Promises Staff

Our highly experienced treatment teams are made up of caring, credentialed addiction and mental health specialists. We work closely with you and your family to develop an individualized treatment plan specially designed for your needs. Some of us have been where you are now. We know how fulfilling recovery and be, and we want to help you achieve it.

  • All
  • Alumni
  • Austin
  • Malibu
  • Malibu Vista
  • New Jersey
  • Santa Monica
  • Scottsdale
  • West Los Angeles
  • David Sack
    David Sack
    Chief Medical Officer
  • Tiffany Dzioba, PsyD, LMFT
    Tiffany Dzioba, PsyD, LMFT
    Program Director
  • Linka Griswold, PsyD, LMFT
    Linka Griswold, PsyD, LMFT
    Program Therapist
  • Greg Skipper, MD
    Greg Skipper, MD
    Director of Professional Health Services
  • SallyAnn Cross, MSW, LCSW
    SallyAnn Cross, MSW, LCSW
    Executive Director of Professionals Treatment Program
  • Robert S. Martin, MD
    Robert S. Martin, MD
    Addiction Psychiatrist
  • Mark Hrymoc, MD
    Mark Hrymoc, MD
    Consulting Psychiatrist
  • Carine Camara
    Carine Camara
    Licensed Acupuncturist
  • Richard Rogg
    Richard Rogg
    Founder
  • Patricia Meyers, CCDC
    Patricia Meyers, CCDC
    Executive Director, Alumni & Client Services
  • Michele Jackson
    Michele Jackson
    Director of Alumni Services
  • Derek Lewis
    Derek Lewis
    Office Manager, Malibu
  • Thomas Wood, Ph.D., M.Ed
    Thomas Wood, Ph.D., M.Ed
    Clinical Director, Promises Malibu
  • Mary Ann Rege, LMFT
    Mary Ann Rege, LMFT
    Primary Therapist, Professionals Treatment at Promises
  • Jim Hjort, LCSW
    Jim Hjort, LCSW
    Primary Therapist, Professionals Treatment at Promises
  • Jeremy Stalbird
    Jeremy Stalbird
    Manager - West Los Angeles
  • Martha Garcia
    Martha Garcia
    Evaluation Coordinator
  • Marc Gallagher
    Marc Gallagher
    Admissions Coordinator
  • Sarah Straub, RN-BC, CCDC, BA
    Sarah Straub, RN-BC, CCDC, BA
    Head Detox Specialist
  • Sherry Harris
    Sherry Harris
    Massage Therapist
  • Suzi Kimball
    Suzi Kimball
    Trauma Therapist, Malibu & Malibu Vista
  • Alexis Maron, MA, RDT
    Alexis Maron, MA, RDT
    Psychodrama Therapist
  • Dale Nieli
    Dale Nieli
    Yoga
  • Robert Saltzman, MD
    Robert Saltzman, MD
    Independent Detox Specialist
  • Vivian Dungan, RN, CARN, CCDC
    Vivian Dungan, RN, CARN, CCDC
    Head Detox Specialist
  • William Huang
    William Huang
    Psychiatrist
  • Jack Kuo, MD
    Jack Kuo, MD
    Psychiatrist
  • Jana Albright, MA, CATC-IV
    Jana Albright, MA, CATC-IV
    Primary Therapist, Malibu
  • Kenneth England
    Kenneth England
    Primary Therapist
  • Bettina Ottenstein, LMFT
    Bettina Ottenstein, LMFT
    Primary Therapist
  • Rachael Bryant
    Rachael Bryant
    Regional Director of Human Resources
  • Jason Powers, MD
    Jason Powers, MD
    Chief Medical Officer
  • Rachel Garner
    Rachel Garner
    Executive Director
  • Joy Tomassetti, RMA
    Joy Tomassetti, RMA
    Medical Assistant
  • Jenn Pullaro, LCSW, LCADC
    Jenn Pullaro, LCSW, LCADC
    Primary Therapist and Group Therapist
  • Steven Karp, DO, FACN
    Steven Karp, DO, FACN
    Medical Director
  • Dr. Thomas Gazda, M.D.
    Dr. Thomas Gazda, M.D.
    Psychiatrist
  • Karen Williams, MS, LAC
    Karen Williams, MS, LAC
    Intensive Outpatient Program Clinical Manager
  • Shannon McQuaid, LMFT, LISAC, CDWF, CSAT-C
    Shannon McQuaid, LMFT, LISAC, CDWF, CSAT-C
    Executive Director/Clinical Director
  • Dee Romero, MC, LAC
    Dee Romero, MC, LAC
    Associate Therapist
  • Elizabeth Langreck, MS, RDN
    Elizabeth Langreck, MS, RDN
    Director of Nutrition
  • Carolyn Steppe, LSW, CCDP, CETII
    Carolyn Steppe, LSW, CCDP, CETII
    Primary Therapist
  • Kimberly Guenther, RD, CEDRD
    Kimberly Guenther, RD, CEDRD
    Professional Nutrition Counseling Specializing in Eating Disorders
  • Carol Farmer, LAC, LASAC
    Carol Farmer, LAC, LASAC
    Primary Therapist
  • Suzanne Matzura, RN
    Suzanne Matzura, RN
    Detox Specialist
  • Olga Yahontova, MD
    Olga Yahontova, MD
    Psychiatrist
  • Mary Pivarunis, LMFT, SEP
    Mary Pivarunis, LMFT, SEP
    Trauma Therapist and Group Therapist
  • Michael O’Brien
    Michael O’Brien
    Operations Manager
  • Tiffany Jenkins, MS LCADC
    Tiffany Jenkins, MS LCADC
    Executive Director
  • Jean Calderone, BA, CADC
    Jean Calderone, BA, CADC
    Primary Therapist
  • Elizabeth Gundle-Worthington, APN
    Elizabeth Gundle-Worthington, APN
    APN
  • Ben Sutton
    Ben Sutton
    Utilization and Review
  • Christina Smith
    Christina Smith
    Outreach Manager
  • James Burnside
    James Burnside
    Group Therapist / CADC Intern

