I was born in New Hampshire and lived in the Northeast until I was 12 years old. Later, I moved to Southern California, where I fell in love with the warm weather and the ocean. I wanted to move to Hawaii because of its famed aloha spirit, the emphasis on ohana, and the overall way of life. My mom has been a big influence in my life. As an accomplished author, she taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. I completed my medical training at the University of California, San Francisco and my psychiatry internship and residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, where I was chief resident.
I have always been fascinated by how the mind and body interact and, specifically, how physical illness can impact emotional states and vice versa. Additionally, I’ve always loved science and felt happiest when I was making a positive difference in people's lives. A career in medicine seemed to be a perfect way to combine both of these interests. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help people achieve wellness by looking at how both physical and emotional health can be optimized to help them achieve their goals in life.
My interest in the power of mind-body interactions, along with a desire to avoid medication whenever possible or use the smallest amounts necessary, was a significant motivator in my co-authoring a mindfulness-based self-help book. The goal of the book is to teach people the neuroscience behind mental and physical habits so that they understand how habits are formed as well as how to change them. We also examine the negative messages associated with anxiety or depression that might be holding people back. I was fortunate to be featured on the Today Show, in several magazines, and online for Psychology Today as a result of this work. Additionally, I was on A&E's first season of “Obsessed,” where I offered my expertise in panic disorder and hoarding behavior.
To stay current in my field, I receive daily updates from the American Psychiatric Association, review article suggestions by physician colleagues, read the online professional resource UpToDate, participate in continuing medical education activities, and attend professional conferences.
I was looking for a medical group to work with that provided outstanding clinical care to patients in a coordinated and compassionate manner. The Hawaii Permanente Medical Group strives to do all of this and more. Here I see all people being treated like family in a supportive, professional environment.
My role as psychiatrist is to give information and encouragement to the people I serve. I believe in patient autonomy and I strive not to impose my values on others. Rather, I take time to learn what’s important to my patients—their goals and values, what they want out of life—and work with them to achieve their best health.
I meditate daily and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and learning to surf. Cooking and spending time with family, friends, and pets help to ground and rejuvenate me.