Our Doctors

Christopher Benitez, MD
Associate Medical Director, LAC DMH


BIO:
Chris Benitez, MD is an Associate Medical Director with the LA County Department of Mental Health (DMH). He oversees collaborations with the Department’s academic partners, oversees eConsult activities for DMH, and works clinically at both Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and at the San Fernando Mental Health Clinic. Dr. Benitez completed medical school, residency, chief residency, and fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, and he is board certified in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. 

1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
I work in Clinical Operations Administration team for the Department. I provide oversight for the Department’s partnerships with our local academic partners, which includes clinical training experiences for psychiatry residency programs and fellowships. I also lead the LA County eConsult program for behavioral health specialties, work on integration efforts across County health systems, chair the Department’s CME operation, and serve on the Department’s Human Subjects Research Committee. I provide supervision to residents and also provide direct care to patients at the Olive View Medical Center Psychiatric Emergency Room.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
Nine months.

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
I have worked as a community psychiatrist in various capacities since completing my training. I joined DMH because I believe in the Department’s mission to care for the most vulnerable of our community and believe that we have the opportunity to improve our systems of care to support the lives of our patients and citizens.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
With the caveat that this is a very tough question to answer, I enjoy working with a mission-oriented team of talented people to improve the care we deliver to the patients we serve.

Curly Bonds, MD
Chief Medical Officer, LAC DMH


BIO:
Dr. Bonds grew up on the Gulf Coast then moved to Atlanta for undergraduate studies at Emory University (BA in Sociology). He earned his MD from Indiana University and then moved out west for psychiatry residency training at the UCLA Semmel Institute for Neuroscience. Dr. Bonds has held leadership positions in academic institutions (UCLA and Charles R. Drew University) and worked for a number of years as the Medical Director for a nonprofit community mental health center prior to his current position at DMH.

1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
I am the Chief Medical Officer for LAC DMH. In this role, I’m responsible for overseeing all clinical operations and I also serve as the Chief of Psychiatry. I spend several hours of every day supervising staff and participating in strategy, planning and oversight meetings. Between meetings I take calls, respond to email and solve the little crises that pop up from time to time. As the leader for clinical services, I help our team to maintain high standards of care while making the most of our human resources. Each day brings opportunities to build new programs or improve existing services. I represent the Department at a variety of meetings with external partners including the Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Health, the Mental Health Commission, community based organizations and elected officials. I’m very involved with physician recruitment and retention and lastly, a small portion of my time is spent providing direct care in one of our clinics.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
I’ve had two ‘tours of duty’ with LAC DMH. This one has been just under two years, but I have a total of about 6.5 years of County service.

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
I enjoy working with the diverse populations especially those who are from communities that are vulnerable, historically underserved and who have difficulty accessing care. I strongly believe that quality mental health care is a right that all residents of the County should be able to receive regardless of where they live or their financial situation.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
We are an innovative and trend setting Department! Because we are so large, we have a lot of resources at our fingertips that smaller government funded health systems simply don’t have. Our work is filled with challenges but fortunately we have the tools to conquer most of them.

5. Please include any additional information you would like to share about yourself or your experience at DMH.
DMH positions are sought after for a number of reasons (variety of work options, flexible schedules, stability, great benefits and retirement options just to name a few) so we are able to recruit an amazing group of dedicated and talented professionals. Los Angeles is a vast, diverse and vibrant community with a great deal to offer and our workforce reflects these traits.

James R. Jones, MD
Associate Medical Director, LAC DMH


BIO:
Dr. Jones is a graduate of Howard University, The College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and completed his Psychiatry Residency Training at the University of California, San Francisco. He has been a public sector psychiatrist since completing his training and also has a small private practice that is involves working on various integration projects that have occurred or are occurring throughout the state of California.

Since January of 2011, he has been an Associate Medical Director within the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and is involved in clinical and administrative duties related to several countywide projects and initiatives.

1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
I am an Associate Medical Director within LAC-DMH, my day usually starts at 07:30 and ends at 17:00, it consists largely of meetings related to various countywide projects/initiatives. My day can also involve providing direct patient care as a member of a multi-disciplinary treatment team.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
I have been a County employee for approximately 15 years

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
I was attracted to the department by the diversity of the staff and patient population and the multitude of treatment settings/modalities offered throughout the county system of care.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
I enjoy helping to develop and implement projects that improve the overall quality of care and health outcomes of some of the most vulnerable citizens of Los Angeles County. I have also grown to appreciate the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that has developed amongst the various bureaus of The Department.

Kathryn Murray, MD
Supervising MH Psychiatrist, West Central Family MHC


BIO:
Kathryn Murray, MD, has been dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community since entering the Charles Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program that culminated in her becoming a certified American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Her professional goals include working with children, adolescents, and adults to improve and enhance their development and receive quality care.

