Clinical Staff Members
Dr. Albert Castellon, M.D., Medical Director
Albert Castellon, MD received his medical degree in 1998 at Escuela Autonoma De Ciencias Medicas De Centro America and completed his residency in Psychiatry at Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami in 2004. Since then he has provided services to the impoverished patients of Broward County at Broward Health facilities, maintains privileges at three local medical centers, provides outpatient services in private practice and serves as the Chairman of the Psychiatric Department of BGMC since 2007. His commitment to meeting the needs of Florida House’s patients is unrelenting. His work with the less fortunate has strengthened his resolve to assist his patients at Florida House in every manner at his disposal.
Cesar L. Benarroche, M.D., FAPA, ABAM
Dr. Benaroche is board certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Benarroche has over 25 years of experience in psychopharmacology, evidence based psychotherapies, teaching, and clinical research. He is presently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Biomedical Science at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University and the psychiatric consultant to the Student Counseling Centers at FAU and Lynn Universities. Dr. Benarroche received his medical degress at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He completed his residence in psychiatry at the Univerity of Rochester and was a facultur member at th aYale University;s Department of Psychiatry for nine years. His clinical research focus and interests have centered on the neurobiology and treatment of anxiety, compulsive, and co-occurring disorders. Dr. Benarroche is a member of the medical staffs at Delray Medical Center; Fair Oaks Pavilion and Boca Regional Hospital He also developed, led and supervised a successful residential program for the treatment of complex, treatment refractory patients with co-occurring disorders over the past thirteen years and was an integral member and participant of their family program. Dr. Benarroche has ben in private practice in Boca Raton since 1991. As Director of Speciality Training at The Florida House Dr. Benarroche is developing evidence-based specialty tracks for patients with a history of trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder.
Jennifer has worked in the field of chemical dependency for more than 11 years. She has a BA in psychology from Hood College in Frederick, MD and a Master’s Degree is Social Work from New York University. Jennifer is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and began her career in New York City as a therapist and family therapist at The Phoenix House Foundation. She worked in private practice for addicted adolescents and their families on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and spoke at many of the area’s private and public schools in order to raise awareness about the growing epidemic of adolescent addiction. Jennifer is currently working on obtaining her certification as an eating disorder specialist and is member of the International Association of Eating Disorders. Jennifer believes that through developing a trusting and understanding rapport with her patients and their families she is better able to confront relevant issues and trust, thus increasing the possibility for significant change.
Ed Weber, Director of Specialty Services – LCSW, BCD, CAP
Mr. Weber has worked in the addiction treatment field since 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Studies from Empire State College in New York, as well as a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University in New York. Mr. Weber is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and a Florida Licensed Certified Social Worker. He is also a Certified Addiction Professional in the state of Florida. Mr. Weber specializes in dual diagnosis, crisis intervention, as well as family work. As Sunlight Recovery’s Director of Professional Programs, Mr. Weber utilizes his past administrative and clinical experiences to enhance, energize and improve the quality of care being provided within our program.
Garret Muldoon, Counselor/Spiritual Advisor
Mr. Muldoon has decades of experience working in numerous levels and areas of the healthcare system. He has been employed in psychiatric treatment settings as well as medical/surgical environments. He has been an instrumental force in this field and provided guidance and leadership in faith-based chemical addiction treatment centers in South Florida. His professional endeavors have yielded great success and his roles and responsibilities have included that of a counselor and program director. He has worked closely with individuals within the court system and clients in the re-entry program from the Department of Corrections. Garrett’s passions include the ministry and he is an ordained pastor and spiritual mentor. He is also an avid writer and has received acclaim as a public speaker.
James J. Nicholson, Therapist – LMHC, CAC, Certified Hypnotherapist and Neurolinguistic Practitioner
Mr. Nicholson has worked in the field of addiction and mental health for over thirty-five years. He has worked in most areas of addiction treatment, including private practice. He holds a Master’s Degree from New York Institute of Technology and has completed post-graduate work in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Jimmy is trained in hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming, transcendental meditation and transactional analysis. He has an unique approach to his work and prefers cognitive therapy that supports the Sunlight Recovery Mission and the need to address patient’s negative thinking. His experience has afforded him the opportunity to work at some of the nation’s premier treatment facilities where his dedication and commitment has always been a valued asset. He has also had the privilege of working with many noted pioneers in the field of addiction counseling and his effectiveness as a therapist, as well as his experience in program development, brings him to the Florida House Experience where he is a great asset to our team.
