Meet the Team

A National Network of Clinical and Therapeutic Expertise

The Newport Academy staff is comprised of the best mental health leaders and treatment teams in the country. Our growing roster of experts includes more than 600 psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, eating disorder therapists, nurse practitioners, counselors, equine therapists, art and music therapists, adventure therapists, registered dietitians, teachers, private tutors, and more, with a wide range of degrees and experience. As part of the Newport Healthcare family, Newport Academy cultivates an inclusive and collaborative workplace environment in which diverse identities and voices are honored, as together we help teens and their families find hope and healing.

Executive Leadership

Danielle Roeske, PsyD

Vice President, Operations, Residential Services

About

Dr. Roeske has worked in the mental health field since 2003, providing a wide range of clinical services, including acute psychiatric care, outpatient community therapy, and residential treatment for those dealing with the challenges of sobriety and mental health. Her experience as a CEO, clinical director, program developer, family program director, therapist, and supervisor have afforded her an intimate understanding of the key ingredients for providing quality treatment, and the essential components of a strong clinical and organizational team. She currently serves as the Executive Director for our boys’ campus in Connecticut.

Clinical Expertise

After obtaining her undergraduate degree in philosophy, Dr. Roeske discovered her passion for working with young people and their families. She went on to earn her Master’s in Counseling and Human Relations, and thereafter her doctorate in clinical psychology. She is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family systems therapy, and relational psychoanalysis, and has a deep appreciation of the complex nature of substance use and mental health disorders. Inspired by her combined personal and professional experience, Dr. Roeske has committed her career to helping young people and families find hope and healing.

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Shelley Dodd, BA, LPC, LAC

Vice President, Operations, Residential Services

About

A visionary leader with 30 years of experience in the mental healthcare field, Shelley Dodd excels in building highly engaged, creative teams, and optimizing operations using a patient-first, results-oriented approach. A Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addictions Counselor, and Certified Level II EMDR Therapist, she has worked with adolescent, adult, and inmate populations. Before joining Newport Academy in 2020, Shelley served as a consultant for behavioral health and healthcare organizations. Her prior positions include CEO for the Pavilion, UHS’s 106-bed psychiatric hospital in Amarillo, Texas; Director of Behavioral Health for the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center in Missouri; and Program Director for Horizon Health’s Lutheran Medical Center.

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Ed Speedling, MHA, MSW, FACHE

Vice President of Outpatient Services

About

A healthcare executive and consultant for more than 16 years, Ed Speedling has spent his career participating in, establishing, and leading successful, diverse teams to make a meaningful impact on public health issues. He consistently seeks to help build communities where all people can succeed and achieve their full potential, especially children, families, and those facing health disparities and social injustice. As president of ES Healthcare Consulting, LLC, Ed specializes in working with corporations and organizations to integrate behavioral healthcare services and find innovative solutions that improve outcomes, quality of care, and access to care. Before joining the Newport team, Ed served in leadership roles for BlueSprig Pediatrics, Inc., Corporation of America’s Capital Division, ProMedica Health System, and Arrowhead Behavioral Health, among others. In addition, Ed has worked in the not-for-profit Nemours pediatric health system as a forensic child abuse specialist, trauma and emergency department social worker, and State of Delaware medical subcommittee chair.

Kristin Wilson, MA, LPC

Vice President of Clinical Outreach

About

Kristin is passionate about the delivery of integrated care in the treatment milieu to address the myriad of stressors that today’s teens and young adults face. She believes that higher levels of emotional resilience allow young people to more easily adapt to stressful situations or crises, with fewer negative effects. Kristin has been working in the treatment field since 1997, in a variety of mental healthcare settings, including inpatient, residential, and outpatient levels of care; and with numerous types of addictions, including chemical dependence, process addictions, and eating disorders.

Clinical Expertise

Kristin holds a master’s degree in Psychology and Creative Arts Therapies and presents workshops nationally on using the creative arts to foster authentic connections with teens. Her dedication to an integrated model of care is further demonstrated by her certification as a yoga teacher. Kristin is a licensed clinician who formerly served as a clinical supervisor, executive director, trainer, interventionist, and clinical outreach representative. She previously held the title of Senior Regional Director of Marketing for a major behavioral health network, after spending seven years running an outpatient behavioral health department in Pennsylvania.

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Blake Kinsey

Vice President of Admissions

About

Blake Kinsey brings to Newport Healthcare extensive experience in finance and admissions. In addition, he has strong skills in communication, interpersonal relationships, and creative conflict resolution. He works closely with incoming clients and families and serves as a liaison with insurance companies to guarantee coverage for clients’ treatment needs. Blake’s past experience includes managing companies’ insurance contracts, benefits, policies, and managed care. He worked with employer groups and state, local, and academic entities to fund treatment costs. In addition, he developed strategies for holding insurance companies accountable for providing coverage to their members.

Jay Campbell

Chief Growth Officer

About

Jay Campbell has more than 20 years of professional experience in business development, marketing, management, and operations for the behavioral health, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, Jay was the Vice President of Business Relations for Acadia Healthcare, and prior to that, the National Director of Business Development for CRC Health Group. Throughout his career, Jay has advocated for people with healthcare needs by working with providers in frontline positions and building teams of multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to offering clients the highest-quality care. Jay’s skill, experience, and passion inspire him to deliver results and develop future leaders.

6,000+
families served

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Jamison Monroe

Founder

About 

Jamison is the Founder of Newport Healthcare and its family of programs, including Newport Academy for teens and Newport Institute for young adults. He is a prominent voice in the field of teen and young adult mental health, and an active participant in the movement to reduce the stigma around mental health and substance abuse challenges. A passionate advocate for integrated and compassionate care for young people, Jamison is a writer, spokesperson, Kundalini Yoga instructor, and meditation teacher. Prior to founding Newport Healthcare, he worked in multiple mental health and co-occurring disorder treatment facilities—starting his career as an overnight coordinator and working his way up to Executive Director. Today, he is a credited expert and thought leader in the field, and has appeared on CNN, FOX, ABC, and other major networks.

Jameson Norton, MBA, FACHE

Chief Operating Officer

About

Jameson has created, led, and served on trusted and high-performing teams in some of the most challenging and dynamic environments in the world. Prior to joining Newport, he served as CEO of Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, where he led behavioral health services for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, and school-based mental health programs administered by the company. During his time there, he achieved unprecedented growth in outpatient, inpatient, emergency psychiatry, telehealth, and integrated behavioral health services across the company. Before that, Jameson was CEO of Acadia Healthcare’s North Tampa Behavioral Health facility, where he oversaw a large inpatient expansion and launched three new services, including a military program commended for its innovative approach to empowering post-traumatic growth and recovery.

Barbara Nosal, PhD, LMFT, LADC

Chief Clinical Officer

About

Dr. Nosal is the founding Chief Clinical Officer of Newport Healthcare and oversees the clinical and family programs for all of Newport’s residential and outpatient treatment locations. Dr. Nosal has worked with adolescents and families in the field of mental health, teenage depression, and addiction treatment for more than 30 years. She believes that family involvement is critical to successful outcomes during and post-treatment. Dr. Nosal’s work focuses on deepening family relationships and improving communication through healing early childhood attachment ruptures and relational trauma. As a result, family members build respect, trust, and accountability, and feel safe to be vulnerable and authentic with one another.

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Nosal has a doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, among other clinical credentials. She specializes in relational and family therapy, with training in Attachment-Based Family Therapy, Family Systems, Post-Induction Therapy, and various other therapeutic modalities. Dr. Nosal has held managerial positions in inpatient and outpatient treatment programs throughout California and nationally.