Contact Promises Today for a Confidential Assessment.
Call 844-876-5568 or fill out the form below.

David Sack
Chief Medical Officer

David Sack, MD, currently serves as CMO at Promises Treatment Centers. Prior to joining Promises, Dr. Sack enjoyed successful careers in clinical, research and administrative psychiatry. After receiving his medical degree from Rush Medical College, he completed his residency in Psychiatry at the UCLA-Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Sack served as a senior clinical scientist at NIMH, where his research interests included affective disorders, seasonal and circadian rhythms and neuroendocrinology. More recently, Dr. Sack served as Senior Vice President for Clinical Research for Comprehensive Neurosciences, where his research included investigations in schizophrenia, depression, insomnia, cognitive disorders and alcohol dependency.

Dr. Sack is board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine, and is a certified Medical Review Officer. His experience in substance abuse treatment includes implementing comprehensive ambulatory detoxification within general medical settings, substance abuse treatment of adjudicated youth and adults, and developing specialized residential and outpatient treatment programs of dually-diagnosed clients in both rural and urban settings.

You can follow Dr. Sack on Twitter @drdavidsack or read his regular blogs on Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and PsychCentral.com

Tiffany Dzioba, PsyD, LMFT
Program Director

Dr. Dzioba holds a doctorate in psychology and is licensed as a marriage and family therapist.  She specializes in treating complex and developmental trauma, severe mental illness, and addiction. With over a decade of experience, Dr. Dzioba has opened, developed and grown residential treatment programs for mental health and addiction. Her previous roles have included direct client care, clinical supervision, training of interns and paraprofessionals, and program management. She also created a spiritually integrated model of supervision that teaches therapists how to effectively assess for spiritual issues and integrate spiritual interventions in treatment. Dr. Dzioba is passionate about creating safe treatment environments that are trauma-informed and support healing.

Linka Griswold, PsyD, LMFT
Program Therapist

Dr. Griswold holds a doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in forensics. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California and has over 13 years of clinical experience. In addition to her clinical work, she is a professor of psychology at several reputable colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area. Her clinical repertoire includes brief and long-term therapy, family therapy and family systems approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma focused CBT, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), substance abuse recovery and relapse prevention, psychoanalytic, and solution focused modalities.

Dr. Griswold received her state certification working with survivors of trauma from UCLA Medical Hospital in Santa Monica.  She focuses on strengths and encourages mental, emotional and spiritual growth by providing empathy, warmth and a safe therapeutic environment. Treatment is focused not only on symptom reduction, but full recovery. She uses evidence-based treatment, pulling from the most contemporary and scientifically founded interventions within clinical psychology.

Greg Skipper, MD
Director of Professional Health Services

Dr. Skipper is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a certified medical review officer. He previously served as medical director for the Alabama Physician Health Program and was on the council that created and oversaw the Oregon Health Professionals Program. Dr. Skipper was the primary innovator of ethylglucuronide (EtG) testing and is an expert in alcohol biomarkers and other drug testing. He was a principle investigator of the National Physician Health Program Blueprint Study, funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, and is the author of many articles regarding drug testing, physician health and contingency monitoring. Dr. Skipper was formerly medical director of Springbrook Hazelden and he was a chief advisor to the development of the professionals program at Betty Ford Center and Bradford Health Services.

SallyAnn Cross, MSW, LCSW
Executive Director of Professionals Treatment Program

SallyAnn is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in addiction medicine and behavioral health. She earned a master’s degree in multicultural counseling and has worked in both the public and private sectors as an administrator, practitioner and clinical director. SallyAnn’s areas of expertise include relapse prevention, cognitive behavioral therapy and schema-focused therapy.

Robert S. Martin, MD
Addiction Psychiatrist

Dr. Martin has over 17 years of experience treating people with mental health issues and addictions.  Previous positions include medical director of Addiction Medicine Service at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and staff psychiatrist at West L.A. Veterans Hospital. In addition to his work with Promises, Dr. Martin is attending staff at St. John’s Hospital, a clinical professor at University of Southern California and maintains a private practice. He earned a master’s degree in pharmacology from Tulane University and a medical degree from Indiana University.

Dr. Martin completed his residency at the University of Southern California where he was chief resident. He was awarded distinguished fellow by the American Psychiatric Association in 2003 and holds membership in several professional organizations including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association and the Southern California Psychiatric Society. Dr. Martin is a qualified medical examiner in the state of California and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with added qualifications in forensic psychology and addiction psychiatry.

