Our mental health technicians help to make APEX the rehabilitation facility it is today.  Below you can find a biography on some of our substance abuse technicians, and other facility staff, working with our patients and treatment center.  

Erik Weiser – Residential Technician

Erik Weiser graduated in 2016. He was born in New York and moved to San Diego in 2000.  He chose to go into the medical field because it is his goal to become a medical doctor and work in the organization Doctors Without Borders. He is very familiar with drug addiction and addiction to behavioral tendencies. For a very long time, since 2000, it has been something he has witnessed and dealt with among many close individuals. Erik loves to workout at the gym, surf, rock climb, listen to music, and capture photographs.

James Dey – Residential Technician

Jim is a 4th generation San Diegan but also lived in Northern California, Alaska, and Arizona before deciding there was no place like home. He has worked in diverse fields as an environmental professional, in customer service, tech administration, as a commercial fisherman, and a landscaper and builder. Jim has also taught Buddhist philosophy and practice and helped build a retreat center.

Returning home, he also returned to school to become a Certified Medical Assistant and recently worked as a physical therapy aide. Jim believes that taking care of others is the key to happiness. He enjoys a little yoga, hiking, and biking, and is an enthusiastic bodysurfer.

Rebecca Whitacre, Case Manager

Rebecca was born and raised in San Diego. Her family has played an instrumental part in motivating her life path. There has been an extensive line of teachers in her family and education has always been important. Rebecca spent a few years at the Community College. She immersed herself in Human Service classes and fell in love with Social Work. She achieved her Associate’s degree’s in both Social Work and Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS). She has strong ties to the recovery community and enjoys being of service to our patients.

Currently, she is a student at San Diego State University pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Mental Health. She aspires towards working in the Mental Health care field specifically working with people with co-occurring disorders. Recently, her life has changed and she has a new purpose. She is happily married and became a mom to a handsome little boy. They love to have family excursions and enjoy outdoor activities together. She enjoys spending time with her 1-year-old and her husband. Presently she is teaching her son to swim. In her leisure time, she likes to go to the beach, attend community festivities, and exercise at the gym.

Pedro Cuevas, Residential Technician

After serving in the USMC and trying out the medical assistant program at UEI College, Pedro discovered his passion for supporting individuals through their times of emotional crisis and trauma. Additionally, Pedro has a passion for helping individuals view life through a more positive point of view.

Pedro is currently attending South-Western College to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Afterward, he plans to transfer to a University so he may fulfill his goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Pedro is an avid foodie, loves coffee, dogs, and making people laugh. Finally, Pedro truly believes that life is a precious gift worth living and that the love and forgiveness of others and ourselves is the key to happiness and redemption.

James Ketara, Head Chef

Chef James was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland, and his time spent serving in the United States Navy has allowed him to see and experience other countries. Becoming a chef allowed him to travel from coast to coast, learning, experiencing, and passionately pursuing and attaining many goals that chef have in common. Chef has worked in Michelin starred restaurants, and cut his culinary teeth under a decorated Italian chef in his hometown.

Chef James’ dedication to creating new and recreating old cuisine are his focal point right now. Being a chef for clients with different tastes, dietary needs, and expectations are something he is grateful for and is dedicated to exceeding those expectations whenever possible. Chef James is well versed in some of the most progressive dietary lifestyles people seek to utilize for vitality and overall health. In fact, Chef James is working on a Keto lifestyle right now.

Having trained in France and Italy, working his way from the east coast to west has trained him well. It has also immersed him, at times, in a career that gambles with excesses. Working with the clients at Apex allow him to see the brighter side of despair, addiction, abuse, and hopelessness. Recovery.

Cecilia Toma, LVN

Cecilia was born and raised In Riverside, California, and graduated nursing school at North West College in 2016. Cecilia always knew she wanted to pursue a career within the medical field. Being raised by a single mother, who was also a nurse, inspired Cecilia at a young age. Her mother would teach and guide her on how to care for Cecilia’s grandparents when they were ill, and that’s how it all began for her.

What Cecilia loves most about being a nurse is how rewarding it feels to see those she cares for, start to show improvement and progress in their health. Ever since Nursing school, Cecilia has sparked a deeper interest in the Mental Health field. Additionally, Cecilia had the opportunity to attend clinical at Patton State Psychiatric Hospital which further attracted her to learn about what causes and helps mental wellness. Cecilia’s future goal is to further her career and become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner. In her spare time, Cecilia enjoys swimming, cooking, hikes with great views, spending time with friends and family.

Deborah Ball, Nutritionist

Deborah’s love for nature and vegetables started as a child when she used to take care of the backyard garden with her dad. Her appreciation for the healing powers of nature grew as she saw her friend’s mother heal and restore her body from breast cancer by eating a vegetarian diet. From there, Deborah began studying the healing arts and pursued a career in holistic health as a  nutritionist and therapist. After 17 years of helping her clients on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level, Deborah expanded her mission of healing on a deeper level and attended The University of the Pacific to become a substance abuse counselor.

A philosophy Deborah follows is: “The secret for anyone who wants to achieve success, obtain a goal or to overcome a difficult situation is to embrace self- love and compassion”. This is what Deborah believes to be the basis of her contribution to Apex – To help the clients honor and love who they are. To create a life of total health starts with self-love and compassion. From there you will begin to eat healthily, stay in the company of healthy people, and live a life with joy and fulfillment. The start of a journey of self-love begins with getting back to the basic aspects of life – Connection to nature, appreciation of healthy eating, and understanding that every aspect of life (including yourself), is truly a miracle and tremendous blessing.