Joan M. Duncan, Therapist – MSW
A veteran of over 31 years in the field of Chemical Dependency and Mental Health, Ms. Duncan is a graduate of Hunter College in New York City and Hunter College School of Social Work where she obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work. She entered the field of chemical dependency in 1978 in an entry level capacity at Phoenix House in New York. There, Ms. Duncan received training in both Structural and Strategic Family Therapy and the relationship of family patterns, dynamics and dysfunction to addiction and the recovery process. She progressed to the level of Program Director by the time she left in 1985 to take a position as the Director of Family Therapy at a New Jersey treatment program (Monmouth Chemical Dependency Treatment Center). At Monmouth, she developed and implemented one of the first residential programs for family members of patients in treatment. At the same time, Joan became an associate at The Institute for Counseling and Training (9 years). The Institute of Counseling and Training, founded by Dr. Janet G. Woititz, a leader in the ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) movement, provided traditional therapy not only for ACOA’s and recovering addicts/alcoholics but also individuals, couples and families. Ms. Duncan served as the program director for Comprehensive Family Health Services, a new agency providing services to individuals and families affected by Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. In conjunction with the Bergen County Council on Alcoholism and Addiction and The Bergen County Special Services District, she worked with emotionally disturbed adolescents and their families. After relocating to Florida in 1999, Ms. Duncan returned to primary care for chemical dependency and has worked as both a clinician and program director for several programs.
Dina Sagarese, Primary Therapist, BA, MS (IMT 1347)
Ms. Sagarese holds a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Joseph’s College in New York, specializing in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree from Nova South Eastern University in Florida in Marriage and Family Therapy. She began her career as the owner and director of the Davie Playschool in Davie, Florida where she had the opportunity to effect the lives of numerous preschool children and their families. While working in the field of education for 13 years, Dina identified that in order to better serve the child she had to understand the family system. Upon Graduating with her Master’s Degree, Ms. Sagarese transitioned into the field of therapy with a concentration on drug and alcohol addiction and family dynamics. She has joined the Florida House Experience team and is an essential member of our team. Her wisdom, compassion, and commitment to understanding her patients and their families creates an environment that can successfully guide their collective recovery process.
Donnell Neal, CAC, Director of Support Services
With over ten years of experience in the addiction treatment field, Mr. Neal’s interactions with patients exude the passion he has for helping them find hope and success in recovery. As a Certified Addictions Counselor with a degree in Psychology, he has worked as a resident manager, case manager, and group facilitator throughout his career. Mr. Neal skillfully assists the team to help stabilize the community living environment as the Director of Support Services. His clinical and administrative experiences provide direction and focus to the support staff. Mr. Neal’s energy, integrity and professionalism have set the direction for the resident managers in terms of continuous improvement and growth to assure quality patient care at The Florida House.
Laurie Kupersmith, BA, MSN, ANP-BC,
Laurie Kupersmith, BA, MSN, ANP-BC trained at Baruch College-CUNY and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. Early in her career, she served Broward County’s Community Mental Health Centers to provide guidance and support to dually diagnosed mental health patients as they reintegrated into the community. In 2001 Ms. Kupersmith continued her career in the Emergency Department and continued to treat patients with healthcare disparities in more critical settings. She joined the Florida House Team to contribute her expertise in medical, addiction and mental health treatment. She ensures that clients medical needs are evaluated on an individual basis from an advanced practice nursing perspective. Laurie takes special consideration in developing medical treatment plans to compliment the recovering person, and educating clients about therapeutic lifestyle alternatives to enhance their potential for successful sobriety.
Charles Rose, Nurse
Charles has worked in the field of substance abuse and mental health for over ten years. He has been employed in a variety of functions working with individual crisis interventions and co-occurring disorders. With his 12 years of military service as a combat medic/nurse, he brings competency and skill with assessments, triage and coordination of medical care at Sunlight Recovery. Charles plays an integral role in our services. He coordinates psychiatric care, medication needs, and medical services to insure the utmost in quality care and ancillary services.
