Medical Director

Ken Starr M.D. FACEP | Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine

Dr. Ken Starr is board certified in emergency medicine and addiction medicine. He founded the clinic in 2012 after the overdose death of his brother. Dr. Starr utilizes medications, supplements, traditional and non-traditional therapies to help patients achieve optimal wellness outcomes.

Executive Director

Our Executive Director drives the practice toward the highest standards of comprehensive wellness and recovery care.

Julia Jackson, MS, NCACI

Julia Jackson is an experienced Executive Administrator with over 15 years in the health and wellness field. With dual master degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy and Community Counseling, Julia maintains her License in Professional Counseling and National Certification in Addictions Counseling. She brings a wealth of knowledge in behavioral health administration, clinical management of treatment facilities, and executive business development strategy.  She enjoys securing the highest standard of quality for our clinic, and seeks to fulfill our vision as the industry leader for comprehensive wellness and recovery care. This Arroyo Grande High alumni loves being back on the central coast!

Naturopathic Doctor

Our Naturopathic Doctor provides complimentary wellness consultations and creates customized, holistic treatment plans for a variety of conditions.

Barbara Rush,ND, LAc

For over 10 years, Dr. Rush has been in practice helping people using Holistic and Alternative Medicine. She is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist that specializes in Chelation & IV Therapy, Anti-Aging, Environmental Medicine, Pain Management, and the original Functional Medicine.

Dr. Barbara Rush attended the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (now renamed the National University of Natural Medicine) and the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, both in Portland, Oregon. She combines eclectic healing arts that are steeped in ancient wisdom with evidence-based science to achieve balanced health for her patients. She takes the time to listen to patients, treating every person as the individual they are so they receive a customized treatment plan that works best for them.

Dr. Rush doesn’t just treat dis-ease, but works with her patients in preventing it in the first place, in order to create better well-being and overall health. Her goal is to help you enjoy a longer, richer, more fulfilling life by helping you take control of your own health. She wants your holistic and naturopathic experience to be one of partnership by cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship resulting in good health through natural therapies.

Patient Care Director

Our Patient Care Director guides you through the new patient process to ensure you receive the highest quality of care most comfortable experience possible during your time here.

Susan Grahame

Susan brings over 15 years of Healthcare Business Development and customer service expertise. Susan’s career includes working for some the country’s largest Healthcare organizations in the country such as, Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Dignity Healthcare.


She is responsible to work one on one with patients, creating effective action plans from medical to clinical to identify appropriate goals and objectives for their recovery process.
Her personal philosophy is changing one life can change many. Susan’s passion is helping people and find the necessary care and resources needed to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Nursing Director

Our Nursing Director oversees nursing and infusion services to ensure your care is safe, effective, and as comfortable as possible.

Holly Clement RN, BSN

Holly Clement is the Nursing Director at the Ken Starr Wellness Group and manages both the NAD and Wellness Infusion programs. She graduated with her Bachelors in Nursing Science from CSU, Chico in 2009 and went right into the Emergency Department for the next 4 years. Holly then relocated back to her hometown of the Central Coast to be closer to her family in Paso Robles. After noting a huge need and lack of support for those struggling with addictions during her experience within the ER, she developed an ER Case management program at French Hospital in San Luis Obispo which greatly assisted this population among others. She continued to become involved with SLO County meetings about improving access to both mental health and drug and alcohol services. Holly saw an incredible opportunity at the Ken Starr Wellness Group and seized upon it. She loves to be involved directly with her clients along with a team of experts and she says she loves to care for those seeking their optimum wellness.


Our Master Level Clinicians guide you through a truly integrative healing process for an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Kristen Anderson, M.A.

Kristen Anderson has a Master of Art in Transpersonal Psychology as well as in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentrated area of study in Marriage, Family and Couples Counseling from George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.  Kristen practices Cognitive Behavioral and Mindfulness approaches with a client-centered perspective.  She is a registered intern in the state of California through the Board of Behavioral Sciences and is working towards being a Licensed Practicing Clinical Counselor.  Kristen is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she attended her undergrad majoring in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Kristen has been with Ken Starr since 2014.


