Dr. Venice Sanchez, M.D., Medical Director Dr. Sanchez is a Board Certified Psychiatrist who received her Bachelor of Science degree from the UCLA, Medical Degree from Michigan State University, and Psychiatry Residency training at UCI Medical Center. Her primary focus is mood and thought imbalances and how to enable patients to regain control over their lives and successfully deal with their addictions. Dr. Sanchez works with all psychiatric diagnoses, but specializes in detox and rehab care, dual diagnoses, and PTSD.
Dr. Christine Curtis, Executive Clinical Director Dr. Christine Curtis is the Executive Director of Akua Mind and Body in Sacramento, CA. She has a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and has worked in the field of Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment for over 15 years. She has experience in a wide variety of clinical settings, including acute care hospitals, outpatient programs, and managed care. Dr. Curtis also serves as adjunct faculty for the graduate psychology programs at both The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and The University of Phoenix.
Lauren Cabaldon, Clinical Director Lauren is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern and serves as Akua’s Program Director and the Director of KOA’s Men’s Residential Program. Lauren secured a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and also has extensive experience working in the addiction treatment industry. Lauren is passionate about helping clients get in touch with their spiritual selves and believes strongly in the power of community to promote healing and growth of the mind, body, and spirit.
Shannon Hybl, Program Director – LANI Women’s Residential Shannon is a MFT intern. She graduated from Vanguard University with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Shannon is passionate about empowering individuals to find healing and restoration. “There is nothing more rewarding than to be invited into someone’s pain and to watch them grow and experience the freedom from their bondages,” she says. Shannon also specializes in dealing with people struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety and relational issues.
Eaman Saddaifard, Program Director – Detox MAHALO & ALOHA Eaman is the Director of Detox at Akua. He brings over six years of experience in substance abuse treatment to his position. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, with an emphasis in philosophy of psychology and phenomenology of addiction, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. Eaman is passionate about helping those who struggle with addiction and wish to transform their lives through successful recovery.
Kari Penso, Program Director – OHANA Intensive Outpatient Program Kari is a Certified Addiction Specialist who is dedicated to helping all who seek recovery find the courage to fight their addiction. With a Master’s Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University, Kari brings over twenty years of teaching experience to her various roles in addiction treatment. Passionate about 12 Step recovery, Kari employs a no-nonsense approach to the realities of addiction while sharing her deep respect and compassion for those embarking on their life-changing journey.
Terrah Osborne, Associate Director – Detox MAHALO & ALOHA Terrah obtained her license in Vocational Nursing from Northwest College. She has clinical experience in a variety of specialties, including psychiatric/mental health, surgical, pediatric, gastrointestinal, and community health care, and plans to further her education to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Her ultimate goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner. Terrah’s medical capability and caring approach make clients feel personally cared for and safe as she nurtures them towards their recovery.
Kevin Woolums, Program Therapist – KOA Men’s Residential Kevin received his Master’s degree in MFT at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is currently working on his PhD in Depth Psychology at the Pacifica Graduate Institute. With over eight years of experience working in youth, crisis, family, and addiction treatment, Kevin emphasizes an existential and depth psychological orientation designed to strengthen the self-concept and empower clients to experience transformation. His approach is both practical and suitable for people with different conditions.
Kristen Torp, Program Therapist Kristen is a MFT Registered Intern and a Practitioner of Clinical Counseling Registered Intern. She received both her BA and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in MFT) from Azusa Pacific University. Kristen also completed the coursework for the Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling at CSUDH and utilizes the Humanistic and Existential models of therapy and a holistic approach. She is passionate about the holistic approach to recovery from addiction.
Jennifer Newman, Program Therapist Jennifer is a registered MFT intern who had graduated in Clinical Psychology. She is a holistic health coach and has received additional training in Trauma Focused Yoga. Her focus in working with clients is mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. She feels that addiction is best addressed for a person and a group through individual therapy. She comes from a mindfulness and vipassana meditation background and leads meditation groups across all our locations.
Rachel Eckes, Program Therapist Rachel is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (MFTI) and received her Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach. Rachel is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and completed her 200-hour yoga teaching training program from Cloud Nine Yoga. Rachel is also trained in Trauma-Informed Yoga and Yin Yoga. Rachel uses mindfulness-based concepts to inspire clients to maintain a calm, open mind, allowing them to explore their thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations with curiosity rather than judgment. Rachel’s ultimate goal is helping clients rebuild their self-esteem, allowing themselves to succeed and reach their true potential.
