Treatment at Malibu Vista is founded on the principle of women helping women. Our core team is made up of caring and experienced female professionals who work closely with each client on a day-to-day basis.
Mary Pivarunis, LMFT, SEP, Trauma Therapist and Group Therapist
Mary is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in trauma, PTSD and grief and loss. She is trained in Somatic Experiencing and Trauma First Aide, two body-oriented modalities that help clients increase their resiliency and ability to learn about and regulate their own nervous systems.
Mary received her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and specialization in Somatic Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA.
Prior to joining Malibu Vista, Mary worked at a psychiatric hospital in Berkeley, CA in both the inpatient and outpatient programs with diverse patient populations. She served as Program Director and Main Therapist for a variety of adult and adolescent programs. While working in the outpatient program, Mary conducted trauma consultations for both her patients and colleagues and initiated a department-wide training in Trauma First Aide to prevent burnout and PTSD.
Mary is very passionate about her work in the field of trauma and the body. Her enthusiasm, optimism and infectious sense of hope have been a comfort to hundreds of clients she has worked with over the years. Combining a real curiosity, compassionate exploration and a sense of humor, Mary helps clients identify and understand their issues and works with them to create a plan for healing. Mary believes that it is never too late to be curious about your self, to discover the resiliency of your body and the strength of your spirit to aid in the healing process.
Mary maintains a private practice in West LA where she works with adults and couples in short and long term psychotherapy.
With one phone call, you’ll have a team of people working to help you navigate through the treatment process and create the life you deserve. 844-874-6483
Olga Yahontova, MD, Psychiatrist
Malibu Vista is thrilled to announce the addition of Dr. Olga Yahontova. Dr. Olga Yahontova is a board-certified psychiatrist with extensive experience of treating trauma patients around the world.
She utilizes her expertise in the field of psychopharmacology as well as non-traditional approaches to help her patients regain health and freedom from suffering the aftermaths of trauma. She has taught thousands of participants at her workshops and lectures in the United States and around the world on the effects of trauma and on new approaches to healing it. She had served as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the USC. She had appeared on many domestic and international TV and Radio shows, bringing education to public in different countries.
Jack Kuo, MD, Psychiatrist
Dr. Jack Kuo completed his addiction psychiatry training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He began working in the field of chemical dependency as a volunteer outreach worker for homeless teens in Waikiki. Dr. Kuo then did residential counseling for at-risk youth in a group home as well as homeless, mentally ill individuals at a transitional living program. Next he worked as a community health outreach worker doing HIV prevention education and needle exchange programs with intravenous drug users.
As an educator, Dr. Kuo has taught a course titled “Biological Perspectives on Co-occurring Disorders” for the UCLA Extension Program. He has also presented nationally and internationally on topics ranging from ethnic biodiversity in substance abuse and mental illness to an evidence-based review of virtual reality and other forms of cybertherapy in substance abuse and mental illness. Since 2004, he has also presented extensively about videogame addiction and has appeared on the G4 Videogame Network and The Greg Behrendt Show as an expert consultant on videogame addiction.
Dr. Kuo has published an article on club drug precautions for pediatricians and been awarded scholarships by many organizations, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Association of Addiction Psychiatry, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the American Psychiatric Association, and the California Society of Addiction Medicine. He has been on the CSAM Education Committee since 2007 and was the Director of the ASAM Exam Preparation Track for CSAM in 2008.
William Huang, Psychiatrist
Dr. William Huang completed his adult psychiatry residency and served as Chief Resident of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He stayed on and finished his fellowship training in the subspecialty of addiction psychiatry. He is board-certified in both general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.
Dr. Huang became involved in the field of addiction during residency in the treatment of severe withdrawal cases. He also provided trainings of alcohol withdrawal awareness and treatment protocol to medical students, interns, residents, and nursing staff. As a fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he helped set up the Addiction Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic and provided psychiatric evaluation and treatment for Dual Diagnosis Intensive Outpatient Program and Inpatient consultations. He also worked with Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers and Hollywood Mental Health County Clinic in providing evidence-based treatment for minority and underserved patient populations.