Joe Procopio

Chief Executive Officer

About 

Joe brings to Newport Healthcare a wealth of insight and knowledge gleaned over more than 30 years in the medical and treatment field. His successful history of executive leadership includes 16 years with Acadia Healthcare Company (NASDAQ: ACHC) and CRC Health Group. Prior to that, Joe served in management positions with Susquehanna Health and Geisinger Health System. In his role as CEO, Joe is expanding Newport’s services into new markets, to reach more communities and ultimately help more families in need. His fresh ideas and initiatives support our mission to provide the highest-quality care to teens, young adults, and families across the country.

Clinical Leadership

Rachel Fortune, MD, FAAP

Consulting Physician and Eating Disorder Specialist

About 

Dr. Fortune is an expert in the treatment of eating disorders, mental health disorders, and adolescent medicine. In her many years of treating teens, she has learned that most eating-disordered adolescent patients recover best with a family-based treatment approach. Dr. Fortune concurrently serves as Medical Director of Eating Disorders at Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Clinical Expertise

After completion of her fellowship at the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver, Dr. Fortune spent two years caring for adolescent patients at Yale University School of Medicine/Yale New Haven Hospital, where 90 percent of patients in her subspecialty practice were being treated for eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine by the American Board of Pediatrics and is dedicated to helping young people transform their lives for the better.

Jennifer Dragonette, PsyD

Clinical Services Instructor

About

Dr. Dragonette is dedicated to helping teams come together to support clients in creating more authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. She was the founding Executive Director of Newport’s Northern California location and now serves in an important clinical training and supervisory capacity. As a specialist in her field, Dr. Dragonette understands the need to take into account every aspect of an individual—their physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health, not just psychological. She believes that true healing begins when a teen shifts from an external locus of control to an internal locus of control, and she carries this philosophy into her treatment practices.   

Clinical Expertise

Prior to joining our team, Dr. Dragonette was the Director of Behavioral Health for Petaluma Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Petaluma, California. In that position, she oversaw the Behavioral Health department and coordinated all aspects of operations. Moreover, during the wildfires that ravaged the Petaluma community in 2017, she spearheaded and developed curriculum for a program to support parents and children in the aftermath of that traumatic event. Dr. Dragonette also served in both clinical and leadership roles at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa’s Chemical Dependency Services.
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Beth Hanline, LCSW-C

Director of Outpatient Services

About

Beth has more than 10 years of experience in the field as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She excels at treating behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, school anxiety, and school avoidance. Prior to joining the Newport team, Beth worked as a therapist and program director at the Board of Child Care, in multiple capacities as a contractor for the Armed Forces Services Corporation, and as a child psychiatric consultant at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

 Clinical Expertise 

Beth Hanline has participated in specialized trainings in Attachment-Based Family Therapy, play therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT, Trauma-Informed Care, and Solution-Focused Therapy. She holds a BBA in management, a bachelor’s in psychology, and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland.

Crystal Burwell, PhD, LPC, CPCS, BC-TMH

Director of Outpatient Services

About

Dr. Burwell believes in meeting clients where they are and doing whatever it takes to help them heal. She is driven by a passion for the process of transformation and recovery. Dr. Burwell specializes in treating young people suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, as well as highly sensitive people. As a public speaker and healthcare consultant, she is an advocate for emotional health and social justice.

 

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Burwell utilizes a variety of modalities in working with young people, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, she served as regional clinical supervisor for Northstar Psychological Services in Marietta, Georgia, working with therapists providing outpatient mental health treatment. As a program director for Walden Behavioral Care, she ran an outpatient eating disorder treatment program, and started the first intensive outpatient program for binge-eating disorders. She was also program director at Fellowship Health Resources, a substance abuse/mental health outpatient program for court-mandated clients. Dr. Burwell is a board-certified TeleMental Health Provider.

Joe Vaccaro, PsyD

Executive Director

About

Dr. Vaccaro first joined Newport Academy as a family therapist, working with teens, young adults, and families. In the Executive Director role for Southern California, he supports the Newport Healthcare clinical team and all departments in providing exceptional care and compassion to the families we serve. He is dedicated to bringing patience, connection, progression, and authenticity into his work with young people.

Clinical Expertise 

Dr. Vaccaro holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has extensive experience in the field. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, he was clinical supervisor at Pathways Community Services, Garden Grove, California, supervising and training psychological assistants and interns. He was a clinical psychologist for four years at Pathways prior to that position, and also worked as a psychologist for Sunny Hills Behavioral Health Incorporated in Fullerton, California. He completed his postdoctoral residency at Long Beach Job Corps in California, administering individual and group clinical supervision to doctoral candidates and practicum interns.

Michael Roeske, PsyD

Executive Director

About

Dr. Roeske is the Executive Director for our girls’ campus in Connecticut. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked and trained in a variety of settings since 2003, including community mental health clinics, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and residential and outpatient substance use disorder treatment programs. He has experience as a supervisor, clinical director, and assessor of children, adolescents, and adults. In addition, Dr. Roeske has served as a chief operating officer and chief executive officer. He is dedicated to helping young people heal childhood trauma that would otherwise be carried through to their experiences in adulthood.

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Roeske recognizes the importance of exceptional, ethical, and collaborative clinical care; staff and therapist development; community outreach; and open, transparent communications. As an educator, he has been a national presenter, adjunct professor, and trainer of psychotherapy graduate students, as well as developing curriculum for psychotherapy groups in acute care settings. In these ways, he has devoted his life to the science and art of serving those facing substance abuse and acute and/or chronic mental health concerns.

600+
mental health professionals

Leigh McInnis, LPC

Executive Director

About

As Executive Director at Newport Healthcare’s Virginia location, Leigh McInnis, LPC, supports team cohesion and the management and training of all staff, oversees the clinical team, and supports collaboration among departments. Before finding her professional home at Newport Healthcare, Leigh worked in many public mental health arenas, including nonprofit crisis prevention and response for adults, intensive in-home care for children and adolescents, and residential treatment facilities. Leigh is passionate about partnering with families and communities, and sees them as the foundation that supports teens as they develop and succeed.

Clinical Expertise

Leigh holds a master’s degree in Community Counseling, along with certifications in LPC-Supervision, Family Centered Treatment, and Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk training. She also completed a degree in psychology. In 2016, Leigh developed the clinical milieu for a non-suicidal self-injury unit in a Virginia residential treatment facility. Leigh’s approach to treatment is based on the belief that we each have the power to change our current circumstances—and that the impetus for change is within us.

Heather Hagen, MA, LMFT

Director of Clinical Program Development

About 

With more than 15 years of experience in the treatment field, Heather has been with Newport Academy since its founding in 2008. She advanced from Care Coordinator to Family Therapist to Clinical Director for our programs in Marin County, California, and in her current role, she trains and supports newly hired clinicians, specifically in the family therapy program. She is passionate about empowering adolescents to become strong, independent young adults. Heather is also an accomplished photographer.

Clinical Expertise 

Heather holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University, as well as two bachelor’s degrees, in family studies and social work. She is trained in Attachment-Based Family Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Heather specializes in family therapy and addiction, and has worked extensively with teenagers facing behavioral issues, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. She believes that family therapy is the core of treatment, and that healing the family is the key to supporting teen and young adult mental health.

Ian Parker, LCSW

Clinical Director

About

Ian has experience working with adolescent populations in a variety of settings. At Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut, he served as a psychiatric clinician, facilitating intensive outpatient groups for ages 13 to 18 and providing outpatient therapy for adults. Prior to this position, he was clinical care coordinator for Connecticut Junior Republic’s Winchester Therapeutic Group Home, providing individual, family, and group counseling in a residential setting for adolescent boys ages 14 to 21.

Clinical Expertise

In addition to his Master’s in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, Ian is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and the Risking Connections therapeutic model. He previously worked as a clinician in the Child Guidance Clinic of Family and Children’s Aid in Waterbury, Connecticut, and in Catholic Charities’ Court Support Services Division, Torrington, Connecticut.

