The Promises staff is completely invested in the positive outcomes of our clients. No matter what their area of expertise, the Promises team works with you and your family to develop an individualized treatment plan specially designed for your needs. The goal of each team member is to compassionately and professionally guide you through every phase of your recovery. Our goal is to provide an unparalleled recovery experience. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Recovery Advisor at 844-876-5568.
- Santa Monica
- West Los Angeles
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.
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 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.
Dr. Sanchez has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 15 years of experience helping people with addictions. He has served as an expert for such media outlets as The Insider and Entertainment Tonight. Prior to joining Promises, Dr. Sanchez was the program director at Phoenix House, an adolescent co-occurring disorders treatment center, where he oversaw clinical care for 90 clients.
In addition to his work with Promises Young Adult program, Dr. Sanchez is an adjunct professor at Loyola Marymount University and California Lutheran University, teaching subjects in addictions and gender and sexuality. He earned a doctorate of philosophy from Pacifica Graduate Institute in California, a master’s degree from Antioch University, and a bachelor’s degree from University of New Mexico. Dr. Sanchez feels that the greatest gift of working in recovery is seeing an individual come to life, being free from the grips of their addiction, and forming healthy social and family relationships after struggling for years with substance abuse.
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.
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.
“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.”
Amy has worked in the behavioral health field for over 20 years. She’s held several leadership roles at substance abuse treatment facilities. Amy also has clinical experience treating depression, anxiety, eating disorders, ADHD, body image, addictions, trauma and conflict in relationships. Previous positions include director of Phoenix House Academy, executive director of Remuda Ranch and program director of Developmental Behavioral Consultants. Amy earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri-Columbia. As executive director for Promises Young Adult Program, Amy’s greatest joy is witnessing the amazing transformation that happens when young people in early recovery begin to discover who they are and who they wish to become.
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.
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.”
Tom Wood, PhD, LPC, was recently appointed clinical director for Promises Malibu. He comes to the Promises family by way of Texas where he was in private practice, and the clinical manager of the Texas Health Dallas Behavioral Health, Chemical Dependency, and Women’s Intensive Outpatient Programs, and 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 19 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.
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.”
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.”
Margot Gersh holds a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles, California. She is licensed by the California State Board of Acupuncture, and is certified in both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. Margot worked as a pain specialist at the Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, where she worked with patients to manage and relieve both chronic and acute pain. Margot found that working with doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors and psychologists in an integrative setting was both highly educational and of tremendous value to patient care. She remains passionate about the integrative process, and finds that patient care is best served when practitioners come together and work as a team.
Margot also worked at the Yo San University Clinic, where she treated hundreds of patients with a wide range of medical issues. Margot finds great joy in helping patients work through both emotional and physical barriers, and utilizes many techniques within Chinese Medicine to regain health and balance in each patient.
Margot Gersh completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz in psychology and political science. She continued her own personal education by traveling and living abroad in Thailand, Indonesia and New Zealand. Before becoming an Acupuncturist Margot worked as a non-profit event coordinator. She worked with hundreds of non-profits in Los Angeles to raise millions of dollars, in order to maintain programming that continues to help thousands of people all over the world.
Margot Gersh has a private practice in Los Angeles, California. She is very passionate about internal medicine and pain management, and works diligently on every individual case to achieve lasting results.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.”
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.
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 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 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 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.