Our Staff

Our Staff

Richmond, Virginia

Brittany Ilagan

Brittany Ilagan
Nurse Practitioner

Brittany Ilagan is an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner who started working at the Coleman Institute in January 2022. Her nursing experience includes working at VCU Health System for 6 years on a Progressive Care Medicine Unit. She received both her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and Master’s of Science in Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is excited to work with each patient to help them be successful in their treatment journey. Outside of work, Brittany enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and being outdoors either at the river or beach.

Caitlin McManus

Caitlin McManus
Nurse Practitioner

Caitlin McManus recently joined the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner. She worked at VCU Health System for 9 years prior to joining this team, gaining experience in acute care medicine and, more recently, in an outpatient setting at the Sickle Cell Clinic. She received a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University. Caitlin finds the many aspects of addiction medicine to be intriguing and enjoys assisting each individual on their path to success. When she is not working, Caitlin likes to spend time outside with her husband and dog, enjoys walking and running, and loves to try new restaurants around Richmond.

Joan Shepherd
Nurse Practitioner

Joan Shepherd has been a Nurse Practitioner with The Coleman Institute since 2008. She enjoys both the medical and coaching aspects of this position and has received certifications for completing programs at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Martha Beck Life Coaching, and as a 200 hour Yoga Works instructor.

Outside of work she hikes mountains with her husband, spends time with her family and enjoys running, yoga and calligraphic arts.

Loren Lee

Loren Lee
Nurse Practitioner

Loren Lee joined the Coleman Institute in January 2022 as a Nurse Practitioner. Loren received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Penn State University and her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University. She began her nursing career on an inpatient medicine unit at VCU Health for five years before transitioning to the nurse practitioner role. Loren enjoys educating and supporting her patients during each step of their recovery journey. Outside of work, Loren enjoys traveling, skiing, and being outdoors.

Johnnelle Taliaferro

Johnnelle Mayo
Medical Assistant

Johnnelle Mayo has worked as a Certified Medical Assistant for 13 years and has been with the Coleman Institute since 2019. Johnnelle is a quiet force on our clinical team. She is a dedicated and highly skilled medical professional, who anticipates the needs of both practitioners and patients and always has a smile on her face. When you ask Johnnelle what she loves about her job, she answers: “As clichéd as it sounds, I simply love helping people. Seeing patients come out on the other side of whatever it is that they are going through is very gratifying. Serving this population in particular is so rewarding. Just offering them a smiling face and a kind word of encouragement can have such a positive impact. To be a part of their journey is a gift… you calm them and they teach you.”

When Johnnelle is not working with us, she is working at a local hospital Emergency Room as an ER Medical Technician. When at home, she loves spending time with family, reading, writing poetry, and listening to music. And she is a talented wreath maker!

Kim Perry

Kimberly Perry
Medical Assistant

Kimberly Perry has worked as a Certified Medical Assistant for 12 years and has been with the Coleman Institute since 2013. In Kim’s tenure here, she has worked every area of the clinic. She currently works as our Front Desk Receptionist and greets every visitor with a big smile. Kim is passionate about her work and our patients and says: “Working in addiction medicine has been the most rewarding experience. It has allowed me to meet the most amazing people. My favorite part is helping our patients realize they can manage this disease and achieve their goals.”

Kim has a special way with patients and is often heard engaging in a big laugh with them. Her passion and compassion shine through every day. Outside of work, Kim enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping and drawing wildlife with pen and ink.

Kristal Bacchus

Kristal Bacchus
Fiscal Clerk and Front Desk

Kristal Bacchus has been the Fiscal Clerk and Front Desk professional at our Richmond office since 2020. Kristal is a certified medical biller and coder who joined us from the Richmond Ambulance Authority. Outside of work, she enjoys family time and meditation (better known as shoe- and purse-shopping). She enjoys developing relationships with patients that ensure everyone either hangs up or leaves with a smile.

