Meet Our Staff

Just as every client matters to Las Vegas Recovery Center, so does every employee…

Collectively, our goals at Las Vegas Recovery Center are to help those suffering from chronic pain and/or addiction to understand their disease, to realize their full potential, and to learn to live life productively and free from dependency upon drugs and/or alcohol. From our executive leadership team to our supporting staff, we work as a team to to ensure that every client receives the specialized care that makes the Las Vegas Recovery Center a nationally renowned addiction treatment and co-occurring chronic pain treatment center.

We encourage you to browse through the many individuals whose contributions have positively impacted the lives of so many.

Executive & Senior Leadership

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

Chairman

About Stuart P. Smith
Stuart P. Smith is the Chairman of Central Recovery Treatment and President & CEO of Las Vegas Recovery Center, its parent company which includes Central Recovery Press, a leading and progressive publishing company specializing in the the behavioral health field. Since founding Central Recovery in 2003, Mr. Smith continues to lead its vision and strategic direction towards excellence in addiction and pain recovery services and published materials.

 

 

 

 

Prior to Las Vegas Recovery Center, Mr. Smith held management roles in the Coal and Natural Gas, Human Resources and media development industries and has served as Directors for the Virginia Coal Association, National Mining Association and Coalfield Economic Development Authority. His experiences have focused primarily on corporate and tax structures, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and finance. Mr. Smith graduated from the University of Virginia and remains a loyal fan of the Cavalier Basketball and football teams.

Mr. Smith has been active nationally in a number of organizations focused on healthcare and recovery issues including serving as Board Member, At-Large for Faces and Voices of Recovery, a leading recovery advocacy organization.

Mr. Smith is also a founding Board Member, and currently serves as Chairman for the Foundation for Recovery, a non-profit public charity which provides education, training, recovery support and a variety of other programs and services aimed at making recovery more available on a local, state and national level.

Jeff Speich

Jeff Speich

Chief Operating Officer

About Jeff Speich
coming soon
Mel Pohl, MD, DFASAM

Mel Pohl, MD, DFASAM

Chief Medical Officer

About Mel Pohl
Mel Pohl, MD, DFASAM is a Board Certified Family Practitioner. He is Vice President of Medical Affairs and the Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center. Dr. Pohl was a major force in developing Las Vegas Recovery Center’s Chronic Pain Recovery Program. He is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (DFASAM). He is the former chairman of ASAM’s AIDS Committee, a member of the Symposium Planning Committee, a member of the planning committee for ASAM’s Annual “Common Threads, Pain and Addiction” Course and co-chair of ASAM’s Pain and Addiction Workgroup. Dr. Pohl is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. He was elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America® from 2009 to 2011. He is a nationally known public speaker and co-author of:

  • Pain Recovery: How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain (Central Recovery Press, 2009)
  • Pain Recovery for Families: How to Find Balance When Someone Else’s Chronic Pain Becomes Your Problem Too (Central Recovery Press, 2010);
  • The Caregiver’s Journey: When You Love Someone with AIDS (Hazelden, 1990)
  • Staying Sane: When You Care for Someone with Chronic Illness (Health Communications, 1992).
  • Dr. Pohl is the author of A Day Without Pain (Central Recovery Press, 2008), which won a silver medal from Independent Publisher Book Award in May 2009. A Day Without Pain, Revised Edition (Central Recovery Press) was published in 2011.