Helene D'Jay, LPC

Clinical Director

About

As Clinical Director of Newport Academy’s programs in Connecticut, Helene brings an invaluable combination of therapeutic and management skills to her role. She has years of experience in the business world as a human resources professional, and extensive experience in her second career as a therapist. Helene believes that every teen deserves unconditional acceptance and a nonjudgmental treatment setting in which they can feel safe to share and process difficult emotions and experiences.

Clinical Expertise

Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, Helene served as program director for New Dawn in Bethel, Connecticut, an adolescent alcohol rehabilitation facility run by the Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism, where she supervised all client care staff and interfaced with multiple state agencies. Her former positions also include crisis clinician at the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut and lead clinician for a day treatment program run by Family and Children’s Aid in Danbury, Connecticut. Helene has volunteered for the Red Cross and spent six months counseling families and children in Newtown. She also served on a crisis team for the statewide 211 system.

Mirela Loftus MD, PhD

Medical Director

About 

Dr. Loftus began her career in a lab, researching a small area of the brain (the hippocampus), specifically its connection to abnormalities seen in schizophrenia. Her desire to make an impact on young people during this critical stage of development led her into direct care, working with children, teens, and families. Dr. Loftus also became an advocate for children’s mental health, testifying at the Capitol on numerous occasions and lobbying in Washington DC in her role as the president of the Connecticut Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists.

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Loftus earned her medical degree at one of the oldest and most acclaimed medical schools in Romania, and received her PhD from the University of California, Davis. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, she spent 15 years as an attending and consulting psychiatrist at Hartford HealthCare’s Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut, coordinating and delivering care for children and teens. From 2017 to 2019, she was Medical Director of the Institute’s Clinical Trials Unit, researching the efficacy of experimental depression and suicidal ideation treatments. Dr. Loftus also served as an assistant professor in the University of Connecticut School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.

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Michel Mennesson, MD

Psychiatrist

About 

Dr. Mennesson thrives on finding new and creative solutions by drawing from a variety of therapeutic approaches. A longtime practitioner of yoga and meditation, he is a strong proponent for integrating mindfulness principles into clinical treatment. Dr. Mennesson is dedicated to providing the highest-quality evidence-based care in a safe, secure environment. He firmly believes in the power of a strong social support network, and he uses Attachment-Based Family Therapy to restore and reinforce healthy relational dynamics for young people and their families.

Clinical Expertise

Dr. Michel is board-certified in general psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, with an added qualification in Addiction Psychiatry. Originally from France, he trained as a pediatrician and internist before entering the field of psychiatry. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Yale University Department of Psychiatry. At Newport Healthcare, Dr. Mennesson specializes in treating young people struggling with issues such as substance use, depression, grief and loss, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

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Dr. Prakash Thomas, MD

Psychiatrist

About 

Dr. Thomas is an adult, adolescent, and child psychiatrist who values working with Newport Healthcare clients and observing their growth. In addition to his clinical experience, he taught English as a second language to college students for two years in China and, as a result, enhanced his perspective on adolescents and their developmental challenges. He also teaches psychiatrists and medical students and has written scholarly articles and books on psychiatry and children, including co-authoring Psychopharmacology and Child Psychiatry Review and Lewis’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Review. It is one of the chief rewards of his work as a Newport psychiatrist to stitch together the different therapeutic perspectives on each client to create a unique and unified framework for growth, change, and healing.

 Clinical Expertise

Dr. Thomas earned his doctorate at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and is board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry. He has held various professional appointments, including supervising physicians in training nurses, psychologists, and social workers. Dr. Thomas’ clinical experience encompasses both private practice in New Haven, Connecticut, and staff positions at Yale New Haven Hospital, Clifford W. Beers Guidance Clinic, Inc., and Yale’s Developmental Disability Clinic. He was also a recipient of the Bloomberg Award for Distinction in Psychiatry.

Program Leadership

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Morgan Link, MA, LMFT

Associate Clinical Director

About 

Morgan specializes in treating adolescent trauma, anxiety, depression, sexual issues, and substance abuse. Her favorite part of the recovery process is watching the light come back into a client’s eyes after a long and challenging journey. Before joining Newport Healthcare in 2019, Morgan worked as a primary therapist and group facilitator throughout Southern California, at Phoenix House, Luminance Recovery, and The House of the Rising Son Recovery.

Clinical Expertise

Morgan is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and has led group DBT training sessions. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she holds a master’s from Alliant International University. Morgan believes that every young person and family is capable of change and can rebuild trust and connection.

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Cassie Pastula

Director of Admissions

 About 

Cassie joined the Newport Healthcare team in 2013. She works closely with our Executive and Clinical Directors to ensure appropriate placement for clients and a seamless admissions process for both clients and the internal team. Cassie’s previous work experience includes event planning and management for the M&M Group in Huntington, California, planning, producing, and managing billing for more than 10 events each month. She also managed marketing, crafted advertising strategies, and oversaw content dissemination for NJ Law, APC, in Newport, California. Cassie holds an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Robyn Le Ann

Director of Equine Services

About 

Robyn brings a unique blend of education, training, and experience to Newport Healthcare’s Equine-Assisted Therapy program. Her background in yoga therapy, combined with her equine skills and her desire to be of service to others, inspired her to train as a Certified Equine Specialist. Robyn has worked with horses for more than three decades, in various capacities. As a member of the Mounted Patrol Unit in Southern California for seven years, she fine-tuned her ability to observe and interpret the nonverbal communication of horses and humans. This intuitive nature and rich life experience inform her capacity to connect with adolescents in a therapeutic setting.

Nicole Renée Matthews

Director of Yoga

About 

Nicole Renée Matthews has been practicing yoga for over a decade and is the director of Charym Yoga Studio in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her personal journey with anxiety, depression, and pharmaceutical use as a teen inspired her to find accessible, everyday solutions for healing and wholeness. When she found yoga, she found guiding principles for navigating difficult times. Today, Nicole strives to inspire in her students curiosity, compassion, and lifelong self-study. She is certified in Ashtanga Vinyasa, trauma-informed yoga, and Somatic Experiencing, and also holds an Institute of Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Certification and a bachelor’s degree in holistic health and addiction studies from Western Michigan University.

 

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Caydin Sanders

National Director of Experience

About 

Caydin joined the Newport Healthcare team in 2014, and established Newport’s Alumni Program as Director of Alumni Services, before becoming our National Director of Experience. Today, her contributions positively impact young people, families, and our team on a national level. Caydin continues to oversee Newport Healthcare’s Alumni Network while working to ensure that every aspect of Newport’s programming exceeds clients’ expectations. She has a degree in sociology, with an emphasis on social work, from California State University. Caydin is also a community volunteer for Mercy Without Limits, a nonprofit providing humanitarian relief around the world.

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Gary Fedoroff, MC, CADC II

Director of Experiential Learning

About 

Gary has been working with high-risk teens for nearly 15 years, in settings ranging from community centers to juvenile drug court. He excels in treating adolescents who have lost a sense of connection to self and others, and who are open to new experiences and activities that help them build self-esteem and perspective. Prior to moving into his current role, in which he develops and implements curriculum for Newport’s Adventure Therapy program, Gary served as our Program Coordinator of Intensive Outpatient Services.

 Clinical Expertise

Gary holds a master’s in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California, and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Level II (CADC II). He is dedicated to engaging adolescents in recovery through multiple approaches, in particular the physical and emotional challenges and rewards of Adventure Therapy. Before joining the Newport team, Gary worked as an Alcohol and Drug Intervention Specialist for the Novato (California) Unified School District, and as a counselor and case manager for Bay Area Community Resources.

