Professional Staff

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.

We accept Medicaid insurance from Molina, Buckeye and United. Veteran insurance from Tricare, Humana and Triwest. Commercial insurance from Anthem, Cigna, and Aetna.

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GERALD D. SHULMAN, MA, FACATA
Program Director
jerry@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

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.

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COREY COTTON, LPCC-S, M.S.Ed.
Clinical Director
corey@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Corey Cotton is a state-licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation. He has a master's and bachelor’s in psychology from Youngstown State University and fourteen years of experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. Corey has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, he is part of the executive management team as its Clinical Director, he is responsible for developing and supervising the clinical staff.  He also establishes training for new clinical staff and assesses the quality of care and appropriateness of services rendered.

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DR. MWAWAZA SANYIKA, M.D.
Medical Director
mwawaza@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Dr. Mwawaza Sanyika, M.D., as medical director at California Palms, is responsible for the overall integrity and quality of medical services provided to our patients. He is a licensed physician who has been board-certified in Family Practice and Holistic Medicine. His twenty-three years of hospital medicine experience includes medical-surgical and intensive care unit medicine, as well as long term acute care (LTACH) hospital Medicine. Dr. Sanyika was a National Medical Fellowship Scholar at the Wright State University School Of Medicine and was conferred with the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1998. Dr. Sanyika’s medical focus is in holistic medicine and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid and alcohol use disorders. At the Palms, he is part of the executive management team, and, as Medical Director, is in charge of coordinating all aspects of the medical programming within a multi-disciplinary team setting.

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DR. KAREN GIORGETTI, Ph.D., Psychologist
Clinical Psychologist and Director of Veterans Program
karen@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Dr. Giorgetti is a licensed psychologist in Ohio and a professor of psychology at YSU with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Purdue University. She has fifteen years' experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. She has extensive knowledge of individual counseling and the treatment of mental health disorders. At the Palms, Dr. Giorgetti is part of the executive management team as the Director of the Veterans Program, she is responsible for developing and supervising the clinical staff working with veterans.  She also establishes training for new clinical staff and assesses the quality of care and appropriateness of services rendered.
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ERICA BOWIE, MS, LICDC
Chemical Dependency Counselor
erica@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Erica is a state-licensed chemical dependency counselor (LICDC) with more than ten years of professional experience in counseling and therapy. She has extensive training and experience in working with those suffering from addiction. She holds a Masters's degree from Capella University. At California Palms, Erica is a Chemical Dependency Counselor specializing in group and individual therapy sessions related to substance abuse within a multi-disciplinary team setting.

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SHEILA STAUFFER, MS, LPC
Mental Health Counselor
sheila@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Sheila Stauffer is a state-licensed professional counselor (LPC) with more than ten years of professional experience in counseling and therapy. She has extensive training and experience in working with those suffering from addiction. She holds a Masters's degree from Walden University in psychology. At California Palms, Sheila is a Mental Health Counselor specializing in individual therapy sessions related to substance abuse and mental health within a multi-disciplinary team setting. Sheila is also in pursuit of a Ph.D. completion in 2021.

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ELIZABETH BECKLEY, CDCA
Case Management Director
elizabethbeckley@caliparc.com
Cell: (330) 717-9241
Work: (330) 935-2663

Elizabeth is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with ten years of experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. Elizabeth has ten years of 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 patients with their case management needs. She handles all arrangements concerning patients 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 patients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist patients in finding housing, employment, and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing clients’ discharge.

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SEBASTIAN RUCCI, JD, CDCA
Executive Director
sebastian@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

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.

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RICCO OLIVER, MS, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
ricco@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Ricco has a Masters in Social Work and a Master's In Business Administration from Youngstown State University. Ricco is a Marine Corps veteran and his education in business, prior military, work experience, and his education in Masters in Social Work from YSU. Ricco is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) and at the Palms, he assists patients with their case management needs by providing counseling and guidance to find housing and employment. He also specializes in group therapy sessions and individual therapy related to substance abuse. Ricco is also part of the executive management team and is responsible for developing clinical staffing needs and client attendance.

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SAM NAPLES, BS, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
sam@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Sam Naples has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Youngstown State University and is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At the Palms, Sam specializes in group therapy sessions for those undergoing treatment within a multi-disciplinary team setting. Sam Naples is also an eighth-degree grandmaster in Tae Kwon Do with over forty years’ experience teaching the art. At the Palms, he also teaches meditation which helps clients get in touch with their spiritual side and deal with stress and anxiety. He is also certified in hypnotherapy and assists clients to quit smoking.

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GENE WALKER, AAS, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
gene@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Gene Walker is a state-licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with five years of experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. A strong client advocate, Gene has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Gene assists patients with their case management needs by providing counseling and guidance to find housing and employment. He also specializes in group therapy sessions and individual therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.

