Executive Council Bios

We invite you to meet the members of our Executive Council. Included are our Officers, Councilors, Representatives, Advisors, and our Executive Director. To meet our Society's Committee Chairs, please continue to the next page.

Next - Committee Chair Bios »


» Officers

David Safani, M.D., MBA
President

David Safani, M.D., MBA
David Safani, MD, MBA earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at UC Irvine School of Medicine and his Masters in Business administration at the Paul Merage School of Business. He completed his residency in psychiatry and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine School of medicine. He is board certified in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Safani serves as Medical Director of Outpatient Psychiatric Services, Medical Director of the Adolescent Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs, and Assistant Clinical Professor at the UC Irvine Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. He also serves as UC ePIC Physician Champion for UC Irvine Health.

Dr. Safani has been very active within organized psychiatry at the national, state and local levels. He served two terms as Treasurer of OCPS. He has been appointed to a 2nd three-year term as standing member of the national APA Membership Committee which administers $180,000 in grant funding and selects APA distinguished fellows. He was a two-time recipient of the biannual OCPS award for Outstanding Resident of the Year and served as the Area 6 Resident Fellow Member Representative to the APA Assembly. He has provided several presentations on career development and financial planning for residents and early career psychiatrists locally and across the nation.


Robert Bota, M.D.
President-Elect

The focus of my clinical activities, and of my patient-oriented research, has always been on understanding the interplay between psychiatric illnesses and medical conditions and on developing innovative ways of addressing the whole spectrum of psychosomatic needs in patients with complex presentations. As a psychiatrist, I have a broad background in diagnosing and treating mental illness. Before my residency, I designed and conducted neuro-imaging research focused on correlations between structural brain changes and depression. Since the beginning of my residency in psychiatry, I have become interested in the interplay between medicine and psychiatry, especially the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions in medically ill patients – which present unique challenges due to their multiple comorbidities and the high risk of drug interactions. After developing a very successful private psychiatric practice for nine years, four years ago I elected to rejoin academic psychiatry with the stated goal of improving the psychiatric care for patients with complex medical and psychiatric co-morbidities.

Currently, I serve as the director of the medical psychiatry unit and the TMS clinic at University of California, Irvine. I am involved in teaching residents, fellows and medical students, and in clinical research. My current outpatient clinics include the resident clinic, capacity evaluation clinic for neuro-surgical procedures, and TMS clinic.

I am pleased to serve OCPS as the President-Elect for the next two years, and look forward to the opportunity to serve our members as a voice for psychiatry on behalf of physicians, and an advocate for increased awareness of mental health issues both locally and statewide.


Roula Creighton, M.D.
Secretary

Dr. Roula Creighton received her medical degree at University of California San Diego in 2004. She went on to do her internship and residency training in psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She has been in private practice since 2008 in Irvine, CA. She provided inpatient psychiatric services for several years at Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach, and now provides psychiatric consultative services at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center. She is also on staff at Hoag Hospital Medical Center. She recently began offering TMS treatment with SoCal TMS, and is very excited about having this new treatment option available to her patients.

Dr. Creighton has been a member of the APA/ OCPS since 2008. She was the early career psychiatry rep for the Orange County Psychiatric Society from 2010-2012, and has been a council member at OCPS since 2012. She is now serving on the executive council as Secretary.

More information can be found on her website at www.irvinepsychiatry.com


Larry Faziola, M.D.
Treasurer

Welcome. I grew up in the San Francisco bay and earned a BS from St. Mary’s College of California, and an MA at San Francisco State University before venturing to Omaha, Nebraska for my MD at Creighton University. I returned to California to complete residency training in psychiatry at UC Irvine Medical Center, where I joined the clinical faculty in 2011. I attended the hospitalized patients in crisis on UC Irvine’s inpatient adult psychiatric ward and as a provider of electroconvulsive therapy until early 2018, after which I transitioned to the Long Beach VA hospital, where I continue to help people in their recovery from mental illness, by directing its 15 bed adult inpatient unit. I have been active in organized psychiatry for the greater part of a decade, where I have advocated for more rational and comprehensive services for those struggling with mental illness, and currently serve as Treasurer of the Orange County Psychiatric Society. I have been, and remain, active as a physician educator for the UCI School of Medicine and psychiatry residency program, and am active on the UCI medical school admissions committee. I have been recognized with several teaching awards from both the school of medicine and the department of psychiatry, and I have been recognized twice as a "Physician of Excellence" by the Orange County Medical Association.

