Rodney Letterman is La Amistad Behavioral Health Services’ Chief Executive Officer. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a master’s degree in social work from Temple University in Philadelphia and joined La Amistad in September 2009.
Mr. Letterman has nearly 20 years of clinical and operations experience in the behavioral health sector, including 12 years in acute care in Wilmington, Del. He held various clinical and administrative positions, including Director of Clinical Services, where he had clinical oversight and supervision for the child, adolescent and adult inpatient programs, as well as the partial hospital programs. He also worked extensively with the State of Delaware’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in developing a dual-diagnosis inpatient program for indigent adults.
Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine Carlos H Ruiz MD is a bilingual psychiatrist currently pursuing interests in clinical psychiatry, addiction medicine and administrative roles.
A native New Yorker, he received his MD degree in 1991 at the State University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He completed his psychiatric residency in 1995, at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has served as an active member of the Department of Psychiatry at Florida Hospital in Orlando for the past 14 plus years as medical director of PsychMed, a highly specialized inpatient unit that manages both acute Psychiatric and comorbid medical problems. He is currently the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Florida Hospital, from 2010 – present.
Academically he serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Florida State University School of Medicine and is actively involved as a preceptor for residents and medical students. His passion is for community-based approach to treatment to mental illness. Treatment targeted for the whole person thru individual therapy, group and family therapy and the latest advances in medication assisted treatment. His future hope is to see parity for mental health coverage and greater access to substance abuse treatments.
Dr. Robert Buchholz is Board Certified in adult psychiatry. He joined La Amistad as a full-time staff psychiatrist in 2006, attending adult clients in the residential and partial hospitalization programs.
Having treated clients in private practice for more than 25 years in Fort Myers, Fla., Dr. Buchholz has extensive experience in both outpatient and inpatient psychiatry. He founded the Psychiatric Center of Florida and served as medical director of another behavioral health hospital in Florida for 16 years.
Monique Simpson, MD is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) who is excited to be joining the clinical team at La Amistad. She brings with her a wealth of experience in both adult and child psychiatry.
Dr. Simpson was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States to attend college. She graduated summa cum laude with college honors from Ramapo College of New Jersey with a degree in Biochemistry. She then went on to study medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed her residency in both adult and child & adolescent psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in Pittsburgh, PA.
Dr. Simpson has several clinical interests and is particularly passionate about education and decreasing stigma around mental health & substance use. She has enjoyed being a partner with NAMI and other community organizations, and, prides herself in providing honest communication and evidence-based interventions for families and patients.
She is passionate about using technology and views tele-psychiatry as a unique opportunity to increase access to care in underserved areas. She is also interested in the psychiatric care of global populations, particularly those within the Caribbean Diaspora.
Brian Sellers serves as the Director of Clinical Services of La Amistad Behavioral Health Services and has acted in a clinical leadership role at La Amistad since 2001. He manages all aspects of clinical programming and supervises all clinical staff associated with the care of La Amistad clients.
Brian began his career working as a suicide/crisis counselor in Gainesville, Fla., where he received an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Florida. He received a master’s degree from the University of Central Florida and began working at a nonprofit community mental health center. Brian specialized and received training with child/adolescent issues, chemical dependency, in-home therapy and adult day-treatment programs. Brian set up programs at the local homeless shelter for children/adolescents and utilization review and became a patient advocate with the Orlando State Attorney’s Office.
Desiree Fouse is the Program Manager at the Maitland campus for adolescents. Desiree is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and received her education credentials in clinical mental health counseling from Stetson University. She has been with La Amistad since 2009 in various disciplinary roles.
Prior to working in residential care, Desiree worked at Stetson University as a Residential Life Coordinator as well as a crisis responder to the University. She developed wellness programs for college students to assist with emotional needs and supervised staff to ensure safety for residents. Desiree has ongoing certifications in DBT, Sand Tray Therapy, Verbal De-escalation Training, Attachment, as well as extensive training in various therapeutic techniques that assist with emotional regulation for adolescents as well as adults. She specializes in children and adolescent psychiatric disorders, traumatic stress symptoms, personality disorders, chemical dependency, attachment issues, and parenting skills including family therapy. She has worked with children as young as five years of age to late adulthood.
Michelle Wiggins has served as an educator for over 19 years with 6 years as a school based administrator. She currently holds a bachelor’s in social work from the University of Central Florida and a master’s in counseling psychology from Troy State University. As an educator, Michelle began her career as an exceptional education teacher and has a diverse set of experiences working as a learning specialist, reading coach, dean, testing coordinator, staffing specialist, leadership coach, and an assistant principal of instruction. In addition to her educational experiences, she holds kindergarten through 12th grade professional certifications in school social work, exceptional student education, educational leadership, and school principal. Michelle has a deep commitment to serving our youth and is dedicated to ensuring each student experiences positive academic outcomes.
Devon Kriebel brings 14 years of varied experience working in the mental health field. He received his Registered Nursing License in 2006. Devon has held various roles within the mental health field such as Mental Health Technician, working as a floor nurse and charge nurse and then Director of Admissions. Devon came to La Amistad in 2014 when he was hired as the Director of Utilization Review. Since that time Devon has obtained accreditation as a Licensed Healthcare Risk Manager through the State of Florida after completing the Risk Manager Program at the University of Central Florida. He now serves in the role of Facility Risk Manager and Performance Improvement at La Amistad.
Over the span of his career, Devon has obtained an understanding and experience in all levels of care including inpatient, residential and outpatient services. Devon has also demonstrated his ability to teach and foster partnership among employees and different departments to improve the overall performance in delivery of quality services.
Mariel Johnson is the Program Manager at the Maitland campus for adolescents. Mariel is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and received her clinical training at the University of Central Florida’s Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy master’s program. She has been with La Amistad at various time, and in different roles since 2011. Prior to her role at La Amistad, Mariel attended St. Leo University for her undergraduate degree, and received a master’s in Marriage and Family therapy at UCF in 2012. While pursuing her master’s degree, Mariel worked at the Marriage and Family Research Institute, working alongside leading researchers on the development of effective interventions for couples and families. She has owned and managed her own private practice since 2013, in acute behavioral health hospitals, in residential treatment programs and has worked at a private outpatient community mental health company as their clinical program as therapy program manager for a number of years. Mariel is a qualified mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy supervisor, registered with the state of Florida, and has been offering clinical supervision and consultation to a number of counseling interns since 2016. She is trained in Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and integrates DBT, CBT, and various other interventions to treat the spectrum of Trauma, Anxiety and Impulse Control disorders. Mariel also enjoys working with SCD and high functioning ASD clients, adolescents, personality disorders and working families, offering parenting skills.
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