A review of the addiction and co-occurring disorder specialists currently on staff at Futures of Palm Beach

Valerie Jackson, CEO

_MG_9189 ValValerie Jackson has joined Futures of Palm Beach as CEO. In this role, Valerie will be overseeing all aspects of management of this exclusive, 75 bed Drug, Alcohol, and Eating Disorder treatment facility, located in Palm Beach County, Florida. With over 25 years of experience in the Healthcare Management field, Ms. Jackson brings with her an extensive background and experience in Strategic Planning, Financial Management, Operations, Public relations and Marketing, Human Resources, Medical Management, Public Policy, and Regulation. Valerie holds a BA from University of Miami, and obtained her MBA in Healthcare Administration, and a MS in Human Resources.
During her career, Valerie has been the CEO of many hospitals in Florida, where she has gained significant experience in acute medical and psychiatric care. In addition, Ms. Jackson has been a Healthcare Consultant to many healthcare facilities and physician practices, to assist them in maximizing their operations. As well, as being active in many community agencies and charitable organizations during her career, Valerie currently is a governor appointee and represents the Public on the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Drew D’Alessandro, Director of Operations

_MG_6684 Drew DalessandroDrew D’Alessandro joined Futures in December 2012 as the Director of Operations. Before joining Futures, Drew was a part of the GMH Capital Partners team for five years and oversaw the operations of a 140 unit Class A multi-family housing community in the Philadelphia area. With moving away from multi-family housing and moving to the sunshine state, Drew will apply his experience in facility operations and customer service to Futures’ program. Drew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing at Pennsylvania State University.

Clinical Staff

John C. Maguire, LMHC, CAP, ICADC, Clinical Director

_MG_6997John MaguireJohn has over 20 years business experience working for both public and private corporations during which he earned his MBA. It was through his career endeavors John discovered his passion for helping others. He returned to school and earned a Masters in Counseling Psychology, leaving behind corporate America to begin his venture in the field of therapy. John utilizes an integrated approach in therapy to aid clients in establishing a connection between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. He believes in educating, empowering and exploring beliefs with clients to assist them in gaining insight and a deeper understanding of their values and worldview, allowing them to begin the healing process and to build a strong foundation for a healthy future through self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Moira Howard, LMHC, CAP, ICADC, Primary Therapist

_MG_9235 Moira HowardMoira joined Futures of Palm Beach in early, 2014. Her career began in substance abuse and mental health in 2007. Moira studied for her Bachelors and Masters Degree locally at Palm Beach Atlantic University. While completing her education, she obtained experience working the mental health field. Working as a therapist and a director at various treatment centers in Palm Beach, Moira was able to develop her skills. Moira has trained in various styles of therapy including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR and Psychodrama. She continues to tailor her style to fit the needs of each individual. She chooses to use evidence based treatment methods in sessions. Moira will assist clients in developing coping skills, increase emotional regulation and increase self-acceptance. In the group setting, Moira has trained in Psychodrama, an active and creative therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Jacob Moreno. Psychodrama can be used in a group or individual setting and it is helpful for trauma, grief, addictions and other issues. Moira is passionate about this style of therapy and frequently uses it.

Believing in the mind, body and spirit connection as a method to further the healing process, she became a Registered Yoga Instructor by attending a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. This ancient practice has been used to build strength, increase focus and deepen meditation. Moira is grateful for the opportunity to teach Yoga at Futures. As a yoga instructor and therapist, Moira has seen breathing techniques and yoga postures heal individuals in multiple ways. It brings Moira joy to guide and assist individuals on a journey towards finding their true selves.

Laura Pigott, LMHC, CAP, Primary Therapist

_MG_6221Laura Pigott
Laura Pigott joined Futures of Palm Beach as a Primary Therapist in October of 2014. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a Certified Addiction Professional. Laura holds a Masters of Arts, Professional Counseling degree from Liberty University. She began her career as a mental health counselor, working with children who were diagnosed with emotional and behavioral disorders.

Prior to joining the clinical team at Futures, Laura’s experience included several years of experience working at another highly regarded treatment center in South Florida as a therapist, treating adults battling the disease of addiction in residential and IOP levels of care. At Futures, in addition to one-on-one counseling, she leads process, Stress Management and recreational therapy groups. Laura’s theoretical orientation is an eclectic approach, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Person-centered approach to therapy.