Mark Hrymoc, MD
Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Hrymoc has been a consulting psychiatrist to Promises Treatment Centers since 2008. He is an expert in the psychopharmacology of addiction and other mental health disorders. Dr. Hrymoc is board-certified in general psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine and holds an appointment as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA. He obtained his subspecialist training in addiction psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he currently practices and teaches.

Dr. Hrymoc completed his psychiatric residency training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and also trained at UCLA Medical Center and the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital. He obtained a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hrymoc has worked in a variety of treatment settings, from non-profit community mental health clinics to federally sponsored multi-site medication development studies.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Hrymoc is active in the local addiction treatment community. In September 2008, he founded Perspectives on Addiction, an interdisciplinary educational group for addiction professionals in Los Angeles. Dr. Hrymoc has served as the representative of the states of California, Alaska and Hawaii to the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and is a member of the education committee of the California Society of Addiction Medicine. He co-authored a chapter in the most recent edition of “Principles of Addiction Medicine,” the main textbook of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and has been published in several academic journals.

Carine Camara
Licensed Acupuncturist

Carine is a licensed acupuncturist and holistic health coach with a private practice in Mar Vista, California. She graduated from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. Carine is passionate about easing people’s suffering through the energetic wisdom of acupuncture, nutrition, essential oils and mindset.

Richard Rogg
Founder

“When I founded Promises, 20 years ago, my vision was to provide the best treatment and environment for healing from alcoholism and other addictions. I am happy to say this has become a reality. As we continue to help those of you who come to us to create a new life, my gratitude deepens.”

Patricia Meyers, CCDC
Executive Director, Alumni & Client Services

Patricia has worked in the field of addiction for 19 years. Since joining Promises in 1997, she has served in many roles, including resident technician, resident technician supervisor, admissions coordinator, admissions director for almost nine years, and her current role as executive director of alumni and client services. She also spent five years working as an independent recovery coach and interventionist and does ongoing crisis intervention work in our alumni program.

Patricia is a certified chemical dependency counselor (CCDC) and is trained in family crisis intervention, relapse prevention and the reintegration process of clients returning to their communities. At the 2015 SHARE! Recovery awards, she received the Ken Schonlau Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Sobriety.” Patricia also serves on the board of the Promises Foundation serving Miriam’s House, a recovery home that helps low-income women reunite with their children. Patricia’s experience allows her to bring her own unique brand of passion, enthusiasm and warmth to clients and their families.

Interview with Patricia Meyers

Michele Jackson
Director of Alumni Services

Michele Jackson started working at Promises in November 2007 she has held many positions including Residential Technician in Malibu, Evening Office Manager, Daytime Office Manager, and Financial Office Manager. She was then promoted to her current position, Director of Alumni Services.

“I enjoyed my job as a tech as it allowed for me to be available for the clients. I am very excited about the opportunity to continue to work with them as they transition into their new lives. It is vital that they know we here at Promises are dedicated to helping them feel connected”, says Michele. “I am so honored to be a part of this team.”

Derek Lewis
Office Manager, Malibu

Coming soon.

Thomas Wood, Ph.D., M.Ed
Clinical Director, Promises Malibu

Dr. Wood comes to the Promises family by way of Texas where he was in private practice and also worked as the clinical manager of the Texas Health Dallas Behavioral Health, Chemical Dependency, and Women’s Intensive Outpatient Programs. He was also an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Texas Graduate Rehabilitation Counseling Program.

Dr. Wood has worked in the field of addiction and mental health for over 20 years, providing psychotherapeutic services and education to groups, individuals, couples and families. He is an experienced EMDR practitioner and a designated Master Trainer for the Say It Straight™ program, a research-based education and training program that results in empowering communication skills and behaviors. He has made numerous media appearances in local and syndicated radio and television, and is the past host of a weekly Internet-based radio show featuring recovery and mental health topics. Dr. Wood holds a master’s degree as well as a doctorate degree in sociology.

Mary Ann Rege, LMFT
Primary Therapist, Professionals Treatment at Promises

Mary Ann is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in LGBTQ issues and treatment. She takes a whole-person approach to client care through mindfulness-oriented and affirmative psychotherapies. Mary Ann is a trained HealthRHYTHMS® and SoulCollage® facilitator who uses empowerment drumming and Jungian-based art modalities to expand clients’ well-being. She has completed the Teacher Foundational Training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) through the University of California, San Diego and is currently completing the Mindfulness Facilitator Training at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. Mary Ann passionately teaches those struggling with substance use disorders how to take a pause, step out of habituated behavior and make skillful choices. She blends classical teachings drawn from her training in Kyoto, Japan with secular mindfulness and compassion practices. Her greatest desire is to help others achieve inner peace and harmony so that their “boat stays afloat no matter the size of the wave.”

Jim Hjort, LCSW
Primary Therapist, Professionals Treatment at Promises

Jim has extensive experience helping people with addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. He is a licensed clinical social worker and certified as a mindfulness facilitator through the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Jim has advanced training in sensorimotor psychotherapy for trauma, Gestalt therapy and clinical hypnosis. He specializes in working with professionals with a history of high performance who, despite having achieved the traditional markers of success, feel pervasively dissatisfied and sometimes become entangled in an addictive process. Jim founded the Right Life Project and conducts a weekly Right Life Project group at PTP. The group draws upon the latest research in psychology, neurobiology, and other life and social sciences to help people stop feeling empty and start achieving what they want most: new levels of fulfillment, happiness, ease and performance.

