Kaweah Delta Welcomes Psychiatrists to Area to Serve Mental Health Needs

VISALIA – Kaweah Delta Health Care District patients struggling with depression, suicide, or other mental health issues now have access to psychiatric consultations thanks to a partnership that’s brought six full-time psychiatrists to the area.

Last month, Kaweah Delta’s contract with Traditions Behavioral Health, a group of licensed providers of psychiatric services, brought six full-time psychiatrists to the area. The partnership dedicates one psychiatrist to provide consultations at Kaweah Delta Medical Center and Kaweah Delta Exeter Health Clinic and fully staffs Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital for the first time since it opened in the early 2000s.

“There is a critical shortage of psychiatrists in the Central Valley – it’s one of the most underserved areas in the state,” said Dr. Barry Mills, Medical Director of Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital, who in 2011 joined Kaweah Delta’s Graduate Medical Education Department as Psychiatry Residency Program Director. The Psychiatry Residency Program is expected to be established by 2014.

“By bringing more psychiatrists and psychologists to the Central Valley, we’ll be able to help people struggling with serious mental health issues,” Dr. Mills said.

The number of people seeking mental health services is on the rise, said Don Myers, Director of Mental Health Services at Kaweah Delta Health Care District. In Tulare County, that means patients who are in need of outpatient psychiatric care have had to travel out of the area for care. The demand also resulted in the expansion of Kaweah Delta’s Mental Health Hospital last month to 48-beds.

“For people living here that means not having to go to Fresno or Bakersfield for care,” Myers said.

Patients will also greatly benefit from the qualifications of the psychiatrists new to the area, Myers said. For example, Dr. Barry Mills came from Boston where he was on the psychiatry faculty of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and the Whidden Medical Director for Cambridge Health Alliance. Additionally, Thomas Rosko, M.D., comes to Tulare County from Cedars-Sinai where he served as Director of Psychosomatic Medicine Service in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences.

The six full-time psychiatrists include:

Marlene Aking, M.D.

  • Medical Education: University  of the West Indies Faculty of Medicine
  • Residency: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (9/1/2006 - 6/30/2011);  The University of the West Indies (3/1/2001 - 4/30/2003).

Simarjit Gill, M.D.

  • Medical Education: Government Med College
  • Residency: Henry Ford Health System (2012)

Fayaz Ibrahim, M.D.

  • Medical Education: Bangalore Medical College; University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Residency: SUNY Downstate Medical Center (2011)

Barry Mills, M.D.

  • Medical Education: University of Texas - Southwestern Medical School
  • Residency: University of Texas Health Science Center (1994)
  • Board: American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (Psychiatry); American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (Forensic Psychiatry)

Joachim Raese, M.D.

  • Medical Education: University of Hamburg
  • Residency: Stanford Hospital & Clinics (1981)
  • Board: American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (Psychiatry)

Thomas Rosko, M.D.

  • Medical Education: Pennsylvania State University
  • Residency: Friends Hospital (1/1/1997 - 12/31/1999); Penn State Milton S. Hershey
  • Medical Center (1978); Temple University Hospital (1983)
  • Board: American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (Psychiatry); American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology (Psychosomatic Medicine)

Kaweah Delta Health Care District is one of the area’s most progressive healthcare providers and the only level III trauma center serving Tulare and Kings counties. The district offers a comprehensive scope of services including everything from a well-respected pediatric hospitalist program to nationally-recognized orthopedic and cancer programs. For more information, visit or follow Kaweah Delta on Twitter and Facebook.

Gary A. Hayes, Ph.D