Our Master Level Clinicians guide you through a truly integrative healing process for an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Melissa Wheelock

Melissa Wheelock is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has over twenty years of experience in various clinical settings. Melissa currently has a private practice in San Luis Obispo but she is a transplant from the Central Valley, where her career blossomed with several nonprofit mental health agencies. Over the years, Melissa has served as a Therapist, Supervisor, Trainer, and Consultant. Early in her career, Melissa received training in Theraplay and other attachment based child and family therapies, from which she still draws inspiration today. As a supervisor and program manager, she developed community based prevention and suicide intervention programs as well as training programs for new therapists. In the past decade, Melissa also managed programs serving individuals experiencing life threatening mental health crises. It was in this position that she received intensive training in the evidenced based model, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Melissa is a firm believer that DBT skills can be a positive, life changing learning experience for individuals struggling with Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders or experiencing emotional turmoil in any aspect of their lives.


As a licensed therapist, I feel so fortunate to have chosen this field and so privileged to be able to help people learn new skills to cope with life’s challenges. I believe that therapy, in its’ truest form, is really about providing compassionate support and guidance so that people can get in touch with their true thoughts and emotions and have a safe place to express themselves. Through the years, my training and experience has allowed me to offer more to my clients, but it is from this strength based philosophy that my journey as a therapist began.
My clinical orientation and training is in Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which helps people to understand their own thought process and to link their thoughts to triggering events and emotional reactions in their life. In turn, they can then understand their behavior more fully; once clients feel less confused and fearful about various aspects of their lives, they are often freer to explore and accept the need for growth or change. DBT helps people learn to accept all aspects of their thoughts and feelings through a process of balancing seemingly opposite experiences, such as accepting themselves for exactly who they are today AND recognizing the need for positive change to happen in their lives.
Through my work with individuals struggling with severe depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders over the past years, I have also become aware that much of our emotional pain and suffering is either caused or exacerbated by a lack of compassion for self. We are often taught the measure of our worth is in our accomplishments. Personal success can be measured in the form of material possessions, school or career achievements or even having the perfect physical appearance. Kristen Neff, PhD, researches the benefits of self-compassion and reports that while high self-esteem is valued in our culture, the drive for it can cause us to compare ourselves to others or expect perfection rather than to accept our challenges and our true strengths. I believe that when individuals learn to practice self-compassion and recognize their own judgmental thoughts, they can truly engage in the change process. Luckily, our human brains have great plasticity, so an old brain can learn new tricks and self-compassion is one more important tool that can be learned through the therapeutic process.

Additional Resources:


Our Master Level Clinicians guide you through a truly integrative healing process for an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Katie Zimmermann, LMFT #98419

Katie Zimmerman is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Science in Psychology from California Polytechnic State University. She enjoys working with those affected by complex trauma and PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. She tailors her therapeutic approach to the unique needs of each client or family through a trauma-informed and strength-based lens, which empowers her clients to find meaning, purpose, and an increased ability to experience feelings of strength and joy. Katie uses a variation of modalities that she finds healing and effective, including EMDR, Cognitive Processing, Acceptance and Commitment, and Narrative Therapies.


Our Master Level Clinicians guide you through a truly integrative healing process for an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Shawna Saperstein, LMFT #98184

Shawna is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Science in
Psychology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Shawna has
several years of experience working with clients experiencing depression, anxiety,
substance use issues, trauma, relationship issues, and grief and loss. Shawna uses an
integrated approach that is client centered and considers the unique needs and
experiences of each individual client. When Shawna is not working, she enjoys hiking,
kayaking, walking at the beach, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


Our Master Level Clinicians guide you through a truly integrative healing process for an improved quality of life and wellbeing.

Julian Varela, MS-CSCS, MA-MFTI

Julian J. Varela, MS-CSCS, MA-MFTI has worked in the health and wellness field for two-decades with the focus of his work directed towards childhood obesity prevention, community health and organizational wellness. As a health and wellness expert and Marriage and Family therapist specializing in health behavior, Julian regularly presents and publishes on the importance of connecting the dots between mental and physical health.


Julian is the founder and CEO of MVME Wellness, a nationwide wellness company, providing integrated services from wellness design, programming, access to wellness coaches and a nationwide network of Physical Therapists. Julian is enthusiastic about assisting organizations improve the health of their employees by emphasizing prevention and the development of a strong company culture. To help facilitate this effort, Julian also serves as a Master Trainer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Work-At-Health” corporate wellness division. Outside of the world of wellness, Julian enjoys playing music, traveling, cooking and spending time with his family.