Jeremy Stalbird
Manager - West Los Angeles

Coming soon.

Martha Garcia
Evaluation Coordinator

Coming Soon

Marc Gallagher
Admissions Coordinator

Coming soon.

Sarah Straub, RN-BC, CCDC, BA
Head Detox Specialist

Sarah Straub has worked in the field of adolescent and adult addiction treatment since 1988, and is an ANCC board certified specialist in Psychiatry and Mental Health. She coordinates detox treatments and other health issues for clients at Promises.

“The structure of the Promises program allows me to work closely, and at length, with each individual. My goal is to educate and assist each client in achieving optimum health and sobriety. One of my greatest satisfactions is seeing the transformation that takes place physically, psychologically, and spiritually in our clients.”

Sherry Harris
Massage Therapist

Sherry Harris started practicing massage therapy in 1998. She holds certificates in massage from the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing in Culver City, CA, Santa Monica School of Massage, and Shiatsu Massage School of California.

During her years of schooling and as part of her own motivation to be of service in recovery, Sherry took part in The HeartTouch Project organization training, where she learned “compassionate touch” for AIDS patients, nursing home elders and hospice patients. “It is a blessing for me to have a skill that helps people feel better, a bright spot in their day.”

Sherry has been part of the ancillary staff of Promises Malibu since January 2002. Richard Rogg, the founder of Promises, brought Sherry on board to start a practice of massage therapy that focuses on detoxification and rejuvenation.

“I was taught, when someone comes to me, they’re not just a body to be massaged. They have a history and the history is stored in their body. So treat them with compassion, understanding and respect.”

Suzi Kimball
Trauma Therapist, Malibu & Malibu Vista

Suzi Kimbell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who earned her Masters’ degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and went on to postgraduate study at the Pacific Gestalt Institute. Suzi specializes in providing effective trauma resolution from a holistic, mind- body perspective. Her work is informed through extensive training and experience in research based treatments, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Resiliency, Somatic Experiencing and Mindfulness based stress reduction.

Suzi completed her internship at the Southern California Counseling Center where she specialized in treating underserved individuals and their families, with acute and chronic trauma histories. She went on to work in various middle and elementary schools providing psychotherapy, art therapy and teaching mindfulness skills to adolescents and their families, before opening her private practice. Suzi remains dedicated to providing a safe, compassionate and respectful environment from which her patients can regain a sense of embodied confidence in order to achieve their unique goals.

Suzi maintains a private practice in Pacific Palisades serving individuals, couples and children using an integrative relational approach with body-oriented psychotherapy, mindfulness skills, emotionally focused couples therapy and EMDR. Suzi enjoys hiking with her family, painting and meditation practice in her leisure time.

Alexis Maron, MA, RDT
Psychodrama Therapist

With her love of performance art firmly in place when she began acting at age five, Alexis has since harnessed that passion to create an exciting and unique therapeutic practice using Drama Therapy.

Alexis graduated from UCLA in 2003 and from NYU in 2010, where she earned her M.A. in Drama Therapy. While in New York, she worked with at-risk high school students, the homeless and mentally disordered, and adults battling drug addiction.

Since returning to California, she has pioneered a Drama Therapy program at Orange County School of the Arts, facilitated a Drama Therapy group for adults with Down Syndrome, and conducted groups at several facilities including Promises Treatment Center and Simple Recovery, where she has been using Psychodrama as well as other Drama Therapy techniques to aid adults suffering from both drug and sex/love addictions.

In 2013 she began offering private and semi-private independent group sessions, and has begun work on her first book entitled “It’s Time To Get Off The Couch” about the changing face of therapy, due out in the spring of 2015.

Recently, she earned her Registered Drama Therapist Certification from the National Association of Drama Therapy, which defines her as a professional who has: “expertise in dramatic, theatrical, and performance media; understanding of psychotherapeutic processes with different populations in a variety of settings; experience with the integration of the artistic and psychological aspects of drama therapy; and professional work experience in the field of drama therapy, mental health and special education.”

Dale Nieli
Yoga

Dale is the owner of ZENBODIES, a yoga, meditation and fitness business in Santa Monica, California. She holds both a BSW and MSW from New York University.

Dale began Martial Arts in her childhood, and at the age of 17 got hooked on yoga after spending a summer studying Kundalini Yoga.

Throughout the years, she has extensively studied various yoga styles, with such prominent teachers as Ana Forrest, John Friend, Max Strom, Shiva Rea, Laura Faye.

Dale’s classes include breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Over the past 10 years, she has specialized in teaching Yoga for Recovery, which gives the students practical tools to use for the ongoing recovery process. She teaches privately, and holds workshops around the country.

Robert Saltzman, MD
Independent Detox Specialist

Robert L. Saltzman, MD, graduated from New York Medical College with a medical degree in 1971. He obtained his licensure in California and has had a private practice specializing in internal medicine/nephrology since 1976. He is affiliated with St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, and Daniel Freeman Marina Mercy in Marina Del Rey. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Nephrology.

