Meet Our Team


Shari Finney, LMFT

Regional Clinic Director

Shari is thrilled to bring her more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and clinical experience to the clinic, with a long history of deep ties to the local community.

Shari has spent many years in nonprofit service in San Diego. For eight years she served on the Board of Directors of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, as well as the Social Action Collaborative. Additionally, she served on the Council to End Homelessness during its inception.  She also received commendations from the Mayor of San Diego from 2009 to 2014 for excellence in treatment programs; recognition for innovation from the United Way of San Diego for creating the Recuperative Care Unit for medically fragile homeless and in 2007 she received the San Diego Business Journal’s Woman of the Year award.

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Shari received her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. Prior to her appointment to the Cohen Clinic, she was the Executive Director of Peninsula Shepherd Center and prior to that was the Vice President of Clinical Programs for San Diego Rescue Mission. She enjoys utilizing her skillset and experience to manage effective treatment programs that assist veterans in attaining recovery, self-sufficiency, and healing.

Having grown up with a father who served in the Air Force and in a military city, Shari knows it is an incredible honor to provide care to those who served our country.  She also understands the endless stress and sacrifice military families experience and looks forward to providing care for all military family members, including children and spouses.

Shari currently resides in San Diego with her family.  In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, swimming and playing with her dogs.


Kirsten Alfaro White, M.A., LPCC

Clinic Director

Kirsten White is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and serves as the Clinic Director for the Cohen Clinic at VVSD-Oceanside.

Kirsten was born and raised in San Diego, California and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University San Marcos. She then went on to receive her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of San Diego. She completed her practicum experience for her graduate program in a residential treatment center for homeless veterans with substance use disorder and other co-morbid disorders. Having a passion for the veteran population, Kirsten continued her clinical experience at the residential treatment center as she accrued hours towards licensure.

Prior to joining the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Kirsten worked as the Clinical Manager for a national non-profit organization where she oversaw their national Support Center and worked to help create and disseminate educational courses and resources to those who work with, live with, and care for military members, veterans, and their families. Kirsten first started her clinical work as a behavior technician for children with autism in the field of applied behavior analysis, working mostly with military families. Kirsten initially joined the Cohen Clinic at VVSD team as the Intake Coordinator and part time Clinician. She has been trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children and Adolescents, Prolonged Exposure, Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy, Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality, and Image Rehearsal Therapy.

As the daughter of a retired Navy veteran, Kirsten is excited and honored to continue her work with veterans and their families. “At the end of the day, our active duty service members, veterans, and their families made a commitment to serve and sacrifice. It’s a privilege to play some part in serving them back.”

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family on mini adventures around the city and trying new food.


Mark Shideler, M.D.

Medical Director/Psychiatrist

Mark Shideler M.D. serves as a Prescribing Psychiatrist at the Cohen Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego. He joined the Cohen Clinic after 28 years in the Air Force and served as an operational physician in Aerospace Medicine (aka “Flight Doc”) and Group Surgeon for the 548th ISR Group. He also served as a psychiatrist teaching and mentoring at the 60th MDG at Travis AFB, CA.

Dr. Shideler earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology at the U.S. Air Force Academy, went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), served as an operational, medical physician and later went on to complete psychiatry training at Wright State University.

He enjoys treating and helping people with psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress and, most importantly, helping them get their lives back. Dr. Shideler is trained and clinically experienced in Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) for nightmares.

In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his daughter and wife. He was raised by a family that moved a lot and has called the following places home: Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico, Virginia, Colorado, Northern California, Alabama, Maryland and South Korea.

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Allison Johnson, MA, LMFT

Lead Clinician

Allison Johnson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and registered clinical supervisor with the Board of Behavioral Sciences.  She has been working in the field of mental health since 2006 with a particular focus on trauma and substance abuse.  Allison enjoys weaving in somatic work into clinical sessions, encouraging clients to sense into their bodies in a safer way after trauma.  She has taken a role at the Cohen Clinic as Associate Director and Lead Clinician, providing direct service to clients as well as supervision and oversight to the clinicians.  Allison is excited for the opportunity to work with military service members and their families, after seeing the gaps in services they often face.  While not a veteran herself, Allison has seen the impact service can have on the family system and has family that have served in the Navy and as civilians in the Department of Defense. When not at work, you may find Allison spending time with her family and friends at the beach or park or watching a live band in San Diego.

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Destin R. Williams, CRC, LPCC


As a Clinician at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside, Destin provides high-quality, evidence-based mental health care to veterans, service members and their families. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army, Destin served in OIF/OEF and received his Combat Action Badge (CAB) during those operations. He began his journey into the field of therapy with a venture in Interpreting American Sign Language (ASL) for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing populations. This introduction to the population of differently abled people allowed him to express his passion for helping people in a non-intrusive manner. In his pursuit to make a bigger and more direct impact, he learned of the counseling field.

He says, “The Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside has provided me with the opportunity to connect with active-duty, veterans, their family members, and people close to them. As a post-9/11 veteran, I look forward to utilizing my experience in the military, coupled with my knowledge of the human psyche to address challenges endured by those who have given so much for the masses.”

In his spare time, Destin enjoys activities like hiking, camping, paddleboarding, biking, board gaming, electronic gaming, and puzzle solving. He also enjoys traveling out of the country to grow his life and cultural experience.

