Meet Our Psychiatrists

Iyengar Malini, M.D., F.A.P.A

Addiction Psychiatrist & Geriatric Psychiatrist located in Bakersfield, CA

Dr. Malini has dedicated 30 plus years to the mental health field. She is involved at Good Samaritan Hospital, as well as our outpatient practices. She is board certified in general psychiatry and treats adolescents as well as adults. Dr. Malini is certified in administering Suboxone treatments for the purpose of treating opiate addiction, as well as operating the TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) machine for the purpose of treating depression. Dr. Malini is extremely well versed in the sub-specialties of Geriatric and Addiction treatment.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Services Available.

Medical School:

  • Bangalore Medical College, Bangalore, India

Residency Training Program:

  • Psychiatry Residency Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA

Board Certifications:

  • Board Certified in Psychiatry; Previously Board Certified in sub-specialties of Addiction & Geriatric Psychiatry

Languages:

  • English, Kannada, Tamil

Franco Song, M.D., F.A.P.A.

General Psychiatrist located in Bakersfield, CA

Dr. Song is a board certified psychiatrist with residency training from a UCLA program. He obtained a Masters in Clinical Research in North Carolina and managed research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIEHS). During residency, Dr. Song was appointed chief resident, completed a clerkship at the Korea University hospital and received awards from American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training, Central California Psychiatric Society and the Korean Neuropsychiatric Association. He worked in underserved areas of Kern County prior to joining Good Samaritan Hospital and Psychiatric Wellness Center.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Services Available.

Medical School:

  • Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela

Residency Training Program:

  • UCLA-Kern Psychiatry Residency Program, Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, CA

Board Certifications:

  • Board Certified in Psychiatry

Languages:

  • English, Spanish, Korean, French

Gerard Iru Fernando, M.D.

General Psychiatrist & Director of Addiction Services 

Dr. Fernando is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in addiction psychiatry. After completing medical school, he finished his residency at Harvard South Shore and his addiction psychiatry fellowship at Boston University.

He has recently joined Psychiatric Wellness Center as the Medical Director of Addiction Services. He has experience in political advocacy regarding harm reduction practices and quality improvement projects involving substance use disorders, in particular, opioid use disorder.

Dr. Fernando can help by prescribing non-addictive medications that can treat the underlying disorder. Often times, an individual may be trying to self-medicate an underlying psychiatric disorder with substances. Dr. Fernando can also specifically prescribe medications to individuals with addiction and/or physical dependence to opioids, such as hydrocodone (Norco or Vicodin), oxycodone (Percocet), heroin or fentanyl; alcohol, and benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) or lorazepam (Ativan). For opioids, he has experience in prescribing buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and intramuscular naltrexone (Vivitrol) He can also assist with weaning off of opioids at the patient’s own pace before beginning the medication-assisted treatment. For alcohol, Dr.Fernando has experience in prescribing naltrexone orally or intramuscularly (Vivitrol), acamprosate (Campral), and disulfiram (Antabuse).
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Services Available.

 

Board Certifications:

    • General Psychiatry & Addiction Psychiatry

Languages:

    • English

Ashhar Bhurgri, M.D.

General Psychiatrist located in Bakersfield, CA

Dr. Bhurgri completed his psychiatry residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA). He was awarded the best resident of the year for the PGY-4 training year. Dr. Bhurgri believes in an empathetic patient-centered approach when working with patients. His strengths include working with patients for medication management for mental health conditions. He specializes in medication management of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, opioid use disorder, and adolescent as well as adult ADHD. When not practicing, Dr. Bhurgri enjoys traveling, sightseeing as well spending time with his family.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Services Available.

 

Board Certifications:

    • General Psychiatry

Languages:

    • English

Veena Doddakashi, M.D., D.F.A.P.A.

Child Psychiatrist & General Psychiatrist located in Bakersfield, CA

Dr. Doddakashi was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Kern Psychiatry Residency Program. She completed her Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Residency Fellowship at UT South-Western Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. For seven years, Dr. Doddakashi was the Chief of the Developmentally Delayed Program at Kern County Mental Health, worked in the Child & Adolescent Program, and mentored and supervised residents and fellows. Her passion is Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as the developmentally delayed and children on the Autism Spectrum.