“I believe that Promises provides a positive surrounding for help and healing. My hopes are to foster help and healing for every single patient at Promises. The changes seen in people are often quite dramatic.”

Vivian Dungan, RN, CARN, CCDC
Head Detox Specialist

Vivian Dugan has over 19 years of Chemical Dependency experience in both hospital and residential treatment programs. She facilitates all client detox procedures and helps begins their transition into sobriety.

“I am excited to be a part of Promises as I continue to help support others emotionally, physically and spiritually through their journey of recovery.”

William Huang
Psychiatrist

Dr. William Huang completed his adult psychiatry residency and served as Chief Resident of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He stayed on and finished his fellowship training in the subspecialty of addiction psychiatry. He is board-certified in both general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.

Dr. Huang became very involved in the field of addiction during residency in the treatment of severe withdrawal cases. He also providing trainings of alcohol withdrawal awareness and treatment protocol to medical students, interns, residents, and nursing staff. As a fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he helped set up the Addiction Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic and provided psychiatric evaluation and treatment for Dual Diagnosis Intensive Outpatient Program and Inpatient consultations. He also worked with Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers and Hollywood Mental Health County Clinic in providing evidence-based treatment for minority and underserved patient populations.

Dr. Huang was awarded the American Psychiatric Association/SAMHSA Substance Abuse Minority Fellowship for his special interest in working with minority groups with co-occurring disorders. He has also been the recipient of scholarships from the American Psychiatric Association/Lily Chief Resident Executive Leadership Program, Ruth Fox from American Society of Addiction medicine. He also participated in several of the California Society of Addiction Medicine’s legislative days in Sacramento to lobby for parity in addiction treatment.

Dr. Huang is an active speaker for workshops, CMEs, and special lectures at international conferences and meetings with topics of biological perspectives on co-occurring disorders, state of substance use disorder training, suicide prevention, online Internet games, virtual reality and cybertherapy, videogame addiction, and integrating co-occurring disorder treatment in California prisons.

Jack Kuo, MD
Psychiatrist

Dr. Jack Kuo completed his addiction psychiatry training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He began working in the field of chemical dependency as a volunteer outreach worker for homeless teens in Waikiki. Dr. Kuo then did residential counseling for at-risk youth in a group home as well as homeless, mentally ill individuals at a transitional living program. Next he worked as a community health outreach worker doing HIV prevention education and needle exchange programs with intravenous drug users.

As an educator, Dr. Kuo has taught a course titled “Biological Perspectives on Co-occurring Disorders” for the UCLA Extension Program. He has also presented nationally and internationally on topics ranging from ethnic biodiversity in substance abuse and mental illness to an evidence-based review of virtual reality and other forms of cybertherapy in substance abuse and mental illness. Since 2004, he has also presented extensively about videogame addiction and has appeared on the G4 Videogame Network and The Greg Behrendt Show as an expert consultant on videogame addiction.

Dr. Kuo has published an article on club drug precautions for pediatricians and been awarded scholarships by many organizations, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Association of Addiction Psychiatry, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the American Psychiatric Association, and the California Society of Addiction Medicine. He has been on the CSAM Education Committee since 2007 and was the Director of the ASAM Exam Preparation Track for CSAM in 2008.

Jana Albright, MA, CATC-IV
Primary Therapist, Malibu

Jana is an alumna of Promises from 2008. Upon leaving treatment, it became abundantly clear to her that she wanted to stay connected to Promises and work in the field of addiction, rather than return to her former career as an attorney. She became a certified addiction treatment counselor and began her career at Promises in 2011 as a rehabilitation technician. Jana took a hiatus to return to school for her master’s degree in Psychology, and then returned to Promises in the role of case manager. Currently, Jana is both a primary and family therapist at Promises Malibu.

Jana uses a client-centered therapy approach, emphasizing unconditional positive regard for the client, empathy and non-judgement. She works collaboratively with clients and their families, and employs Motivational Interviewing as the vehicle for discussion and discovery during therapy sessions. Additionally, Jana works with her clients to set up a strong aftercare program to ensure they receive the continuing care and support they need. Jana is committed to helping give clients the best possible outcome for success in recovery.

Kenneth England
Primary Therapist

Kenneth England received his Master’s degree in counseling from Cal State Northridge in 2006, and he is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Kenneth began his career as a therapist at the Airport Marina Counseling Service, a facility serving the Los Angeles area with sliding scale counseling. He entered the substance abuse field in 2006 when he joined Cri-Help, Inc., where he worked with Dual Diagnosis patients. It was at Cri-Help where Kenneth worked extensively with families of patients, whom he sees as an underserved population of the substance abuse field. Kenneth has training and experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Brief Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Ropes/Experiential Therapy and Family Therapy—including Imago Therapy for couples. He also brings to Promises his personal interest and studies in the fields of Mindfulness and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), along with his own recovery experience of twenty-three years. Kenneth worked in the film business in Los Angeles for seven years prior to changing his career journey to help others with their struggles. He finds that it is very important for patients to receive quality service, empathy and guidance in their living, changing decisions for recovery.

