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Leadership Team

Leadership Team

La Amistad Behavioral Health Services prides itself on its experienced and dedicated leadership team, including:

Dr. RuizCarlos H Ruiz MD, Medical Director

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.

Rod LettermanRodney Letterman, L.C.S.W., Chief Executive Officer

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.

Robert Buchholz, M.D., Medical Director of Adult Services

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.

Shaun BlackshearShaun Blackshear, Director of Nursing

Shaun Blackshear has been with La Amistad since 2006. He started his career at La Amistad as a staff nurse, then as a nurse supervisor, and now the Director of Nursing. He has demonstrated an ability to lead, teach, mentor, and provide compassionate care to the patients he serves.

Shaun received his bachelor of science in nursing degree from University of Phoenix, and has been working most exclusively in the mental health field since 2003. In addition, prior to his Director of Nursing role at La Amistad, he was the Director of a behavioral home health program for a home health agency.

Over the span of his nursing career, Shaun has had extensive supervisory experience within all facets of behavioral health. Over those last 12 years he received a wide range of experience in dealing with children, adolescents, and adults in various settings to include inpatient, residential treatment centers, partial hospitalization programs, and other outpatient services where patients are struggling with psychiatric issues, addictions, or co-occurring diagnoses.

Brain SellersBrian Sellers, L.C.S.W., Director of Clinical Services

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.

Michelle NyeMichelle Nye, Director of Education

Michelle Nye is Director of Education at La Amistad Learning Center. She is licensed in Educational Leadership and Exceptional Student Education with a Master’s Degree in Severe Emotional Disturbance from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and joined La Amistad in July 2011.

Mrs. Nye has over 18 years of educational experience in public schools, including four years of administrative positions. She has implemented inclusion models in intermediate elementary school and continued her teaching providing intervention in cross categorical resource classrooms at the middle school level before moving into administrative assignments serving as a dean of students, athletic director and district level coordinator of pupil services that worked to implement Response to Intervention and behavioral support for identified students. She believes the learning environment must be rigorous and relevant to life.

Desiree MartinDesiree Martin, LMHC, Child and Adolescent Social Services Manager

Desiree Martin 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.

Larry Muse, L.M.H.C., C.A.P., Chemical Recovery Program Manager – Adult Services

Larry Muse began his career as a Staff Psychologist in 1978, providing personality and intellectual assessments as well as psychotherapy.  His licensure is in Mental Health Counseling, with an undergraduate degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Radford College.  He achieved formal certification in addictions when Florida initiated that process in 1987.  To compliment his substance abuse treatment experience, he holds both Primary and Advanced clinical certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  He has provided dual diagnoses services in the Central Florida area for 35 years.

Since September, 2001, Larry has donated his time and efforts to the American Red Cross.  He is a Mental Health Team Supervisor in deployment of Disaster Relief Operations.