Professional Speaking

  • Kolmac Center, Baltimore, Maryland:  “Pain and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies” April 9, 2015:
  • Washington Physicians Health Program, 21st Annual Reunion, Leavenworth, Washington, “We’re as Sick as Our Secrets” & “Pain and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies” April 17-19, 2015
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine – Common Threads Pain and Addiction Conference, Austin, Texas “High-Doses Opioid Patient” & “Oh My Aching Back!” April 23, 2015
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine – Medical-Scientific Conference, Austin, Texas, “Twelve Step Programs as a Vehicle to Recovery” & “Alternatives to Medication for Treating Traumatic, Physical and Psychospiritual Pain in Recovery” April 24-26, 2015
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, Moderator: “Marijuana: From Theory to Practical Application”, May 5, 2015
  • US District Court Conference, Las Vegas, NV, “Addiction and the Brain”, May 7, 2015
  • Frontiers in Addiction Treatment, Torrance, CA, “Pain and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies”, May 18, 2015
  • Intervention Project for Nurses, Jacksonville, Florida, Keynote: “Pain and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies”, May 29, 2015
  • Partnership Carson City – Carson City, Nevada, 3 talks on “Opioids, Addiction and pain Management”, Sierra Nevada Forums – community forum, Community Action Agency Network (CAAN), Criminal Justice Professionals, June 18-19, 2015
  • Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Conference, San Diego, California, “Treating the Disease of Addiction”, Sept 18, 2015
  • Appalachian Addiction and Prescription Drug Abuse Conference (West Virginia Medical Association) Charleston, West Virginia, “Challenges and Controversies in the Treatment of Pain and Addiction – Clinical Perspectives of the Epidemic and a New Paradigm”, Sept 24, 2015
  • Addiction Professional Academy, Providence, Rhode Island, Nov 5, 2015
  • NCADD State Conference, Concord, New Hampshire Keynote Speaker full day seminar on Pain and Addiction (“A Day with Dr. Pohl”) 2013.
  • Brattleboro Retreat, Vermont Full day session on Pain and Addiction 2013.
  • Women’s Wellness Weekend, Lake Tahoe, NV Keynote Speaker “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • Nevada Attorney General’s office, Carson City, NV Keynote “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • lark County Bar Association, Las Vegas, NV Keynote speaker “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • American Dental Association’s Dentist Health and Wellbeing Conference, Chicago. Keynote speaker “Treatment of Pain in the Opioid Epidemic” The Council on Alcohol and Drugs 2013.
  • The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, Houston, TX Pain and Recovery Forum Keynote “A Day Without Pain: 2013
  • 39th Annual Winter Symposium, Colorado Springs, CO Keynote “Pain and Addiction” 2013
  • Steven Rummler Hope Foundation – Opioid Conference – Minneapolis, MN – Opioids and Pain 2013
  • Nevada Bar Association, Reno and Las Vegas, NV The Disease of Addiction: 2013
  • 5th Annual Mississippi Addictions Conference “Minding Minds and Mending Hearts” Jackson MS 2013
  • The Art of Recovery Expo – Keynote Speaker, Phoenix, AZ Pain and Addiction in the Age of Opioid Epidemic 2013
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV “Opioids Misuse and Abuse” lecture for physicians 2013
  • Hawaii NAADAC Balancing the Entanglement: Pain, Co-occurring Disorders, and Prescription Drugs – Maui and Honolulu, HI 2012
  • Dallas TAAP NOVA Conference – Dallas, TX Keynote “ Pain and Addiction: Treatment and Controversies” 2012
  • 2012 Nevada Drug Summit – Reno, NV “Pain Management and Opioid Addiction” 2012
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine – Reno, NV “Opioids – Misuse and Abuse” 2012
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) Review Course – “Sedative – Hypnotics” – San Francisco, CA 2012
  • Southwest School for Behavioral Studies – Keynote – “Chronic Pain and Addiction – A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” Tucson, AZ 2012
  • Foundations Recovery Network – Freedom and Recovery – San Diego, CA Keynote with Claudia Black – “Pain Recovery – The Interplay of Trauma and Chronic Pain” 2012
  • Alaska Annual School on Addictions and Behavioral Health – Keynote – Anchorage, AK– “Pain and Addiction: Challenging Co-occurring Disorders” 2012
  • West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders – Palm Springs – Keynote – “Prescription Drug Abuse – How did we get here? How do we get out of here?” 2012
  • St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Staff –Reno, NV “Opioids, Pain, and Addiction” 2012
  • Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine Tulalip, WA – “Chronic Pain, Addiction, and Pain Recovery” 2012
  • New Jersey Prevention Network 11th Annual Addiction Conference, Atlantic City, NJ Keynote Address “Chronic Pain and Addiction: The Most Challenging Co-occurring Disorder?” 2011
  • Counseling Advances Conference, Las Vegas, NV “Pain and Addiction: A Challenging Co-Occurring Disorder” 2011
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine Pain and Addiction Common Threads XII: Safety First: Best Practices, Washington, DC Co-presenter “Pain and Addiction: All in the Family” 2011
  • Network of Independent Interventionists Workshop, Las Vegas, NV “Pain and Addiction” 2011
  • Florida Medical Professionals Group Annual Conference, Orlando, FL “Pain and Addiction: A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” 2011
  • Annual Merrill Scott Symposium on Alcoholism and Other Chemical Addictions, Yakima, WA “Chronic Pain, Addiction, and Pain Recovery” 2011
  • Annual World Employee Assistance Professionals Conference, Tampa, FL “Pain and Addiction – A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” 2010
  • Nevada Psychiatric Association Annual Conference – “Opioid Free Pain Treatment” Las Vegas, NV 2010
  • University Medical Center Grand Rounds – “Addressing the Barriers to Effective Pain
  • Management and Issues of Opioid Misuse and Abuse”, Las Vegas, NV 2010
  • University of Evansville Institute for Alcohol and Drug Studies – Keynote Speech: “Pain and Addiction, Challenges and Controversies” Evansville, IN 2010
  • NCADD Turek Conference: “Prescription Drug Abuse: The New Epidemic” Baltimore, MD 2010
  • University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies, Keynote Speech: “Pain and Addiction, Challenges and Controversies” Salt Lake City, UT 2010
  • Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) Annual Conference – “Addiction, What You Need to Know” Phoenix, AZ 2009
  • Neuroscience Meets Recovery – “Pain: It’s All in Your Head” Las Vegas, NV 2009
  • Berkshire County Medical Society, Keynote Speech – Opioid Risk Management Pittsfield, MA 2009
  • International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) – Chronic Pain and Addiction Workshop, Calgary, CAN 2009
  • Washington Academy of Pain Management (WAPM) – Recovery from Chronic Pain, Opioid Free – Leavenworth, WA 2009
  • National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors–“A Day without Pain” – Salt Lake City, UT 2009
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Annual Medical Scientific Conference – “Symposium on Medication Assisted Recovery – Point-Counterpoint” New Orleans, LA 2009
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Pain and Addiction Conference – “Addiction Pain Syndrome: Approaches to Opioid-Free Treatment” New Orleans, LA 2009
  • Behavioral Health and Addictive Disorders Conference – “A Day Without Pain” – Clearwater Beach, FL 2009
  • Southeast Conference on Addictions (SECAD) – “Addictions and Pain – Challenges & Controversies” Atlanta, GA 2009
  • US Journal – Adult Children of Alcoholics – “Families in Pain” Orlando, FL 2008
  • Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) Annual Conference, “Pain and Addiction” Napa, CA 2008
  • US Journal – Interventions Conference – Family Interventions – “Patients with Pain and Addiction” Las Vegas 2008
  • US Journal Adolescent Conference – “Drug Abuse in Adolescents: The Good News and Bad News” Las Vegas 2008
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) – State of the Art Conference – “Pain and Addiction” Los Angeles, CA 2007
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine Review Course – “Benzodiazepines” 2004
  • Nevada Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Summer School-Co-occurring disorders 1998
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine – AIDS and Addictions – Annual Meetings 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997
  • Betty Ford Center Conference on Chemical Dependency, “AIDS and Chemical Dependency” Palm Springs, 1992 and “The Caregivers’ Journey” 1993