Bettina Ottenstein, LMFT
Primary Therapist

Bettina Ottenstein is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated from Phillips Graduate Institute with a Master in Psychology and Art Therapy. Bettina has been working as a Marriage & Family Therapist for over 11 years and is a certified Grief Counselor. Bettina has worked in a variety of settings, including Hospital Inpatient, PHP and IOP outpatient programs, County contracted community care as well as in private practice. Before joining Promises, Bettina was the Clinical Director of a County contracted group home for adolescent girls. Although Bettina has worked with diverse populations, a common denominator has been how drug, alcohol abuse and other addictive behaviors, affect not only the addict, but the entire family system. In addition, a majority of the clients Bettina have worked with have a Dual Diagnosis, meaning they are suffering from addiction as well as i.e. PTSD, Bi-Polar Disorder or Depression. Bettina maintains a private practice in Pasadena and Valley Village specializing in Dual Diagnosis, Addiction, PTSD, Eating Disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease.

An Interview with Bettina Ottenstein

Rachael Bryant
Regional Director of Human Resources

Rachael joined the Right Step in 2010. Rachael received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She has been in the Human Resources field for 12 years. She has been PHR (Professional in Human Resources) certified since 2010. Rachael is passionate about aligning HR department goals and practices with business goals and objectives. She has an 8 year old daughter who loves sports and being outside.

Jason Powers, MD
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Powers is the chief medical officer of Right Step and Promises Austin, both members of the Elements Behavioral Health Family. Originally trained and board certified in family medicine, Dr. Powers re-dedicated his career to helping addicts and their families after he personally faced addiction. He is now also board certified in addiction medicine and passionately helps addicted individuals and their families embrace the healing path of recovery. He does not rigidly fit everyone into one mold, respecting that individual differences matter. He combines holistic treatment modalities with traditional therapies when treating his patients.

Dr. “P” was honored with Sierra Tucson’s Compassion Award and recognized as a Top Addiction Doctor in Houston for four years running by H Texas magazine. Dr. Powers is also the author of the comprehensive book about addiction When the Servant Becomes the Master. He is currently president of the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is a local expert for The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Dr. Powers is married to a beautiful wife and has three loving kids. Besides spending time with his family, he enjoys yoga and camping.

Rachel Garner
Executive Director

Rachel Garner specializes in residential dual diagnosis treatment as well as child and family treatment. Licensed as a clinical social worker in both Texas and California, she received her master’s in social work from the University of Hawaii and has been working in the field of substance use disorders for more than nine years. Rachel travels around the country as a certified trainer for Celebrating Families, which is considered the best practice family program in existence today. She has also worked as a clinician in direct practice, engaged in program development and supervision, grant-writing and management, and as a supervisor for the continuum of care for dual diagnosis patients. Rachel was born and raised in Hawaii, received her undergraduate degree from Southern Oregon University, and most recently resided in Santa Cruz, where she spent six years working in the nonprofit sector. In the fall of 2016, she moved to the Austin area where she shares a home with her husband and two dogs.

Joy Tomassetti, RMA
Medical Assistant

Joy assists our nurse practitioner with daily tasks such as client assessments, medical records, monitoring vitals, administering medications and testing for health conditions. Joy is a registered medical assistant and has specialized training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and basic life support. She is also Narcan (Evzio) trained (administering naloxone HCl injection). Prior to joining Promises New Jersey drug rehab, she worked as a physical therapist assistant, home health aide, and residential group home manager for people with disabilities. Joy says her passion for helping others led her to this career path. She finds it particularly rewarding when Promises New Jersey alumni return to serve as guest speakers, and she sees how excited they are about their success in recovery.

Jenn Pullaro, LCSW, LCADC
Primary Therapist and Group Therapist

Jennifer has more than a decade of experience in the treatment of substance abuse, behavioral addictions and mental health disorders. She has expertise in performing assessments, leading individual and group therapy sessions, treatment planning and case management. She was trained by noted addiction psychiatrist Dr. Mee-Lee on the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s guidelines for patient placement and how to complete multidimensional assessments. She has also been trained in the “Seeking Safety” therapeutic model for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

Jennifer is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stockton University and a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers.

Steven Karp, DO, FACN
Medical Director

Dr. Karp has held a number of leadership roles at behavioral health care, eating disorders, and substance abuse facilities including chief medical officer, medical director, and chief psychiatric officer. He served as medical director and chief psychiatric officer for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for over seven years. Dr. Karp earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his psychiatric residency at Norristown State Hospital in Pennsylvania. He is regularly called upon to present about the treatment of eating disorders and co-occurring addictions in professional settings and universities.

Dr. Thomas Gazda, M.D.
Psychiatrist

Dr. Gazda studied at the University of Illinois where he earned both his Bachelor of Science in biology and his Doctor of Medicine. He completed both family practice and psychiatry residencies at the University of Vermont and received board certification in both specialties, as well as completing psychoanalysis and Tavistock training. Dr. Gazda has served as a principal investigator for research trials, an inpatient psychiatrist, a community mental health psychiatrist and a private practitioner. While serving as an inpatient psychiatrist at Banner Behavioral Health, he spent three years as Chief of Staff, during which time they were named “Best of Banner.” He has served as an inpatient psychiatrist to the Windhaven Center, Prescott area and as a volunteer to The Neighborhood Christian Clinic.