Outside of work, I can generally be found on the hiking trails or ski lanes in the local mountains. I have garnered a penchant for the outdoors, which helps to provide balance to the pressingly time-sensitive demands of hospital work.


Yujuan Choy, M.D.
Immediate Past President

Yujuan Choy, M.D.Dr. Yujuan Choy has been working in the field of college mental health since 2006. She is the Chief Psychiatrist at the Counseling Center at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine). Dr. Choy is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, volunteer faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UC Irvine where she participates in teaching of the psychiatry residents. Dr. Choy also has a small private practice in Irvine.

Dr. Choy has been a member of the American Psychiatric Association since 1998 and named fellow in 2014. Dr. Choy has been a member of the Orange County Psychiatric Association since 2006.

Dr. Choy graduated with distinction from Swarthmore College and received her medical degree at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She completed her psychiatry residency training at New York University/Bellevue Hospital, where she served as chief resident during her fourth year. Following her residency training, Dr. Choy went on to conduct clinical research in anxiety disorders at Columbia University, and completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship in Affective and Anxiety Disorders. In addition to her medical training, Dr. Choy also received formal training in cognitive behavioral therapy and is certified by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.


» Councilors

Rimal Bera, M.D.
Councilor

Rimal Bera, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Bera earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of California, Irvine, and a medical degree from the University of California, Irvine in 1987. He completed his psychiatry residency at the University of California, Irvine in 1991. He has been a Full Time Faculty at the University of California, Irvine since 1991. His primary area of specialty is adult psychiatry with a focus on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and memory disorders.

Dr. Bera is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He serves as Medical Director for Universal Care Behavioral Health for California and as Medical Director at the John Henry Foundation in Santa Ana, a high level center for the treatment of Schizophrenia. At the John Henry Foundation, 4thyear psychiatry residents from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine receive state of the art clinical training. He formally was chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the Orange County Psychiatric Society from 1991 to 2016. He was been on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of Orange County from 1991 to 2012 and served as a past President of the Board. He is the current President of the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine Alumni. In 2014 Dr. Bera was the recipient of the Orange County Medical Association Physician of the Year Award.

Dr. Bera has been a principal investigator and co-investigator in over 180 clinical trials over the last 25 years. Dr. Bera has lectured extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe about the major mental illnesses and their latest treatments. Most recently his interest has been to develop models of care that combine high level care for both physical and mental disorders with an emphasis on health outcomes economic research. Today he works regularly with physicians of all specialties helping them incorporate mental health evaluations and treatments into their practices.


Laura Dardashti, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!


Anish Dube, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!


Jeffrey Glass, M.D.
Councilor
Federal Legislative Representative

Bio coming soon!


Richard Granese, M.D.
Councilor
APA Assembly Representative

Bio coming soon!


Brenda Jensen, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!


Douglas G. Kahn, M.D.
Councilor
Co-Chair, Investment Committee

Upload: November 2, 2016Douglas G. Kahn, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A., graduated Tulane University cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1968. He received his M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1972 and completed an internship in medicine and psychiatry there at Jackson Memorial Hospital in 1973. He graduated his psychiatry residency training at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut in 1976, serving as chief resident during his final year of residency, and was awarded a Falk Fellowship by the American Psychiatric Association during that year. Rare among psychiatry residency training programs, the Institute focused on long-term intensive psychoanalytic psychotherapy of patients, who came to live there for months and years at a time, and were seen three to five hour-long sessions per week in individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

After serving one year on the faculty of the Institute he moved to California where he established his private practice of psychiatry in 1977 in Huntington Beach, moving his office to Newport Beach in 1983 where he been in full-time private practice ever since.

Dr. Kahn has served as an elected member of the Council of the Orange County Psychiatric Society every two years since 1982, and is a past President of that Society (1986-88).