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JOE BOWEN, MA, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
joe@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Joe Bowen is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with ten years of experience in the substance abuse field. Joe has a master's degree in counseling from Slippery Rock University. Joe has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Joe specializes in group therapy sessions and individual therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.

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MATTEO RUCCI, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor and Utilization Director
matteo@caliparc.com
(330) 274-9997

Matteo Rucci is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At California Palms, he is the Director of Utilization Review. He specializes in assessing clients for treatment. He confirms coverage for your services, and determine if the recommended treatment is appropriate. He also assists clients in finding alternative treatment and preparing clients’ discharge.

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TINA RHODES, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
tina@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Tina Rhodes is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with eight years of experience in the behavioral health and substance abuse field. Tina has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Tine assists patients with their case management needs by providing counseling and guidance to find housing and employment. She provides counseling and guidance to patients and assists clients in finding housing, employment and preparing patients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge. Tina also specializes in group therapy sessions and individual therapy related to substance abuse, within our multi-disciplinary team setting.

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SHANE DESMITH, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
shane@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Shane is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) and Peer Support Specialist. Shane is currently a Junior at YSU working towards his Master's Degree in Social Work. At the Palms, Shane specializes in group therapy sessions for those undergoing treatment within a multi-disciplinary team setting. Shane has five years of experience assisting those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Shane has extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Shane provides counseling and guidance to clients, assists clients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assists patients in finding housing, employment, and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing patients' discharge.

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JED HILL, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
jedediah@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Jed is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At the Palms, Jed is the Director of Admissions. He specializes in client intake for treatment. He confirms coverage for your services, and if the recommended treatment is appropriate. He also handles peer support meetings and assists patients with their case management needs by providing counseling and guidance to find housing and employment and preparing patients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge.

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NATALIE PRIDDY, BS, CDCA
Case Manager
natalie@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Natalie is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with five years of experience assisting those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Natalie has a Bachelors Degree from Strayer University in Criminal Justice and extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Natalie is a Case Manager assisting patients with their case management needs. She provides counseling and guidance to patients, makes appropriate referrals for services not provided, assists patients in filling out forms for social services benefits, assists patients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist patients in finding housing, employment and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing patients’ discharge.

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GARY TAYLOR, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
gary@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Gary Taylor is a state-certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant with extensive knowledge of care for adults struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. At the Palms, Gary specializes in group therapy sessions and individual therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting. He provides counseling and guidance to patients, and patients in re-entering society and re-engaging in their lives upon discharge, assist patients in finding housing, employment, and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing patients’ discharge.

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TAMMY BILUNKA, MS, CDCA
Chemical Dependency Counselor
tammy@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Tammy 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, Toni has training and experience in working with those suffering from addiction. She holds a Master's degree from Walden University in counseling.  At California Palms, Toni is a Chemical Dependency Counselor specializing in individual and group therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting.

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MICHELLE RUCCI, CCMA, CDCA
Medical Assistant and Chemical Dependency Counselor
michelle@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

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. Michelle also specializes in individual counseling and group therapy related to substance abuse, within a multi-disciplinary team setting. She also assists clients in finding housing, employment and arranging for outpatient treatment after discharge, and preparing clients’ discharge.

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LISA CARNAHAN, RN
Nurse
lisa@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Lisa Carnahan is a state-licensed Registered Nurse (RN), 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.

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Kelly Filo, RN
Nurse
kelly@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Kelly is a state-licensed Registered Nurse (RN), 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.

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Sabrina Jones, RMA
Nurse
sabrina@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Sabrina is a state-licensed Registered Nurse (RN), 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.

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Jessica Powers, RMA
Nurse
jessica@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Jessica is a state-licensed Registered Nurse (RN), 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.

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JAMIE KEYSER, LPN
Nurse
jamie@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Jamie Keyser is a state-licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), 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.

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KATHERINE VINION, BA, CDCA
katherine@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

Katherine has a Bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Education from Youngstown State University. Katherine is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA). At the Palms Katherine focuses on the client's needs and helps to provide resources necessary for successful living post treatment. She provides GED tutoring, and helps clients find vocational opportunities to further their education. In addition, Katherine provides case management services to clients.
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DR. JOSEPH ALTMAN Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Work: (412) 486-9019
Palms: (330) 935-2663

Dr. Altman is a veteran with over twenty years of 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, etc. Dr. Altman works with the patients from his office and provides a positive, supportive, environment where patients have an opportunity to be healed of their emotional pain and fears. Dr. Altman encourages the patients to shift their thinking from predominately negative and fearful, to positive and hopeful.

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GREG WALLER, Ph.D.
Chief Financial Officer
greg@caliparc.com
(800) 262-3742

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.

(800) 262-3742

We accept Medicaid insurance from Molina, Buckeye and United. Veteran insurance from Tricare, Humana and Triwest. Commercial insurance from Anthem, Cigna, and Aetna.