Named a “Top Doc” in 2007, he is also listed in “America’s Top Psychiatrists.” Dr. Gazda is a proponent of holistic, integrative care following a biopsychosocial model and is open to nutraceuticals and very interested in nutrition, exercise, meditation and spirituality as strong components of the recovery process. Prior to being named medical director, Dr. Gazda served as Chief Consultant Psychiatrist for Promises Scottsdale since 2013.

Karen Williams, MS, LAC
Intensive Outpatient Program Clinical Manager

Karen has been with Promises Scottsdale since 2013 and has worked in the field of addiction for over 10 years. She is a licensed associate counselor and earned a master’s degree in professional counseling from Grand Canyon University. Karen is the clinical manager for our intensive outpatient program. She also provides counseling for our Common Ground family workshop and facilitates weekly love addiction and dialectical behavior therapy groups in our residential addiction treatment program. Karen is passionate about helping clients build an authentic spiritual foundation while recovering in mind and body. She strongly believes that family members play a vital role in not only helping their loved ones but in redefining their own identities in recovery.

Shannon McQuaid, LMFT, LISAC, CDWF, CSAT-C
Executive Director/Clinical Director

Shannon has been working in the field of addiction for over 20 years and has been with Promises Scottsdale since 2009. She has extensive experience in management and administration as well as program development. Shannon is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed independent substance abuse counselor. She is a certified The Daring Way™ Facilitator and is a certified sex addiction therapist. Shannon runs weekly The Daring Way™ shame-resilience groups in both our men’s and women’s addiction treatment programs. She has experience working with clients, couples and their families and is well-versed in treating co-occurring disorders, drug and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction and eating disorders. Shannon has a passion for helping clients take back their lives.

Dee Romero, MC, LAC
Associate Therapist

Dee has experience with addiction, co-occurring disorders and family therapy. She takes a client-centered, collaborative approach to counseling, drawing upon therapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Dee provides each client a safe, supportive, encouraging environment for self-discovery, understanding and acceptance. She says that working with clients from all walks of life has provided her an opportunity to witness the potential within humanity.

Elizabeth Langreck, MS, RDN
Director of Nutrition

Liz is a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorder care since 2011. She has worked with adolescent and adult eating disorder clients and their families at all levels of care and severities of the disease. Liz feels honored to have worked with some of the greatest minds in the industry very early on in her career. Though clinical dietetics and research is her first love, her passion for working with eating disorders undoubtedly exceeds that love. She began her professional career at Remuda Ranch. Currently, Liz is working toward the eating disorder registered dietitian certification, and has special interests in Eastern mindfulness practices, body image, empowerment and exercise.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She later earned her master’s degree in food and nutrition sciences and did her dietetic internship while at the university.

Carolyn Steppe, LSW, CCDP, CETII
Primary Therapist

Carolyn has over 15 years of experience working with adolescents and adults with addiction. She’s worked with clients in both individual and group therapy settings. Carolyn has expertise in drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, family dynamics, mental health and relapse prevention. She is certified as a Co-Occurring Disorders Professional and Experiential Therapist, Level II. Carolyn is also certified in EMDR and has trained intensively for the past 10 years in psychodrama and experiential modalities. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Marywood University and is a licensed social worker in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Kimberly Guenther, RD, CEDRD
Professional Nutrition Counseling Specializing in Eating Disorders

Kim is a registered dietitian and certified eating disorder registered dietitian who has lived in Arizona the majority of her life. She earned a degree in human nutrition from Arizona State University and began working in eating disorder treatment in 1996. She then completed a dietetic internship with Maricopa County, which helped to confirm her passion for working with clients who struggle with eating issues. Kim has continued to work in this capacity for the past 20 years at all levels of care, from inpatient to outpatient services. No matter what the struggles are with food, Kim enjoys meeting clients where they are at in their journey and helping them achieve their nutrition goals.

Carol Farmer, LAC, LASAC
Primary Therapist

Carol has expertise in treating clients with addiction, eating disorders and co-occurring disorders. She works with individuals, couples and families in inpatient and outpatient settings. Carol is trained in EMDR and sand tray therapy and enjoys facilitating experiential group processing.

Carol is a licensed associate counselor and a licensed associate substance abuse counselor in the state of Arizona. She earned a master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Texas-San Antonio, and is currently completing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis in behavioral health at Grand Canyon University. Carol is passionate about empowering clients to take responsibility for their recovery through the application of dialectical behavior therapy, building hope for the future, rebuilding relationships and working the 12 Steps.

Suzanne Matzura, RN
Detox Specialist

Suzanne’s nursing career began in 2004 with a specialization in obstetrics and nursery. This was very rewarding work, but after accepting a nursing position at an addiction treatment center in Arizona, Suzanne transitioned to behavioral health and found her true calling. She believes that when you can help heal hearts and minds, everything in life gets better. She enjoys providing nonjudgmental support and helping clients discover their best selves so they can live optimally.

Suzanne received her nursing degree from Glendale Community College in Arizona, and also has a business degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has recently become passionate about the benefits of supplements and food as medicine, and finds that her own best medicine includes time spent with her loving family. She enjoys kids, animals, yoga, cooking and nature.