Jeffrey Zurofsky

Culinary Program Director

About

Jeffrey Zurofsky leads Newport Academy’s innovative culinary program, based on the belief that learning how we grow and make our food can have a powerful healing effect and create a lasting positive impact on our lives. Combining nutritional knowledge with culinary expertise, Jeffrey ensures that Newport Academy offers the finest, freshest, most wholesome meals, as well as the shared experience of enjoying them as a community. He is the founder and CEO of No Small Plans, LLC, and the co-founder and former president and CEO of ’wichcraft, Riverpark, and Riverpark Farm. In 2009, Jeffrey was involved in the opening of the innovative Riverpark Farm, New York’s most urban farm.

Ryan Fedoroff, M.Ed

Director of Education

About 

Ryan brings over a decade of academic leadership and classroom experience to her role at Newport Healthcare. As an educator, she is passionate about working with high-risk adolescents and is trained in restorative practices. Ryan works with the Marin County (California) Youth Court and is a member of various community organizations working to combat youth substance abuse. She develops educational and intervention programs to prevent teen and young adult mental health struggles and drug use.

Clinical Expertise 

Prior to joining Newport Academy in 2014, Ryan was a student activities director, leadership teacher, and mathematics teacher at Tamalpais Union High School District in Mill Valley, California. She holds a master’s degree in Education Administration, and has also served as secondary summer school principal, mathematics teacher, and student activities director for the Novato (California) Unified School District. Ryan works alongside clinicians to create interventions to assist students dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. She also collaborates with special education teams to create protocols for managing classroom challenges for students dealing with auditory processing and executive functioning deficits.

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Alex Merlo, LMFT

Clinical Supervisor

About

Alex specializes in treating substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and family conflict, in both residential and outpatient settings. She is passionate about working with young people and helping them to establish positive habits that will support them throughout their lives. The family struggles she experienced in her own childhood and adolescence inspired her career path.

Clinical Expertise

Alex Merlo specializes in Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT), a family-based approach to preventing depression and suicide in young people. Before joining Newport Healthcare, she worked as a primary therapist at the Center for Discovery, as a unit therapist at Vista del Mar, and at the Jewish Family Center. Alex holds a master’s in clinical psychology from Antioch University.

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Camellia Johnson, MSW, LCSW

Associate Family Program Director

About

Camellia works to rebuild families through increasing communication and improving relationships. Prior to joining the Newport team in 2016, she provided education for teens on HIV/AIDS prevention, and recruited and trained high-risk youth to become community advocates. As a former Teen Outreach Program Facilitator for Family Centered Services of CT, she offered middle school students opportunities to participate in service projects and group discussions on issues such as teen pregnancy prevention and healthy relationships.

Clinical Expertise

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Camellia has a degree in public health from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Master of Social Work degree from Springfield College School of Social Work. Her previous professional experience includes providing intensive in-home child and adolescent services as a senior clinician with Wellmore Behavioral Health in Waterbury, Connecticut. She also worked as a certified nursing assistant, providing end-of-life care for terminally ill clients.

spencer-macdonald

Spencer MacDonald, MS, LMFT

Associate Clinical Director

About 

Spencer has been working with children, adolescents, and families for more than seven years, helping them gain insight into the underlying reasons for their challenges, build self-compassion, and repair disruption in the family system. Spencer’s therapeutic approach integrates psychodynamic, person-centered Motivational Interviewing, family-systems approaches, mindfulness, and behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques.

Clinical Expertise 

Before joining the Newport Healthcare in 2015, Spencer served as a marriage and family therapist intern at the Turning Point Center for Families in Santa Ana, California. Here, he provided individual, couples, family, and group therapy in elementary school, middle school, and clinical settings. In addition, he was also a program supervisor and behavior therapist for Footprints Behavioral Interventions, Fountain Valley, California.

jessica-banik

Jessica Banik, LMFT

Associate Family Program Director

About 

With nine years in the treatment field, Jessica Banik excels in treating families and strengthening family relationships. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she has served as a case management and primary therapist for individual clients, couples, and families in residential treatment. In addition, Jessica has worked with military service members and their families.

Clinical Expertise

Jessica cites Murray Bowen and his family systems theory among her influences, in particular his view of families, how they grow, and the multigenerational transmission process. Her work is also influenced by John and Julie Gottman’s evidence-based approaches to couples and family therapy, and she has completed Gottman Training Levels 1 and 2. Jessica holds a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida, Orlando.

jennifer-broadlick

Jennifer Broadlick, LMFT

Associate Clinical Director

About

Jennifer Broadlick has been working in the field of mental health treatment since 2009. She is passionate about helping others attain a healthier sense of self, heal their emotional wounds, and develop more positive relationships with others. Jennifer has worked with clients struggling with anxiety disorders, social anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, and psychotic disorders. Her approach involves helping the client and their family to understand the disorder and develop tools to manage symptoms.

Clinical Expertise

Prior to joining the Newport Healthcare team in early 2018, Jennifer was a case manager at Project RENEW in Orange County, California, assisting at-risk youth with mental health disorders and their families. At Providence Community Services in Santa Ana, California, she provided therapy to children individually and with their families. In addition, Jennifer worked with ChildNet Youth and Family Services in Long Beach, California, developing treatment plans and providing therapy to children and their families.

scott-giordano

Scott Giordano, LPC

Associate Clinical Director

About

Scott brings to his role both a clinical background and effective communication skills honed in his experience as a family liaison. As a behavioral health clinician in the Adult Outpatient Department at Hartford Behavioral Health, he used a variety of therapeutic modalities in individual and group sessions, and assisted clients in gaining access to resources. Scott also served as a case manager in the Young Adult Services department at A Community Support system, West Haven, Connecticut, providing support, advocacy, teaching, and practical assistance, and helping young adults transition from residential settings to independent living.

Clinical Expertise

Scott received his Master’s in clinical mental health from Southern Connecticut State University and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Sacred Heart University, Connecticut.

meredith-hettler

Meredith Hettler, LMFT

Associate Family Program Director

About

Meredith Hettler is passionate about helping young people and their families move towards their greatest potential. With more than 10 years of experience in the healthcare field, Meredith treats teens struggling with depression, anxiety, and co-occurring disorders, guiding them toward reconnection within their family system. She holds a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from Central Connecticut State University, and an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island.

Clinical Expertise

Meredith previously worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist at Milford Youth and Family Services and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge & Associates. She also worked at the Kennedy Center as a behaviorist, where she wrote and implemented behavior support plans for adults with intellectual disabilities. Meredith is trained in Attachment-Based Family Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and has participated in Level III training in Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT Tapping Therapy. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

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Samantha Quigneaux, LMFT

Associate Family Program Director

About

Samantha has extensive experience working with adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma, including sexual and physical abuse. She also has expertise working with the LGBTQ community and issues related to gender and sexuality. Samantha believes that a necessary step in the healing and recovery process is a strong and genuine therapeutic connection that creates safety and allows for growth.

Clinical Expertise 

Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, Samantha was the managing moderator for Big White Wall, a 24/7 online community platform helping members to successfully self-manage their emotional health. She also served as a therapeutic mentor and parent coach for Vive Family Support Program in New York City, providing therapeutic support for young people and their families navigating difficult transitions. Prior to that, Samantha was a child and family therapist for the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse, New York, working with child and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse. She holds a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist.

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Erica Opromollo, LCSW

Family Program Director

About

Erica has more than 10 years of experience providing therapeutic treatment to youth and families in treatment settings and private practice. She began her career as an in-home family therapist and was recognized at the statewide level for her calming engagement style and strengths-based clinical approach. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, Erica was a program director with a community-based program providing services to youth in the juvenile justice system, and oversaw a Department of Children and Families therapeutic group home for youth with acute mental health needs.

