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Optimizing Your Liver Health

Who We Are

Our Promise

You don’t have to do this alone.

From the consultation to the lifelong commitment to liver disease management, we are there with you every step of the way.

Led by the visionary leadership of Dr. Hassanein, one of the world’s leading Gastroenterology and transplant hepatologists, the Southern California GI & Liver Centers care for patients with the most advanced and complicated liver diseases in the world.

Patient Success Stories

At SCLC, we measure our success by patient satisfaction with our services and the care they have received at our Centers. Hear what our patients have to say about their experience with our team and how our holistic and tailored approach to care has allowed them to once again enjoy the things in life they love.


Our Specialties

Southern California GI & Liver Centers are California’s leading private centers for the management of GI and liver diseases. We provide a number of different services geared to gastrointestinal and liver disease patients, including the following speciality areas:

  • Viral hepatitis
  • Obesity and liver disease
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Autoimmune liver disease
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver transplantation
  • HALO
Our Advantage

HALO (Health and Liver Optimization)

Liver and gastrointestinal disease can be complicated and requires a lifelong commitment to achieve health and wellness. At SCLC, our exclusive process known as HALO (Health and Liver Optimization) helps patients reach their goals, regardless of their conditions.

The HALO process gets our patients into a rotation – helping them transition from the inner circle of disease to the outer circle of health.

Hope, Encouragement&

An Unwavering Commitment

Our world-renowned health care experts work tirelessly with each and every patient, providing them hope, encouragement and an unwavering commitment to support their recovery – using the most advanced and holistic treatment options available. The HALO process includes:

  • History and physical by Board-Certified Hepatologist
  • Review of medical records
  • Diagnostic evaluation
  • Therapeutic planning with patient
  • Lifestyle modification assistance
  • Close follow-up with careful monitoring

H.A.L.O (Health & Liver Optimization)

  • A Holistic Approach of Curing Liver Disease
Tarek Hassanein

Tarek Hassanein, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD

Tarek Hassanein, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD, is a board-certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Transplant Hepatology. Dr. Hassanein specializes in treating viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, and in caring for patients before and after liver transplantation. Dr. Hassanein is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Hassanein was instrumental in establishing three major liver transplant programs.

Rachel Aguanno

Norman Gitlin, MD, FAASLD, FRCP (London), FRCP (Edinburgh), FACP, FACG
Professor of Medicine Hepatologist

Norman Gitlin, MD, FRCP, FACP, FACG, is formerly professor of medicine and formerly chief of hepatology at Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga. Dr. Gitlin also serves as a Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Medical Examiner.

Dr. Gitlin earned a degree in medicine/surgery from the University of Cape Town. He completed his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, and his residency and hepatology fellowship at the Royal Free Hospital, London under the late Dame Professor Sheila Sherlock.

Dr. Gitlin earned the “Best Teacher and Clinical Attender” award at Veterans Administration Hospital and Valley Medical Center, Fresno, Calif., and nomination by student members of Alpha Omega Alpha as one of the outstanding teachers at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He was Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Gitlin also received the 1994-5 Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching from the intern/residency staff of the Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Gitlin is a fellow of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Physicians, the American College of Gastroenterology, the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh) and the Royal College of Physicians (London). He is a member of the American Association of the Study of the Liver, the American College of Gastroenterology. He was elected for a 3 term tenure as Governor of Georgia [American College of Gastroenterology]

Dr. Gitlin has authored three textbooks on liver disease and written 103 original peer-reviewed papers on the subject. He is the editor of “Clinics In Liver Disease of North America,” and serves on the editorial boards of several national journals and medical societies. He served on an FDA advisory board evaluating new drugs for hepatology. He is actively involved in a number of research studies, including the treatment of hepatitis C and B and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. His work also has been published in the Gastroenterology, Hepatology, New Eng J Med, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the American Journal of Medicine, among others.

Dr. Gitlin specializes in liver diseases, including transplantation, and is an authority on drug-induced liver disease, HCV, NASH, and HBV.

Zoe Tacoma

Deanna L. Oliver, MD, MBA
Chief, Inpatient Hepatology Services

Dr. Oliver is Board-Certified in Internal Medicine. She received her BS in Biology from University of California San Diego, and her MBA from Webster University, and her Doctor of Medicine from AUC School of Medicine. Dr. Oliver finished her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California Fresno and became the Chief Resident and then Assistant Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program.