Brooke Keffner, MA, CAP, ICADC, Primary Therapist

Brooke Keffner joined Futures of Palm Beach as a Counselor and Case Manager in early 2015. She holds a Master of Arts, Creative Arts in Therapy and Counseling degree from Drexel University, where she specialized in Art Therapy. Brooke credits her arts-focused education for the creative therapeutic approach she brings to her position. An approach that has proven successful in helping clients gain insights into their recovery plan options and relapse-prevention strategies.

Prior to joining Futures, her behavioral health professional experiences included therapist roles at various clinical settings in Southern New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania – before relocating to Southern Florida in 2012. At Futures, aside from counseling clients in a one-to-one setting, she regularly conducts psychotherapeutic groups and leads a Women’s Processing Group weekly. Brooke works closely with primary therapists, clients and their family members to ensure that aftercare plans support goals put in place for healthy and happy sober living.

Vanessa Prusis, RMHCI, Case Manager

_MG_6736 Vanessa PrusisVanessa Prusis, a lifelong Floridian, and passionate pianist, joined Futures of Palm Beach as a counselor/case manager. Vanessa is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the State of Florida. She has enjoyed working in the field of substance abuse and eating disorders for four years and has worked at notable treatment centers across Palm Beach County. Vanessa received her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She is actively involved in the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness as well as a member of the Internal Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. Vanessa works closely with clients in the development of a comprehensive relapse prevention plans as well as a structured aftercare plan. Vanessa’s passionate and positive approach has assisted many clients in achieving their goals in recovery.

Medical Staff

Gloria Dunkin, MD, Medical Director

Gloria DunkinDr. Gloria Dunkin received her MD from the University of Iowa and completed her General Psychiatry Residency and her Fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital. When asked what inspired her to specialize in this field of medicine Dr. Dunkin responded, “The decision to make addiction psychiatry the central focus of my career was based on my observation that patients with this affliction often demonstrate vast improvement in a relatively short period of time when expert treatment is combined with their desire to change. The greatest satisfaction I have ever experienced is that of seeing my patients return for anniversary ceremonies celebrating their years of sober living. It is a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and a reminder to me of the way in which the sound application of psychiatric principles can change lives for the better.”
Dr. Dunkin has more than 15 years of experience in the addiction treatment field and has held the position of Medical Director at two prior prestigious institutions. She is currently a member in good standing with the Florida Psychiatric Society, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Linda Spencer, Director of Nursing

_MG_6670 Linda SpencerLinda Spencer, Director of Nursing, joined the prestigious Futures substance abuse and eating disorder treatment facility in November of 2013 and has been in the nursing field for over twenty- four years. She completed her Associate in applied Science degree at the college of Du Page, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois in 1989. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, in 1999, from Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Linda Spencer, RN, then continued her education by obtaining her Master Degree in Nursing, in 2006, from Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton, Florida, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Linda Spencer, MSN, BSN, RN has extensive nursing experience in the acute medical area, psychiatric nursing with children, adolescents, adults and geriatric population, as well as hospice nursing, diabetic teaching and substance abuse. She has previously held the Director of Nursing position at a nationally well renowned substance facility in the West Palm Beach area since May of 2006.

She is a member of the Florida Nurses Association, American Association of Diabetic Educators, Association of Professionals in Infection Control and the Palm Beach County Director of Nurses Association.

Susannah Schied, FNP- BC, Nurse Practitioner

_MG_6235Susannah Schied
Susannah Schied joined Futures of Palm Beach as Nurse Practitioner in 2014. A native to Palm Beach County, Susannah is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, where she earned her undergraduate and Masters in Nursing Science degrees. Her philosophy of care is patterned after that of the FAU College of Nursing, which views the science and art of nursing within the context of “nurturing the wholeness of person and environment.”

Prior to joining Futures, Susannah served as Nurse Practitioner at various South Florida Family Medical Centers and practiced most of the last decade at one of the nation’s most respected chemical substance abuse treatment centers, located in West Palm Beach, FL. She has completed numerous courses focused on the blending of Eastern and Western Medicine and implements this Mind-Body enlightened approach as a complement to her traditional training.

