Key Staff Members and Addiction Medicine Specialists
Steven Collier, RN
Executive Director / Co Founder
Steven Collier RN is one of the co founders of the Hemet Valley Recovery Center and owner of Addiction Medicine Services Inc. He has been working in the behavioral health field since serving as a command Drug Exemption Officer in the U.S. Navy in 1978. A graduate of California State University Los Angeles, Mr. Collier holds a BA in Health and Safety Studies as well as a certificate as a specialist in Drug and Alcohol Problems also from Cal State. Obtaining a degree in Registered Nursing from Saddleback College, Mr. Collier has held a Registered Nursing License since the early1980's. From 1984 to 1986, Mr. Collier worked as a Clinical Instructor for the Care Units at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and then served as the Nurse Manager of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center also at Cedars Sinai from 1986 to 1988. From 1988 to 1991, Mr. Collier was the Nursing Supervisor at the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center ( ADTC), Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. From 1991 to 1997, Mr. Collier was the Program Manager of the Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center Recovery Services Unit. While establishing the Recovery Services unit at Loma Linda, Mr. Collier was part of the clinical team that established treatment protocols for the treatment of pain patients who had become addicted to narcotic analgesics. Mr. Collier also established treatment centers at San Antonio Community Hospital and the Knollwood Center between 1994 and 1999. Focusing on Behavioral Medicine, he became the Director of Assessment and Admissions at Canyon Ridge Hospital in 1999. After successfully opening the Hemet Valley Recovery Center in 2001, Valley Health System contracted with Mr. Collier to assume the role of Director of Behavioral Health Services to oversee the opening of the 28 bed Center for Behavioral Medicine at Moreno Valley Community Hospital and to pursue the growth and development of the Behavioral Health unit at Hemet Valley Medical Center. Throughout his career, Mr. Collier has committed himself to providing hospital based acute care treatment for those suffering from addictions and related illness.
Sherry Burditt, RN, HN-BC
Director of Clinical Services
Board Certified Holistic Nurse
As the Director of Clinical Services for Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, Sherry Burditt, RN, HN-BC is a Registered Nurse whose career spans 35 years of clinical practice in Behavioral Health, Chemical Dependency and Hospital Administration. After receiving her nurse’s training in New York, she concentrated her practice specifically in Behavioral Health and Addiction Medicine, working with adult and adolescent populations challenged with depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addictions, and various affective disorders. Later, as a hospital administrator, she held the responsibility as Director of Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Clinical Services, Director of Education, Associate Administrator, and Chief Operating Officer in mental health / addictive medicine settings. In 1999 she received Board Certification in Holistic Nursing through the American Holistic Nurses’ Association. In private practice she has also provided consultation services and holistic workshops to over 30 acute care hospitals, facilitated holistic therapy groups, supervised and evaluated healthcare instructors, and worked individually with private clients. As a Kriyaban yogi, she has practiced Raja Yoga meditation since 1974.
Manikanda Raja, MD, ASAM
Diplomate of American Board of Internal Medicine,
Dr. Raja is a board-certified internal medicine physician, certified by both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is committed to providing the highest-quality medical care to his patients. He is conscientious and compassionate with regards to all those who have been entrusted in his care. Dr. Raja values the patient-physician relationship and makes every effort to build trust and confidence as he goes to great lengths to make sure the experience is as pleasant as possible for his patients. His attention to detail ensures the valued healthcare delivered in his practice.
John Harsany, MD, FASAM
Diplomate of American Board of Addiction Medicine
Associate Medical Director
Dr. Harsany is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a Master's of Science degree in Chemistry and is also a Graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine with a M. D. degree. He was a member of the Air Force Reserve as a Medical Officer for his squadron. After completing his Internal Medicine residency at the Gorgas Ancon Hospital, Canal Zone and at University Hospital in Alabama, he became board qualified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Harsany has been the Regional Medical Director for the Riverside County Alcohol and Drug Programs since 1988. He has been named Fellow by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and is a certified Addictionist. Dr. Harsany serves as the Medical Director of several medical facilities and has been the Associate Medical Director at Hemet Valley Recovery Center since 2001. He also maintains a busy internal medicine private practice with an emphasis on Geriatrics and Addiction Medicine.
Sanyasi Ganta, MD
Elizabeth A. Schneider, JD
Vice President, Finance
Elizabeth Schneider joined Addiction Medicine Services in 2010.
As Vice President, Finance, Ms. Schneider is responsible for all financial planning, reporting and treasury functions. Prior to joining Addiction Medicine Services Inc (AMS), Elizabeth served as Vice President of Finance and Administration at a California-based nonprofit for 7 years. She brings 3 years of legal experience to AMS, beginning her career with Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, LLP, where she practiced corporate law. Since 2008, Elizabeth has been an independent consultant advising clients on legal compliance and financial management, including corporate structures, tax management and accounting policies.