Clinical Expertise 

Erica is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy, and trained in multiple evidence-based modalities. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of PTSD and traumatic stress, primarily with victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; substance abuse; conduct disorder; ADHD; Oppositional Defiant Disorder; mood disorders; and adjustment disorders due to changes in life situations. Erica uses a strengths-based approach to help clients and families view behaviors as adaptations, and use their relationships to motivate positive change.

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Annie Gendaszek, MA, LAADC

Director of Compliance

About 

Annie brings to the Newport Healthcare team in-depth experience in quantitative and qualitative research. Additionally, she brings professional communication skills across a wide range of platforms. Annie continues to be fascinated by the interface of psychology and law, and has acquired degrees in both psychology and communication studies, along with a master’s in forensic psychology. With a background in the litigation field, Annie has provided trial support for the Denver District Attorney’s Office and has assisted deputy district attorneys in drug court with trial preparation and courtroom coverage.

Clinical Expertise 

Annie Gendaszek has vast experience in the field of psychology. This includes positions as a program director, case manager, and senior resident manager for Safe Harbor Treatment Center in Costa Mesa, California. She has performed research at Bates College on the illicit use of psychostimulants in college students, which was published in the journal Psychology, Health, and Medicine. She also co-authored an article published in the Journal of the American Corporate Counsel Association, which included findings from a national study she designed on juror perceptions of corporations in the post-Enron era.

Therapists and Counselors

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Maria Noemi Vidal, LMFT

Therapist

About 

Maria, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializes in working with trauma, depression, anxiety, family conflict, and substance abuse. She is trained in multiple modalities, including Attachment-Based Family Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which she uses to help her clients regulate their emotions, better tolerate stress, and learn healthy coping skills.

Clinical Expertise 

With more than 27 years of experience in the mental health field as an individual and family therapist, Maria has worked in hospital, academic, and private practice settings. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team in 2018, she was a LMFT therapist and case manager, first at FACES Counseling Center in Fullerton, California, and then at Saint Joseph Hospital of Orange in Orange, California. She also served as a counselor at North Orange County Community College.

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Johanna Marco, LMFT

Family Therapist

About 

Supporting clients to improve their well-being is Johanna’s primary motivation for her work in the mental healthcare field. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare in 2019, Johanna worked for five years at the Wheeler Clinic in Plainville, Connecticut, where she rose from intern to program manager, training staff in various models and techniques as well as treating clients and facilitating family sessions and clinical groups.

Clinical Expertise 

Johanna holds a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Saint Joseph, and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Manhattanville College. She particularly excels at working with LGBTQ teens, and adolescents struggling with trauma, depression, and anxiety, and has completed additional training in these areas.

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Abby MacKinnel, ATR-BC, CLAT, LPC

Individual Therapist

About 

Abby specializes in treating clients with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, trauma, and body image issues. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, she worked as a clinical art therapist at the Art Connection Studio in Hartford, the Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven, and the Walden Behavioral Care in Guilford. Abby believes in an integrative approach to wellness, and chose to become an art therapist because art has always been therapeutic in her own life.

Clinical Expertise

In addition to her qualification as a Board-Certified Art Therapist, Abby has completed specialized training in EFT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Family-Based Treatment for eating disorders, and SMART Recovery. She uses a variety of these treatment methods in both individual and group therapy sessions for patients and their families.

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Margaret Biggart, MA

Therapist

About 

Before joining Newport Healthcare in 2019, Margaret (Maggie) Biggart worked in athletics at a boarding school for teenage boys. Witnessing the boys’ frustration in not feeling heard or understood, she was inspired to forge a new career in mental healthcare. Maggie went on to earn her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Saint Joseph. She completed her internship at Catholic Charities in Hartford, Connecticut, where she rose over two years to the position of Behavioral Health Clinician.

Clinical Expertise

Maggie has been trained in Motivational Interviewing, multi-cultural counseling, family systems therapy, and trauma treatment for teens. As an Individual Therapist at Newport Healthcare, Margaret uses all of these modalities, among others, to treat anxiety, depression, familial conflict, and substance abuse. Maggie has always been drawn to professions that help others: Before she was an athletic trainer, she served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT.

 

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Jamie Perry, LMSW

Individual Therapist

About 

During her childhood years, Jamie needed a support system outside of her family to help her through personal and mental health issues. She began visiting a counselor who was extremely empathetic and changed her life for the better—and Jamie has wanted to give back to others ever since. She especially enjoys working with teenagers and seeing the transformation they and their families undergo throughout the treatment process. Prior to joining the Newport Healthcare team, Jamie worked at the Renfrew Center for eating disorders treatment, and in a private practice for adolescents with developmental disabilities.

Clinical Expertise 

Jamie has been trained in Trauma-Focused Cogitative Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing Basics, all of which she uses during treatment depending on the individual needs of the client. She excels in treating trauma as well as co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse and eating disorders.

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Patrick Antonios, MS, CAC

Counselor

About 

Patrick excels at treating young people who are struggling with substance abuse and behavioral issues. His own exposure to substance abuse and mental health issues within his family, as well as a history of trauma, inspire him to help make a difference in the lives of young people and families. He is particularly influenced by William Miller, founder of Motivational Interviewing, and his client-centered counseling style. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Patrick worked at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health and Crossroads Recovery Center.

Clinical Expertise

Patrick has attended specialized trainings in Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Miller Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), all of which he uses in both individual and group therapy sessions at Newport Healthcare. Patrick holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Social Science from Quinnipiac University, and a master’s in secondary education, with an emphasis in drug and alcohol recovery, at the University of Bridgeport.

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Jessica Brooks, MS

Individual Therapist

About

Jessica has always been passionate about helping others. After struggling with mental health issues throughout her adolescence, she was inspired to help others facing similar challenges. Jessica excels at treating adolescents with anxiety and depression, as well as youth who have experienced trauma. Before joining the Newport team in 2019, she was a clinician at Connecticut Junior Republic in New Britain, serving at-risk youth throughout the state; and at MHM Services in Hartford, providing healthcare to state and local government agencies.                                                                                                                                             

Clinical Expertise 

Jessica brings more than 10 years of clinical experience to her role at Newport Healthcare. She has been trained in Motivational Interviewing, Trauma-Focused Cogitative Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, crisis management, aggression replacement therapy, trauma-informed care, and client engagement. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s in criminal justice from Central Connecticut State University, she went on to earn a master’s in clinical counseling and a professional counseling certificate from Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut.

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Melissa Feeley, MFT

Counselor

About 

Melissa helps clients find a safe space to be heard, validated, and empowered. Her experience as an adolescent of having an immediate family member diagnosed with PTSD encouraged her to become educated on mental health issues and eventually led her to a counseling career. One of her biggest influences is Salvador Minuchin, the founder of Structural Family Therapy, which focuses on treating the entire family unit rather than the child or adolescent alone.

Clinical Expertise

Melissa Feeley has been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the Internal Family Systems Model, as well as other evidence-based modalities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. Melissa excels at treating behavioral issues, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

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Tiana Griffin, MSW

Counselor

About 

Tiana Griffin chose to pursue a career in mental healthcare because she is passionate about helping young people gain life skills and develop emotionally and socially. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, she worked at King Robinson Inter-District Management School, Hannah Gray Home, Charles F. Hayden Therapeutic School, and Walden Behavioral Care. Tiana earned her Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University, and her bachelor’s in psychology at Western Connecticut State University.

Clinical Expertise 

Tiana has participated in many trainings and workshops, including “Living in the Shadows of an Eating Disorder,” Risking Connections, vicarious trauma, CPI, CPR, and First Aid-AED. She has certifications in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), CBT-E (Enhanced CBT), and Meal Coaching, all of which she uses to treat adolescents struggling with eating disorders, crisis management, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral issues.

