ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER

TEAM

MEET OUR INCREDIBLE TEAM OF EXPERTS

Our team is made up of professionals who embody compassionate care and guide you on your journey to a better, healthier life. We have experts who came to The Ohana from across the nation, as well as locals who bring the Hawaiian culture and spirit to everything we do. Together, we collaborate to create an environment conducive to healing, growing and attaining long-term recovery.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Elliott Smith

CEO
Elliott Michael Smith opened his first business at the age of 18 and by 21, had over 300 employees working at his agency. From a young age, he gained a lot of experience in leadership and management. Elliott produced over a dozen major motion pictures, but working in the industry did not come without its pitfalls. Having struggled with a substance use disorder on and off from the age of 17, Elliott found himself constantly retriggered. After various attempts at sobriety and treatment, Elliott attained long-term recovery after an intensive outpatient program helped him get to the root cause of his addiction. Elliott sees a need and a unique way to reshape the addiction treatment industry by providing extended care and removing the hurdle of having to leave everything behind to attain it. At The Ohana, Elliott is accountable for creating an environment and culture that focuses on fulfilling the organization’s mission, vision, and values. His tasks include operational management, program development supervision, strategic planning, and more.

CLINICAL TEAM

DR. JAY SERLE

CLINICAL DIRECTOR
After retiring from a career in law-enforcement, Dr. Serle returned to school to earn a masters degree in marriage and family therapy and a PhD in psychology with a clinical specialization. Since 2007 Dr. Serle has worked in the field of mental health and substance use disorders. within Hawaii, he has worked with the severely mentally ill, adolescents in high school, and outpatient and residential substance use disorder treatment centers. He has been a key team player in the development of several substance use disorder start up companies. Dr. Serle has a passion for working in the substance use disorder recovery field and receives great satisfaction from helping individuals recover from addiction. He especially enjoys leading and creating teams to instill passion in others to provide quality treatment to those suffering from substance use disorders.

DERWIN K.K. NUNES III CSAC

COUNSELOR, HUAKA'I LEADER
Derwin Kamu'okalani Kunewa Nunes, III was born on O'ahu on the west end in Waianae. He was raised on the east end of Hawai'i Island in Hilo. Derwin holds an Associates Degree, and is also working on his Bachelor's Degree. He is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in the State of Hawai'i and an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He has been doing work in the addictions field for 10 years. Derwin has worked with diverse populations in programs on the Big Island, and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from the island that he openly shares with our residents. What he shares comes with the true essence of Aloha. Derwin says “I am passionate about helping people find themselves, and finding their purpose.”

JUSTIN LARKIN

THERAPIST
Justin is finishing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and brings over ten years experience developing creative therapeutic programming and direct care services for teens, adults, and their families in residential, wilderness, and horticultural therapy settings. Justin works from a trauma-Informed, person-centered, humanistic approach and believes the client is the expert on themselves. As a surfer, hiker, and naturalist guide, Justin brings a passion for the outdoors to his work and believes that not only is nature good for you, but it is essential for your well-being.

LAUREN DEBIEC, M.A.

THERAPIST
Lauren has her Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Alvernia University. She is a National Certified Counselor, working toward her Mental Health Counselor license in Hawaii. Lauren completed her clinical counseling internships and practicum on the women's inpatient substance use disorder treatment units at Caron Treatment Centers. Lauren has her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Philadelphia University. Formerly, Lauren was the Administrative Director of Medical Services for a well-known substance use disorder treatment center on the East Coast. In her role, she oversaw daily administrative operations, was the Program Coordinator of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program, and was instrumental in the launch of a separate and distinct unit for healthcare professionals, providing counseling to clients relative to their professional goals and resources.

ADMISSIONS TEAM

JUSTIN HODAK

ADMISSIONS DIRECTOR
Justin Hodak is a Los Angeles native who has worked in the addiction field for nearly two decades. Beginning as a tech and working his way up to Admissions Director, Justin's passion for helping others is deeply rooted in his own recovery journey. Whether seeing treatment for Mental Health or Substance Use, Justin's wealth of personal and professional experience as well as a deep understanding, optimism, and compassion for those seeking treatment; has made him a welcome addition to The Ohana family.

MEDICAL TEAM

DR. MICHAEL J. MCGRATH M.D. PSYCHIATRIST

CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER
Dr. McGrath began his career in Hawaii in 1995. He serves as Medical Director of the Behavioral Health Division and Attending Inpatient Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Physician at Kona Community Hospital. He also serves as an assistant clinical professor at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu and a clinical instructor with the University of Washington's School of Medicine Physician Assistant (PA) program in Seattle. Previously, Dr. McGrath served in a number of outpatient settings including crisis shelters, homeless shelters, and care homes. He has practiced inpatient behavioral health since 1997. Dr. McGrath received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Northern Illinois University and his medical degree from Southern Illinois University. He completed his residency in psychiatry and neurology from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. McGrath went on to become triple boarded in psychiatry and neurology, addiction medicine, and pain medicine. His passion has always been combining the care of the individual with a curiosity and creative energy for the challenges presented by inefficient and ineffective practices in the system of behavioral health care. He shares the vision of enhancing the health of the community, one person at a time.

