Licensed and Board-Certified Providers
Scottsdale Mental Health & Wellness Institute is founded by Dr. Roland Segal and Dr. Ehab Abdallah. Both psychiatrists are licensed and have multiple board certifications and over a decade of proving holistic psychiatric treatment and care. They are involved in regional and national professional organizations and have held Medical Directorship positions across the nation. Both Dr. Segal and Dr. Abdallah are Clinical Assistant Professors of Psychiatry with the University of Arizona. Dr. Segal was also recognized as one of the top psychiatric doctors by Phoenix Magazine in 2020.
Roland Segal, M.D.
Dr. Segal completed his medical school education at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, in Tucson, Arizona. He continued training in a general psychiatry residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Then Dr. Segal completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, in Los Angeles.
Dr. Segal is double board certified in General and Forensic Psychiatry.
Dr. Segal is the Chief Medical Officer at the Valley Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ehab Abdallah, M.D.
Dr. Abdallah obtained his medical degree from Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at West Virginia University.
Dr. Abdallah is a triple board-certified in General Psychiatry, Consultation-Liaison (Psychosomatic) Psychiatry, and Addiction Psychiatry.
Dr. Abdallah is experienced in treating psychiatric illness in people with complex medical/mental conditions and is an expert in addiction medicine. He is passionate about quality care.
Elena Volfson, M.D.
Dr. Volfson is a double board-certified in general adult and addiction psychiatry and featured as a 2018 Top Doctor in Phoenix Magazine. She completed her medical training at the St. Petersburg Pavlov Medical University in St.Petersburg, Russia.
Dr. Volfson completed a Masters in Public Health Degree at the University of Albany, New York, and Psychiatric Residency and Addiction Fellowship at the UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She served as a Medical Director of the Integrated/Collaborative program at the Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center and as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania.
Presently, Dr. Volfson is a consultant at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo College of Medicine.
Bahar Altaha, M.D.
Dr. Bahar Altaha is triple board certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine. Dr. Altaha completed her medical training at the University of Hamburg School of Medicine, in Hamburg, Germany. She has trained in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and in General Adult and Child- Adolescent Psychiatry at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.
Dr. Altaha has received significant Honors and Awards including, the Community Service Award for Outstanding Leadership, awarded by WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, and additional awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Electroconvulsive Therapy.
She has been published in Sage Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, Current Psychology, and J ECT and has provided numerous presentations nationally and internationally related to her field. At West Virginia University she was holding various directorship positions, training medical students, residents, and fellows. Currently, Dr.Altaha is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix Department of Psychiatry.
In addition, Dr. Altaha is fluent in English, German, Farsi, and French. Dr. Altaha has been a great asset to the team at Scottsdale Mental Health and Wellness Institute.
Lauren T. Bonner, M.D.
Lauren Tosca Bonner, MD is double-board certified in Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. She has extensive experience in patient care in the inpatient and outpatient settings. She has provided care to patients in academic, public and private health care sectors. Dr. Bonner has participated in patient centered research in the fields of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia and Schizophrenia. She was the recipient of a grant from the National Institute of Health to research a treatment for agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease. She was chosen to present her research at the International Alzheimer’s Disease Scientific Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. She has written and co-authored a number of journal articles that have been published in a number of peer reviewed journals including Neurology and Academic Psychiatry. She has also coauthored book chapters in publications such as the Medical Clinics of North America and the Textbook of Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Bonner’s academic and patient care excellence has been recognized by her election to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and her recognition as a Leonard Weisskopf Scholar. Dr. Bonner has extensive experience in the care of patients with Mood Disorders, Trauma Spectrum Disorders such as PTSD, Psychotic Disorders, Substance Use Disorders, ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias and Women’s Mental Health Issues.
Regan O’Brien M.D.
Dr. O’Brien earned her medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University. She came to the Phoenix area in 2015 to complete residency training at Creighton University School of Medicine Valleywise Health Center (formerly Maricopa County Hospital). Over the course of her training, she worked closely with the underserved and became experienced in treating persons with the most complex and serious mental illnesses. Dr. O’Brien’s background also includes a variety of experiences in the outpatient setting caring for patients of diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Upon completing her four-year residency training, Dr. O’Brien worked at Valleywise Health in Phoenix, AZ as an inpatient psychiatric consultant before deciding to transition to mostly outpatient work. She has a strong background in psychotherapy with special interest in treating young professionals.
Fariba Pfitzner, M.D.
Dr. Fariba Pfitzner is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in adult, child, and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Pfitzner completed her medical training at Ludwig-Maximillian University School of Medicine, in Munich, Germany. She completed her residency in adult psychiatry and two-year subspecialty fellowship program in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. She was the chief resident in the child psychiatry fellowship program.