Publications:

  • Pohl, M. 2011. A Day without Pain, Revised Edition, Central Recovery Press 2011
  • Pohl, M, Szabo, F, Hunter, R, and Shiode, D. 2010, Pain Recovery for Families, How to Find Balance when Someone Else’s Chronic pain Becomes Your Problem Too, Central Recovery Press
  • Pohl, M, Szabo, F, Hunter, R, and Shiode, D. 2009, Pain Recovery, How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain, Central Recovery Press
  • Pohl, M and Smith, L, 2011 Chronic Pain Management Using Buprenorphine: Questions and Considerations J of Global Drug Policy and Practice 5 (1)
  • Pohl, M. and Smith, L., 2012 Chronic Pain and Addiction: Challenging Co-occurring Disorders Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44 (2), 1–6
  • Pohl, M., 2012 The Prescription Drug Epidemic: The Counselor’s Role, Counselor Magazine 13 (3), 20-22
  • Pohl, M., 2007 Chronic Pain, Opioids, and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies, Counselor Magazine
  • Pohl, M. 1988 Counseling Patients in Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs about AIDS, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 20 (2), pgs. 223-226
  • Pohl, M. and Ryan, C., 1987 Protocol for AIDS Education and Risk Reduction Counseling in Chemical Dependency Treatment Settings, ARC Research Foundation
  • Pohl, M. 1987 Neurocognitive Impairments in Alcoholics: Review and Comparison with Cognitive Impairment Due to AIDS. Advances in Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Haworth Press, Vol. 7 (2), p. 107-116
  • Pohl, M. and Karon, L. 1989 Co-editors, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Integrating AIDS Prevention in Chemical Dependency Treatment, Vol. 21 (4)
  • The Caregivers Journey: When You Love Someone with AIDS, Hazelden, 1990
  • Pohl, M. 1991. Residential Treatment for Chemically Dependent HIV Clients”, Journal of Chemical Dependence Treatment, Haworth Press
  • Addiction Counseling Review, HIV/AIDS, Chapter12, p.273-292, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
  • Principles of Addiction Medicine, “Pain in Special Populations”, Chapter 2, Section 12, American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2003
  • Principles of Addiction Medicine, “Lesbians and Gay Men”, Chapter 3, Section 18 American Society of Addiction Medicine, 1994
  • Sexuality and AIDS, Hazelden, 1991
  • Grief and AIDS, Hazelden, 1991
  • Staying Sane: When You Care for Someone with Chronic Illness, Health Communications, 1992
Elliot Wade, MD