Elizabeth received her law degree from the UCLA School of Law and a B.A. in International Business Management at Dominican University. Most recently she completed post-graduate work for her Public Accounting Certification. She is admitted to practice law in California, New York and numerous federal courts. Elizabeth prides herself on reaching out to the less fortunate and traveling the globe, one country at a time.
Director of Business
Patricia Bellard has been with Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for 10 years as the Director of Business Services. She has also been instrumental in the development of Intake and Admission Services, Accounts Receivables, and contracting negotiations. Involved in the healthcare industry for over 45 years, Patricia previously worked for Tenet Corporation as a Business Office Manager for their seven local hospitals, and prior to that she was a Business Office Manager for Summit Corporation. Patricia began her career at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier.
Rosemary Gauthier, LVN
Director of Utilization Review
Rosemary has been with Hemet Valley Recovery Center since it's opening in 2001 as the Director of Utilization Review. Rosemary attended San Bernardino Valley College and received her nursing license in 1978. She began working with Chemically Dependent and Chronic Pain patients in 1991. Rosemary's deep passion for working with this population has motivated her to continue to specializing in the area of liaison between patients and insurance companies, obtaining authorization for care.
A.J. Sarrat, L.Ac.
A.J. Sarrat is a California Board certified licensed Acupuncturist and is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. With an interest in the Health Sciences and a background in Martial Arts, A.J. went on to complete the Pre-Med Curriculum at Indiana University. His training in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Exercise was later completed at Yo San University in Los Angeles. A.J. has recently returned from a successful 6 month venture educating and treating patients worldwide, involved with a revolutionary program pioneering Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in a state of the art clinic. A.J. is also a certified instructor of Qigong, which is a precursor to Tai Chi and is practiced worldwide for its preventative health benefits. Currently A.J. also maintains a private practice in Murrieta, CA.
Lisa McMillan, BS, RADT-I, CTRS
Lisa is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and received her Bachelor of Science in Recreation Therapy at San Diego State University. She has over 10 years experience in the field of Behavioral Medicine and 5 years in Chemical Dependency. She brings experience to the team including creative therapies, guided imagery, holistic therapies, chronic pain, and program development. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, Lisa integrates recreation therapy into the treatment process through education, expressive art and self-esteem building. She utilizes different modalities to inspire patients to laugh again and embrace life without the use of mind-altering substances. Additionally, Lisa facilitates specialty groups for the Chronic Pain Program and Holistic Therapy. These groups include education on alternative pain management strategies, guided imagery, relaxation and deep breathing, and educational aspects of eastern philosophy. Lisa recently developed a Volunteer Program which provides opportunities to those who complete the treatment program to begin re-building their foundation. This program encourages those in recovery to find their purpose, give back to others what they learned, develop self-awareness and build confidence.
Melinda Kuykendall, RN, BSN
Melinda graduated from San Diego State University in 2003 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She has been an integral part of the nursing team at Hemet Valley Recovery Center since 2008. Her ability to assess and manage complex medical issues is a result of many years of practice in an acute care hospital setting.
Midge McDonald, HHP
Holistic Health Practitioner
Midge graduated from the Body Mind College in San Diego, CA in 1993 as a Holistic Health Practitioner. She also holds certifications in Reiki, Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistics and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Affiliated for 7 years with the Chopra Center for Well Being as a seminar facilitator, Midge taught Meditation, Creating Health, and Balanced Well Being. She is also a certified Louise Hay Mind/ Body educator. Dedicating her life to helping others, Midge continues to assist individuals in accessing their own power to create positive change in their lives, release emotional blocks, and encourage self-healing. Within her holistic practice of balance in mind, body, and spirit, she teaches the practice of meditation as a powerful way to discover, express, and heal the inner self. Through her extensive knowledge and personal experience of alternative therapies, Midge able to empower a unique personal healing journey.
Ben Wahl, MSWI
Family Services Coordinator
Ben Wahl is the Family Services Coordinator at Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. He earned his Associate’s degrees in Social Behavioral Studies, Alcohol and Drug Studies and Certification in Counseling with Co-occurring Disorders in 2011. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology & Social Service, as well as his CADCII in 2013, and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work Degree at California State University San Bernardino, with completion scheduled for 2016. He has worked extensively with chemically dependent patients from young adult through older adult populations, and has provided intensive counseling for families of the chemically dependent as well. Ben also has extensive knowledge and understanding of the legalities and principles within the criminal justice system.