JENNIFER HOVDEN

REGISTERED NURSE
Jennifer is a Daughter, Sister, Mother, Friend, Registered Nurse, Trauma Informed Health and Wellness Advocate, and Practioner of The Healing Arts. She is a woman actively living on the edge of her awakening. She shares her education and experience in assisting people overcome the medical aspects of addiction, while blending in her knowledge of holistic and spiritual modalities to support the mind, body, spirit connection. When she isn’t active in helping people overcome their health challenges/opportunities, she can be found somewhere between the mountains and the sea, dancing in the rain or grounding solidly while planting seeds for the future. She believes that there is no thing that cannot be overcome with the will of the heart and the desire for abundant health and prosperity.

HOLISTIC TEAM

LEE JASON FRIEND

HOLISTIC SERVICES COORDINATOR
Lee Jason Friend is a mindfulness practitioner and motivational speaker who has shared his message of sobriety through mindfulness and self-acceptance around the world. He is the author of New Thought, New Action, New Life which is a consciousness coaching tool that has been used by recovery and treatment centers to help clients have a better understanding of their connection to their spiritual selves. He is the creator of a life transforming workshop and The Ohana Tree, which has helped so many on their path of recovery and self-discovery. Lee’s gentle and spiritual approach to recovery helps those seeking personal transformation discover their connection to personal freedom and opportunities.

KUMU PELENA

HOLISTIC PRACTITIONER
Cynthia brings an embodied and positive approach to sobriety with real life experience. With a holistic approach to recovery, she shares her knowledge of the Four Agreements, Expressive Art Therapy, Mindfullness, Somatic Experiential Practices and other modalities of healing to the team. Offering a positive and loving perspective with a genuine connection to the self-work necessary for a strong foundation.

KUMU PELENA

CULTURAL & HULA INSTRUCTOR

ALEX TOMKINS, LMT

MASSAGE THERAPIST
Alex received her license in May 2020 after completing her education here on the Big Island at the Aloha Massage Academy and has been running a full time massage practice since then. Alex calls upon a range of modalities including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Trigger Point therapy, Cupping and Hawaiian Lomilomi. Alex is incredibly grateful to be helping people feel their best through massage every day

NUTRITION TEAM

Konane MERSBERG

CHEF
Konane was born and raised on the big island of hawaii. She has seen the impact of what addiction has done to the community and families on the big island. Konane has turned her life around and wants to help others that have the same struggles of addiction and to help her community. Konane's journey to The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center has been forged from her own personal struggles with the disease of addiction. Konane is passionate about recovery and the guidelines that come with it. She is a walking testament of what recovery is all about. Konane inspires others with her passion and humor for recovery. Konane is currently working towards her CSAC and wants to continue giving back to the community. Konane has a natural ability to connect with people that are on the road to recovery. Her goal is to help as many people as possible with recovery from addiction.

PROGRAM STAFF

JOSEPH DEVASTO, BA, SAC-III, CCAR

PROGRAM DIRECTOR
With an open-minded, heartfelt approach to Addiction Counseling, Joseph extends an invitation for all who want to live to one’s greatest potential free from addiction. Joseph holds a B.A. from Naropa University in Contemplative Psychology, is a certified Recovery Coach, and is currently obtaining an M.A. in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling Psychology. Additionally, he studied Organizational Leadership at Colorado State University. His passion for helping others spans a career of 10 years working as a counselor, mentor, and program coordinator within sober living environments, intensive outpatient, collegiate recovery, and wilderness therapy. When not working he enjoys surfing, practicing yoga, and participates in community theater productions throughout Hawaii.

GENESIS KEPO`O

PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Genesis Kepo’o, was born and raised on Kaua’i where the value of giving back was nurtured in her from the beginning. Genesis moved to Hawai’i island in 2002 where she discovered a love for photography and adventuring with her husband and dogs. Genesis is currently enrolled in Hawaii Community College where she is working towards attaining her Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling. She is excited to help others along the challenging course of recovery and share the lessons she has learned along her own journey.

JUSTIN WEISS

RESIDENT CARE TECH
Justin Weiss brings a patient and empathetic ear into the field of addiction treatment. His life passion is helping people tend to the seeds of their recovery, and treat themselves with compassion and respect. Justin had a long path out of a life of addiction himself, and knows the challenges and obstacles in front of a person coming out of that world. When Justin isn't working with people in recovery, he is out adventuring with his wife and two daughters, or playing music and working in his garden. Justin is currently in school to earn a bachelor's degree in social work, and plans to continue a career helping addicts and those suffering from trauma and shame.

MATTHEW PAEA

PROGRAM SUPPORT STAFF

Danielle Smith

PROGRAM SUPPORT STAFF

INTERESTED IN GETTING TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OUR TEAM? CONTACT US TODAY!

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