Dr. John G. Gardin II, PhD – Clinical Director
With more than 40 years in behavioral health care, Dr. John Gardin possesses a unique background, blending clinical, administrative and research experiences. A recognized expert in the treatment of addictive and co-occurring disorders, as well as integrated care and behavioral healthcare management, he has consulted with programs throughout North America and Europe, and has given countless seminars and workshops on clinical and management issues.
He is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Oregon and California and has written and/or co-authored numerous peer reviewed journal and magazine articles. Dr. Gardin, along with Dr. Drew Pinsky and others, helped co-author, “When Painkillers Become Dangerous” and a workbook on spiritual development, “The Way: A Workbook”. He is an Affiliated Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University Medical School and a Credentialed Health Service Psychologist with the National Register. Dr. Gardin talks regularly at local Christian churches in Douglas County, is a long-time practitioner of martial arts, and an avid motorcyclist.
He and his wife their free time on the North Umpqua River, where they have been known to catch a fish or two, and their five children and nine grandchildren are scattered up and down the West Coast – just close enough for Nana and Poppi to spoil at will.
Dr. Geoffrey A. Booth, MD
After earning a B.A. in psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, Geoffrey Booth attended New York Medical College. He completed his internship and residency at UCLA Olive View Medical Center.
He first went into private practice where he had a nationwide referral base for patients suffering from difficult to treat diagnoses. Later, as the chief medical officer for three large urban federally qualified health centers, he dedicated several years to providing medical services to the poor and uninsured. His responsibilities included supervising the alcohol and drug and behavioral health departments.
Over the years, he has treated thousands of people struggling with addiction. He now dedicates most of his clinical time to providing medical detoxification to clients and helping them to establish the foundation for long-term sobriety.
Dr. Levander – Psychiatrist
Dr. Levander is a board certified psychiatrist and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association specializing in medical and psychotherapeutic treatment for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety spectrum disorders, ADD psychosis and chemical dependency.
Dr. Levander attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and holds a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley. He is presently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and maintains a private practice. Dr. Levander uses a variety of approaches to create a personalized treatment program for each patient.
Years of clinical experience have enabled him to find the right combination of either medication management and/or therapy to give patients new tools to lead better lives and find new ways too access and mobilize their own innate healing capabilities.
Hillary Hodgson, M.A., L.M.F.T. – Therapist
Hillary has a rich background in mental health and social work. She has spent the past 17 years in a variety of facilities and situations, including hospitals and treatment centers where her warm and welcoming nature has served her patients well, just as they do here at Recovery Guild.
She was the Program Director for a Mental Health and Dual Diagnosis residential and outpatient program in Pasadena where she provided supervision and direction for the clinical staff. She was also a Psychiatric Social Work & Clinician at a 90-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital working with patients and their families on depressive disorders, dual diagnosis, and other psychosocial needs. She was also a teaching and research assistant for a therapeutic school associated with an 80-bed treatment center for children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges.
Hillary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Psychology with honors from Azusa Pacific University in California. She has two cats named Pepper and Rorschach.
Samantha Palmatier – Lead Case
Samantha is one of those people that everyone gravitates to. She sees challenges as opportunities for growth. As someone who suffered from addiction herself before getting clean, she is passionate about treatment and making a difference in the lives of those who come to Recovery Guild.
She completed the courses in addiction studies to become a case manager and has been a breath work facilitator for two years. Sam loves listening to music and searching for new artists and could not survive without Chapstick.
Chris Funk – Case Manager
Having spent 20 plus years as an active drug addict before finally getting into recovery, Chris walks the walk and talks the talk. He’s been there. He is a CAADAC intern and he knows what the people who come to Recovery Guild are going through and what will help. And, because of his experience, he loves working with addicts and has an amazing talent for his job as a case manager. He is currently continuing his education in addiction studies.
Chris was born and raised here in the San Fernando Valley, is married, and spends a good part of his time and income on his true love – a tricked out 1962 Mercury Monterey lowrider.
Joey Keenan – Case Manager
Having cut his teeth at one of Los Angele’s premiere nonprofit treatment centers, Cri-Help, as a detox technician, Joey has spent the last several years continuing his education in addiction studies and is a certified addiction treatment counselor.
Joey grew up here in the San Fernando Valley, is married with two kids (one of each type), loves riding his Harley and deep sea fishing.
Hannah Arnush – Phlebotomist/Tech
Hannah has lived in the San Fernando Valley her entire life. She has an Associate Degree in social and behavioral science, attended Santa Monica College as a nursing student and is a Certified (CPT1) Phlebotomy Technician. She has two dogs (Ziggy Stardust and Pickle), an African Grey parrot named Shuka and cannot live without Spearmint 5 gum.
Jennifer Kassin – Tech
Following her own experiences with addiction, Jennifer has spent many years working in the addiction treatment field in a variety of places and positions. She’s worked in an outpatient Suboxone program, then for a network of sober living homes and The Teen Project’s Freehab as a tech in a transformation center for homeless young women suffering from addiction and who were often victims of domestic abuse.
Jennifer is an RADT certified tech qualified in CPR, first aid and water safety who also likes punk rock shows, paint ball shooting, hikes, and BBQ’s.
Leslie Halks – Tech
Leslie is originally from San Antonio, TX, but recently relocated to Los Angeles. She has two boys, Jackson (6) and Grayson (5), and lives with her husband and children here in Valley Village. She has been sober from drugs and alcohol, working an active program of recovery, since April 23, 2013.