Ms. Kortiz has always had a passion for good health. Her father, a retired physician, always stated that without our good health, we cannot enjoy our lives. She has kept that passion by pursing her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition where she completed the requirements to become a Registered Dietitian at Western Illinois University.
Julianne then later pursed her Master’s in Nutrition, with an emphasis in exercise physiology from Finch University of Medical Sciences, Chicago, IL and moved to Chapel Hill, NC where she worked with the students at the University of North Carolina. Here she developed a protocol to work with the eating disorder patients by combining the efforts of a team approach with the staff physician and psychologist. She furthered her studies while in Chapel Hill, NC in food allergy and sensitivity by completing extensive work in this area, specialized for dietitians. She is a firm believer that “Nutrition is the Best Medicine” and should be the first choice in controlling a person’s health. Her field of practice involves patients with auto-immune diseases and mental health. Her counseling is practical and has had a tremendous impact on her patient’s lives. Julianne gives monthly lectures at Whole Foods, Boca Raton Arthritis Association, Florida Dietetic Association, Retirement Centers and other various local groups to spread the word on good nutrition. She is an active member with the American Dietetic Association, Florida Dietetic Association, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Nutrition in Complementary Care, SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition)
Wellness Spot Staff
Dr. Jennifer Broadwell , Director
In 2000, Dr. Broadwell completed her undergraduate degree in nursing in North Carolina. She went on to graduate with honors from the Southeast Institute of Oriental Medicine (AMC), where she studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese Herbology and Tui Na. In December 2010, she completed her certification as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist from the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). Jennifer has always been fascinated with medicine and healing. It is her mission to help heal patients by blending both Eastern and Western philosophies and techniques. She is committed to providing excellent and individualized care to each patient she works with.
Dr. Alexandra “Lexi” Merolla
Dr. Merolla was awarded her Doctor of Chiropractics degree from Palmer Chiropractic College Florida in Port Orange. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Biology. Dr. Merolla has enrolled in the Nutrition Diplomate program through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This post-graduate certification will prepare her to assess the clinical nutrition of patients, further understand the use and biochemistry of dietary supplements that aid in healing, and further her knowledge in the physiology of wellness. She has also concentrated on learning more about treating pregnant and post-partum women. Nutrition, women’s health, and pediatrics are some of her favorite areas of her work.
Dr. Merolla comes from a family of chiropractors in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has worked in her family’s chiropractic offices throughout her life, doing various duties and enjoyed the experiences thoroughly. Dr. Lexi decided to focus on nutrition, women’s health and pediatrics due to all the wonders she had seen in chiropractic and nutrition therapy. While working in her father’s offices, she saw women who were told they could not conceive eventually do just that and little children who were failing to thrive regain their strength, energy and appetite. Now, as a chiropractor she wants to help change lives, young and old, with holistic healing and the art of chiropractics. In her spare time she loves spending time with her boyfriend and loving dog, going to the beach and playing tennis.
Tracie Wallace, LMT
Ms. Wallace is a licensed Aesthetician, and a Sai Baba Reiki Master. ” I have found that helping others to feel better is the most rewarding career I could ever have! I love what I do and feel very blessed to have found my calling.”
She attended Central Ohio School of Massage, where after graduation she obtained her massage license with the Ohio State Medical Board. During her 14+ years as a massage therapist, she has had the pleasure of working with some of the top Surgeons, Medical Spas, and Day Spas in Ohio, New York, and Florida. While practicing in Ohio, she also had the privilege of working in the music industry for over 8 years. During this time she met many famous national artists from around the world and was also able to travel with them off and on. Ms. Wallace received her Aesthetician License from the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology. She has been a Aesthetician for 11+ years and also studied energy work with Rev. Florence Baquet Warren. She obtained master status in March 2002 and went on to become a Sai Baba Reiki Master in October of the same year.