Dr. Fariba Pfitzner is licensed to practice medicine in Arizona, New York, and the European Union. Before entering private practice, she worked as the Director of the Adolescent Inpatient Unit at the Arizona State Hospital. Her professional experience also includes working for many years in community mental health clinics providing psychiatric services involving a multidisciplinary team approach.
Dr. Pfitzner has been practicing in a private setting since 2008 and focusing on both child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry providing comprehensive psychiatric evaluations, pharmacological treatment, and psycho-educational supportive therapy. Dr. Pfitzner’s treatment approach is inspired greatly by her training in family therapy and working closely with the family therapy department at the University of Rochester. She approaches her treatment with emphasis on teamwork and collaboration with the patient, family, school, and other providers including therapists, pediatricians, primary care physicians, and psychologists.
In addition, Dr. Pfitzner is fluent in many languages and has an established reputation in the Valley. She is providing great support to the Adolescent Intensive Out-Patient Program at Scottsdale Mental Health and Wellness Institute and we are proud to have her as a member of the team.
Tara M. Iacono, DMSc, PA-C
Dr. Tara Iacono is a nationally certified physician assistant specializing in psychiatry and addiction medicine. She graduated with honors from the St. John’s University Physician Assistant program in 2006 and earned a Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) with a concentration in healthcare administration and leadership from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2021. Dr. Iacono is an active advocate for her profession in the PA community and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants. Dr. Iacono feels honored to care for her patients during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Her approach to their care is holistic, collaborative, and compassionate.
Victoria Emanuelson, MPAS, PA-C
Victoria Emanuelson, MPAS, PA-C, is a nationally certified Physician Assistant. She graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and recently relocated to the Phoenix area. Over the course of her training, she worked with diverse patient populations in a variety of clinical and geographic settings, including urban and rural underserved communities, and the LGBTQ+ community. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants. She is empathetic and collaborative in her approach to patient care, and is passionate about patient education and improving patients’ quality of life. Victoria has a special interest in treating patients living with chronic conditions, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and patients with complex family backgrounds.
Mike Higbee, PA-C
Mike Higbee is a nationally certified physician assistant specializing in psychiatry. Mike graduated from St. John’s University in New York City in 2003 with honors. His guiding philosophy in practice is not only to alleviate the burden of psychiatric illness, but also to guide his patients on where certain aspects of the disorder may be useful. Mike has experience in outpatient psychiatry, substance use treatment as well as crisis psychiatry. He is an active member of the Association of Physician Assistants in Psychiatry. He is also in the process of writing the chapters on psychotic disorders and anxiety disorders for a medical textbook in collaboration with Yale Medical.
Advanced Nurse Practitioner
Samantha Willen, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Samantha Willen, DNP, PMHNP-BC is a Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Samantha graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She then went on to receive a Master’s in Science, Entry to Nursing in 2013 and Doctor of Nursing Practice in Psychiatric/Mental Health in 2018 from the University of Arizona.
Samantha has previously worked at Maricopa Integrated Health Services (now Valleywise) for two years and Lifewell Behavioral Wellness for the past year, working with individuals diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). Samantha utilizes an individualized approach to mental health, using evidence-based medicine to provide high value care.
Jose A. Rodriguez, PMHNP-BC
Jose A. Rodriguez, PMHNP-BC is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Jose graduated from Oregon Health & Science University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He then received a Master of Science in Nursing with the specialty of Psychiatric Mental Health in 2021 from Frontier Nursing University. Jose specializes in treating patients throughout their lifespan and is passionate about aiding military veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Jose’s work experience includes 9 years as a critical care nurse and crisis nurse in Boise, Idaho. Jose has a total of 18 years in the United States Army Infantry with six of those years in active duty. He is a Sergeant First Class and is currently serving in the Oregon Army National Guard. Jose recently moved to Arizona with his lovely wife and two sons and is looking forward to exploring the “Grand Canyon State”. Not only does Jose provide evidence-based pharmacological therapies to help patients struggling with their mental health, but he also utilizes a patient-centered approach which individualizes the plan of care to the patient.
Cory M.J. Groman LPC
Cory M.J. Groman has been a practicing psychotherapist for the past 8 years. Cory received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and his Masters in counseling from Franciscan University of Steubenville, located in Steubenville, Ohio. Throughout his career, Cory has served in several leadership positions, including as the lead to the crisis response team while working with Talbert House in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently, he has served as Lead Therapist at Valley Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. He has also conducted research having been published in the journal of ADHD. He has served as faculty and written lectures for the American Physicians Institute for Advanced Professional Studies, a web-based learning center for the continuing education of medical professionals.