Kirby Gundlach

Kirby Gundlach
Admissions Coordinator

Kirby Gundlach is our Admissions Coordinator. She conducts screening assessments and assists with the intake process for all patients. She graduated with her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Music from Hollins University in 2019 and her Master’s in Developmental Psychology from Liberty University in 2021. Before joining the Coleman Institute, Kirby worked predominantly with children and youth facing mental and/or developmental difficulties. Kirby is passionate about providing people with a strong support system and helping people reach their goals. When she’s not working at the Coleman Institute, Kirby directs a children’s choir (K-2) for a local church. In her free time, she loves to read, spend time with her friends, play with her cats (Queenie, Cleo, Velma), sing, and crochet.

Bridget Walsh

Bridget Walsh
Clinical Case Manager
bridget@thecolemaninstitute.com

Bridget Walsh is the Clinical Case Manager for the Coleman Institute. Her main role is providing long-term care planning and support to patients and their families. She conducts clinical assessments and builds recovery plans for our clients. Bridget holds a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and is credentialed as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor in multiple states. She has received certification for Health Coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. During her spare time she enjoys cooking for her friends and family and following her favorite Notre Dame teams. Go Irish!

Hannah Hopkins

Hannah Clevenger
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Hannah Clevenger is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of Virginia. She joined the Coleman Institute in March 2021 after working for several years at an inpatient substance use treatment facility in central Virginia. Hannah received her BS in Psychology from Duke University and her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. In addition to substance use treatment, she has experience working with autism spectrum disorder, eating disorders, and with children. The most rewarding part of her career is getting to play a small part in the inspiring lives of her clients. Outside of work, Hannah is involved as an advisor for a local sorority chapter and enjoys running, Pilates, crossword puzzles, and music. She and her husband live in the Richmond area with their 2 guinea pigs and cat.

Judi Schmidt

Judith Schmidt
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
jschmidt@thecolemaninstitute.com

Judith Schmidt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and case manager who joined the Coleman Institute in March 2020. She has worked in the substance abuse field since 2000 in many roles, including Director, Counselor, and Clinical supervisor—all within the realm of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Minor in Substance Abuse and a Masters of Social Work, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her passion is helping people who are seeking treatment to begin regaining their lives through the use of many interventions but group dynamics, in particular. When she is not at work she enjoys spending time with family and friends and visiting the Shenandoah Valley to relax in the beauty of the mountains.

Jennifer Pius Gifford
Director of Patient Experience & Affiliate Operations
jennifer@thecolemaninstitute.com

Jennifer Pius Gifford is the Director of Clinical Services for The Coleman Institute. Her main role is providing support and medical information for potential patients and their family as well as performing clinical assessments to ensure each patient is appropriate for our services. She is the guiding voice on the phone helping those who are struggling with addiction. Jennifer holds a Bachelors Degree in Recreational Therapy and a minor in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. After several years of working as a therapist, she began her career at The Coleman Institute in March 2000.

During her spare time, Jennifer enjoys running, yoga, traveling and cheering on her favorite college basketball team, the VCU Rams. Her daughter also keeps her busy with gymnastics and cheerleading practices.

Martha Kroupa
Office/Project Manager
mkroupa@thecolemaninstitute.com

Martha Kroupa is the Office/Project Manager for the Coleman Institute. She is responsible for managing the daily operations and critical processes in the Richmond Virginia office and leading strategic initiatives across our national network. Before joining the Coleman Institute, Martha worked for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services as the Regional Director and Director of Training for the Veteran and Family Support Program. Martha retired from the United States Coast Guard in 2011 after a nearly 28-year career. Martha was the first female in the history of the Coast Guard to achieve the rank of Master Chief in the Health Services Corps. Martha has a background in Healthcare Administration and is currently working on her Project Management Professional certification. In her free time, Martha enjoys spending time outdoors, tending to her gardens, hiking, biking, paddling or just spending time with her wife and her pets. She enjoys encaustic painting (painting with bees wax) and many other art forms.

Andrew Blake
Chief Operating Officer
andrew@thecolemaninstitute.com

Andrew is the Chief Operating Officer for the Coleman Institute, responsible for day-to-day operations as well as strategic planning, marketing and infrastructure improvements. Andrew joined the Coleman Institute in 2015, bringing over 20 years of executive and management experience, most recently as Senior Business Director of Credit Card Operations at Capital One. Earlier in his career with Capital One, he held key positions in retail banking, marketing and strategic planning. Additionally, Andrew worked as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company in Moscow, Russia and Sydney, Australia. Prior to his business career, he was a Company Executive Officer and Platoon Leader in the United States Army.