 

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Cory Griffin, MSW, LCSW, CASAC

Individual Therapist

About

Cory is passionate about helping people reach their full potential and live meaningful lives. Her personal recovery journey led her to her career, and she is dedicated to giving back to the community that helped her overcome countless obstacles. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Cory worked as an outpatient therapist at InterCommunity in Hartford, Connecticut, and as a mental health clinician at Realization Center in the greater New York City area.

 Clinical Expertise

Cory excels at treating anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. She has attended trainings in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as mindfulness and meditation training from Harvard University. Cory holds a Master of Social Work degree from New York University.

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Macie Prajer, MA

Counselor

About 

Macie Prajer chose to pursue a career in healthcare to ensure the safety and welfare of today’s youth. She had early exposure to Social Services and the effects of foster care, which enhanced her genuine care and compassion for others. This formative experience left her with the desire to pursue a human-centric career. At Newport Healthcare, she strives to provide struggling teens with tools that are empowering and allow them to be successful. Her previous work experience includes clinical roles at Yale New Haven Psychiatric and Spectrum Behavioral PC.

Clinical Expertise 

Macie excels at treating clients with behavioral challenges, substance abuse and addiction, and disordered eating, among other mental health issues. For her undergraduate degree, Macie studied psychology at Brigham Young University in Utah, before moving to the East Coast to pursue a master’s degree in psychology with a clinical concentration at the University of New Haven. She also holds a Post-Master’s Certificate in Child and Adolescent Disorders.

 

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Raymond Binkowski, CADC

Counselor

About

RJ joined the Newport Healthcare team in 2013 as a Care Coordinator and advanced to Lead Care Coordinator before becoming a Counselor in our teen program. He is a passionate counselor and ardent advocate for change and social justice in his community, with a particular focus on adolescents and the family system. RJ has mentored teens in several different capacities for more than eight years, most recently in the fields of addiction and trauma. His purpose is to be of service to those around him, and to empower others to do the same.

Clinical Expertise

Raymond is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Northeastern University/University of Connecticut. He also completed leadership training through Men’s Leadership Alliance, Boulder, Colorado. Prior to working at Newport, he was a milieu counselor at Arms Acres Hospital & Health Care in Carmel, New York.

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Michele Miller, CAC

Counselor

About

Michele has been with Newport Healthcare since 2014. She brings an authentic and in-depth understanding to her work, as a result of her personal history with recovery. “I know what it means to strive for something that seems insurmountable, and to overcome the fear attached to treatment,” she says. Michele believes in loving clients and families through the difficult times, and seeing them through their journey by giving them the tools necessary not just to survive, but to thrive.

Clinical Expertise

Michele is a certified addiction counselor and has a degree in human services. Her previous career in fashion merchandising helped her to hone her communication skills, as well as her ability to intuit and respond to clients’ needs.

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Kayla Gugliotti, LMSW

Counselor

About 

Kayla Gugliotti chose her profession to give others the opportunity to feel empowered and find peace not only within themselves, but also with world around them. She excels in working with patients struggling with trauma, depression, and anxiety. Kayla holds a degree in social work from Central Connecticut State University and is a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Clinical Expertise 

Kayla is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Motivational Interviewing, and has also participated in specialized trainings as a Child Protection Investigator (CPI) as part of her social work degree. Prior to coming on board at Newport, Kayla worked at Newington Human Services in Newington, Connecticut, where she provided crisis management to lower-income populations.

 

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Matthew Gomer, CADC-II

Counselor

About

In recovery himself for more than 16 years, Matthew has been working in the mental healthcare field for 11 of those years. He feels privileged to give back to young people the knowledge and self-understanding that he received on the recovery path, sharing with teens the importance of honesty, integrity, and what it means to be accountable for their actions. He is dedicated to serving the needs of residents and their family members, and helping them to understand and embrace the recovery process.

Clinical Expertise

Since joining the Newport Academy team in 2010, Matthew has filled many leadership roles—including Lead Care Coordinator, Residential Coordinator, and now Counselor—developing an in-depth knowledge of the organization’s infrastructure, and training many of his colleagues. Matthew is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, trained through Health Staff Training Institute.

 

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William Mackey, CADC, MBA, MAT

Counselor

About

Bill chose the field of teen treatment in order to help teens going through what he once experienced. A Certified Addictions Counselor, he works with adolescents struggling with addiction, as well as anxiety, depression, disordered eating, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and family issues. Before joining Newport Healthcare in 2018, Bill was a case manager for Turnbridge in New Haven, Connecticut. In that role, he was responsible for all client activities, family meetings and calls, transitions and discharge planning, and coordination with previous direct-care teams.

Clinical Expertise

Bill uses approaches drawn from trauma-informed treatment, including Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Attachment-Based Family Therapy. He is a Nationally Certified Peer Recovery Support Specailist (NCPRSS). Bill holds an MBA from Western Connecticut State University and a master’s in Secondary Education and Teaching from Sacred Heart University.

 

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Tamara Hammouri, MS, I-CADCII

Counselor

About 

Tamara Hammouri has more than 18 years of experience serving adults and children with special needs and/or mental health disorders. She specializes in crisis therapy, trauma-centered therapeutic approaches, addictive pattern changing, relapse prevention, and expressive arts modalities, including dance and creative movement therapy. Tamara is an internationally certified alcohol and drug counselor.

Clinical Expertise

Tamara was the founder and co-director of a charter school in Hawaii. In addition, she spent six years working with Care Hawaii as a crisis therapist, case manager, youth and adult counselor, and program director. She maintained a private practice for three years, and spent five years serving children with special needs at Paladin Academy near Miami, Florida. Tamara also worked with the Homeless Writers Coalition on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

 

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Michelle Ehrler, LMFT

Family Therapist

About 

Michelle Ehrler’s reason to work in the healthcare field is simple: She believes everyone deserves to receive unconditional love, even when they deem themselves unworthy. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Michelle was a Residential Instructor with the Devereux Advanced Behavior Health’s therapeutic boarding school, the Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut. She also served as Clinical Social Work Intern at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut.

Clinical Expertise

Michelle has participated in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training and excels at treating behavioral mental health issues. While completing her Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University, she was a master’s level intern clinician in the Bridges Extended Day Treatment Program. Michelle also holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State University.

 

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Whitney Balliett, LPC, LADC

Family Therapist

About 

Whitney has nearly 30 years of experience working with youth populations suffering from substance use disorder, process addictions, and other mental health conditions. During the course of his career, he has held positions as an addictions counselor, therapist, clinical educator, clinical supervisor, case manager, and drug and alcohol interventionist. Moreover, he has worked in numerous settings, including hospitals, acute assessment programs, day and outpatient addiction treatment programs, and residential and day schools. Before joining the Newport team, he held clinician roles at Mountainside treatment center in Canaan, Connecticut; Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in Nashville; and Academy at Swift River in Cummington, Massachusetts.

Clinical Expertise

Whitney holds certifications in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET), Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has also attended specialized trainings for Attachment-Based Family Therapy, Cultural Competence, and numerous other modalities. He holds a master’s degree in counseling from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kenyon College.

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Kateleen Foy, ATR-BC, CLAT

Art Therapist

About

Kateleen’s father was diagnosed with mental health issues when she was very young, and she grew up watching him paint and use other art materials when he was having symptoms. Witnessing him cope with his mental health in a safe and expressive way inspired her to pursue a career in art therapy. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Kateleen worked in the inpatient unit for Telecare Corporation as an art therapist. During her time in the Northern California facility, she ran group and community meetings, performed individual assessments, and organized gatherings for clients and their families.

Clinical Expertise 

Kateleen Foy excels at helping others express themselves when using words is difficult. She views art as a bridge to overcome trauma, and as a safe space for the healing process. Kateleen has attended and helps to organize expressive art therapy summits in New York City and Los Angeles on an annual basis. She earned her master’s in creative arts therapy from the Pratt Institute, and her approach is heavily influenced by art therapy pioneers Judith Rubin and Cathy Malchiodi.