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Liza Castro, LMFT


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Alexandria Smith, MSW, LCSW


As a clinician at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside, Alexandria provides high quality, evidence-based mental health treatment to veterans, service members and their families.

Alexandria received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development, with a concentration in Health Services in 2016. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Social Work from California State University of San Marcos. Alexandria has experience working with various populations in residential treatment and mental health outpatient settings. Her passion for serving the military community led her to working with several programs in San Diego that provide support to veterans, service members and their families.

Alexandria has accrued ongoing clinical experience and hours towards licensure by providing individual therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention and ongoing assessment of individuals with co-occurring disorders. She has a passion for providing trauma-informed, client-centered, and culturally-inclusive care.

She says, “I am so grateful to be able to be a part of such a wonderful mission and to give back to our veterans, service members and their families. I am honored to have the opportunity to utilize my clinical skills and knowledge to deliver quality care with a compassionate approach to our military community.”

As the spouse of a Marine Corp veteran, she is honored to continue working with the military community. In her spare time, Alexandria enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family.

Keshia Keller

Keshia Keller

Business Office Manager

As Office Coordinator, Keshia facilitates front desk responsibilities, including answering incoming calls, scheduling therapy appointments for clients, and supporting the various other roles within the Cohen Clinic at VVSD in Oceanside. Prior to the Cohen Clinic, she was working alongside her husband at a manufacturing company in Orange County, while completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Counseling.  Born in Heidelberg, Germany as a daughter of an Army soldier, she is able to resonate with the unique lifestyle of the military families the Cohen Clinic has the pleasure to serve. She said, “I have had many jobs throughout my career, but my role at the Cohen Clinic is by far one of the most rewarding opportunities that I have had to date. I have the pleasure of meeting and speaking to so many wonderful people. Helping post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members and their families is a gift, and I am grateful and excited about the future of our Cohen Clinic and those we serve.”

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Mia Ruffin

Front Office Billing Coordinator

As Office Coordinator at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside, Mia is the first point of contact for clients and is responsible for facilitating front desk duties, which includes answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and supporting the clinic team to ensure the office runs smoothly. She brings experience to the Cohen Clinic, having previously been an Executive Assistant and Concierge at a luxury travel and event company.  

Mia’s grandfather was in the Marines. “Serving people with love and excellence, breaking stigmas, and spreading awareness surrounding the importance of mental health care are very important to me,” she said. “Being part of an organization, whose vision and mission is to improve the quality of life of veterans, active-duty service members, and their families by providing accessible, high-quality care, aligns with my values.”

In her leisure, Mia enjoys spending quality time with her close friends and family and getting to know new people. She is also a huge foodie, lover of new experiences, creative and adventure seeker. You can always catch her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, at a delicious restaurant, swimming at the pool or beach, putting together a stylish look, hiking a trail around North County, and creating itineraries for outings.

Joshua Sheahan Suarez

Joshua Sheahan Suárez

Intake Coordinator.

As Office Coordinator, Joshua facilitates front desk responsibilities, including answering incoming calls, scheduling therapy appointments for clients, and supporting the various other roles within the Cohen Clinic at VVSD in San Diego. Whether it is scheduling, organizing information, or being the first point of contact for clients, he helps to make sure the office runs smoothly. Prior to working at the Cohen Clinic, Joshua worked in software testing.

He was attracted to the Cohen Clinic, “particularly because of my personal history with mental illnesses, both with myself and my family. It’s good to see an effort toward these things, not only to spread awareness, but also to emphasize accessibility to these services,” he said.

In his spare time, Joshua enjoys being a father, a musician, and a woodworker.

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Jess Raddatz, B.A.

Case Manager

As Case Manager, Jess is a client advocate who researches, coordinates, and provides much-needed resources to support and improve client outcomes, so that they can achieve wellness and autonomy.  Jess is from Chicago, Illinois and received her Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University.  She moved out to sunny San Diego following her completion of school.

Prior to her role at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside, she worked as a Case Manager for an organization whose focal point was for persons with developmental disabilities.  While there, she provided in-home service coordination to clients ages 0-3 with developmental disabilities and their families, connecting them to resources in the community.  In addition, she worked with the local school district as the children transitioned to school base services.  She frequently went to Camp Pendleton to work with the military families that lived on base.  Here, her passion grew for the military population and complexity that encompasses serving your country.  She also participated in county committee meetings in collaboration with community partners to ensure parents and caregivers had the resources they needed to foster their children’s development and behavioral health.

Jess’s grandparents both served in the Army during World War ll.  “I am so grateful and excited to be a part of the Cohen Clinic at VVSD team, as we break down barriers and create accessibility to mental health services.  Veterans, active-duty, and their families have made significant sacrifices and it’s an honor to serve them and their families so they can live their best lives.”

In her spare time, Jess enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her two dogs, and braving cold plunges.

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Tracie Covey Borchard MA., LMFT


As a Licensed Therapist at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Oceanside, Tracie has experience working with children in school settings and has also worked with children and women who have experienced various forms of abuse, including substance use/recovery. She also worked with active-duty service members as an embedded Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC) on Camp Pendleton.

When thinking about the work at the Cohen Clinic at VVSD, Tracie says, “I appreciate the mission of the Cohen Clinic, providing care to active duty, veterans and families with cost not being a barrier to care.” Her father served in the Navy, and she has uncles and a grandfather who also served in the Navy.

In her leisure time, Tracie enjoys silversmithing and metalsmithing