Medical School:

  • University of Mysore, J.J.M Medical School, Davangere, India

Residency Training Program:

  • Austin State Hospital, Austin, TX

Board Certifications:

  • Board Certified in Psychiatry Sub-specialty: Board Certified in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Languages:

  • English, Hindi, Kannada

Suzanne Keller, FNP

Nurse Practitioner located in Bakersfield, CA

Suzanne Keller started out as an LVN at Mercy Hospital from 1986 to 1991 while attending night school at Bakersfield College and obtained her AA and requirements for the RN program. Upon completing her AS in nursing, she worked as a clinical manager for Community Health Projects Medical Group, an outpatient methadone program. She was soon promoted to Director of Clinical and Medical Services and was responsible for 25 Aegis Clinics from the Los Angeles area, High Desert, Central Valley and Northern California. During this time, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Cal State University, Bakersfield. Suzanne worked in a number of nurse capacities from staff nurse, charge nurse and nurse manager before completing the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Holy Names University, Oakland in 2013. She has also taught psychiatric nursing at both Bakersfield and Porterville College, as well as the LVN Program at Santa Barbara Business College.

Graduate School:

  • Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner, Holy Names University, Oakland, CA

Certifications:

  • Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS), Breining Institute, Orangevale, CA

Languages:

  • English

Joan Cerro-Canton, DNP, MSN
APRN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner located in Bakersfield, CA

Joan Cerro-Canton started as a Telemetry Registered Nurse at Mercy Hospital and as an ER Registered Nurse at San Joaquin Community Hospital from 2004-2013. She attained her Master’s Degree in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles in 2014. Prior to joining our group, she worked at San Diego Veteran Hospital as a Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner for the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit. Joan obtained her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree at the University of Cincinnati in 2021 and is double board certified for ANCC and AANP. Additionally, she received her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Frontier University in Kentucky.

Graduate School:

  • Charles Drew University in Los Angeles CA
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Frontier University

Languages:

  • English 

Certifications:

  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

 

Jacob Rosales, PMHNP

Jacob C. Rosales, PMHNP

Nurse Practitioner located in Bakersfield, CA

Jake Rosales started his registered nursing career in the Central Valley at Kaweah Health in 2013 as an acute care mental health nurse. During this time, he graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Nursing at California State University, Fresno. After receiving his BSN, he transferred to the emergency department where he functioned in various roles such as charge nurse, trauma nurse, critical care transport nurse, and mobile intensive care nurse. He later moved to the Central Coast where he continued to provide emergency nursing care at Marian Region Medical Center, Santa Maria, and Twin Cities Community Hospital, Templeton. Ultimately, Jake’s passion for psychiatric care led him to work for the Department of State Hospitals, Atascadero a forensic psychiatric facility. More recently he worked at Kern Medical’s Behavioral Health Unit and completed the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at Walden University. In his spare time, Jake enjoys traveling, exercising, and plays in a Fresno Men’s Baseball league.

Graduate School:

  • California State University, Fresno, CA
  • Walden University

Languages:

  • English

Suneena Pokkamthanam, PA-C

Physician Assistant located in Bakersfield, CA

Suneena Pokkamthanam, PA-C, is a nationally board-certified Physician Assistant with a specialty in Psychiatry. Before joining the Psychiatric Wellness Center, she worked in psychiatry for 5 years. She also worked as a PA in cardiology/vascular health, and primary care. Suneena has found her calling in the field of Psychiatry, and she can’t see herself in any other specialty.

She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Southern Connecticut State University. She then graduated from Touro College in Long Island, NY, with a dual degree—Masters of Physician Assistant Studies and a Bachelors in Health Sciences.

Suneena genuinely cares for her patients’ well-being, is a great listener, and strives to provide thorough care for each of them. She enjoys her time with her husband, son, and multiple rescue animals.

Contact Us

Locations

2204 Q St. Suite B., Bakersfield, CA 93301
8329 Brimhall Rd. Building 800 Suite 804,  Bakersfield, CA 93312
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