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The Senior Behavioral Health is a 14-bed inpatient acute geriatric psychiatry service. It was established in July 1997 to provide the highest quality individualized clinical care for senior adults needing behavioral health and medical treatment, and to do so in a clinically sophisticated, safe, comfortable, supportive and responsive treatment environment. Senior adult patients who are 65 and older are admitted voluntarily to the Unit for short-term treatment and care. Treatment services are provided by a multi-disciplinary and multi-specialty team and delivered with an integrated approach to the patient’s psychiatric and medical conditions.

The provision of clinical care on the Senior Behavioral Health Unit is distinguished by both excellent service and quality state-of-the-art care. The service dimension includes easy access, responsiveness to the patient’s individual needs, and continuity of care upon discharge. The “state-of-the-art” quality dimension includes evidence-based medicine, and “cutting edge” diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

The Senior Behavioral Health Unit, and its parent academic unit, the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, is in full support of the recently issued UCSD Health Sciences Strategic Plan for 1998-2010. A brief description of the Unit’s plans as they relate to strategies identified within the plan for achieving clinical excellence is presented herein.

The first strategy identified for achieving clinical excellence is to develop, recognize and reward clinically active faculty. The Unit and the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry have been successful in implementing this model. The Senior Behavioral Health Unit has, since its inception, been led by a team of hospitalists, or inpatient physicians who are responsible for following each patient from admission through discharge. These physicians have been recognized and rewarded for their contributions. The Division is currently recruiting one or two new physician faculty who will be directly involved in patient care. These individuals will be provided time to teach and learn, as well as to pursue other appropriate academic endeavors.

The second strategy identified is to encourage the ongoing development of the UCSD Medical Groupacross clinical disciplines. The Unit and the Division as a whole are interested in developing the “service line” approach to health care promoted by the Medical Group. The scope of services provided on the Unit transcends departmental lines and has a great deal of patient appeal. The Unit involves multiple disciplines practicing under a single group to ensure coordination of services.

The third strategy identified is to make key leadership accountable for the clinical accomplishments of their units.

The fourth strategy identified is to establish an effective clinical delivery system with a service-oriented environment attractive to both clinicians and patients. The Senior Behavioral Health Unit received extremely favorable ratings in a recent patient satisfaction survey. The results from that survey are presented below:

​Areas Rated​Mean Score
​Helpfulness of Staff Members ​2.3
​Helpfulness of Treatment Staff and Physicians​2.5
Questions were Answered in a Clear, Understandable Manner​​2.5
Physical Environment of Unit​​2.6
To What Extent Did the Unit Met the Patient’s Needs​​2.6
​Overall Rating of Services Received​2.6

(Scale – 3(excellent); 2(good); 1(fair); 0(poor))

97% of patients surveyed would recommend the Senior Behavioral Health Unit to a friend.

The fifth strategy identified is to develop an evolving business plan to assure the financial viability of UCSD Healthcare. The decision to create the Senior Behavioral Health Unit was predicated on the Unit’s potential for generating a significant contribution to UCSD Healthcare. The Unit has exceeded the initial expectations of UCSD Healthcare. (Reference the data for FY 97/98 contained in Section III). This Business Plan, which will be monitored periodically and modified when necessary, was developed in conjunction with UCSD Medical Center Finance and again demonstrates the Unit’s potential, through expansion, for yielding even more impressive financial results than those achieved in its first year of operation.

The sixth strategy identified is to expand collaborative relationships with other physician groups and other health systems. Currently, the Unit’s collaborative efforts with the Silverado Senior Living have been very productive. Strategic collaborations will be pursued with other assisted living facilities that have residents who might benefit from the services offered by UCSD Senior Behavioral Health should such services be require


The Senior Behavioral Health Program has assembled an outstanding multidisciplinary team. Members of the team include:

Dilip V. Jeste, M.D.Chief of Geriatric Psychiatry and Director of the Stein Institute for research on Aging
Daniel D. Sewell, M.D.Medical Director, Senior Behavioral Health Program
Clark Allen, M.D.Geropsychiatrist , La Jolla SBH Outpatient Clinic, SOCARE, and Silverado Encinitas
Hoang Nguyen, M.D.Geropsychiatrist, the Hillcrest SBH Outpatient Clinic and The Glenner Center, Chula Vista, California Veterans Home in Chula Vista
Daniel Kim, M.D.Geropsychiatrist, Hillcrest and Medical Director of SBH Intensive Outpatient Program
Trey Meeks, M.D.Geropsychiatrist, La Jolla SBH Outpatient Clinic
David Naimark, M.D.Geropsychiatrist, Silverado, Escondido
Jeremy Sable, M.D.Geropsychiatrist, SBH, Inpatient Unit
Jennifer Dunkin, Ph.D.Director SBH Intensive Outpatient Program
Laura Dugan, M.D.Chief of Geriatric Internal Medicine
Denise DohertySocial Worker, SBH Intensive Outpatient Program
John Daly , M.D.Geriatric Medicine Internist
Colin Thomas M.D.Geriatric Medicine Internist
Jairo Romero, M.D.Geriatric Medicine Internist
Victor Legner, M.D.Geriatric Medicine Internist
Wendy Tayer, Ph.D.Psychotherapist
Judith Pfeiffer, R.N., Ph.D.Director of Nursing for Psychiatry
Christine Robinson, R.N.Nurse Administrator for SBH Inpatient Unit
Latonia HolmesAdministrative Assistant, SBH Program, Hillcrest
Maricel NaferreteAdministrative Assistant, SBH Program, La Jolla
Sara BieberSocial Worker, SBH Inpatient Unit
Michelle HermanCommunity Liaison/Admissions Coordinator