Our Clinical Staff

APEX Rehab is proud to offer some of finest doctoral and licensed professionals in southern California. With literally decades of addiction experience, and countless clinical hours spent researching, training and treating dual diagnosis issues, our team is ready to help. Despite our staff pedigree, the key difference at APEX is our team collaboration, coupled with our philosophy and humble touch. We believe every member of our team is reliant on others perspectives and insight. We every participant with respect and dignity, not from a place of superiority or judgment.

APEX Rehab's staff is hand selected for their ability to work and promote an integrative treatment approach. No one person has THE answer, and only as a team of professionals, working with the participant and family, can we bring the results we know people are striving for. Our clinical staff is tireless in their dedication to wholeness, health, and excellence. Our constant drive for knowledge, continuing education, and goal of field, participation as leaders in the recovery community, allows our APEX team to be sought after and exceptional at treating not just an addiction, but the whole person. This allows for growth in many ways, as each participant finds their own path to meaningful recovery.

Dr. Jerry Ayers, M.D. - Addiction Physician

Dr. Jerry Ayers is a skilled addiction medical practitioner. With and Undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego, A graduate degree from the University of California San Diego, in Physiology and Pharmacology, and a medical degree from the University of Texas, Galveston, Dr. Ayers is respected as one of the top addiction doctors in San Diego.

In addiction to his extensive training, Dr. Ayers also has exceptional clinical experience. This includes 15 years of hospital experience at UCSD, Grossmont, Alvarado, Palomar, and Tri-City Hospitals, and 10 years of experience performing Medical Consulting for Residential Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers, performing Detoxification services, and medical and psychiatric pharmacotherapy.

Dr. Ayers holds an American Board of Addiction Medicine Certification, in addition to his California Medical License. Dr. Ayers provides APEX patients with unparalleled professional services in safe and comfortable detoxification and medication management.

Dr. Thomas E. Deblois, M.D. - Psychiatrist

Dr. Thomas E. Deblois is an outside psychiatric consultant for APEX Rehab, and a board certified psychiatrist in San Diego. A graduate of Stanford Medical School, Dr. Deblois has dedicated years to working with a large variety of clientele with many different psychiatric needs. Over the last few years, Dr. Deblois has specialized in both child and adolescent psychiatry; yet he never lost his passion for helping those who suffer from mood disorders and addiction. Dr. Deblois’ strong background and knowledge of working with adults with mood disorders and other mental illness helps him work with clients that have deeper issues, that can result in drug or alcohol dependency.

Apart from being certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Deblois is an active advocate for the LGBT community in San Diego. He provides training to other medical and clinical professionals in working with LGBT youth. His diverse skill set and dedication to the betterment of people in the community make him an understanding and compassionate asset to the APEX Rehab team.

Dr. Wendy A. Khentigan, M.D. - Psychiatrist

Dr Wendy A. Khentigan is a board certified psychiatrist Dr. Khentigan has been a consulting psychiatrist to several San Diego dual diagnosis residential treatment centers for many years.

Dr. Khentigan had a particular interest and concern about the growing opioid epidemic and was one of the first doctors in San Diego certified to prescribe Suboxone. Dr. Khentigan is a proponent of medication assisted therapy when indicated and strives to develop an individualized treatment plan for dual diagnosis patients. Dr. Khentigan has also completed training in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) which allows her to assess and treat patients who have experienced trauma in a compassionate and effective way.

Dr. Khentigan is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She graduated from New York Medical College. After a year of internship in internal medicine at Norwalk Hospital, she completed her residency in psychiatry at UCSD and was a chief resident during her last year of training. Dr. Khentigan has been in solo practice for over 23 years.

Dianna Hansen, M.A., IMF, CADC-II - Program Therapist

Dianna Hansen M.A., IMF, CADC-II is a registered marriage and family therapy intern as well as a certified drug and alcohol counselor. She has been working in the field of substance abuse providing counseling and assessment to addicts in a variety of settings since 2011. She received her B.A. in clinical psychology from San Diego State University in 1998, certificate of massage practitioner from the School of Healing Arts in 2007, and M.F.T. from Argosy University in 2012.

Her approach to treating people with addictive disorders uses a combination of techniques from brief strategic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness and concepts from Chinese medicine. Her treatment philosophy stems from a foundation belief each person is the catalyst for their own healing.

Madison Nees, RADT-1 - Art Therapist

Madison Nees has worked as anzartist and instructor since 2011. Ms. Nees began her career teaching art instruction at various schools and businesses and showing her art in galleries such as the San Diego Art Institute. Upon getting into recovery herself, Madison began developing a curriculum to utilize her knowledge of recovery and art to help others in need.

Madison has always believed that art plays a vital role in the support of addiction recovery. Ms. Nees works at various treatment centers around San Diego, facilitating groups that provide the space for recovering addicts and alcoholics to express themselves through art.

Brandon Parkhurst - Music & Art Therapist

Brandon Parkhurst is a singer/songwriter from San Diego. He has been the key songwriter for Kut U Up and Yovee for over 15 years as well as toured with Green Day, Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World. Brandon has written scores for many surf and skate films in the action sports industry premiered around the world for Fuel T.V. and E.S.P.N. Sport. He also starred in the documentary “Riding in Vans With Boys”, a full length film about life on the road of an arena tour.

