Dr. Amy Maher has joined IPM in July 2019. She is thrilled to be back in California. She has had a history of academic and career excellence. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont and completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dr. Maher received her MD from Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Oregon in 2002. She completed her internship at Virginia Mason Medical Center and her anesthesia residency at UCSF Medical Center. Dr. Maher continued on to complete a fellowship in Pain Management at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Dr. Maher has spent time as a clinical instructor for the USCF Department of Anesthesia. Over the last twenty years, she has studied extensively in nutrition, hormonal health, emotional health, and mindfulness techniques such as yoga. Dr. Maher offers her services in pain management. She also offers medication-assisted treatment to help those with opiate use disorder. She supports those with sleep disorders, headache, and mental health issues. She has experience using a multidisciplinary approach such as exercise, emotional health, and nutrition. Therefore, she looks forward to supporting each person on their unique journey towards health and happiness.
Dr. Abaci is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Abaci received his undergraduate education at UC San Diego, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and attended medical school at the University of Southern California. During his last year of residency, he served as Chief Resident and participated in a senior elective in pain management. That experience sparked an interest that led him to UC San Francisco, where he completed his fellowship training in Pain Management. In private practice since 1996, he serves as the Medical Director of the nationally recognized Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center, located in Los Gatos, California, which he co-founded with Dr. John Massey. A widely respected expert on chronic pain management and a highly successful chronic pain sufferer, he is the author of 'Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain: The Latest Research, Cutting-Edge Tools, and Alternative Treatments for Feeling Better'. Dr. Abaci began his quest to radically change conventional chronic pain thinking and treatment after dealing with the agony of his second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. There is help for conquering chronic pain, without a life addicted to drugs, and hope for healing and long-term health. Commonly prescribed pain-killing medications—Vicodin, Demerol, Oxycontin, and other narcotics—can result in a heightened sensitivity to pain, along with addiction. This has lead Dr. Abaci to focus on developing alternative solutions to treating chronic pain. Drawing on neuroscience research, evidence-based medicine, ancient Eastern spiritual traditions, stress management techniques, nutrition principles, exercise programs, art therapy, and real-life lessons, Dr. Abaci focuses on creating an integrative pain-fighting regimen for his patients.
Alexis Persin, LMFT, ATR is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as Registered Art Therapist. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design from San Jose State University, California 2010, and subsequently her Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University in 2015. Her research focuses on investigating how art therapy can reduce anxiety and increase reminiscing in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She spent two years providing counseling, art therapy, and leading psychology groups for adults managing chronic pain. Alexis was able to pursue working with families, and children with depression and anxiety in a School-Based Program. Alexis has presented in partnership with Belmont-Redwood Shores Healthy Schools Initiative Grant on youth mental health and ways to help adolescents cope with anxiety and depression. In 2019, Alexis was able to combine both interests of clinical counseling and art therapy in her position at IPM Los Gatos and Capitola. With her passion for helping others express emotions through art, Alexis offers individual therapy focusing on addressing the whole person using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies and person-centered therapy. Alexis specializes in using art therapy, sleep hygiene, mindfulness, and developing a deeper understanding of how chronic pain affects a person’s mind, body, and spirit. Alexis is interested in the whole body and became interested in studying further after her own arm tendon injury and back injury. Alexis continually seeks information on chronic pain, inflammatory response, and whole-body healing. In her free time, you may find Alexis out walking with friends, enjoying tea, or collaging art.
Jessica Goza was inspired to live a life of service by her grandmother, who taught English with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Later, she studied International Development at UCLA and worked as a CNA for several years before signing on with the Peace Corps herself. She served in Senegal from 2010 to 2012 as a Health Extension agent. Working in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Jessica learned the local language, Wolof, in order to develop innovative and culturally tailored programs to promote maternal-child health and sanitation. After a successful grant-writing campaign, Jessica recruited a local team to renovate a rural community health and maternity center, complete with new beds and running water. After enrolling at Emory University’s School of Nursing in 2014, Goza was named one of its first two Paul D. Coverdell Fellows in 2015 and selected for the elite VA Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP) program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She graduated in 2016 with her Master of Science in Nursing and was awarded the Excellence in Collaboration award. Excited to begin her career in nursing, Jessica joined the team at IPM/Bay Area Pain and Wellness to serve those who are experiencing chronic pain. Jessica enjoys the process of helping patients find their footing on their pain journey. She appreciates the opportunity to work in a unique and interdisciplinary setting that values holistic care. She wants her patients to feel encouraged, supported, and empowered to take their health into their own hands.
Kelly was inspired to become a nurse because she cares about the well-being of people. As a nurse, she enjoys providing comprehensive, holistic, compassionate health care. She is enthusiastic, encouraging, and collaborative in her approach to patient care. She wants her patients to feel they are a partner in the treatment of their pain and their journey toward wellness. Kelly is a board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center since 2006. She has been providing excellent care for our chronic pain patients since 2015. She achieved her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from UC Davis in 2003 and her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Vanderbilt University in 2006. She is a member of the SafeRX group of pain medicine prescribers in Santa Cruz County. Kelly is an advocate for the multidisciplinary team approach to treating chronic pain and strives to help her patients have access to this type of care to help them be well.