Bill Ferro, CADC-II
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Case Manager Coordinator
Bill joined the HVRC family in February 2015 with 9 years of experience in the field of Chemical Dependency Treatment. Bill is certified as a CADC –II and has been a California State Certified Counselor for 8 years. He has extensive experience working with adults, adolescents, special populations and their families, and has worked in various therapeutic settings including Detox, Outpatient and Residential Treatment.
Bill has also provided addiction education to communities, schools, families and student counselors in public and private sectors for the majority of his career, and continues to work with individuals and groups to help them better understand the disease of addiction. With his non-judgmental, patient, and empathetic approach, Bill continuously serves to encourage patients to reach their full potential.
Chris Jackson, CADC-II
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Chris has been a Counselor Case Manager at HVRC since 2009. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1973, where he received a top secret clearance and promotion to Radioman 3rd Class Petty Officer. After an honorable discharge in 1974, he relocated to Hemet CA. Chris started as a police dispatcher, and then was accepted into the California Highway Patrol academy. In 1981, he was appointed to Patrol Officer in Banning CA. After 13 years of services and in various different areas of California, Chris had become proficient in various aspects of the criminal justice system. After retiring, he returned to school and earned his certification in Alcohol and Drug Studies and started working in the field of chemical dependency in 2002. Being part Native American, Chris takes special pleasure in working with the Native America population, young adults and those who suffer with mental health challenges such as autism and childhood trauma. Currently certified as a CADC II, Chris’s future goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
John Cahill, CADC-II
Chemical Dependency Counselor
John Cahill joined the HVRC family in March of 2015. He is currently a CADC II certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, having received a Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Studies from Mount San Jacinto College in 2000 and a CAS Certification from the California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources in 2002. John has worked in the field of addiction recovery for 16 years and his passion for helping others with addictions stems from personal and family experience. He will be responsible for case management, crisis intervention, family education and group facilitation. John is also a professional musician and music teacher.
Ann Sizer, CADC-II, ICADC
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Ann Sizer joined the HVRC family in 2014 and is currently a CADAC-II, ICADC. Ann received her certificate in alcohol and drug studies through Mt. San Jacinto Community College in 2004. Ann completed her Bachelor’s degree in behavioral science in June 2015 through University of Phoenix. Ann is one of two case managers on Sage Retreat, where she maintains the structured daily schedule of groups, one to one counseling sessions, and much more. Ann’s passion for helping others with addictions stems from personal and family experience. Ann is responsible for case management, crisis intervention, patient and family education, and group facilitation. Ann’s goal is to continue her education to obtain a PsyD in forensic psychology.
James Vermillion, CADC-I
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Starting at Hemet Valley Recovery Center in October, 2014, James holds an AA degree in Behavioral and Social Science, BA in Ministry and is an accredited CADC-I Alcohol and Drug Counseling. James uses a combination of life experience, professional knowledge and unconditional compassion to bring about cognitive and behavior changes in those suffering from the disease of addiction. Believing in the therapeutic avenues of music James also uses his talent as an accomplished guitar player and singer to provide an additional means of support, encouragement and healing for all he has the privilege to work with.
Kaelyn Doyle CATC-II
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Kaelyn Doyle joined Hemet Valley Recover Center as a per diem Chemical Dependency Counselor in July 2015, became our Recovery Residence Coordinator in January 2016 and since has been promoted to Case manager/ Counselor on our detox unit. She has always been driven by the desire to help others overcome obstacles and learn to utilize their hardships as a means to finding a pathway to peace. She received her Associate’s Degree in Human Services, as well as in Liberal Arts from San Bernardino Valley College in Spring 2015, and previously studied Fine Art at the City College of San Francisco. While at SBVC she served as President of the human rights organization All of Us or None, working diligently to reduce the stigma and barriers that commonly face the formally incarcerated population. She is currently certified as a CATC-II with California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE). As a Case Manager she works closely with our Detox and Outpatients ensuring a safe and therapeutic experience. Kaelyn is responsible for case management, crisis intervention, patient and family education, and group facilitation. She also serves as the HVRC Alumni liaison, providing her strength, wisdom and support to the ongoing recovery process of former patients.
Sylvia Dobrow, B.S., MPH, A.B.D
Chemical Dependency Counselor
Sylvia Dobrow has a Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree is Public Health from the University of California, Berkley. As a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Sacramento Center for Public Administration, she received her ABD in Health Science Administration and Human Resources in 1993. Sylvia worked for over 30 years in the field of Hospital Management and Staff Education. As a master educator, she has provided consultation and workshops on conflict management, change, stress and management skills. In 2010, at 75 years old, Sylvia returned to school to earn her certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies from the University of the Pacific, Stockton CA. She served her Drug Counselors internship at Hemet Valley Recovery Center and presently, is an employee of HVRC as a Chemical Dependency Counselor, specializing in Chemical Dependency of Older Adults. Her future goals are to obtain her CADAC certification.