Joanne Rodney, LMT
In 2007, Ms. Rodney graduated from The American Institute of Massage Therapy in Pompano Beach, Florida. Since then, she has operated a private mobile massage practice while also working in various settings ranging from rehabilitation centers and chiropractic offices to upscale day spas. Always conscious of the fact that each client has unique needs, be it chronic deep muscle pain, migraines or simply a desire to relax, she is mindful to remain totally focused on those needs throughout every massage session.A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Rodney grew up in New Jersey and served in the U.S. Army for ten years. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the military, she entered the Real Estate field as a property manager, where for fifteen years she worked in communities across the country from Colorado to Georgia. Shortly after arriving in Florida in 2001, she began receiving massages on a regular basis for painful migraines and lower back pains. She was so impressed with the improvements made by those massages that she was moved to consider making a career change. To that end, her massage style blends traditional Swedish Massage with Deep Tissue and Lomi-Lomi (Hawaiian-styled massage) techniques designed to provide deep relaxation in addition to treatment-oriented results.
Dr Nicole Garcia
Nicole Garcia, AP, DOM, is an Acupuncture Physician licensed by the State of Florida and holds a National Certification by the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). She completed her education and training at Acupuncture and Massage College in Miami, Fl. Her studies included specialized training in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Moxibustion / Heat Therapy, Cupping Therapy, Asian Body Work, Electro-Acupuncture and Nutritional Therapy. After her three year internship in the United States, Nicole furthered her education and pursued additional training at the Shu Guang Hosiptal in Shanghai, China in the departments of Acupuncture, Gynecology, Internal Medicine and Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage).
Heather Wright, CPT
Heather has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years. She has her national Personal Training Certification through ACE, along with a degree in Fitness and Nutrition from the International School of Correspondence. She has a diverse background ranging from sport specific training , strength training and weight management for all ages from adolescence to senior populations. Through her experience managing a faith based Sober House, Heather was inspired to help and encourage people in recovery to develop an active lifestyle and incorporate health and fitness into their daily lives.
Katheryne Alvarez, LMT
Katheryne is originally from Latacunga, Ecuador. She moved to Florida in 2003 with her husband and two young sons. After graduating from the Florida College of Natural Health in 2009, she worked in numerous spas, resorts and chiropractic offices where she specialized in painful conditions of the head, neck and shoulders. She enjoys working with people and takes a lot of pride in providing relaxation and pain relief to each of her clients.
Michele Fandino, LMT
Michele found her calling for massage therapy while doing volunteer work at Unity Church of Fort Lauderdale in 2008. In 2010 Michele graduated from the Florida College of Natural Health in Pompano Beach. She has been in practice in south Florida for over 2 years and is also an Usui Reiki Master.
Administrative Staff Members
Frank Donatucci, CAC, Director of Admissions
Frank Donatucci has been positively affecting the lives of both parents and their children in the community for over ten years. Mr. Donatucci plays a key role in coordinating admissions with the clinical team. He represents The Florida House Experience in the treatment community. Frank’s background in addiction assessment and marketing coupled with his commitment to recovery has fueled his successful implementation of The Florida House admissions team. Donatucci has found his niche in admissions and always makes himself available to welcome clients. Frank’s extensive experience coupled with his professional education in treating substance abuse problems makes him one of the leaders in the field of addiction treatment.
Peter Marinelli, Director of Sober Residences
Peter Marinelli has been sober for over 23 years and has dedicated his life to helping others recover from alcoholism and drug addiction. As an international circuit speaker, he has given hundreds of talks across the United States and Europe on subjects related to recovery. He has spoken at numerous treatment centers, universities and medical organizations to both suffers and clinicians alike. Mr. Maranelli has also been invited to speak for the National Council on Alcoholism and been a guest on talk radio (Afflicted and Affected) and done workshops on spiritual transformation for various religious organizations. He has spent the majority of his sobriety in the treatment field. His mission is to help addicts and alcoholics recover from their fatal illness.
Rose Cameron, Director of HR and Quality Assurance
Rose Cameron has worked in the field of addictions for twenty years. She holds a degree in Counseling Theory from Empire State University in New York. She is a Certified Addiction Professional in the State of New York, as well as a Certified Mental Health Professional in the State of Florida. As a therapist, she specializes in cultural and women’s issues. Rose has worked in the roles of therapist, program coordinator and administrator during her career.