Olga Yahontova, MD
Psychiatrist

Malibu Vista is thrilled to announce the addition of Dr. Olga Yahontova. Dr. Olga Yahontova is a board-certified psychiatrist with extensive experience of treating trauma patients around the world.

She utilizes her expertise in the field of psychopharmacology as well as non-traditional approaches to help her patients regain health and freedom from suffering the aftermaths of trauma. She has taught thousands of participants at her workshops and lectures in the United States and around the world on the effects of trauma and on new approaches to healing it. Dr. Yahontova served as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the USC. She has appeared on many domestic and international TV and Radio shows, bringing education to the public in different countries.

Mary Pivarunis, LMFT, SEP
Trauma Therapist and Group Therapist

Mary is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in trauma, PTSD and grief and loss. She is trained in Somatic Experiencing and Trauma First Aide, two body-oriented modalities that help clients increase their resiliency and ability to learn about and regulate their own nervous systems.

Mary received her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and specialization in Somatic Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA.

Prior to joining Malibu Vista, Mary worked at a psychiatric hospital in Berkeley, CA in both the inpatient and outpatient programs with diverse patient populations. She served as Program Director and Main Therapist for a variety of adult and adolescent programs. While working in the outpatient program, Mary conducted trauma consultations for both her patients and colleagues and initiated a department-wide training in Trauma First Aide to prevent burnout and PTSD.

Mary is very passionate about her work in the field of trauma and the body. Her enthusiasm, optimism and infectious sense of hope have been a comfort to hundreds of clients she has worked with over the years. Combining a real curiosity, compassionate exploration and a sense of humor, Mary helps clients identify and understand their issues and works with them to create a plan for healing. Mary believes that it is never too late to be curious about your self, to discover the resiliency of your body and the strength of your spirit to aid in the healing process.

Mary maintains a private practice in West LA where she works with adults and couples in short and long term psychotherapy.

Michael O’Brien
Operations Manager
Tiffany Jenkins, MS LCADC
Executive Director

Tiffany M. Jenkins is a dedicated professional counselor with nearly 20 years of experience helping individuals and families recover from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. She has worked with a variety of populations and in a various treatment settings including corrections-based residential treatment, outpatient behavioral health, and medication-assisted treatment modalities, and has experience as both a therapist and a director.

She obtained a master’s degree in Addiction Science and a master’s in Professional Counseling from Grand Canyon University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Behavioral Health. Tiffany enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time with her husband Darryl and their sons, David and Raymond.

Jean Calderone, BA, CADC
Primary Therapist

Jean is a kind, caring and companionate therapist that has a passion for helping those with recovery, mental health and trauma. Jean is down to earth and loves life!

Jen Utilizes CBT, mindfulness and spirituality in her therapy and believes everyone can recover if they have the desire to learn to love and respect themselves. Jean works as a team player in helping those at promises succeed in becoming healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Elizabeth Gundle-Worthington, APN
APN

Liz has worked in the field of nursing for 23 years. She continued her education throughout the years and obtained her Advanced Practicing Nursing certificate 2015. Liz enjoys helping people and takes joy in seeing the clients get healthy. She is a huge advocate for the clients in continuing their sobriety, she recommends and administers Vivitrol. Liz also will help all of our clients and their families get naloxone. When Liz isn’t working you will find her on the beach in Brigantine with her family.

Ben Sutton
Utilization and Review

Ben has been with the Elements UR team since 2012 and has performed his duties in a number of Elements facilities around the United States. He has developed a keen understanding of the requirements for both in and out of network treatment centers as well as the state and provider specific criteria for substance abuse treatment.

Ben effectively  interprets clinical and communicates with care managers in order to obtain insurance coverage for our client’s needs. After having worked remotely for 5 years Ben has just moved to NJ to be on-site at Promise. Ben is married and has a new 3 month old grandson.

Christina Smith
Outreach Manager

Christina joined Promises New Jersey’s team in 2016 after the loss of a very close friend to addiction. Prior to Promises she worked in the field of dentistry for more than 15 years. Christina jumped at the opportunity to work in the field of mental health and addiction and took her years of experience of patient care and compassion with her. She takes pride in her ability to help clients get the care they need.  ”My goal is to not lose one more person to addiction.”

When she’s not helping clients who are seeking treatment she enjoys spending time outside with her husband Steve and their precious dogs Sadie, Pepper and Zoey.

James Burnside
Group Therapist / CADC Intern

James Burnside is a CADC Intern at Promises NJ. He currently is working on his B.S. in Addiction counseling and has attended Grand Canyon University since 2010. Jimmy had been working with addicts at a treatment facility in So. Florida for 6 years before coming back home to NJ.

Jimmy joined the Park Bench Team in 2004 and since worked in multiple positions helping addicts. Since then, Jimmy and our team has never given up hope for the addicts attending Promises NJ. Jimmy is a person in long term recovery who has been known in the local recovering community and around the country for his service and efforts since 1987.

Jimmy helps clients identify existing strengths that are used to construct a personal model of resilience and with a 12-Step principles approach. Jimmy capably treats clients in a group setting, and with helping in the overall progression of recovery. For the last 10 years, Jimmy has devoted his time and energies in helping other addicts in treatment with a drive and desire for complementing others on their road of recovery and good health.