyn, N. Y.


  • Fall 1981 Project Director, Downtown Welfare Advocate Center, New York , N.Y.
    Coordinated communications, public relations and outreach for the agency's "Christmas 81" campaign involving a press conference and an inter-borough educational bus tour for local and state politicians, welfare agency representatives and members of the press.


  • Summer 1981 International Guest Speaker and Consultant,   Y.W.C.A, Port of Spain, Trinidad
    Guest speaker, workshop leader, and program consultant for the country's first Women's Conference. Assisted Y.W.C.A. staff in the development of a women's health resource center. Assisted local health activists with work on the Nestles' Infant Formula Boycott.


  • 1977-81 Executive Director,  Feminist Health Works, New York, N. Y.
    Co-founded and administered a women's health center servicing 2500 clients and 35 agencies per year. Hired and supervised 7 full-time staff, 5 social work interns, 30 volunteers, and 3 physicians. Developed clinical protocols for the provision of the cervical cap (pre-FDA testing and approval) through FHW clinics. Designed and conducted training seminars for local physicians and providers. Designed and wrote course curricula and educational materials on women's and consumer health topics. Raised $200,000 in start-up funds and maintained an annual budget of $250,000.


  • Spring 1977  Public Relations Director, Tallahassee Feminist Women's Health Center
    Coordinated pre-trial communications and outreach activities for the Center's Legal Defense Fund. Worked with the Center's Legal Team in case and appeals preparation.


  • Summer 1976  Public Relations Director,  Los Angeles Feminist Women's Health Center
    Coordinated communications and outreach for a statewide political campaign. Following completion of the Center's 8-week Summer Training Institute provided pregnancy and family planning counseling and worked as clinical assistant to staff physicians during routine gynecological examinations and first trimester abortion procedures.


  • 1972  Video Director/Producer, Community Arts Program, New York , N.Y. 
    Video production and training for theatrical art rehabilitation program working with residents of drug detoxification centers throughout NYC. Provided video production    training and documented residents’ theatrical productions performed throughout the greater New York area. Funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New    York Public Theater.


  • 1972-76  Freelance Video and Film Production 
    Wrote, produced, and directed educational, documentary, and training materials for the Visual Health Lab, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.; MPO Productions, New York, N.Y.; Poor People's Development Foundation, New York, N.Y.; Hunter College, New York, N.Y.; Federation of Addiction Agencies, Brooklyn, N.Y.; American Indian Movement; New York State Department of Corrections; Living Theater Collective; Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers; United Farm Workers. Freelance film and video production on films ("The Wiz"), television specials, commercials, and videos. Awarded independent production grants for a documentary on women's health care ("Womanwise"). Produced weekly programming for the NYC Public Access Channel for several video production groups.

Honors and Awards

  • 2004 The Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association Mental Health Section Award "For Excellence in the Field of Mental Health"

  • 2000 The American College of Psychiatrists’ Laughlin Fellowship “In recognition of outstanding leadership and significant achievements as a resident in Psychiatry”

  • 1999 Research Fellowship Awards from the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration, the RISP program of the NASMHPD Research Institute, and the Center for Mental Health Services Research at University of Maryland at Baltimore funded a four month elective to work on papers for journal publication.

  • 1996 American Public Health Association Mental Health Section Award "For outstanding contribution to Development of Policy Resolutions"

  • 1995 Research grant award from the Mini-Grant Program of the Evaluation Center @ HSRI

  • 1994 National Institute of Mental Health Research Service Award Recipient (NASMHPD)

  • 1993-94 National Institute of Mental Health Research Service Award Recipient (UC Berkeley)

  • 1986 American Jewish Women's Foundation Scholarship Recipient

  • 1984 City College of New York Alumni Fund Scholarship Recipient?

  • 1974-77 Awarded production grants for "Womanwise" from the Experimental Television Laboratory, Binghampton, N. Y.; Young Filmmakers, New York City; The Playboy Foundation; WFSU Television, Tallahassee, Florida; Los Angeles Feminist Women's Health Center; Brooklyn College Television Center.