As a Certified Professional in Human Resources, her administrative and management skills are currently utilized for staff recruitment and development. Her role as the Director of Quality Improvement and Human Resources enables her to coordinate the dynamic nature of continuous improvement at the Florida House Experience. Ms. Cameron is a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities and is an integral part of the accreditation process and one of the industry’s most knowledgeable and respected experts in the fields of rehabilitation and human services. Her dedication and discipline support and motivate the achievement of excellence here at Florida House.
Terra Preston, Quality Assurance Coordinator
Ms. Preston graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s of Health Services degree with a concentration in Healthcare Administration. She joined The Florida House Experience in 2010. Her background as a former Health Facility Evaluator with the State of Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has helped her to provide expertise in the areas of facility licensure and compliance. Ms. Preston continues to pursue her passion for knowledge that supports ongoing quality improvement at Florida House. Her engaging personality, enthusiasm and teamwork continue to be an asset to the Human Resources/Quality Assurance Department and the Florida House family at large.
Tim Roberto, CAC , Director of Public Relations
Tim Roberto has been a trusted member of the Florida House staff since his completion of treatment in 2007. Also a former Marine Corp veteran, he arrived at the Florida House April 17 seeking treatment and helped developed our Alumni Program to include weekly meetings, events, and volunteer opportunities. Since his involvement in the Florida House, our Alumni meetings have increased in size and efficiency enormously. Being a certified addiction counselor, Tim is also involved in inspiring hope in our clients. Tim has worked in every facet of the Florida House from maintenance to public relations. He is involved in the men’s community meeting and has developed a reputation for always bringing the message of optimism. Tim Roberto handles every aspect of public relations on the local and national level, and has been involved in setting up conventions for recovering addicts. He also conducts interventions and is readily available anytime a client is in need of a helping hand. Tim is a firm believer of continuing treatment and spreads this message whenever possible. Tim’s accepting personality and knowledge of addiction makes him an ideal match for our unique approach to drug and alcohol treatment.
Art Jacob, Admissions Coordinator
Art Jacob brings a broad range of leadership and supervision skills to his position as admissions coordinator. He has worked in the chemical dependency field since 1993 in a variety of roles. Mr. Jacob joined the Florida House Experience in 2004 and remains a committed, hardworking and loyal member of the team. His educational and supportive approach encourages the patient and the families who have been affected by another person’s chemical dependency, and recognizes the nature of addiction as a family disease. Mr. Jacob holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Fitness from Springfield College.
Soraya Ambroise, Utilization Review
Soraya has worked in the field of substance abuse and mental health for over thirteen years. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing. She has been employed in a variety of modalities working with individual crisis interventions and co-occurring disorders. She utilizes her competency and skill with assessments, triage and coordination of medical care at Sunlight Recovery. Soraya plays an integral part of our services. She coordinates psychiatric care, medication needs and medical services to ensure quality care and ancillary services. Soraya assists the admissions department and clinical team by working with insurance reviewers of managed care companies on behalf of the client. She is the hub of an ever-evolving array of quality services at Sunlight Recovery.
Raven Cameron, Office Manager
Raven Cameron comes to the Florida House Experience with over ten years of financial and accounting experience. Her expertise includes medical billing and areas related to accounts payable, accounts receivable, balance sheets, billing and general ledgers. In addition to her strong financial and accounting background, she has several years of experience in the chemical dependency field. Her past employment includes some of the leading addiction rehabilitation facilities in the country, thus honing her billing capabilities and integrating her financial and addiction treatment background. Ms. Cameron’s knowledge in both the chemical dependency and accounting fields bring a unique element to our team. She is proactive in the development of systems which ensure efficient business operations. Her team spirit, professional character, excellent interpersonal skills, and dedication have helped immensely in her role as office manager, providing direction and support to the Florida House Experience team. She creates an environment in the business office that promotes excellent teamwork and others around her to work more skillfully and efficiently.
Betsy Donatucci, Benefit Administrator
Betsy Donatucci has been working in the addiction field for several years. Ms. Donatucci appreciation of personal and professional experiences makes her an asset to The Florida House Experience. Her enthusiasm and devotion to helping others add an essential component to our treatment team. She is committed to assisting clients in recovering their lives from drugs and alcohol. Betsy loves what she does and she believes The Florida House Experience is much than a treatment facility.