1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
My current role is a supervising psychiatrist. There is no typical day for me, but there is a typical week, which includes days dedicated to performing both administrative and clinical duties. Administrative duties include participating in meetings that affect the staff on clinical and countywide levels, reviewing staff responsibilities, developing work procedures to improve workload and service, and meeting with staff when necessary. I also provide clinical service to patients in my clinic and work with all of the patients in various programs provided by the clinic including the Adult Outpatient Program, CalWORKs, Full Service Partnership (both Adult and Transitional Age Youth), and Wellness Programs.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
7.5 years

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
My passion and purpose has always been to advocate for and provide excellent quality and compassionate mental health care to clients that are in underserved/under-resourced areas in order to improve their well-being and connectedness with the community. DMH’s mission is directly in line with that.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
I like the diversity in the populations I work with, I enjoy the diversity among my colleagues, as well as the various opportunities and programs that working at DMH provides. The benefits are a great addition as well.

Lilian Badovsky, MD
Supervising MH Psychiatrist, Downtown MHC


BIO:
Dr. Badovsky  completed her medical training at Samarkand State Medical Institute in the former Soviet Union, and her residency training at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn in 2007.  In 2006 she completed a Psychoanalytic Fellowship Program at  NYU. After returning to Los Angeles in 2007, she began her Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at UCLA.  She currently holds board certifications in Psychiatry and the subspecialty of  Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Badovsky is currently a Supervising Psychiatrist in Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She  also has a Geriatric Psychiatry practice.
 
1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
As a supervising psychiatrist, I provide direct clinical care to patients, consult with staff and program managers, perform administrative duties, and engage in teaching and mentoring.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
Since July 2008

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
I was interested in the ability to work with diverse populations, having a flexible schedule (4/40), and saw opportunities for learning, training and growth.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
Working at the Downtown program is  always a worthwhile challenge. It is really rewarding to see how patients progress after engaging in psychiatric care. The Department also provides opportunities for teaching, and combines working from the office and providing Telepsychiatry from home.
 
5. Please include any additional information you would like to share about yourself or your experience at DMH.
Downtown Mental Health programs serve an important function for the skid row community and general metropolitan area. We service the most difficult, vulnerable population with a wide variety of mental health problems. Our goal is to make a difference on a daily basis.

OC White, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Southern Region


BIO:
Dr. White graduated from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training program at Harbor/UCLA in 2007 and has been working for the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, in the Specialized Foster Care Program for over 12 years.  He is a board certified in general psychiatry but truly love to work with children and has found a wonderful opportunity here with DMH in the Specialized Foster Care Program.
 
1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
A typical day includes consulting with other mental health professionals in a multidisciplinary fashion, providing face to face consultations with primary therapist and clients to help with diagnosis as well as to provide psychoeducation to patients and families, providing psychiatric evaluations and follow up appointments to treatment cases and facilitating scheduled case conferences with our teams of service providers at the various co-located DCFS locations.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
I have been working at LAC DMH for over 12 and half years.

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?      
I was familiar with the county from my years of training, and I knew that it would allow me the opportunity to work with the population that I desired.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
The ability to work with my desired population, in an environment that has been supportive and provides steady compensation and benefits.

5. Please include any additional information you would like to share about yourself or your experience at DMH.
The longer I have worked for the county the more I have enjoyed my experience and I believe that trend will continue.

Shayan Rab, MD
Psychiatrist, Downtown MHC


BIO:
Dr. Rab completed his undergrad and medical school at USC and then trained at the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Psychiatry Residency Program where he also served as Chief Resident of Education in his final year. Currently he is board certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. In addition to his clinical duties at DMH, Dr. Rab is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA and a member of the academic faculty at the UCLA-Olive View Residency Program where he holds the position of Co-Chair for the Didactic Curriculum Committee.

1. What is your current role and typical day like at LAC DMH?
At DMH I primarily serve as the psychiatrist for the Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement (HOME) Team. However, my weekly schedule involves a mix of street-based psychiatry, clinic-based psychiatry, leadership activities, and teaching. I start my morning on Skid Row where I provide street-based services to people experiencing homelessness and help coordinate care across specialties and systems of care. In the afternoon I serve as the walk-in doctor for a community mental health clinic in Downtown Los Angeles where I provide short-term treatment services and link patients to long-term psychiatric care in the clinic. On my academic days, I drive to Olive View Medical Center where I spend time developing the didactic curriculum, teaching, and supervising residents. I am also a member of the leadership council for the DMH Psychiatrist Network where I work with a team of psychiatrists to organize events promoting physician wellness and unity.

2. How long have you been working at LAC DMH?
I have been working with DMH for 3.5 years

3. Why did you originally decide to work at LAC DMH?
As an immigrant to America I have a great deal of empathy for those experiencing hardship and a deep rooted passion for working with underserved populations. After completing residency, I desired a career that was challenging and helpful for our communities. I was confident that with DMH, my work would be rewarding and meaningful. Plus, DMH offered the unique option to create a personalized weekly schedule with a variety of responsibilities to support my clinical, academic and administrative growth.

4. What do you like most about working at LAC DMH?
One of best parts of DMH is being part of a team with like-minded individuals who are intelligent, compassionate, and highly capable. However, what I like most is the patient population served by DMH, which makes working for the department so deeply fulfilling.

5. Please include any additional information you would like to share about yourself or your experience at DMH.
Our work for department is quite challenging and can take a toll without proper self-care. When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring my other passions, which include performing stand-up comedy and mixing house and techno music as a DJ at local venues.