Prior to joining SCLC, she participated in the care of patients with COVID-19, helping to develop the first Hospital-at-Home Program in California at Adventist Hospital system. She joined SCLC as a Consultant Hepatologist and is the Chief of Inpatient Hepatology Services. Dr. Oliver has extensive experience in liver research and is the Associate Director of Research at Southern California Research Center. Her focus is on the management of end stage liver disease and directs the Palliative Care Program at SCLC.

Nick Duzan

Patrick H. Sweet III, MD
Family Medicine and Hepatology Professor of Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine Commander, Medical Corps, United States Navy Reserve

Dr. Patrick Sweet is a board-certified primary care physician and passionate advocate for patients with liver disease, particularly alcohol-induced liver conditions.

Dr. Sweet is a veteran and served in the active and now reserve component of the US Navy. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia for college and obtained his doctor of medicine from the Medical College of Virginia. His postgraduate training is split between the Navy and then UCSD where has had seven years total residency training in Surgery, Pathology, and finally in Family Medicine. At UCSD he completed an Area of Concentration (AOC) in Advanced Procedures with a focus on endoscopy in the Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Sweet’s journey into liver care began first as a pathology resident. Fascinated by the pathology of GI and hepatology disorders, he created a free online atlas of pathology catered to the practicing endoscopist. He has presented on GI pathology at national meetings as well as locally. Civically, he has also been involved first as a board member on the American Association of Primary Care Endoscopy (AAPCE) and later as the chair of the membership committee. Locally he has been a member of the San Diego Colorectal Roundtable and UCSD Moore’s Cancer Center Community Outreach and Engagement Committee.

In the hospital, he is a staff physician at Sharp Coronado Hospital where he cares for liver patients at the Sharp liver center. Dr. Sweet is also on staff at Sharp Grossmont where he follows SCLC patients with advanced liver disease. Dr. Sweet joined SCLC as a staff Hepatologist in January 2020. He is active in the research of Alcohol Use Disorders of the Liver.

Tarek Hassanein

Mohammad R. Soleimanpour, MD FACP, FACG
Professor of Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine

Dr. Soleimanpour is a Board-Certified gastroenterologist. Dr. Soleimanpour has had a significant impact on the local gastroenterology community in San Diego for more than 20 years. Dr. Soleimanpour completed his Internal Medicine residency at Ohio State University in Dayton, Ohio. He completed a Clinical Fellowship in Gastroenterology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois; and a second Clinical Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Soleimanpour served as Chief of Staff and Director of Gastroenterology for 27 years at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio before coming to California. He brings an extensive amount of experience in gastroenterology disease management and inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Soleimanpour is a member of the American Society of Internal Medicine, and American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Tarek Hassanein

Renee Pozza, PhD, FNP-BC, FAASLD

Renee Pozza PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAASLD is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and is an expert in the field of hepatology, specializing in viral hepatitis and adherence. Dr. Pozza has over 20 years of clinical experience in the field of hepatology and transplantation, holding positions such as nurse practitioner, transplant coordinator, research nurse, clinical nurse specialist, and various supervisory positions. She currently serves as the Director of Nurse Practitioners for Southern California Liver Centers.

In addition to her clinical expertise, Dr. Pozza is the Senior Associate Dean for the School of Nursing at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa California. Her earned doctorate is from the University of California, San Francisco. Research interests include hepatitis C, co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus, chronic renal disease, adherence issues, and practice models of care. Dr. Pozza publishes and presents research locally, nationally, and internationally on these topics. She is well respected in her field and frequently offers service on advisory boards, individuals consultation, speaking engagements, and various research projects. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), a Fellow in the American Association of the Study of Liver Diseases, (AASLD), International Transplant Nurse Society (ITNS), and Sigma Theta Tau International. She holds volunteer positions on the board of the California Association of Colleges of Nursing (CACN), and Hillsides, a non-profit social service agency in Pasadena, California. Her extensive experience in the field of hepatology allows her to provide expert care to SCLC patients for over 20 years.

Anna Marie Hefner – PhD, MaEd, CPNP

Anna Marie Hefner – PhD, MaEd, CPNP

Anna Marie Hefner PhD, MaEd, RN, CPNP is a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and expert nurse in the field of Hepatology, specializing in fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Anna Marie is an Associate Professor at Azusa Pacific University, School of Nursing, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Anna received her Masters of Science in Nursing from California State University in Long Beach, and her Masters of Arts, Education, and Special Education at Azusa Pacific University. Anna Marie completed her Doctorate in Nursing at the University of San Diego, with an emphasis in nutritional status of the patient with end-stage liver disease.

