California Palms Professional Staff
The California Palms employs multiple counselors and case managers to help ensure our clients receive the best care possible. All of our professional clinical staff have extensive experience in the fields of behavioral health and substance abuse. The Palms is affiliated with local psychiatrists, doctors of internal medicine, detox facilities, and others with specialized training. We aim to provide our clients with the most comprehensive care available in the field.
GERALD D. SHULMAN, MA, FACATA.
Jerry is a nationally recognized leader in the chemical dependency and mental health treatment field with over 50 years of experience. He is a licensed psychologist intimately familiar with all aspects of the delivery of substance abuse treatment. He is an author with an extensive list of publications including the ASAM Patient Placement Criteria and managed care. A record of innovative clinical program development and management, a sought-after speaker, trainer and workshop leader. At the Palms, he is part of the executive management team as its Program Director, he works part-time on site where he develops standards for clinical assessment and treatment, and responsible for developing administrative and clinical supervision of staff. He also establishes training for new clinical staff and assesses the quality of care and appropriateness of services rendered through random sampling of cases.
DR. KAREN GIORGETTI, Ph.D., Psychologist
Dr. Giorgetti is a licensed psychologist in Ohio and professor of psychology at YSU with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Purdue University. She has thirteen years' experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. She has extensive knowledge of individual counseling and the treatment of mental health disorders. Dr. Giorgetti works part-time at the Palms as its Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director providing psychotherapy treatment of those undergoing treatment and provides direction for innovative addiction and mental health therapy.
ED DYER, LPCC-S, M.S.Ed.
Ed is a state Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation (LPCC-S). He has a master and bachelor's in psychology from YSU. He has forty years' experience in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment. He has extensive experience in treating substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction, mental health counseling, and PTSD. At the Palms, he is part of the executive management team and as Clinical Director specializes in therapy related to substance abuse and individual therapy concerning mental health counseling of veterans undergoing treatment, including PTSD, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.
SEBASTIAN RUCCI, PE, JD, CDCA
Cell: (330) 720-0398
Palms: (330) 935-2663
Sebastian is the owner of the Palms which he created after suffering the loss of two brothers to addiction. Sebastian is a licensed engineer, attorney, and chemical dependency counselor and has thirty years’ experience in business development. He is the Executive Director responsible for the overall integrity and quality of services provided, and the overall governance and financial function. He drives his unique and innovative vision of superior addiction and mental health therapy, physical fitness, positive thinking, and music therapy, through every facet of operations. He holds a Juris Doctor degree, bachelors degree in civil engineering and a Chemical Dependency (CDCA) certificate.
DR. GEORGE G. ELLIS, JR., M.D.
Dr. Ellis is a licensed medical doctor with thirty-two years of experience in internal medicine. Dr. Ellis has been working in private practice since 1992 and has over 20 years of Emergency Room experience. In 2014, he launched the area’s first locally owned and operated urgent care (910 Rapid Care) located conveniently in Boardman, Ohio. Dr. Ellis is affiliated with the California Palms as Medical Director and provides veterans undergoing treatment at the Palms medical services at his Boardman office.
COREY COTTON, LPCC-S, M.S.Ed.
Mental Health Counselor
Corey is a state Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation (LPCC-S). Corey has a Master of Science in Psychology from Youngstown State University and a Bachelors in Psychology from YSU. Corey has nine years experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. Corey has extensive experience in group dynamics treating substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction, and mental health counseling. At California Palms, Corey works part-time and specializes therapy related to substance abuse and individual therapy concerning mental health counseling of veterans undergoing treatment, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.
DENISE MINCHER, LPCC, NCP, M.S.Ed.
Mental Health Counselor
Denise is a state licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and Nationally Certified Psychologist (NCP). Denise has a Master of Science in Education Counseling from Youngstown State University and a bachelors in psychology from YSU. Denise has twenty-two years experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. At California Palms, Denise is a Mental Health Counselor and specializes in assessment, treatment planning and collaborative care of veterans undergoing treatment, within a multi-disciplinary team setting. Denise is presently on leave of absence and expected to return very soon.
DESIREE MCDEVITT, LCDC III
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Desiree is a state Licensed Counselor, LCDC III, with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and Kent State University. Desiree has extensive experience in group dynamics treating substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction, and mental health counseling. At California Palms, Desiree works part-time as a Chemical Dependency Counselor specializing in individual and group therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.