Clinician & Community Outreach Manager

Our Masters Level Clinician and Outreach Manager cultivates valuable provider relationships and opportunity for community impact and engagement.

Maureen McGuire

Maureen McGuire, M.A., has almost 30 years of experience as a behavior health clinician and practitioner on the Central Coast of California. Maureen first worked with juveniles engaged in criminal behavior through Santa Barbara County Probation Department. She successfully managed a large cross section of clients and families as a field officer, and wrote very involved criminal investigation reports for the court. After finishing graduate school, Maureen interned as a marriage and family therapist in private practice and non-profit organizations specializing in client victims of child abuse struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was through work with victims that she first directly observed the link between trauma and addiction.


After moving to San Luis Obispo, Maureen supervised the first Deferred Entry of Judgment Program in the county and wrote the guidelines for the new program. Maureen went on to make clinical assessments and resource referrals for high needs inmates paroling to counties on the Central Coast through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. There she worked primarily with clients suffering from severe mental illness, gay and transgender clients suffering from HIV/AIDS, and veterans struggling with Substance Use Disorders and PTSD.

After state budget cuts forced the closure of the parole office, Maureen began teaching preventative health education classes through local hospitals while building her own unique curriculum for wellness getaways. Maureen promotes an integrative approach to counseling treatment with an emphasis on extended family systems theory and the use of research supported alternative therapies and techniques like mindfulness and meditation in the healing process.

Maureen believes the biopsychosocial approach (mind-body interventions) to addiction at Ken Starr MD Wellness Group is key to long term recovery, and the wellness services available offer the tools necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


  • M.A. Clinical Psychology, Antioch University, Santa Barbara, CA
  • B.A. Psychology, University of Dallas, Irving, TX


Support Literature

Psychology Today

American Addiction Centers

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides medication prescribing and psychotherapy services for patients with mental health and substance use needs.

Mary Meiselman, NP

Registered Nurse

Our Registered Nurses provide the highest quality of nursing and infusion services to ensure you experience a safe, comfortable, and restorative visit.

Debbie Kaminski, BSRN

Debbie Kaminski graduated from University of San Francisco. Her 35 plus years as a Registered Nurse include ICU, ER, Triage, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, Industrial Nurse, Hospice, Case Management, Functional Medicine, Research, Addiction, and Oncology. Debbie took her first IV nutrition class with Doctor Virginia Osborne, Doctor Dan Carter, and Paul Anderson in 2007 and was asked to join the team in 2010. As a member of INS- Nurses Infusion Society and ONS-Oncology Nursing Society, Debbie stays abreast of the Standards of Infusion Care. Currently Debbie works in San Luis Obispo with Ken Starr MD and Todd Thoring ND. Debbie is an IV consultant with IIVNTP for support in setting up IV Clinics.

Registered Nurse

Our Registered Nurses provide the highest quality of nursing and infusion services to ensure you experience a safe, comfortable, and restorative visit.

Tiffany Kutchai, BSN, RN

Tiffany has been a nurse for going on twenty years. She has spent most of her career in the Emergency Room, ICU and Surgery departments and the last seven years as a Trauma Consultant helping hospitals all around the country prepare for their Trauma Designation visits.

Tiffany is currently an Infusionist for Ken Starr MD Wellness and a Major Pharmaceutical Company. She is a member of the Infusion Nurses Society and feels it’s extremely important to keep up to speed on the cutting edge of Infusion Care and Eastern and Western Medicine in general.

Medical Assistant

Our Medical Assistants are ready to answer your questions and meet your needs to ensure the clinic is a comfortable and friendly place for your wellness and recovery care.

Katie Lobatos, M.A.

Katie Lobatos is a certified and experienced Medical Assistant and has worked in a variety of settings within the medical field. Born and raised on the central coast, Katie enjoys cuddling with her hound dog, working her horse, and spending as much time outdoors as possible in her spare time. She brings a cheerful and welcoming attitude when working with new or familiar patients, and she especially enjoys making everyone feel welcomed and secure on their road to recovery.


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