Anna Marie is the Director of the NASH-ville clinics at SCLC. Anna Marie has received three consecutive mid-level professional awards for her work on facilitating lifestyle changes to manage progressive fatty liver disease from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Anna Marie is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Catherine McCoy-Hill, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS, ANP

Catherine McCoy-Hill, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS, ANP

Catherine McCoy-Hill MSN, RN, CNS, ANP-C is a board-certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and is an expert in the field of hepatology, specializing in end-stage liver disease and cirrhosis.

Additionally, Katie is an Assistant Professor at Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing where she teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Katie received her Master of Science in Nursing from California State University Los Angeles, and completed a post master’s Nurse Practitioner program at Azusa Pacific University. Katie is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease.

Katherine Hall, PhD, FNP-BC

Katherine Hall, PhD, FNP-BC

Katherine Hall, PhD, FNP-BC is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner who specializes in treating patients with liver disease and caring for patients before and after liver transplantation.

Katherine has a passion for treating patients in rural areas providing excellent care and individual service. Katherine contributed to the development of two major liver transplant programs, liver centers, and outreach programs for patients with liver disease.

Katherine consults to Transplant Programs, and Advisory Boards across the country, applying expertise in administration, clinical, research, and education. Katherine held a position as Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and School of Medicine to share this passion with students. Katherine contributes to research and publications in the study of liver disease. Katherine is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Association of the Study of Liver Diseases, (AASLD), International Transplant Nurse Society (ITNS), and Sigma Theta Tau International. Katherine brings over 30 years of expertise to the Southern California GI and Liver Centers.

Lorenzo Rossaro, MD, FACP, FACG

Lorenzo Rossaro, MD, FACP, FACG
Professor of Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine

Dr. Rossaro is a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist. He specializes in liver diseases, including viral hepatitis and complications of liver cirrhosis. Dr. Rossaro is world-renowned for the use of telemedicine in closing the gap for underserved and rural California. He was Medical Director for Liver Transplantation in three different US universities for twenty years, and Executive Director of Medical Affairs, Liver Diseases, at Gilead Sciences for the last six years. He was the former Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UC Davis Medical Center where he was awarded as an outstanding faculty teacher and established a clinical research center to bring the best new therapies to his patients with liver diseases. Dr. Rossaro earned his medical degree and specialty in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation from the University of Padua in Italy. He was a Fulbright Scholar, completed a Visiting Fellowship in Gastroenterology /Hepatology/Liver Transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh, and a research internship at Carnegie Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh. Dr. Rossaro is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterology Association and the American College of Physicians. He is an avid road biker and a three-time finisher of the Race Across America, before he was gifted with the birth of four children.

Bonita Huiskes, PhD, FNP-BC

Bonita Huiskes, PhD, FNP-BC

Bonita (Bonnie) Huiskes, PhD, RN, FNP-BC is a nationally certified nurse practitioner who has recently joined the Southern California Liver Centers team. She brings a decade of NP experience in caring for heart failure patients, helping them learn to manage and live as well as possible with a chronic illness. Most recently, Bonnie served as an associate professor and Associate Dean in the Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing. Her interest in palliative care in heart failure led to her collaboration with SCLC in applying palliative care concepts to advances liver disease, presenting at national and international liver disease conferences. Dr. Huiskes obtained her basic nursing education at the LA County/USC School of Nursing, a BA from the University of Redlands, a BSN, MSN and a Post-Master’s FNP from Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Huiskes earned a PhD at the UCSF School of Nursing. She developed expertise in metabolic syndrome and its complications. Her current research interests include the consequences of cardiac disease in NASH/fatty liver disease on the heart and lungs, end stage liver disease and the role of chronic illness self-management in long-term liver care.

Alexandar Shaft, MD

Alexandar Shaft, MD

Bio Coming Soon



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131 Orange Avenue, Suite 101B Coronado, CA 92118

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619-522-0399, Option 2

Fax: 619-522-0375


303 H Street, Suite 103 Chula Vista, CA 91910

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619-522-0399, Option 3

Fax: 619-947-6469


1594 South Imperial Avenue El Centro, CA 92243

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Fax: 949-496-6004


463 North Magnolia Avenue El Cajon CA 92020

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619-522-0399, Option 7

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619-522-0399, Option 8

Fax: 619-500-5286

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*DISCLAIMER: Individual treatment results may vary. All reviews and testimonials are real people who received services with us, but they may not reflect the typical patient’s experience, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. Information contained within this website may change without notice, and SCLC is not responsible for information changes.