RICKI RIVERA, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Ricki has more than fifteen years of professional experience in chemical dependency counseling and therapy. Her specialty is in guiding clients toward recovery from addiction. A strong client advocate, Ricki has training and experience in working with those suffering from addiction. She completed her degree at Youngstown State University. At California Palms, Ricki is a Chemical Dependency Counselor specializing in individual and group therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.
KATIE FISHER, RN
Katie Fisher is a state licensed Registered Nurse, at California Palms, she is our Staff Nurse, she gathers data from clients regarding medical and drug use history; reviews each client's medical/physical history and refers clients as needed to a private physician for medical evaluation. She responds to emergency situations, summons 911 and CPR/First Aid; schedules clients with outside physicians for medical care; assists staff and clients in mastering proper infection control procedures to prevent the spread of infections, and processes urine drug screens.
MICHELLE RUCCI, CCMA, CDCA & CMAA
Medical Assistant and Case Manager
Michelle Rucci is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and a Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At California Palms, Michelle is our Medical Assistant, she monitors patient recovery and progress while educating patients n prevention and treatment. Michelle also handles staff training concerning medical and emergency issues and handles coordination with our TeleMedicine (Express Healthcare). Michelle also assists veterans with their case management needs, she provides informal counseling and guidance to clients, makes appropriate referrals for services not provided, assists clients in filling out forms for social services benefits, assists clients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist clients in finding housing, employment and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing clients’ discharge.
ELIZABETH BECKLEY, CDCA
Case Management Director
Cell: (330) 717-9241
Work: (330) 935-2663
Elizabeth is a state licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with ten years experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. Elizabeth has ten years experience assisting those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Elizabeth is also a peer specialist and is certified by SMART Recovery. Elizabeth has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Elizabeth is the Case Management Director assisting veterans with their case management needs. She handles all arrangements concerning veterans and staff training for new case managers. She provides informal counseling and guidance to clients, makes appropriate referrals for services not provided, assists clients in filling out forms for social services benefits, assists clients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist clients in finding housing, employment and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing clients’ discharge. She also specializes in assisting veterans to secure treatment at the Palms.
DR. HOLLY MAGGIANO, M.D.
Dr. Maggiano is a state licensed medical doctor with twenty-eight years experience specializing in neurology. Dr. Maggiano has training in horticulture therapy and is a co-founder of Earth Angel Farm which uses horticulture to assist individuals with physical and developmental disabilities. At California Palms, Dr. Maggiano teaches a Horticulture Therapy group introducing greenhouse practices to veterans undergoing treatment. Dr. Maggiano also works off-site with the veterans at various greenhouses.
DR. DANIEL A. WINKLE, M.D.
Mind-Body Skills Group
Dr. Winkle is a licensed medical doctor with nine years experience in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Dr. Winkle is certified to teach Mind-Body Medicine courses from The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. The program includes breathing, meditation, guided visual imagery, biofeedback, self-awareness, dance, self-expression in words, drawings, and movement in classroom and small group sessions. Dr. Winkle is affiliated with Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital, Trumbull Memorial Hospital, and Valleycare Northside Medical Center. At California Palms, Dr. Winkle teaches an eight-week evidence-based Mind-Body Skills Group for healing psychological trauma and stress.
LISA KUGLER, Psy.D. Psychologist
Lisa Kugler, PsyD. is a licensed psychologist active in the field of substance abuse and mental health services for over 20 years. Dr. Kugler was head of the behavioral health and physical health integration team for a community based out-patient clinic and team lead for the Center for Treatment of Addictive Disorders at the Pittsburgh Veteran's Administration. Dr. Kugler has provided services to adults, veterans, inmates, adolescents, and children for over 20 years. Dr. Kugler has presented nationally her research on topics focused on substance abuse concerns. Currently, Dr. Kugler serves as the CEO of a division of the state of Maryland where she leads the management of health benefits for the state of Maryland. Dr. Kugler advises the Palms in working with the VA, understanding VA protocol, and in structuring a program with sufficient PTSD care to service veterans per VA standards.