Professional, Community, and Extracurricular Activities and Affiliations
  • American Public Health Association 
    2001-2003 Chair Mental Health Section
    1997-2001 Co-Chair Mental Health Section Policy Committee
    1996-1998 Secretary Mental Health Section 
    1993-present Member Mental Health Section & MH Section Policy Committee
    1976-86 Member Women's Caucus: American/Maryland/California/Northern California Psychiatric Association
    1997-2003 Member


  • SF/California/National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
    1987-2002 Member


  • University of Maryland at Baltimore, Department of Psychiatry
    1997-2000 Steering Committee, State/University Interdisciplinary Collaboration Project: Funded by the Center for Mental Health Services
    1997-1999 Mentorship Seminar Participant, Baltimore-Washington Institute for Psychoanalysis
    Sept-Dec 1998 Participant, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Family-to-Family Educational Program


  • California Committee for Quality Managed Care
    1996-1997 Co-founder/Member


  • National Women's Health Network
    1977-present Member 


  • Mental Health Board of San Francisco City and County
    1993-95 Family Member 
    Liaison to the Quality Improvement Committee, SF Division of Mental Health
    Chair, Cluster & System Oversight Committee
    Member, Executive Committee


  • San Francisco Coalition for Public Health
    1993-94 Steering Committee


  • UCSF Medical School
    1990-91 Co-founder and President Student Rights Committee
    1986-88 Student Representative Student Health Service Advisory Committee 
    1986-87 President Committee for Health Rights in Central America
    1987-88 Founding Member Vocal Cords, a UCSF student vocal ensemble


  • City College of New York
    1982-84 Student Representative Student Health Services Committee


  • New York Public Interest Research Group
    1981-84 Student Member


  • American Medical Association
    1987-91 Student Member


  • American Medical Student Association
    1987-91 Member


  • Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse 
    1978 Co-Founder, Steering Committee Member


  • Feminist Health Works
    1977-81 Executive Director
    1981-83 Board of Directors


  • Project Open Doors, New York, N. Y.
    1977-80 Steering Committee Represented a coalition of 38 New York City non-profit community agencies in preparing, negotiating and managing a $3 million federal CETA Title VI contract for public service programming in the New York City area.


  • National Cable Television Association
    1973-74 Regional Representative for the Association of Northeast Regional Independent Producers


  • The Public Access Report Group
    1972-73 Steering Committee Represented New York City's independent video producers in negotiations with City agencies and cable companies.


  • New York Women's Video Collective, West Side Video Alliance and New York Video News
    1971-74 Member/Videographer/Producer/Director

Relevant Technical Skills
  • Excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.

  • Proficiency or experience with Macintosh and PC formats word processing, reference, communications, and spread sheet software.

  • Experience with SAS statistical software and programming.

  • Experience with study design, data integration and management and statistical analyses with Health Management Information System databases.

  • References and writing samples provided upon request.

Invited Papers, Lectures, Presentations, and Reports (partial list)
  • Feb., 2008 Presentation, invited speaker on the topic of psychiatry as a profession for the Medical Explorers Club, Lowell High School, San Francisco, CA.

  • July, 2007 Presentation/Conference on Family Violence/Conferencia Internacional sobre Violencia Familiar), sponsored by PreNatal/Arequipa, Peru, the US Peace Corps, and the De Waal Foundation. Held at the Universidad Andina Del Cusco on July 17 and the Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria in Arequipa on July 31.

  • May, 2005 Presentation, "Beyond Fort Bragg Ensuring a Brighter Future for Youth and Young Adults in the United States" for the Second Annual Childs and Strengths Conference, Northeastern University, Chicago.

  • July, 2005 Presentation, "Recovery Concepts and Models in Mental Health Care: Overview and Applications" first presented as a CME program for the Laguna Hospital Clinical Education Conference for psychiatrists and mental health professionals.

  • April, 2004 Presentation, “Undressing the Emperor, Approaching Quality Improvement without Outcomes Management” for the 1st Annual Child Needs and Strengths Conference, Chicago.

  • Nov, 2004 Special Program Organizer & Speaker for the 2004 APHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
    Panel Session, “Making Public Health Whole: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care”
    with Norman Sartorius, M.D., Ph.D.


    • “A NIMH-hosted "New Research" Breakfast: New Findings in the Neurobiology and Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders” with Richard Nakamura, Ph.D. and Kathleen Merikangas, Ph.D.

    • “The President's New Freedom Commission Report Breakfast: A Discussion of Opportunities and Barriers to Implementation of its Findings and Recommendations” with Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D.

