Our Staff

Our Staff

Richmond, Virginia

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.

Erin Ritter
Nurse Practitioner

Erin Ritter has been a Nurse Practitioner with the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine since September 2017. Prior to joining the practice, her nursing experiences included inpatient detox, acute care general medicine, and emergency-trauma. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from The Citadel Military College of South Carolina, a Master’s of Science in Nursing at Xavier University, and a Master’s in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University where she completed her Nurse Practitioner education with a focus on Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. She finds the physical and mental aspects of addiction medicine to be intricate, and she likes working with patients and their support system throughout their journey. Outside of her work life, Erin enjoys spending time with loved ones, exploring Richmond, being active, and running with her dog.

Lauren Debski
Nurse Practitioner

Lauren Debski joined the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine in May 2019 as a Nurse Practitioner. Lauren previously worked in oncology and in acute care at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from James Madison University and a Master’s in Nursing from The George Washington University. Lauren completed her Nurse Practitioner education with a focus in family practice. In addition to her medical experience, Lauren is a public speaker on the effects of sexual assault and trauma on an individual’s mental health. She has spoken on many college and university campuses participated in a panel on Capitol Hill, and was a key speaker at a state summit hosted by Michigan’s First Lady. Lauren is extremely passionate about helping others transform their trauma into thriving—not just surviving. Outside of her work life, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband, Ben, and Boston terrier, Mildred.

Jennifer Pius Gifford
Director of Clinical Services

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.

Judith Schmidt

Judith Schmidt
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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.

Bridget Walsh

Bridget Walsh
Clinical Case Manager

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!

Paxton Wolfrey
Admissions Coordinator

Paxton Wolfrey is the Admissions Coordinator for the Coleman Institute. He ensures that the scheduling process is both friendly and efficient. Paxton leverages several years of experience working in addiction and recovery as he helps people who are trying to get themselves, or a loved-one, on the path to a better life. Paxton graduated from Hampden-Sydney College with a B.A. in History and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Outside of work, Paxton enjoys spending time with his two daughters, playing golf, and taking an occasional fishing trip down the James River. Paxton is always approachable and willing share his own experiences with addiction and recovery, and his empathy and compassion make him a great listener.

Martha Kroupa
Office/Project Manager

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 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.

Morgan Turnbull

Morgan Turnbull is the Controller for The Coleman Institute. He is responsible for all areas of Accounting & Finance, including Financial Statements, expense & variance analysis, budgeting and payroll. Morgan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business/Economics, a Certificate in Accounting, and a Master’s degree in Finance, all from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, he is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Morgan started his career in Accounting with Coopers & Lybrand. More recently, he was Controller for Advanced Technologies in Home Care for 5+ years before he joined The Coleman Institute in March, 2012. During his spare time, Morgan likes to travel, follow the UFC and practice Krav Maga.

Boston (Wellesley), Massachusetts

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.

Amanda Pitts
Executive Director

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.

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.

Scottie Gage
Director of Business Development, Community Liaison

Originally from Truro, MA, Scottie has been working in the behavioral health field for over 10 years. Prior to joining the team at The Coleman Institute, he served as East Coast Director of Professional Relations for PRIDE Institute located in Eden Prairie, MN, Director of Clinical Outreach for Sunspire Health and Clinical Outreach Coordinator for Mountainside Treatment Center in Canaan, CT. Most recently, Scottie served as the Director of Clinical Outreach in the US and Canada for The Cabin, a luxury residential treatment program located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He also serves as Co-chair for the Boston Provider Liaison Association. In his free time, Scottie enjoys spending time with his dog Riley, songwriting, cooking, going to the gym as well as traveling internationally.

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Have questions or want to learn more? Contact us today at 877-773-3869.