Leah Johnson is a Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant, Certified Pilates Instructor through Polestar Pilates, and Certified Massage Therapist. While working as a physical therapy assistant for the past nine years, her main focus has been outpatient orthopedics and chronic pain where she combines her manual therapy and Pilates skills to achieve optimal outcomes. Her experience ranges from pediatrics to geriatric populations and includes rehabilitation from post-operative injuries, orthopedic injuries, incontinence, and chronic disorders such as low back and neck pain. Leah obtained her Associate in Science Degree in Physical Therapy Assisting (PTA) at Loma Linda University in 2009. She obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree with an emphasis in Exercise Science through the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science at Sacramento State University in 2006. She currently provides physical therapy at Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in Capitola.
Mark Johnson graduated from California State University Hayward (East Bay) with his Master of Science Degree in Counseling Psychology. He received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Clinical Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine at the University of North Texas where he served as Assistant Clinical Coordinator in the UNT Neurotherapy Lab and developed strong interests in clinical applications of QEEG (brainmapping), neurofeedback, biofeedback, electromedicine, and other cutting edge technologies. He went on to complete his doctoral residency in the Medical Psychology track at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, with primary rotations in chronic pain/biofeedback and sleep. He is currently a Licensed Psychologist specializing in multi-modal interventions for chronic pain and co-occurring disorders such as sleep, addiction, trauma, and mood disorders. Mark’s research publications focus on clinical topics in neurofeedback/biofeedback. Mark’s experience with ameliorating his own chronic pain inspired him to pursue his doctorate in health psychology to better understand the facets of his own rehabilitation, and to better understand how to assist others. Mark’s core training included an interdisciplinary understanding of biopsychosocial factors relevant to health and illness and the applications of this knowledge to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation; emphasis of the integration of biological and behavioral science approaches to the promotion of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, and the identification of etiological and diagnostic correlates of illness and health; and mind/body interaction based on knowledge of the physiological antecedents of illness and health. Mark utilizes evidence-based (as well as evidence-informed) approaches that are supported by the scientist-practitioner model.
Michael Sullivan is the Director of Physical Therapy at the IPM Los Gatos and Capitola offices. He obtained his Masters of Physical Therapy degree from Duke University and pursued his interest in rehabilitation of orthopedic disorders, with a focus on helping people injured on the job return to an active lifestyle. After eight years of working in a private practice setting he recognized that physical therapy, provided within the framework of a traditional medical model, was not sufficient to meet the health care needs of many people. He began working in a multidisciplinary chronic pain program in 1997 and embraced a biopsychosocial approach to the treatment of chronic pain, recognizing the need for integrated care provided by a spectrum of people in the healing arts. He believes that the team at IPM has furthered the evolution of chronic pain management and created an atmosphere “where healing becomes possible”. When he is not working, you can find Michael bicycling the hills around Los Gatos . In his previous life, his passion for cycling, cuisine and travel carried him around the globe leading bicycling vacations for an active travel company.
Michelle graduated from Saint Cloud State University in 2002 with a Bachelor's of Science in Social Work and Minor in Human Relations. With an interest in natural health and fitness and a passion for helping others enhance their lives holistically, she became a Certified Personal and Group trainer. While working with a variety of age groups and physical levels she taught fitness and meditation classes and mentored clients one on one in a medical sports facility. She moved with her family to the Bay Area in 2016 and began working at Bay Area Pain and Wellness as a Personal Trainer and Wellness Instructor and has since also taken on the role of Functional Restoration Program Coordinator. With her background in human and physical science and various certifications in mindfulness practices, she finds a deeper understanding of people as a whole. When Michelle is not at work she is applying what she teaches others to her own life, striving to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, strength training, yoga, cooking, singing in a band and enjoying the abundance of beauty in the Santa Cruz area.
Rachel Cherry, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, is honored to care for your health and wellness at Bay Area Pain and Wellness. After many positions within healthcare including being a Physical Therapy Aid, CPR Instructor for the Red Cross, and Massage Therapist for Hospice of Scotts Valley, she realized that while modern medicine had broad and fascinating capabilities; it was not complete without addressing the mental aspect of the disease. Many of the people she knew let her know how well Chinese Medicine was working for them and she decided to book a treatment. Rachel went in to address stress-related symptoms and came out a new person. After a few more treatments, she decided that her calling in life was to learn how this amazing medicine works so she could share it with as many people as possible. Rachel attended Chinese Medical school at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, Ca. This is a four-year program compromised of western medicine and the five branches of eastern medicine: Acupuncture, Herbology, Dietetics, Energetics, and Massage. She has focused on Sports Medicine, Orthopedics, and Pain Management throughout her career and has taken many trainings on Distal Needling with Dr. Richard Tan. She was also trained as an Acupuncture Detox Specialist treating the patient at Janus of Santa Cruz and the SC homeless shelter. She is currently focusing on Ear Acupuncture for pain management and taking courses under Li-Chun Huang. People would describe Rachel as a very passionate, caring, and giving person. In her free time, you can find Rachel racing sailboats, walking to the beach, and spending time with her dearest friends and family.
Stephanie Soto, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and with a certification in Art Therapy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, in the Health and Development Track and Studio Art at Stanford University. She completed her Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy at Notre Dame de Namur University. She has specialized in trauma and grief counseling for over 10 years and is passionate about guiding others to find their unique path towards healing. Stephanie joined the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in 2017. She provides psychoeducation in a group setting to those with chronic pain in the Functional Restoration Program. Trained in Focusing meditation, she also provides mindfulness and relaxation techniques to attend to the body-mind-spirit connection.