The San Diego Support Group

Upcoming Meeting(s)

Saturday, January 19, 2019
10:00 a.m.

Topic: Guest Speaker-Dr. Tarane Sondooze, PsyD who works for Scripps Health.

She will be discussing stress management techniques. Stress management is such an important factor in helping to control our Ankylosing Spondylitis inflammation.


Tarane Sondoozi, Psy.D., CEAPEmployee Assistance, Scripps Health, San Diego, California

Dr. Sondoozi has over 30 years of extensive experience in clinical and organizational settings as an executive coach, an organizational development consultant and educator. She has served as an internal and external consultant for non-profit healthcare organizations, Fortune 250 companies, manufacturing, retail, legal and educational institutions.

Dr. Sondoozi is an author, a competent teacher and master story teller who teaches and applies an integrative approach to personal wellness, leadership effectiveness, services excellence and organizational success. She presents on a vast range of topics at professional conferences, symposiums and seminars nationally. 

Current Role

Dr. Sondoozi serves at Scripps Health as an employee assistance professional, an organizational development consultant and as adjunct faculty for Scripps Center for Learning and Innovation. She is a dedicated teacher and avid learner who views strong and healthy relationships as the key to personal and professional success. She supports leaders and teams to achieve exceptional results through enhanced personal awareness, collaborative practice and meaningful leadership. 

Educational Background

Sondoozi holds a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from United States International University, San Diego, California. She obtained her M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology and her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of San Diego, San Diego, California. She has taught at the graduate and doctoral level at Alliant International University and at California International Business University. She is an author; a well sought after speaker and innovative trainer whose work fosters professional and interpersonal wellness and success.

Dr. Sondoozi is bilingual, multicultural and has travelled extensively. She brings a global and multi-cultural perspective to the services that she provides.

Professional Affiliations

Dr. Sondoozi is a certified member of Employee Assistance Professional Association. She is a member of the San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders and serves as an executive committee member on a number of non-profit institution boards.

Meeting Location

Scripps Green Hospital
Hastings Room
First Floor-In Hospital Cafeteria
10666 North Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, CA 92037

*Parking is $4.00 or free with a handicapped placard or license plate.

Meeting Schedule

The San Diego support group meets on the third Saturday of alternate months starting with January.

Group Leaders

Group Co-Leader:
Tim Tompkins 


Group Co-Leader: 
Michael Supancich, MD
(760) 889-5760

About San Diego's Support Group Co-Leaders


Tim Tomkins

Tim is a long time resident of San Diego and has been part of the San Diego AS support group since 2003. He started a media company in 1983 which has been producing television commercials and corporate image media and training for area businesses and government agencies.

Acute symptoms of AS came on strong in 1982 during the making of a stress filled movie, from there Tim was misdiagnosed for the next 20 some years before it was clear he had AS. Tim is a believer in the therapeutic benefits of Support Groups for the AS community and his company has been involved in experimenting with online support group technology. 

Michael J Supancich, MD

I developed my first symptoms of Anklyosing Spondylitis in high school. The problem was that nobody could diagnose my condition. They treated me with Prednisone and Phenylbutazone for years. I graduated from San Diego State College with high honors and Northwestern University Medical School with honors. I completed my Ophthalmology Residency at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center and practiced General Ophthalmology in Salinas, CA for twenty-five years. I retired early secondary to spinal changes caused by my Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 1999, I was started on Enbrel which within months reduced my morning stiffness, severe fatigue and to some degree my level of pain. After a few years Enbrel became less effective and I was switched to Humira which I continue on at present.

I moved to Carlsbad, CA in North San Diego County in 2001 for a warmer climate. I felt that individuals living in the San Diego area could improve their Ankylosing Spondylitis management if they were better informed regarding available medications, the advantages of a low impact exercise program and the need to better communicate with their physician in order to be their own healthcare advocate.

I formed the San Diego support group in 2003 with the help of the SAA and we are presently in our eleventh year. I am a strong advocate for the SAA which represents us in the United States. I served on the SAA board of directors for three terms which really broadened my personal knowledge of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Axial Spondylitiis and Reactive Arthritis. I currently am pleased to share the leadership responsibilities with Tim Tomkins, one of our founding members, who also has dealt with his Ankylosing Spondylitis for years and is very knowledgeable on the subject along with being a excellent facilitator.

My wife Cheryl and I live in Carlsbad, CA. We have five children and nine grandchildren. My hobbies include photography; automobile racing including F1, Indycar and Sportcars; and automobile historian focusing on sportcars.  


Want to Start a New Support Group?

We’d love to have you join our team of passionate volunteers leading our spondylitis educational support groups! Learn more about how to get started here, and reach out to

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Contact Us

Spondylitis Association of America

16360 Roscoe Blvd.  Ste. 100
Van Nuys, CA 91406


Information Requests

(800) 777-8189 U.S. only
or (818) 892-1616
*Please note: This is not a Crisis Hotline. If you are in a life-threatening crisis, please dial 911 for immediate help in the US. Please follow this link for crisis intervention resources.

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