    • Presentation, “Comprehensive Quality Management Systems: Improving Outcomes for People with Psychiatic Disablities”

    • Regional California Symposium, “Implementing the Goals of the President's New Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health: Transforming Mental Health Care through Gainful Employment for Consumers. Co-sponsored by the California and Ohio Departments of Mental Health

  • June, 2003 CME Presentation, "Understanding and Implementing Evidence-Based Practices - An Overview" for the Northern California Psychiatric Society Women's Committee

  • April, 2003 Expert Declaration for the Petitioners, Service Employees International Union Locals 250, 535, 790, in SEIU and Dale Butler vs. City and County of San Francisco, Case 502702

  • May, 2000 Grand Rounds Presentation, “Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Case Presentation”: University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

  • Nov., 1998 Paper Presentation, "Recidivism as an Outcome of System Change": Mental Health Section Panel: System Issues In Inpatient Service Use. American Public Health Association 126th Annual Meeting

  • March, 1998 Grand Rounds Presentation, "Recidivism as an Outcome of System Change": University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry

  • Feb., 1997 Paper Presentation, "Quality Management Research Strategies for Public Managed Mental Health Care", Seventh National Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research, Program Evaluation, and Policy, sponsored by the NASMHPD Research Institute.

  • Oct., 1996 Guest Speaker, Current Public Managed Mental Health Care Issues for Local Counties in California, Trinity County Public Health Task Force, Trinity County, CA.

  • Oct., 1996 Trainer, California Consumer and Family Member Managed Care Regional Training for Bay Area Counties, Oakland, CA., sponsored by the California Institute of Mental Health and the California Department of Mental Health.

  • April, 1996 Invited Presentation, "The Level of Need/Care Assessment Method (LONCA): Managing Resources and Quality in Managed Public Mental Health Settings" for the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting Workshop: Defining Placement Criteria in Psychiatry.

  • March, 1996 Position Paper on "National Standards of Health Care for Incarcerated Persons with Mental Illness" (with Barbara Guest, M.P.H). Submitted to the American Public Health Association (APHA) on behalf of the Mental Health Section of APHA.

  • Oct., 1995 Symposium design and development for the American Public Health Association Mental Health and Health Administration Sections' Program for the 1995 Annual APHA Meeting (with John Kastan, Ph.D.):

    • "Integrating Mental Health Services Research and Public Mental Health System Design: Innovative Regional and State Strategies in the Development of Comprehensive Community-Based Systems of Care for the Severely Mentally Disabled"

    • "Methodological and Political Issues in Making Mental Health Services Research Relevant to Consumers and Family Members".

  • April, 1995 Executive Summary submitted to the San Francisco Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for a Level of Need/Care Assessment Method Demonstration Project for San Francisco adult public mental health.

  • March, 1995 Special Report on "Short and Long-Term Implications For Local Counties Under the California Medi-Cal Managed Care Mental Health Plan/Alternate Public Mental Health System Approaches to State-Wide Reform under Managed Care". Prepared for William DeRisi, Chief, Research and Evaluation Section, California Department of Mental Health.

  • 1994 Testimony presented before the California Mental Health Planning Council, "The Impact of Program Realignment Legislation and Medicaid Managed Mental Health Care on the San Francisco County public mental health system".

  • 1994 Workshop Design and Leader for a staff/consumer educational workshop on the Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) Case Management model for the San Francisco Division of Mental Health Management Team, the Housing Action Committee of the San Francisco Mental Health Association, and other community organizations.

  • Oct., 1994 Guest Panelist/Speaker, "The Role of Quality Management Oversight in Effective Public Mental Health Advocacy by County Mental Health Boards ", California Alliance for the Mentally Ill Annual Conference.

  • Oct., 1993 Special Report prepared for the San Francisco Division of Mental Health Adult Target Population Work Group on existing system eligibility criteria with recommendations for future revisions.

  • 1993-94 Testimony presented before San Francisco County and California state governmental hearings on behalf of the mentally ill for local community groups and the S.F. Mental Health Board.

  • 1982 Guest Lecturer/Instructor for a series of classes on Female Reproductive Health for a course offered by the School of Nursing, City College of New York, New York City.

  • 1981 Guest Lecturer on "Women's Self-Help and Innovative Community Health Programs for Women in the US." at a National Women's Conference sponsored by the YWCA, Port of Spain, Trinidad.

  • 1979 Guest Panelist on "Alternate Contraceptive and Abortion Technologies" for a professional symposium sponsored by International Planned Parenthood Federation, New York City.

  • 1978 Guest Lecturer on "Women's Self-Help" for the Women's Division of ZANU, United Nations Representative Body from Zimbabwe, Rhodesia, United Nations, New York City.

  • 1977 Testimony presented on "The Use of Hysterectomy as a Method of Female Sterilization in the United States" at Regional US. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Hearings on Sterilization Abuse in the USA., New York City.

  • 1977-82 Guest Lecturer on "Female Sexual Anatomy and Response" and "Women's Self Help" for conferences and programs for: New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, Newark, N.J.; Women's Studies Department, SUNY, New Paltz; Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Brooklyn College Women's Center; and City College Women's Studies Department. New York City.

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