Elliot Wade, MD

Medical Director

About Elliot Wade, MD
Dr. Wade is the medical director for Las Vegas Recovery Center. He is responsible for the ongoing development, growth, and oversight of the inpatient treatment program. He is also responsible for promoting high standards of practice, through the development of treatment policies, protocols, and practice guidelines; participating in rigorous performance improvement and staff education. He coordinates care for patients in the inpatient treatment program with nursing and clinical staff. He also helps with the education of patients, families, and friends in our monthly family renewal program; as well as our intensive outpatient program.

Dr. Wade also serves as the medical director for the City of Las Vegas Detention Center. Prior to joining Las Vegas Recovery Center, Dr. Wade was a hospitalist for a decade, spending five years diagnosing and treating patients who were admitted in Las Vegas area hospitals, and another five years traveling to hospitals in other cities in Nevada, California, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and the island of St. Croix.  He received his education from Xavier University of Louisiana, attended medical school at Emory University School of Medicine and completed his residency at White Memorial Medical Center (Loma Linda University).

Angela Laluzerne, MSSW, LCADC, LCSW Intern

Angela Laluzerne, MSSW, LCADC, LCSW Intern

Clinical Director

About Angela Laluzerne
Bio Coming Soon!
Bill Ryan, CLC, CIP, BRI II

Bill Ryan, CLC, CIP, BRI II

Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning & Business Development

About Bill Ryan
Mr. Ryan brings to LVRC over thirty years of professional and personal experience in recovery. He is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), a Board Registered Interventionist and Addiction Specialist (BRI-II), and a Certified LIfe Coach (CLC).  Mr. Ryan‘s personal experience with successful recovery from substance use disorders coupled with his many years as a Fortune 300 senior executive in the corporate environment make him especially well-suited to address addiction and behavioral health needs in many situations.  Mr. Ryan maintains memberships with the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) and he sits on the Board of Directors for Association of Intervention Specialists and the Foundation for Recovery.     .
Sandra Michael

Sandra Michael

Clinical Finance Director

Daniel Higdon, RN

Daniel Higdon, RN

Director of Utilization Review

About Daniel Higdon
Bio Coming Soon!
James Winder

James Winder

Operations Manager, NV State Certified Detoxification Technician

Admissions & Clinical Outreach

Clinical Outreach

Vanessa Starr-Comiskey

Vanessa Starr-Comiskey

Clinical Outreach

Amy Murdoch

Amy Murdoch

Communications/Marketing Coordinator

Admissions

Joseph Soprano

Joseph Soprano

Admissions Manager

Gretta Sudekum

Gretta Sudekum

Admissions Counselor

Medical Staff & Nursing

 Mary Streets, LPN

Mary Streets, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

 Connie Ellis, LPN

Connie Ellis, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Janice Disuanco, LPN

Janice Disuanco, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Susana Melendrez, LPN

Susana Melendrez, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Marsha Ellis, LPN

Marsha Ellis, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Frederick Lumbao, LPN