Before coming to Los Angeles and Recovery Guild, she spent 3 years at Soba Texas overseeing their sober living program on the weekends. She is finishing undergraduate studies in Theology and Religion and will begin the Masters program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena next year. She was also a classically trained dancer and spent 5 years as a member of a semi-professional dance company in Texas.
She says she enjoys working in recovery, as it allows her to share her experience, strength, and hope with other struggling addicts, and to pass on the gifts of health and happiness that were so freely given to her.
Matthew Clift – Tech
Matthew was born and raised in Rockland County, New York. He trained to become an auto mechanic but addiction got in the way. After years of struggling he finally decided to come out to California and change his life for good.
Since getting clean Matt has been a halfway house manager and then a tech here at Recovery Guild. His hobbies include outdoor activities, music and sports and his best friend Brody, a Jack Russell Terrier/Labrador mix.
Derrick Estifanos – Overnight Tech
Derrick is a native of Ethiopia and has lived in Los Angeles since 1992. Since 2015 Derrick has been working for residential treatment facilities and a non-profit domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles. His bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led him to several volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles.
Derrick received his Bachelor of Art in Psychology at California State University, Northridge, and is in the process of obtaining a graduate degree in social work. In his spare time, Derrick is active in fund raising activities for non-profit organizations, running, hiking, biking and mentoring young adults.
Shyrie Womack – Tech
Shyrie has been a substance abuse counselor and case manager since 2006, working previously at some of Los Angele’s well respected treatment centers before joining us at Recovery Guild. She has a no-nonsense approach to her work but is still very caring and supportive. She considers herself spiritual and is grateful for the life she has and likes to help those in need.
Shyrie has two children and her favorite pastime is spending time with them at amusement parks, the beach, bowling… pretty much anywhere.
David Brosky – Tech
Dave is one of those stalwart kind of guys you can always depend on. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Dave grew up in the North Hollywood area and is currently enrolled in college in the Addiction Studies Program with the goal of attaining a Master in Psychology. He loves pizza and music and is also an incredible artist. Oils and acrylics are his medium of choice.
Ruben Villegas – Tech
Ruben was born in Napa Valley but grew up here in the San Fernando Valley. He is another of those dependable people with broad shoulders who is always ready to help. He has vast experience as a resident adviser and detox tech in treatment centers prior to joining us at Recovery Guild. He continued his education in Addiction Studies at Pierce College.
Ruben has a little girl, three years old, that seems to pretty much have him wrapped around her little finger.
Nathan Pughe L.Ac. – Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture
Nathan is a California Board licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist. He graduated from Emperors College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, Summa Cum laude, with a Masters Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine. In 2010, Prior to becoming an acupuncturist, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University Northridge with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology, where he focused on rehabilitative exercise.
From 1996-2002, Nathan served nearly six years as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army. During his service, he sustained a life changing low back injury. It was during his physical rehabilitation that he discovered acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine as a means to manage his pain and speed up his recovery process.
His daily goal as a health care practitioner is to provide the highest quality healthcare by creating an environment dedicated to promoting change, while inspiring his patients to achieve optimum levels of health and wellbeing through making positive life choices and pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle.
Eva Monarrez – Yoga
Eva joined The Recovery Guild in 2017. She is owner of Heal and Soul Yoga studio in Encino, founded in 2010. Eva began teaching yoga to those is crisis and trauma as a healing modality to practice the power of self regulation through your breath and through your conscious perspective. Eva continues to work with anyone willing to heal naturally through there own inner guidance and strength of focus. She works with all levels of chronic disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, and more.
Self acceptance is where we begin and is where her teaching of yoga for autism is an understanding the tools that help the brain such as body movement and practice of breath.
SUPPORT AND ADMIN STAFF
Dean Kraemer – Chief Operating Officer
Dean spent 20 years as a top creative talent on Madison Avenue before coming out to Los Angeles to work in the television business. He was also briefly a creative director at Atlantic Records. He segued into the addiction treatment business starting in 2006 when a private client asked him to help a friend who owned a treatment center. One thing led to another and before long he was working solely in the business end of the addiction treatment field.
He has a wife and two kids and enjoys playing guitar very loudly, with a preference for the blues.
Michael Chase – Director of Administrative Services
Michael grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Notre Dame high school in Sherman Oaks. Prior to The Recovery Guild he worked in real estate and the hospitality business and is currently attending UCLA. He’s also done volunteer work on Skid Row passing out food and clothing. He is passionate about the Lakers, Dodgers and the Falcons.
His hobbies include eating, and not just for survival either. Candy seems to be a particular weakness judging by his office.
Robert Kokas – Director of Admission
While in high school Robert sustained an injury for which he was prescribed pain medication and then ultimately became hooked. This led to a seven-year struggle with addiction until he finally went to treatment and got clean. Because of his experience he now finds it rewarding to help others suffering from addiction as well as their loved ones.
He has worked at several treatment facilities previously and is currently taking courses to become CAADAC II certified. Robert loves spending time with his significant other, Ashley, and their sons, Sam, Seth, Eli, Kurtis.
Luis Soto – Executive Chef
Luis was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and apparently he was born to cook because he’s really good at it. He holds degrees for both cooking and business administration and is certified by the National Restaurant Association and the state of California.
He has been an executive chef for over 10 years and makes an Osso Buco that’s to die for. Luis has three daughters and is about to become a grandfather for the first time. His hobby is…cooking.