He trained with Habib Davanloo, M.D. in the technique of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy from 1988 to 1993, and was a founding member of the California Institute for Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (with Noel Drury, M.D., David Davis, M.D., and Gary Crouppen, Ph.D. in 1990). Dr. Kahn served on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Short-Term Psychotherapy from 6/90-6/95. He was a Member of the Board of the International Institute for Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy during that same period, and served as Vice-President of the International Institute for Teaching and Research in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy from 7/92 to 7/94.

Dr. Kahn is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, U.C.I. College of Medicine since 2001 (having begun there as an Assistant Clinical Professor in 1979). He teaches a weekly “case on videotape” psychotherapy seminar for the PGY3 (third year psychiatry) residents. He has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” four times since 1999 for that course.


Daniel Kirsten, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!


Carolyn Nguyen, M.D.
Councilor

Carolyn Nguyen, M.D.Dr. Carolyn Nguyen is a double board-certified Adult and Child Psychiatrist in Orange County, CA. She received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. After obtaining her medical degree (M.D.) at UC Davis School of Medicine in Davis, CA, she went on to complete her medical internship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA. She finished her residency training in Adult Psychiatry and additional subspecialty fellowship training in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at UCLA Semel Institute (UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center) in Los Angeles, CA. She is an ABPN Diplomate with Board Certifications in General Adult Psychiatry as well as Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

During her training, she held several leadership positions in organized psychiatry at the state and national level, and also received numerous awards and honors, including the American Psychiatric Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's "Minority Fellowship Award", the Southern California Psychiatric Society's "Outstanding Resident Award", and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry "Outstanding Child And Adolescent Psychiatry Resident Award". She currently serves as a Councillor for the Executive Council in the Orange County Psychiatric Society and sits on the Orange County Mental Health Board as a Professional Member. She is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Thomas Okamoto, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!



Sonya Rasminsky, M.D.
Councilor

Upload: June 22, 2016Sonya Rasminsky, MD is an adult psychiatrist with a specialty in women’s mental health and reproductive psychiatry. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English from Harvard College in 1992, received her MD from University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine in 1999, and completed her psychiatry residency at Cambridge Hospital- Harvard Medical School in 2003. She is currently an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at UCLA, where she is an attending physician in the Women’s Life Center, and she has a private practice in Newport Beach. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has been the chair of OCPS’s Education Committee since 2014.


Nicolaas-John van Nieuwenhuysen, M.D.
Councilor

Bio coming soon!


» Representatives & Advisors

Anish Dube, M.D.
Early Career Psychiatrist Representative

Bio coming soon!


Christopher Cho, M.D.
Co-Resident/Fellow Representative

Bio coming soon!


Daniel Kirsten, M.D.
Co-Resident/Fellow Representative

Bio coming soon!


» Administration

Natalie Kaczur
Executive Director

Ms. Kaczur has a long and diversified career in administrative and project management. Her experience has been primarily in health care, where she served as the manager of the Physician Services Department at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego, supporting the medical director of a 350+ physician multi-specialty group.

Ms. Kaczur began her tenure managing non-profit organizations in 1999 when she accepted the role of executive director of the Southern California Region III Chapter of the American College of Physicians (a physician membership organization for Internists), where she continues to serve on a part-time basis. She has also served as the executive director for the California ACP Services Corporation (a 501c(6) organization), the advocacy division for the California ACP Chapters, and as bookkeeper for the California Colorectal Cancer Coalition. For the past five years, Ms. Kaczur has worked as the administrator and CME director for PracticingExcellence.com, a physician e-learning company.

We are very fortunate to have Ms. Kaczur serve as our executive director.


Next - Committee Chair Bios »

Read the Latest News

Psychiatrists: Help support legislation, easily!

Apr 26, 2018
  From the APA: An out-of-date law (42 CFR Part 2) prevents physicians and other health care providers from sharing substance use disorder records within a patient's medical

Read More

APA Applauds CHIP Reauthorization

Jan 27, 2018
From the APA: The American Psychiatric Association wants to thank our advocates for their support in our fight to protect children's access to health insurance.  Earlier this week,

Read More

#SaveCHIP Day of Action

Jan 10, 2018
From the APA: 850,000 Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries experience serious behavioral or emotional disorders but their access to mental health treatment has been in jeopardy for

Read More