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Jen Sayler, LMFT

Individual Therapist

About 

Jen Sayler understands that adolescence is a turbulent time even in the best of circumstances, and aims to provide warmth, compassion, and perspective to youth who are struggling. Before joining the Newport team in 2019, Jen was a therapist at Community Health Resources in Windsor, Connecticut, and a clinician at the Child and Family Agency in New London, Connecticut, providing individual and family therapy to clients ages 5 to 18. She holds a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from Central Connecticut State University, and completed her internship at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut.

Clinical Expertise

Jen has participated in a variety of trauma-focused trainings, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. During individual therapy sessions, she works with teens to untangle their underlying thoughts, feelings, and negative beliefs about themselves. Ultimately, Jen makes it her personal goal to help teens discover their true and best selves, and to help them navigate the ups and downs of life.

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Casey Simoncelli, LMSW

Milieu Therapist

About

Casey has always had a passion for social justice, advocacy, and the value of human connection. Before joining the Newport team in 2019, Casey was a social work intern at the Rebecca School and a Community Building and Engagement Intern for Neighborhood Housing Services of New Britain, Connecticut. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University and a BA in social work from Central Connecticut State University.

Clinical Expertise 

Casey Simoncelli has participated in multiple workshops and conferences for the DIR Floortime modality for children and teens on the autism spectrum. This training has given her a greater understanding of the benefits of interacting with clients on an individualized, relationship-based level. She is also trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

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Alyssa Duda, LCSW-C

Primary Therapist

About

Alyssa joined Newport Healthcare in 2019, bringing more than eight years of experience as a primary therapist. She loves working with young people and reconnecting families, so they can have more fulfilling relationships with one another. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Alyssa spent four years coordinating BU-GATA’s Buckingham Youth Brigade, supporting civic and leadership development of youth in Arlington, Virginia, and the surrounding area. Her primary role involved working with survivors of torture who had fled their home county and were seeking asylum in the United States through the Torture Abolition Survivor Support Coalition.

Clinical Expertise 

Alyssa Duda has extensive training in trauma-related issues and excels in treating mental health conditions stemming from childhood abuse and neglect. She has also worked with survivors of intimate partner and/or sexual violence, primarily with HopeWorks of Howard County, Maryland. Alyssa holds a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University of Maryland.

Tim Ringgold, MT-BC

Music Therapist

About

Since 1995, Tim has been using music as a means to enhance present-moment awareness as well as to inspire interpersonal connection; foster creative, non-verbal expression; and decrease anxiety and stress. Tim is a board-certified music therapist, the highest level of clinical training possible in this treatment modality. He regularly teaches and presents on music therapy across the country, speaking at national conferences, colleges and universities, and healthcare organizations.

Clinical Expertise

Tim holds a degree in music therapy from Chapman University and has served as President of the American Music Therapy Association. He has offered group music therapy sessions in numerous clinical settings for diverse populations including adolescents and adults recovering from substance abuse, older adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia, children and adults with developmental disabilities, cancer patients, and those grieving the loss of a loved one.

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Sarah Marggraff, MAAT, ATR, LPC

Art Therapist

About

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist who has been working for more than six years with adults and adolescents with mental health and substance use disorders. Sarah specializes in creating a safe, nonjudgmental environment in which clients can explore and transform their struggles through both traditional and creative therapies.

Clinical Expertise

Sarah received her Master’s degree in art therapy with highest honors, and was recognized by the American Art Therapy Association’s with their Gladys Agell National Award for Excellence in Research. While pursuing her graduate degree, she received the Student of the Year commendation for outstanding achievement in art therapy thesis research.

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Susan Berthiaume, MA LPC

Individual Therapist

About 

Susan Berthiaume specializes in working with young people with behavioral issues, anxiety, anger management and self-esteem issues, depression, family conflict, trauma, self-harm, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. She has worked extensively with LGBTQ youth.

Clinical Expertise

Before joining the Newport Healthcare team, Susan worked as an outpatient clinician at the Wheeler Clinic in Connecticut, providing assessment, drug testing, and diagnosis. At the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, Connecticut, she specialized in the treatment of individuals across the life span diagnosed with autism or intellectual disabilities. Susan is trained in Dialectical Behavior TherapyTrauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Attachment-Based Family Therapy, among other modalities. Moreover, she is certified in Reiki and yoga for youth.

 

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Rebecca Vattuone, MS, LPC

Individual & Family Therapist

About 

Rebecca brings to Newport Healthcare more than 12 years of clinical experience in the mental healthcare field, working in a variety of treatment settings, including emergency mobile psychiatric services for children and adolescents, adolescent group homes, outpatient clinics, and in-home intensive family therapy. A Connecticut native, she served as State Clinical Director and Clinical Program Director for the MENTOR Network and as Clinical Supervisor for Multidimensional Family Therapy at the Wheeler Clinic.

Clinical Expertise

Rebecca is a graduate of Pratt Institute and Central Connecticut State University, where she earned her master’s degree in Professional Counseling, completing her thesis on the use of art therapy in a residential setting. Rebecca’s primary focus has been in forensics and helping young adults transition into adult services. She believes in a personal, hands-on approach with each client and family. Her special skills include fluency in Spanish.

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Atim Bassey, LMSW

Individual and Family Therapist

About

Atim’s favorite part of the recovery process is watching the tremendous positive change that takes place when a family begins to work together to change their future for the better. Her previous positions have included Functional Family Therapist at the Center for Children in Annapolis, Maryland, and Clinical Social Work Intern for Innovative Therapeutic Services and Synergy Family Services, both in Laurel, Maryland.

Clinical Expertise 

Atim Bassey has participated in specialized trainings in functional family therapy sessions and Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT), which she uses to heal ruptures that have prevented a family from connecting in the past. She holds a degree in psychology from Old Dominion University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland, with a clinical concentration on children and families. Atim has volunteered for more than a decade as a crisis counselor for the DC Rape Crisis Center.

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Laura Ostrove, LMFT

Therapist

About

Laura Ostrove has been working in the mental health field for more than 15 years, specializing in treating trauma, depression, anxiety, and dual diagnosis issues. She has experience in a wide range of settings, including recovery centers, private practice, elementary through high schools, and county probation programs for child abuse, anger management, and domestic violence offenders. Laura enjoys working with people to explore the best solutions to their emotional challenges. “It is always a discovery and a collaborative effort to empower individuals and families as they face the challenges of life and begin to construct a new, healthier way to experience the world,” she says.

Clinical Expertise

Laura is trained in EMDR, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Attachment-Based Family Therapy. She is particularly influenced by Murray Bowen’s family systems theory, which looks at individuals’ roles and coping mechanisms in the context of family dynamics and interaction. Laura has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Northridge.

 

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Nicolas Silva Jr., LMFT

Individual Therapist

About 

Nicolas has expertise in treating anxiety and depression and helping clients improve their relationships and social skills. While completing his master’s degree, Nicolas participated in the PRYDE program, a collaboration between Pepperdine University and the Orange County Sheriff Department, to provide psychotherapy services for first-time offenders as an alternative to incarceration. Prior to working at Newport Healthcare, Nicolas spent two years as an individual therapist for children with autism.

Clinical Expertise

Nicolas has been trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Therapy. He is certified in Equine Therapy through Eagala, the global leader for equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development.

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Amy Arruda, LCSW

Individual Therapist

About 

Amy specializes in treating trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and substance abuse. She originally chose to pursue a career in healthcare following her father’s suicide. She felt compelled to raise suicide prevention awareness and help individuals and family members who have been affected by mental health issues.