Andrew holds a B.A. degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Stanford University, and an International MBA from the University of South Carolina. Andrew resides in Richmond with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children.

Boston (Wellesley), Massachusetts

Ashley Baker

Ashley Baker
Nurse Practitioner

Ashley Baker is an ANCC Board-Certified Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who recently joined our Wellesley, MA office. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University in 2016 and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a minor in Psychology from Villanova University in 2012. Ashley has extensive experience treating clients with psychiatric and substance use disorders in diverse settings including public health, academic facilities, and private practice. She has a passion for utilizing nutrition and exercise as adjuncts to medical treatment and can often be found at the grocery store or the gym. In her spare time, she also enjoys travel, trying new restaurants, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Lauren Davis NP Wellesley MA

Lauren Davis
Nurse Practitioner

Lauren Davis, NP, joined the Coleman Institute team in Wellesley in late 2020. Lauren received her BSN from the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK. She worked as a RN in intensive care units across the country for seven years before graduating with her MSN as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from Boston College. Lauren’s clinical interests include preventative medicine, urgent care and addiction medicine. She enjoys outdoor activities with her husband and two children such as hiking, biking and camping.

Trish Ebel
Nurse Practitioner

Trish Ebel graduated in 2001 from the University of Iowa School of Nursing. She has a diverse background in healthcare that includes inpatient psychiatry, oncology/bone marrow transplant, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Emergency Medicine. She completed her MSN, and became an Family Nurse Practitioner from Simmons College in Boston in 2017. She is excited to utilize her past experiences while working at the Coleman Institute. Outside of patient care, her interests include laughing with her 4 kids and husband, hiking, skiing, yoga, and helping others live their best life.

Juana Roman Certified Medical Assistant Wellesley MA

Juana Roman
Certified Medical Assistant

Juana Roman is a Medical Assistant at the Coleman Institute in Wellesley. Juana is a Certified Medical Assistant with six years of demonstrated experience in Pediatrics, Fertility, Family Medicine, and Internal Medicine. She graduated from Provo College with high honors and is certified in Phlebotomy. She is also a Qualified Interpreter. Juana is really passionate about caring for patients. When she is not at work, she spends time with family, traveling, camping, barbecuing, or immersing herself in arts and crafts.

Alexa Martin
Physician Assistant

Alexa Martin graduated from the University of Washington’s Medex Northwest Physician Assistant program in 1995 with board certification in both primary care and surgery. She has worked in a variety of specialties including family medicine, pain and palliative care, bone marrow transplant, emergency medicine, neurology, neurological surgery and gynecology. Alexa has three children and lives with her family in Brookline. In her spare time, she is a competitive tennis player, enjoys gardening, and loves to be outdoors year round. Alexa feels it is a privilege to provide compassionate and meticulous care for patients and their loved ones as The Coleman Institute helps you travel down a healthier and happier path.

Pam Sullivan

Pam Sullivan
Case Manager

Pam Sullivan is a Case Manager at the Coleman Institute. Pam provides the aftercare planning for patients to ensure that they are equipped with the tools and supports necessary for successful long term recovery. Pam works with patients to assess their strengths, needs, goals, and objectives and advises them on how to best plan for recovery to ensure their success once they complete detox. Pam holds a Bachelors degree from The Isenberg School of Management at UMass, Amherst, as well as a graduate certificate in Addictions Counseling from Cambridge College. When not working at The Coleman Institute, Pam enjoys spending time with her son and husband, skiing, reading, and hiking with her beloved dog Rachel.

Jennifer Gearhart Director of Business Development and Community Liason at The Coleman Institute Wellesley, MA

Jennifer Gearhart
Director of Business Development, Community Liaison

Ms. Jennifer Gearhart is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) with over 30 years of experience in the field of Behavioral Health and Substance Use Services. Throughout her career, Ms. Gearhart has been responsible for not only building and expanding programs and clinics but also the Marketing and Business Development aspects of those programs. On a personal note, Ms. Gearhart enjoys working out and teaching aerobics. She has also appeared as a behavioral health consultant on the Dr. Phil Show.