Besides, he has been a peer reviewer for the OMICS publishing group, a peer-review journal. Cory has treated a variety of populations from children to adults with a variety of conditions/issues, including anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, social anxiety, loss of meaning, addictions, grief/loss, employment issues, decision making, impulsivity.
Kristin S. Lovato, MA, LPC
Kristin graduated from Arizona State University with her undergraduate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences and obtained her Master’s degree from Ottawa University in Professional Counseling. Kristin is a licensed clinician that has extensive experience working with all populations. Kristin started her career working with families in non-profit organizations focusing on victims of domestic violence, trauma, and abuse. This allowed her to work with children on the spectrum and adolescents diagnosed with mood disorders. Kristin worked for several years in acute psychiatric hospitals working with individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders and patients struggling with self-harm and chronic mental health issues. She has a background working with military and veterans that have struggled with addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She developed and implemented an inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation program for military members in an acute psychiatric setting.
Kristin was a Clinical Director for a counseling clinic specializing in DUI’s, domestic violence, and anger management. Kristin provided supervision with clinicians providing court-ordered group and individual offender treatment. Kristin is certified as a Trauma Professional with training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and substance abuse/addiction.
Jacob Johnson, LPC
Jacob Johnson graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2015 with his Master’s Degree in counseling after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy there prior. He started his counseling work in the field of substance use and co-occurring disorders working inpatient in Flagstaff and Prescott before moving back to Phoenix where he has worked as both an outpatient counselor and a clinical supervisor.
He is a licensed professional counselor who has worked extensively with adults, adolescents, and families in the fields of substance use, co-occurring disorders, and general mental health utilizing a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, motivational interviewing, and positive psychology.
Christopher Holcomb, LPC
Christopher Holcomb graduated from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology, at Northern Arizona University he obtained a Masters in Education (Education Psychology), and at the University of Phoenix received a Masters degree in Clinical Counseling. Christopher has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, first responders, active duty, and veterans. Christopher has experience with trauma, addiction, family systems, couples therapy, anxiety, depression, critical incident stress management, and gender identity. Some of the theoretical models Christopher uses include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy skills, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Christopher’s work experience prior to becoming a therapist includes a lifetime of dedication to his country and community. Eight years of military experience as a United States Marine and an Arizona National Guardsman, Twenty years as a law enforcement officer/detective, and three years experience in grade school education.
Kyra Coates, Practice Administrator
Our Practice administrator, Kyra Coates comes to SMHWI with six years in the medical background. While working in medical hospitals and clinics, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration.
Kyra combines her education with personal hands-on experience. With a passion for day-to-day operations of the practice and the management side of the successful programs offered at SMHWI. With this Kyra brings compassion and understanding to the patients and the employees.
I am committed to making our patients and their families experience in our practice a positive one.
My goal is to incorporate the wealth of knowledge and customer service that I have acquired over the last 17 years to equip our team to best serve our patients.
Please contact Kyra at Manager2@mdofficemail.com
Patrick Mingey, Director of Marketing
Patrick brings unique and varied skills to his position as Director of Marketing. His background includes 15 years as an addiction therapist and 40 years of personal recovery. He has dedicated his life to helping others and has worked with thousands of people who suffer from addiction and mental health disorders. He is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those he interacts with. Patrick has extensive experience in marketing and previously ran his own marketing company in which he provided graphic design, website development, and content marketing. He is very excited to offer not only his marketing expertise to Scottsdale Mental Health & Wellness Institute but also offer his passion for helping others.
Gillian Vandermeer, Admissions Coordinator
Gillian comes to SMHWI with years of experience in the medical field. She is joining SMHWI to help new patients get the appropriate care that each patient needs. Her great organization skills and ability to multitask makes her very efficient at her job. Gillian has a positive outlook on each day and is committed to helping each patient. When she is not at work she enjoys traveling, kayaking, and outdoor sports, along with trying new foods and restaurants.
Rhia Hudson, Lead Medical Assistant
Rhia comes to SMHWI with over nine years of clinical experience after graduating at the top of her class. She has spent her career working in both the front and back office in a variety of settings including urgent care, private practices, pain management clinics, and long term care facilities. Rhia is committed to helping others and that passion drives her positivity each day and the smile she always wears.
Brenda Schmidt Medical Assistant
Brenda comes to SMHWI newly transported from San Diego CA with a few years of clinical experience after graduating at the top of her class. She has spent her career working in both front and back office in a variety of settings including internal medicine, weight loss, women’s health clinics, school and office administration. Brenda brings her can do attitude and compassion for others to give the best care for those she meets. When she isn’t working with patients at SMHWI, she spends her time playing board games or trivia with friends and family, playing the guitar, and cooking/experimenting with new recipes. One of her favorite quotes is: When you focus on the good, the good gets better. This quote is what drives her to bring her infectious smile to work every day.