DR. JOSEPH ALTMAN Psy.D. Psychologist
Work: (412) 486-9019
Palms: (330) 935-2663
Dr. Altman is a veteran with over twenty years experience and the Palms main clinical psychologist. Dr. Altman focuses on the treatment of depression, anxiety, grief, and PTSD. Dr. Altman utilizes the techniques of Energy Field Psychology, Clinical EFT(Tappings), EMDR and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These often result in the rapid resolution of painful memories associated with the trauma of PTSD, unresolved grief, sexual abuse, etc. Dr. Altman provides a positive, supportive, environment where residents have an opportunity to be healed of their emotional pain and fears. Dr. Altman meets the resident veterans where they are and to encourage a shift in thinking from predominately negative and fearful, to positive and hopeful.
DR. ANDRIA D'AMATO, D.C., DABCA, FIAMA
Work: (330) 841-3607
Palms: (330) 935-2663
Dr. D'Amato, received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Logan College of Chiropractic. Dr. Andria is a Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture, a Fellow in the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture and is an Ohio State Board licensed acupuncturist. She is trained in Clean Needle Technique and maintains safe standards for herself and acupuncture patients. Dr. D'Amato is well training in healing techniques physical rehabilitation and nutritional supplement. At the Palms, Dr. D'Amato uses acupuncture therapy to heal addiction, psychological trauma and stress.
MATTEO RUCCI, CDCA
Matteo Rucci is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At California Palms, he provides informal counseling and guidance to clients, makes appropriate referrals for services not provided, assists clients in filling out forms for social services benefits, assists clients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist clients in finding housing, employment and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing clients’ discharge.
GREG WALLER, Ph.D.
Chief Financial Officer
Dr. Waller is a professor of finance with a Ph.D. in finance from Purdue University. He has owned and managed several companies and served as an outside consultant to numerous firms in the areas of corporate finance and strategy. He consults with the Palms on the organization's financial goals, objectives, and budgets.
Cell: (330) 503-0320
Palms: (330) 935-2663
Marge has twenty years supervisory experience and knowledge of rules and regulations of the healthcare industry. At the Palms, she provides ongoing supervision of the clerical and support staff; assists with annual review of non-clinical personnel; assists in developing and implementing procedures as related to non-clinical care; manages client flow; is responsible for scheduling appointments; screens emergencies; makes appropriate referrals for services not provided; and obtains necessary authorizations for treatment.
SAM NAPLES, Grand Master, CDCA
Tae Kwon Do Master
Grand Master Naples is an eighth degree master in Tae Kwon Do with over forty years’ experience teaching the art. Master Naples has a Bachelors in Psychology from Youngstown State University and is certified in hypnotherapy. He is also a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At the Palms, Grand Master Naples teaches The Art of Tae Kwon Do for personal development to veterans in recovery. Grand Master Naples also teaches meditation which helps clients get in touch with their spiritual side. Mediation helps to deal with stress and anxiety.
CAROL HUCIK, Yoga Instructor, CDCA
Yoga and Meditation Instructor
Carol’s background as a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher imparts a rich blend of movement experience to her students. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Smith College and has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 20 years. Carol is also a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). Carol is certified in three well-known yoga methods: Kripalu Yoga from Kripalu Yoga Center, an Anusura-influenced practice certified by Willow Street, and most recently Yin Yoga. An easy-going teacher, Carol is nonjudgmental in her teaching approach. Her yoga classes are very gentle, great for the beginner and inviting for all levels.
LARRY TROMBITAS, Master
Tai Chi Master
Larry is a veteran who served in the United States Army during the Vietnam war. Larry is also a master of Tai Ruach (Tai Chi) with over thirty years experience teaching the art. Larry has twenty years of personal recovery experience. At the Palms, Larry teaches recovering vets The Art of Tai Ruach (Tai Chi).
DANIEL EPSTEIN, MS, LMHC
Daniel is a licensed psychotherapist with significant experience in substance abuse treatment. He has a special interest in treating veterans who are struggling with purpose and direction. Daniel advised the Palms on creating and delivering group curricula that are effective, engaging, and enjoyable. Daniels group therapies embody the practical application of neuroscience.
DR. RICK STEPHAN, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephan is a neuropsychologist advising the California Palms on building a neurology program providing cognitive training, philosophical, psychological and psychotherapeutic interventions based on the mind-body connection and applied psychophysiology. This includes digital brain electric activity mapping and biosound frequency healing.