Marketing and Admissions

Lisa Baruch, LMSW, Professional Liaison Director

_MG_8600 Lisa Baruch Med Res

Lisa Baruch’s 25 years in the field of behavioral health includes an impressive range of clinical experiences. She has provided admissions-related services that include intake, level of care and psychosocial assessments; served as a counselor leading individual and group therapy; along with strategic program development. Her areas of expertise also include workflow assessment, business development and marketing skills. A graduate of The American University with a BA in Psychology, Ms. Baruch also holds a MSW degree from The Catholic University in Washington D.C and is a Licensed Master in Social Work.

In her position as Professional Liaison Director, Lisa develops professional relationships with addiction and mental health specialists, often providing triage for their clients and families seeking to understand best available treatment options. In addition, she supports the coordination of communication amongst professionals and families with the Futures Clinical and Case Management Team, participates in the aftercare planning process and provides alumni support that includes a monthly Alumni Group meeting in New York City. She maintains a passion for, and commitment to, supporting those in need of help with prioritizing and identifying the best clinical fit, at all levels of care and aftercare placement.

Grace Bechtel, Director of Admissions

_MG_6246Grace BechtelGrace Bechtel Joined Futures of Palm Beach in October 2014 as the Director of Admissions. Supervising a team of Admissions Coordinators and Insurance Verification Specialists, her efforts are aimed at managing an admissions process that is efficient and comforting for the individual seeking treatment.

Born and raised in Palm Beach County, Grace graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a B.S. degree in Psychobiology. Prior to joining Futures, she held titles of Director of Admissions & Assistant Director of Admissions for other esteemed South Florida dual-diagnosis treatment centers.

Keith Gallant, Social Media Manager

_MG_6216Keith Gallant

Keith Gallant joined Futures of Palm Beach as Social Media Manager in December of 2014. In this newly minted position, his primary function is to engage authentically with the Futures of Palm Beach online community – sharing original content about treatment & recovery, Futures’ program, staff, industry best practices and inspirational messaging. In defining the goals of the social media department, Keith’s priorities include educating, supporting and motivating Futures’ alumni and family members; along with the many diverse members of our digital community.

Prior to joining Futures of Palm Beach, Keith’s professional experiences included launching social media marketing programs for various South Florida treatment centers; and managing public relations and social media campaigns for nationally recognized brands in the food, health and wellness industries. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee for the nationally-recognized nonprofit Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services (TPAS).

Patient Care

Omar Kamal, MA, MS, Program Director

_MG_6718 Omar KamalOmar Kamal has been a team member of Futures of Palm Beach since its inception.
He is the Program Director at Futures with a master’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in English Studies/Culture. Since 2008, Omar’s professional involvement in the field of psychology has been primarily within the role of management; focused on providing optimal care and services to clients. As a Program Director, Omar oversees the center’s Resident Assistants, providing guidance and education, in order to promote the safety and the well-being of residents. Omar also acts as a coordinator between multiple departments within Futures of Palm Beach to ensure that clients receive a consistent, integrated and productive experience.

Ryan Miller, NCRC II, Alumni Coordinator

_MG_6664 Ryan MillerRyan Miller joined Futures in September 2012. Before joining Futures, Ryan worked in residential and IOP settings as a case manager and counselor. He is a nationally certified recovery coach and serves as a co-leader for Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services (TPAS), a non-profit professional organization committed to the continued development of best practices in the area of alumni programming. As Alumni Coordinator, he maintains regular contact with our clients as they transition back into society as Alumni. Furthermore, he facilitates individual and group support for our Alumni and frequently coordinators sober outings, events, and in-house meetings. Ryan graduated with honors from the University of Florida and is currently pursuing a trauma based Master of Social Work at Barry University.

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Lorraine Kozlowski, CHT, CLC, Hypnotherapist

_MG_9207 Lorraine KozlowskiMs. Kozlowski received Certifications in Hypnotherapy from The National Guild of Hypnotists, The American Board of Hypnotherapy and The Florida Society of Professional Hypnotherapists. She brings 20 years of experience to Futures, working with clients on an individual basis for relaxation, visualization of goals and to release anxiety and control cravings. Ms. Kozlowski has also worked as a case manager and presents exemplary standards in recognizing the unique needs of each client.

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What is CARF? — The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is a nonprofit and independent accreditor of health and human services.

What Does CARF Do? — CARF helps treatment centers achieve internationally recognized standards by working with them to improve the quality and value of their services.

The Accreditation Process — CARF conducts an on-site survey to evaluate the business and service standards of a facility. Then a facility must submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) to address areas of improvement.

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