Brandon had fun with the party life style until it finally caught up with him in 2008. He was resistant to recovery in the beginning because he was under the impression that he needed to be “loaded” in order to create good music. Since getting sober, he has spent his time starting a new band, Indigo Mystics. His hopes are that this shows artists also struggling with the same impression, that it is possible to be inspired without the use of any substance.

Brandon also has Studied Core Energetics at Radical Aliveness Institute of Southern California.

Juliana Wida, HHP, B.S. - Holistic Practitioner

Juliana Wida has worked in the field of health and fitness since 1993. Ms. Wida has worked in a variety of positions in gyms, eating disorder clinic, spas, weight loss centers, private studio and in private homes as a personal trainer, yoga instructor, nutritionist and massage therapist.

Mrs. Wida’s experience and knowledge has allowed her to approach wellness through a holistic understanding; mind, body and spirit. Ms. Wida has a Bachelor in Science in Foods and Nutrition from San Diego State University, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner from School of Healing Arts, Certified Yoga Instructor, and has her National and California Certifications as a Massage Therapist.

Dr. Tufia Steidle, Psy.D. - Equine Therapist

Dr. Tufia Elaine Steidle is a licensed clinical psychologist and holds a dual certification through EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) as an Equine Specialist and Equine Assisted Psychotherapist.

Dr. Steidle is the Clinical Director and provider of equine assisted psychotherapy services (EAP) at Home Base Ranch Inc. in Lakeside, and provides EAP services at Apex Recovery and Ocean Ranch Recovery, as well as providing EAP services through her private practice: Solutions Through Horses.

She has been in practice for almost 20 years and has loved horses since childhood. She has seen the therapeutic power that horses have and how they facilitate the growth and healing in people.

Dr. Steidle has worked in a variety of clinical settings during her career, including; working in a student counseling center at a college, providing mental health care in a prison, providing counseling services for people with AIDS/HIV, working in an inpatient substance abuse facility, and also providing psychotherapy in several non-profit community mental health clinics. For almost 10 years, she held a senior management position at a non-profit community mental health agency in Los Angeles. As a Director, she was responsible for overseeing the mental health care of over 1,000 clients, supervising over 100 staff, and managing budgets and contracts across 8 clinics.

She is also trained in several Evidence Based Practices, including; Seeking Safety, Trauma Focused CBT, and Interpersonal Therapy for Depression.

Sam Newman - Program Therapist

Samuel Newman has worked in the field of human services since the early 1970s as a para-professional counselor for people who suffer from substance abuse and dependency. Mr. Newman’s qualifications in this field were derived from direct life experiences from the prior decade, he soon realized he had a natural gift in using dialogue as a healing tool. He began his formal educational training in 1980 and received a California Psychiatric Technician’s license in 1982. Mr. Newman continued his formal education as well as professional endeavors in the area of human services and received his Bachelors in Counseling Psychology in 1984 and a Masters in Counseling Psychology in 1986 from the Professional School of Psychological Studies in San Diego California. Mr. Newman received his license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1989. He has been in private practice as well as a variety of consulting positions since achieving his MFT license.

Daijanay Honore, B.A. - Program Therapist

Daijanay is a Student trainee at Apex Recovery Rehab Facility. She received her B.A in Psychology from California State University, Northridge in 2014 and went on to get her Masters in Counseling Psychology from National University. She has always loved working with people and being able to empower others with the knowledge she has gained thus far. Daijanay’s therapeutic style is highly collaborative and specifically tailored to each client.

Evidence based practices such as CBT and DBT integrated with positive applied psychology are used to highlight the client’s strengths, improve their sense of well-being, and encourage them through their addiction. She plans to continue her work in the addictions field and help others instill hope, confidence, and connectedness within themselves.

Pam Highfill, M.A., IMF - Program Therapist

Pam Highfill is a Marriage Family Therapist Intern who has deep compassion for individuals and families impacted by addiction. Ms. Highfill began working professionally in the field of substance abuse treatment in 2004, earned her CAS Certification in 2006 and became CADC II Certified in 2010. Recognizing the correlation between addiction and mental health, she returned to school and obtained a B.S. Degree in Human Services with an emphasis on Addiction Studies, then went on to obtain her M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Ms. Highfill has worked with various populations including adolescents, LGTB clients, and individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Ms. Highfill uses evidence based best practices and motivational interviewing skills to collaborate with the client throughout their treatment experience. As a family therapist intern she continues using these skills while incorporating solution focused theories with individuals to help them to identify and reach their goals.

Kristen Morris, LVN - Nurse

Amy Harmon - Intake Coordinator

Amy has been in the healthcare field since the age of 17. Amy first started working in 2 Cardiology offices in the Hi-Desert. In 2005, she decided to relocate to Minnesota where she worked in Pediatrics and became a Certified Medical Assistant. In 2009, Amy and her family decided to move south to Texas where she continued her education towards her Associates Degree in Nursing while working full-time as the Lead Medical Assistant for a busy General/Vascular Surgery & Dermatology clinic.

Amy found her way back home to sunny California and is continuing her education in Nursing. Unfortunately, addiction hits close to home for her and her family. She has recently lost two brothers to alcoholism, and therefore decided to seek employment helping others with addiction. She started with Apex Recovery, LLC in 2015 and feels lucky to be part of such a wonderful organization. Amy believes that if her brothers were able to find the treatment that Apex offers, maybe their outcomes would have been different. Amy would describe herself as caring and compassionate. She loves her job and enjoys helping others. Amy spends her free time seeking adventure and creating memories with her family.