Jeanine Bogart, Trauma Therapist Jeanine received her Master’s of Science in Counseling (Marriage and Family Therapy) from Grand Canyon University. Jeanine has been actively supporting and encouraging clients struggling with trauma and addiction at several therapy and treatment centers in the Sacramento area offering individual, couples, family, and group therapy. Jeanine has pursued additional training in trauma release, addiction recovery, and emotional healing modalities including; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Feeling State Addiction Protocol (FSAP), Brainspotting, Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM), Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), Heart Centered Therapy (HCT), and Reiki Energy Healing. Janine’s deepest desire is to assist her clients as they uncover and rediscover their deepest truths and strengths to live a life.
Sam Seaton, Clinical Therapist Samantha is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, who specializes in addiction, eating disorders, and relationships. She comes from a depth psychology orientation, using image and dream-work along with relational work to help clients find their truest selves. She believes one’s symptoms and addictions can be their greatest guide to healing if they are brave enough to face them. Her approach leads her to deliver an experience that is longer-lasting and has a profound impact.
Christina Milucky, Clinical Therapist Christina is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Case Manager, and MFT Intern. She earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. For the past six years, Christina has worked in both residential and outpatient facilities helping countless individuals, couples, and families, find their own path in the recovery process. Christina currently works at a private practice and also facilitates several groups focused on relapse prevention and the recovery process.
Brandon Joffe, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Brandon began his career with addiction counseling at the Substance Abuse Foundation in 2001. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Brandon deals with addiction issues, eating disorders, anger management problems, and significant mental health disorders. He has developed Inspired Resolutions, a center dedicated to families and teens. His dedication towards the integration of fitness, nutrition, and mental/physical health allows his clients to take ownership of their life goals and develop a spiritual approach to recovery.
Jordin Tate, Case Manager Jordin discovered a passion for working in the addiction field as a result of a personal experience in 2011. After earning her CADC, Jordin began helping women understand the issues that surround the cycle of addiction, such as self-esteem, body image, healthy relationships, and communication. Some of the women struggling with such issues have a history of abuse. She is committed to helping women transform into their authentic selves and create a fulfilling life of recovery.
Erika Ball, Case Manager Erika Ball is a Case Manager at the Ohana IOP at Akua. She received her Certification in Substance Abuse and Addictions in 2014 and her Bachelor’s in Human Services in 2016. She completed the coursework for her CADC at New Creation College. Erika is an active member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Orange County. She is passionate about raising awareness on mental health and addictions and helping eliminate the stigma attached to it.
Leslie Chappelle, Case Manager Leslie is the Case Manager at Akua’s Detox program. She has been working in the field of recovery since 2010 and brings with her years of experience helping struggling addicts and alcoholics take their first steps toward a new way of life. Leslie is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor and is passionate about supporting and encouraging Akua clients while they work toward a healthy and happy future in recovery.
Donald Byrd, Case Manager Donald Byrd is a case manager for Akua men’s residential program. He graduated from Western New Mexico University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Donald is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Social Work, and is set to finish his degree August of 2017. He discovered a passion working in the field of addiction in 2015 as a group facilitator. Donald facilitated groups to those who were incarcerated, and this population struggled with substance abuse and coping skills. His goal is to empower clients to change their lives, and help them live a purposeful life through recovery.
Dena Santos, Case Manager Over the twelve years that Dena Santos has been working in the treatment field, she has gained experience in both the clinical and administrative areas of care and a variety of modalities. Dena entered the substance use disorder treatment field as a certified counselor working with women suffering from substance abuse. Dena went on to be the director of a 6-bed residential detox program treating clients with acutely co-occurring medical and mental health issues. Dena’s passion is working one-on-one with clients by building exceptional treatment plans that support individual client care.
Gina Zulegar, Licensed Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist Gina, a voracious researcher and persistent academic, is both an educator and healer. Through the use of acupuncture, herbs, nutritional supplements, and dietary suggestions, Gina helps clients work through the recovery process and the wide variety of imbalances associated with it, particularly digestive issues, pain, sleep difficulties, hormonal dysfunction, and stress management. This treatment plan also includes massage therapy, which is a powerful technique to speed up recovery.
Tami Broderick, Registered Dietician Tami earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Administration from CSULB. Her expertise is in the areas of nutrition as it relates to mental health and addiction, weight loss, food sensitivities, sports nutrition, and disease management with an emphasis on diabetes care. She worked as a dietician at the Sports Club/LA in Orange County for several years, followed by private practice for over 10 years. She keeps herself updated with cutting edge research in this field.
Elizabeth Irving, Group Facilitator Elizabeth is a Certified Yoga instructor and a Reiki II Practitioner with experience in addiction recovery. She believes that mindfulness is the key to understanding one’s self and paving a path through recovery that is authentic and sustainable. Elizabeth loves to blend science and spirituality in her holistic approach to mindfulness meditation, and believes that people’s capacity to heal one another with open hearts and open minds is the greatest miracle there is.