Clinical Expertise 

Amy has participated in trainings in Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She also has expertise in working with the LGBTQ community. Prior to joining Newport Healthcare, Amy worked as an MDFT Therapist at Connecticut Junior Republic, providing residential, education, community, and home-based services throughout the state, and as a Therapeutic Foster Care Clinician at the Boys & Girls Village, serving at-risk children in Connecticut.

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Amber Perez, LCSW

Family Therapist

About

Amber excels at working with adolescents and families to improve relationships and communication skills. Her own childhood struggles with social anxiety, ADHD, and depression were the motivation for her career path. Amber believes that family relationships play a pivotal role in a teen’s self-confidence, and she is passionate about helping adolescents gain the tools to build supportive, authentic connections throughout their life.

Clinical Expertise 

Amber Perez is certified in Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), as a therapist and a supervisor. She is also trained in Attachment-Based Family Therapy (advanced level), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, the Normative Approach, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. While completing her Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University, Amber specialized in working with children and families. Her past roles include clinical supervisor and case manager for the North American Family Institute (NAFI)’s MDFT Program.

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Christopher France, MFT

Milieu Therapist

About 

Christopher chose to pursue a career in mental healthcare as an outgrowth of his interest in the correlation between family dynamics and mental health and substance abuse challenges. He finds it exceptionally rewarding to help families restore common ground so they can function at their highest potential. Prior to joining the Newport Healthcare team, Christopher worked as a CAPS (Clinician Administered PTSD Scale) Clinician at Wellmore Behavioral Health, where he was responsible for providing in-home therapy to high-risk adolescent and child clients in the community.

 Clinical Expertise

Christopher France has participated in trainings for EMDR Level 1 and with the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB), and is a certified CATSO therapist. He excels in treating substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Christopher holds a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Southern Connecticut State University.

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Danielle Croteau, MS, LPC

Individual Therapist

About 

Danielle Croteau specializes in treating depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Her approach focuses on helping clients build a solid foundation of self-esteem and self-empowerment, as a basis for healing mental health and behavioral challenges. Danielle holds a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Western Connecticut State University, Danbury.

Clinical Expertise 

Danielle has been working in the mental health field since 2010 and excels at connecting with teenagers. Nothing is more rewarding to her than knowing that she has made a difference in someone’s life. “When I observe the light bulb moment when an individual is ready to commit to change, that is what fuels me,” Danielle says. “Each and every individual that I am lucky enough to work with inspires me to improve my skills in this field.”

Program Staff

harriet-sims

Harriet Sims, LPN

Nurse

About

Harriet Sims loves helping people and making a difference in their life. Her 15-plus years in healthcare in Connecticut have included working as a nurse at Western Rehabilitation and Middlebury Convalescent, and as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Masonicare Newton and The Hearth. Harriet has had CPR and CPI training for nurses. She excels in helping adolescent patients talk about difficult situations and challenges.

 

britney-natale

Britney Natale, RN

Licensed Practical Nurse

About

Britney chose a career in nursing because she has always been fascinated by how the human body works, and she chose the behavioral healthcare field because of the struggles with mental health and substance abuse that she experienced within her own family. Britney has a mental health first aid certification and has participated in instructor training from the Department for Children and Families (DCF). She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Capella University. Before joining the Newport team, she worked in a direct care and advocate capacity for individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral issues.

jetona-kulla

Jetona Kulla, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

About

Jetona Kulla was inspired to pursue a career in nursing by witnessing her father’s strength and resilience in battling heart disease for decades. Her specialization in mental health nursing was motivated by loved ones who struggled with PTSD and major depression. Before joining the Newport team, Jetona was a Charge Nurse at Beacon Brook Health Center in Naugatuck, Connecticut, where her role included approving medication and offering emotional support to clients. She also worked at the Western Connecticut Medical Group in Danbury, assisting with a wide range of clinical treatments.

 

 

vanessa-ornelas

Vanessa Ornelas, LVN

Licensed Vocational Nurse

About 

Vanessa Ornelas is a Licensed Vocational Nurse specializing in pediatrics. Prior to joining the Newport Healthcare team, she worked at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (California) and Southern Orange County Pediatric Associates. Caring for people, and especially children, is Vanessa’s passion, and her biggest influences in her work are her two sons. At Newport Healthcare, she works closely with medical, clinical, experiential, and academic staff as a vital part of our integrated approach to care, and collaborates with other professionals in each of these areas to create tailored treatment plans for each client.

 

 

alexis-locicero

Alexis LoCicero, RN

Registered Nurse

About

Alexis chose to become a nurse because she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and help support positive change. Before joining Newport Healthcare, Alexis worked at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut. As part of our integrated team of medical and clinical experts, Alexis collaborates with MDs, psychologists, therapists, and counselors to customize treatment plans for each teen according to their specific physical and psychological needs and history.

amanda-summa

Amanda Summa, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

About

Amanda’s dedication to helping others inspired her to pursue a career in nursing. With more than 10 years of experience, she has participated in specialized trainings in CPR and CPI and holds a phlebotomy certification. Amanda received her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree from Lincoln Technical Institute. At Newport Healthcare, she works closely with medical, clinical, experiential, and academic staff as a vital part of our integrated approach to care, and collaborates with other professionals in each of these areas to create tailored treatment plans for each client.

 

victoria-menz

Victoria Menz, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

About 

Victoria became a nurse because of her passion for helping others, and names her first nursing supervisor as her biggest influence. At Newport Healthcare, she works closely with medical, clinical, experiential, and academic staff, as a vital part of our integrated approach to care, and collaborates with other professionals in each of these areas to create tailored treatment plans for each client.

 

priya-jain

Priya Jain

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

About

Priya is the founder and CEO of Seventh Chakra Yoga, Orange County’s premier Kundalini Yoga and meditation studio, and a trainer in the Seventh Chakra Yoga Teacher Training programs. She is also a motivational speaker, workshop leader, and creator of the Inner Awakening Program. Born and raised in India, Priya was exposed to a wide range of cultures, religions, philosophies, and yogic practices. Her firm foundation in the wisdom traditions of the East, coupled with her application of the science and practicality of the West, gives her a unique perspective that allows her to seamlessly bridge heart and mind in her teaching. Priya has witnessed firsthand the potency of Kundalini Yoga and meditation as a life-transforming technology for those dealing with substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

ken-miki

Ken Miki, LMSW

Experiential Supervisor

About

Ken is responsible for the implementation and programming of adventure-based experiential therapeutic activities for Newport Healthcare residents and outpatient clients—including hiking, fishing, rock climbing, wilderness excursions, and a variety of outdoor-oriented games and sports. A mixed martial arts instructor, Ken teaches an eclectic variety of technical movements and exercises informed by his martial arts background and his in-depth investigation of functional forms of anaerobic and aerobic training.

Clinical Expertise 

Prior to joining Newport Healthcare in 2014, Ken was a senior wilderness field instructor/mentor and integrated therapeutic assistant at Second Nature Blue Ridge in Clayton, Georgia, carrying out assessment and restructuring of staff management and training systems and practices. After earning his BA at Brown University, Ken received his Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut.

pete-gaffey

Pete Gaffey

Adventure Coordinator and Assistant Martial Arts Instructor

About 

Pete combines a background in mental healthcare with extensive practice and training in experiential therapy activities. He has studied martial arts for more than 12 years, in disciplines including jujitsu, mixed martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, American-style boxing, and Muay Thai, a combat sport from Thailand. Before joining the Newport Healthcare team in 2015, Pete worked as a therapeutic recreations supervisor at the Children’s Center of Hamden in Hamden, Connecticut. His prior roles at several Connecticut-based organizations include mental health worker at the Boys and Girls Village Inc., in Milford; therapist at the Institute of Professional Practice in Meriden; and therapeutic mentor at Community Residences, Inc.