Frederick Lumbao, LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse

Yolanda Hoskins-Ahmad, MA

Yolanda Hoskins-Ahmad, MA

Medical Assistant

Rickey Williams, MA

Rickey Williams, MA

Medical Assistant

Samantha Olmas, MA

Samantha Olmas, MA

Medical Assistant

Mayra Cervanetes-Caja, MA

Mayra Cervanetes-Caja, MA

Medical Assistant

Jamika Pope, MA

Jamika Pope, MA

Medical Assistant

Mariah Rinker, MA

Mariah Rinker, MA

Medical Assistant

Counseling Staff

Laura Plowman, BA, CADC

Laura Plowman, BA, CADC

Clinical Manager

About Laura Plowman
Kathryn Rendina, MSW, LCSW

Kathryn Rendina, MSW, LCSW

Mental Health Counselor

Felipe Payumo, LSW

Felipe Payumo, LSW

Mental Health Counselor

Gail Papandrea, MS, LADC

Gail Papandrea, MS, LADC

Counselor

Keri Anderson, CADC, CPGC

Keri Anderson, CADC, CPGC

Counselor

Patti Hamm, CADC

Patti Hamm, CADC

Counselor

Evan Sargent, CPC, QMHP, LCADC

Evan Sargent, CPC, QMHP, LCADC

Counselor

Ariann Chelli, CADC-Intern

Ariann Chelli, CADC-Intern

Counselor

April Carter, CADC-Intern

April Carter, CADC-Intern

Counselor

Shelly Huerta, CADC-Intern

Shelly Huerta, CADC-Intern

Counselor

Maleika Toston, CADC-Intern

Maleika Toston, CADC-Intern

Counselor

Melanie Felipe, CADC-Intern

Melanie Felipe, CADC-Intern

Counselor

Robert Hunter, PhD

Robert Hunter, PhD

1955 - 2018

You Will Be Missed
Rob Hunter, PhD, is a consulting psychologist for Las Vegas Recovery Center. Dr. Hunter received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1976. His doctorate in clinical psychology was awarded from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1982. After a brief career as a public sector psychologist for the State of Nevada, Dr. Hunter has spent the past 15+ years in private practice. He was the founder and director of Nevada Psychological Associates, Inc., a large multi-disciplinary group practice that was acquired by a publicly traded national health care firm in the mid-90’s. He is the co-founder and clinical director of Problem Gambling consultants, Inc., a not-for-profit special purpose consulting firm dedicated to serving problem gamblers through both research and treatment efforts. Dr. Hunter trained under Dr. Robert Custer, MD and along with Dr. Custer designed and directed the nation’s largest gambling treatment center, which opened in 1986 as the Charter Hospital Center and continues currently as an intensive outpatient program still under Dr. Hunter’s clinical direction. More gambling patients have been treated at this program than any other in the world.

Alumni Services

Alvin Elliot

Alvin Elliot

Alumni Recovery Advocate

Dual Success and Total Recovery Programs

Tony Carter, LADC

Tony Carter, LADC

Dual Success Program Manager

Rajina Vigo

Rajina Vigo

Care Coordinator

Clinical Services Staff

 Dusty Howland

Dusty Howland

Client Services Coordinator, NV State Certified Detoxification Technician

Julianne Stepanovsky

Julianne Stepanovsky

Recovery Resident Coordinator, NV State Certified Detoxification Technician

Ron Schnese

Ron Schnese

Case Manager

Robert Marchand

Robert Marchand

Clinical Associate Coordinator

Steven Swanciger

Steven Swanciger

Sr Clinical Associate

Colby Damron

Colby Damron

Sr Clinical Associate

Clayton Laurel

Clayton Laurel

Clinical Associate

Maria Leyva

Maria Leyva

Clinical Associate

Torrion Doxie

Torrion Doxie

Clinical Associate

Jon Jason Reese

Jon Jason Reese

Clinical Associate

Greg Oliver

Greg Oliver

Clinical Associate

Craig Tucker

Craig Tucker

Clinical Associate

Catherine Rose

Catherine Rose

Clinical Associate

Scott Wattenberg

Scott Wattenberg

Clinical Associate

Rob Valdivieso

Rob Valdivieso

Clinical Associate

Rachel Lafferty

Rachel Lafferty

Clinical Associate

Andrew Garner

Andrew Garner

Clinical Associate

Lin Michaels

Lin Michaels

Clinical Associate

Yasenia Rivera

Yasenia Rivera

Clinical Associate

Javier Mori

Javier Mori

Clinical Associate

Holistic & Wellness

Cheryl Slader

Cheryl Slader

Certified Jivamukti Yoga Instructor

Robert Cui

Robert Cui

Dietary Services Coordinator

Susan Rocchio

Susan Rocchio

Licensed Massage Therapist

 Jessica Walter, OMD

Jessica Walter, OMD

Acupuncture

Monica Serna RD, CDM, CFPP

Monica Serna RD, CDM, CFPP

Registered Dietician

Intake & Utilization Review

Tiffani Izzo, CADC-Intern

Tiffani Izzo, CADC-Intern

UR/Client Services Coordinator

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