Amanda Pitts

Amanda Pitts
Executive Director
apitts@thecolemaninstitute.com

Amanda Pitts is the Executive Director of the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Amanda is an experienced Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor (LADC1) with a demonstrated 16-year history in Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment. Amanda holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston in Applied Sociology with a concentration in Forensic Services. She has a National Certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and is a trained facilitator in Nurturing Recovery Programs. Amanda enjoys spending time with her 3 children and husband skiing, camping, watching all Boston sports events, and engaging in their community.

Willoughby (Greater Cleveland Area), Ohio

Nneka Mgbudem

Nneka Mgbudem
Nurse Practitioner

Nneka Mgbudem is a Nurse Practitioner in our Willoughby office. She originally started providing buprenorphine services at this location under the Applegate Recovery brand in January of 2021, and then expanded her services to include outpatient detox when the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine opened in December 2021. Nneka graduated from nursing school in 2006 from the Huron Road School of Nursing. She went back to school in 2012 and earned a BSN from Indiana Wesleyan University and a Master of Science degree from Herzing University in 2017. Nneka took her boards in 2018, and also has a degree in Finance and Banking from Nigeria. She is married with four children. In her free time, she loves to bake and travel.

Bretta Dickerson

Bretta Dickerson
Emergency Medical Technician

Bretta Dickerson is responsible for assisting with patient care and treatment. Prior to joining the Coleman Institute and AppleGate Recovery in Willoughby, OH, Bretta served as a certified Emergency Medical Technician for 10 years at Lake Health Hospital Systems (now University Hospital Systems) and continues in this capacity as needed. Bretta also served as a Residential Supervisor for 5 years at a community based corrections facility (NEOCAP), a 60-bed female facility for drug felony offenders. Previous to her medical experience, Bretta worked in the travel industry and traveled the world with her husband, a career-military veteran with the Navy. In her spare time, Bretta enjoys spending time with her family, reading, cooking and traveling.

Samia M. Green

Samia M. Green
Administrative Assistant

Samia M. Green is an Administrative Assistant here at Applegate Recovery and The Coleman Institute in Willoughby, Ohio. She was born to Debra and Billy Lyons on July 25th 1971 and has one younger brother who is her best friend. She was born and raised in Shaker Heights Ohio but also spent 20 years living in Dale City Virginia. She is the Mother of two sons ages 30 and 22, a daughter age 28, and grandmother to an 11-year-old grandson, who she loves spending time with every other weekend. Samia has been an Administrative Assistant for over 13yrs, and recently worked for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance as the Admin/ HR/payroll specialist and more. She is currently enrolled at Rasmussen College online to achieve her degree as a Medical Administrative Assistant. Her hobbies include: spending time with her family and dog Onyx, they bring her pure joy. Sami also loves reading, watching movies, traveling, arts and crafts, doing hair, word search puzzles, and helping others in any way she can.

Ashley Blair

Ashley Bair
Executive Director

Ashley Bair has joined us as the Executive Director of the combined AppleGate and Coleman Institute office in Willoughby, OH. Ashley comes from a background of Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care and has worked in Healthcare for the last 12 years. She specializes in Operations, specifically managing multiple clinics, acquisitions, and start up clinics. She was born and raised in Cleveland, OH, is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have two sons. Outside of work, she enjoys watching her sons play football, baseball, and basketball, and loves to enjoy the outdoors.

vaquet shomo

Vaquet Shomo
Nurse Practitioner

Vaquet (Kay) Shomo is a Nurse Practitioner in our Willoughby, OH office with training and certification in both Adult/Gerontology Primary Care and Psychiatry. She has 5 years of experience providing primary care to patients in multiple environments including wellness clinics, long term care, and home settings. Most recently Vaquet worked in the outpatient setting providing primary care to medically complex adults. Seeing the need for the integration of mental and physical healthcare, she was motivated to pursue additional training in psychiatry. She obtained certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in December 2021.

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