Admissions & Marketing Consultant
Deb joined HVRC in 2009 and brings with her 23 years of experience in the addiction field. Her extensive experience in both admissions and business development define her role at Hemet in overseeing both the intake and outreach efforts, to assure a smooth process for both the patient and the referral. Deb started her career on the East Coast at the Caron Foundation and moved to California 5 years ago. For 10 years prior to joining Hemet Valley Recovery Center, Deb was an independent consultant in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Admissions & Assessment Manager
Esther has been with Hemet Valley Recovery Center since 2008, having over 16 years of experience in the field of Chemical Dependency. She has a diverse background both clinically and administratively. Esther received a Certificate of Achievement in Addiction Studies at San Diego City College and has been a certified CADCII since 2002. Her counseling experience prepared her to work as the lead case manager for Mental Health Systems Parolee Partnership Program, a Program Manager for McAlister Institutes North Coastal Regional Recovery Center and Kiva Women and Children’s residential program in San Diego California. Esther’s extensive knowledge in Crisis Intervention has helped her motivate many individuals suffering from substance abuse issues take the first steps towards healing.
Shannon Johnson, LVN
Shannon is a licensed Vocational Nurse and has been with Hemet Valley Recovery Center since 2009. She obtained her LVN license in 2002. Shannon has experience in Chemical Dependency, Adolescents with Eating Disorders and Geriatrics. She is currently part of HVRC & Sage Retreats admissions and assessment team.
Melissa Zagaceta, LVN
Admissions & Assessment Nurse
Melissa is a Licensed Vocational Nurse and has been part of the Hemet Valley Recovery team since 2012. She has studied at Crafton Hills College as well as Beaumont Adult School. She obtained her LVN license in 2012. Melissa has experience in Chemical Dependency and is working toward her RN license. She is currently part of the HVRC & Sage Retreat Admissions and Assessment team.
Whitney Aguilar, LVN
Admissions & Assessment Nurse
Whitney has been part of the Hemet Valley Recovery Center team since obtaining her LVN license in 2012. She started working on the Detox Unit as a floor nurse then transferred to the Admissions Department as an Admissions and Assessment nurse. Whitney studied at Mt San Jacinto College as well as Beaumont Adult School, and is working toward her RN license.
Emily joined HVRC in 2014 as the Insurance Verifier. Emily brings with her over 3 years of experience in the addiction field having previously worked for a local substance abuse treatment program. She also shares her 12 years of administrative & customer service experience as a member of the intake/admissions department.
Vanessa Ramirez, A.S., M.A.Cert.
Administrative Assistant / Admissions / Insurance Verifier
Vanessa came to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat in 2011 with five years of customer service and Administrative support. During her first year she served as Unit Secretary/Medical Assistant supporting our busy nursing station on the Medical Unit. She was recently promoted to the Admissions Department where she continues to provide excellent patient care and administrative support. Vanessa has taken her GE courses at La Sierra University/Loma Linda University and will be continuing her education to receive her B.S. in Health Care Administration.
Stephanie Bush, BS
Staffing Coordinator / Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Bush joined Hemet Valley Recovery Center in early 2008. Resourceful and well organized, Stephanie serves as the liaison to all clinical and administrative departments, and is responsible for the organization of Performance Improvement and Human Resources functions, as well as administrative support to senior leadership. With a background in the Human Resources field since 2004, she has attended classes at California State University at San Bernardino to receive her Human Resources Management Certificate. She is a graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors Degree in Management Science, and will graduate with an MBA in the Fall of 2012.
Darrel Pritchard studied at the University of California, Berkeley (1995-1999) and is currently pursuing a degree in Registered Nursing. As an employee of Hemet Valley Recovery Center since 2013, he has also worked in transportation and sober living management. He currently provides support to counseling staff in medical aspects of treatment for patients at Sage Retreat.
We would especially like to thank our dedicated nursing staff here at Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. It is because of these unique and compassionate individuals we are able to provide such exceptional patient care in our California addiction hospital. Thank you Tracy, Barb, Penny, Sharon, Tricia Greg, Sangeeta, Sophia, Teresa, Tiana, Jace, Gabbie, Triza, Micheale, Abagail, Cristy, Whitney, Aspen, Jackie, Blanca, Leonor, Josie, Rachelle, Sabrina, Deysi, Desiree, Laura E, Chanae, Steve, Sherry, Rosemary & Melinda Barbara for everything that you do!
For further information on our California drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, please call our Admissions & Assessment Department at:
951-765-4903 or 866-273-0868