Dr. Huang was awarded the American Psychiatric Association/SAMHSA Substance Abuse Minority Fellowship for his special interest in working with minority groups with co-occurring disorders. He has also been the recipient of scholarships from the American Psychiatric Association/Lily Chief Resident Executive Leadership Program and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He also participated in several of the California Society of Addiction Medicine’s legislative days in Sacramento to lobby for parity in addiction treatment.
Dr. Huang is an active speaker for workshops, CMEs, and special lectures at international conferences and meetings with topics of biological perspectives on co-occurring disorders, the state of substance use disorder training, suicide prevention, online Internet games, virtual reality and cybertherapy, videogame addiction, and integrating co-occurring disorder treatment in California prisons.
Robert Saltzman, MD, Independent Detox Specialist
Robert L. Saltzman, MD, graduated from New York Medical College with a medical degree in 1971. He obtained his licensure in California and has had a private practice specializing in internal medicine/nephrology since 1976. He is affiliated with St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, and Daniel Freeman Marina Mercy in Marina Del Rey. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Nephrology.
Michele Cooke, RN, Detox Specialist
Michele has been a Registered Nurse for 15 years, specializing in emergency and psychiatric nursing. Before joining Malibu Vista’s medical team, she was the charge nurse in an emergency room for 11 years and worked for four years in a psychiatric hospital, specializing in adult and adolescent mental health and detox.
Michele is certified in the field of Health Ministry as a Parish Nurse. The philosophy of a Parish Nurse is treating the body as a whole with emphasis on the spirit. Michele leads groups at Malibu Vista addressing medication management, women’s health issues, and women’s empowerment. Michele is passionate about inspiring women to lead full, healthy lives by focusing on the present moment. She is married with four children.
Kerry Homotoff, PA-C, Physician's Assistant, Malibu
Kerry holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters of Physician Assistant Practice from USC. Prior to joining Malibu Vista, she worked in orthopedic surgery, urgent care and as a faculty member at a Physician Assistant program. She also spent two years as part of a team treating adolescents with eating disorders in a residential setting. A former gymnast and figure skater, Kerry enjoys dancing, Pilates, water skiing and taking her Husky to the dog park.
Tiffany Tanner, PA-C, Staff Physician Assistant
Tiffany holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Masters of Medical Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University. She has worked in the fields of pain management, family medicine and addiction medicine. She previously worked in an inpatient treatment center in San Diego where she treated patients with drug and alcohol dependencies, many of whom also suffered from co-occurring psychiatric disorders, chronic pain syndromes and sleep dysregulation.
Margot Gersh, Acupuncturist
Margot Gersh holds a master’s degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles, California. She is licensed by the California State Board of Acupuncture, and is certified in both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. Margot worked as a pain specialist at the Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, where she worked with patients to manage and relieve both chronic and acute pain. Margot found that working with doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors and psychologists in an integrative setting was both highly educational and of tremendous value to patient care. She remains passionate about the integrative process, and finds that patient care is best served when practitioners come together and work as a team.
Margot also worked at the Yo San University Clinic, where she treated hundreds of patients with a wide range of medical issues. Margot finds great joy in helping patients work through both emotional and physical barriers, and utilizes many techniques within Chinese Medicine to regain health and balance in each patient.
Margot completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz in psychology and political science. She continued her own personal education by traveling and living abroad in Thailand, Indonesia and New Zealand. Before becoming an Acupuncturist Margot worked as a non-profit event coordinator. She worked with hundreds of non-profits in Los Angeles to raise millions of dollars, in order to maintain programming that continues to help thousands of people all over the world.
Margot has a private practice in Los Angeles, California. She is very passionate about internal medicine and pain management, and works diligently on every individual case to achieve lasting results.