Spectrum Health Systems

Inside Spectrum – Holiday 2016

Published On: November 30th, 2016Categories: News

In This Issue:

Season’s Greetings | VIPs Visit Spectrum in Tennessee | Millbury Outpatient Services – Coming Soon! | Virginia | Mass DOC Recognizes 15 Spectrum Staff | A New Day at Everyday Miracles | Indian Creek Celebrates Milestone | Community Awareness Fair | Recovery Month | Spectrum Annual Meeting | Golf Fundraiser | Shout-Outs 

Season’s Greetings

Kurt Isaacson

Dear Spectrum employees, friends & family, 

I would like to extend my warm wishes to you for a bright and joyous holiday season. The company has gained its reputation as the provider of choice because of many dedicated employees like you. It is my pleasure to share with you some of our most recent accomplishments. 

Working together, we opened the third floor of the Faris Recovery Center this year. Spectrum’s newest residential treatment facility in Massachusetts now serves state-funded clients on the second floor and clients with private insurance on the third floor. At the same time, we converted all beds at the Giblin House to medically monitored detoxification services for New England Recovery Center clients.

We also converted 32-beds of Transitional Support Services to Clinical Stabilization Services in Westborough to better bridge the gap between detoxification and continuing care. We also converted half of our Clinical Stabilization beds to Detoxification beds in Weymouth in response to the dramatic need in that area. 

We continue to add Outpatient treatment capacity to help meet the growing demand for opioid treatment. Spectrum now serves over 4,500 clients each day—that’s up 42% in just two years! It’s a tribute to the new leadership of the Behavioral Health Division, including Spectrum’s VP of Inpatient and Outpatient Services Kristin Nolan and new Executive Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Operations Lisa Blanchard. In fact, Lisa was recently recognized by the Association for Behavioral Healthcare as an emerging leader in the field.

We also relocated the Girls’ Detention Unit from Dorchester in close collaboration with the Mass. Department of Youth Services. The short-term detention program for adolescent girls is now located in Westborough.

We also launched a new peer mentoring program for DOC clients releasing in Massachusetts, which was already recognized by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts for improving outcomes for returning citizens. And, we just had the largest group of DOC employees ever recognized by the Massachusetts DOC for their professionalism and teamwork.

As these changes unfolded, you may have noticed an increasing technology presence in your daily work life. We have undertaken massive new development of our technology infrastructure to help us create efficiencies in a changing field. The proliferation of our electronic health records system, new video conferencing capability and a phone system overhaul are just a few IT priorities being driven by our new Chief Information Officer Bob Brandner.

Lastly, we launched a number of new business development initiatives this year including the debut of the “Airing Addiction” iHeartRadio Show hosted by Vice President of Business Development Donna Pellegrino. Thanks to everyone who has been part of these new endeavors. 

As we move in to the new year, you will see a number of new projects take shape. These projects are designed to improve retention of our many quality employees, move toward an integrated behavioral health system and position Spectrum to be a provider of choice for many years to come. 

Although I am grateful for your service and wish you well all year, I would like to extend a very special wish to you for a happy holiday season. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the people we serve!

Have a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season.


Kurt Isaacson
President & CEO

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VIPs Visit Spectrum in Tennessee

Kurt Isaacson

Spectrum staff at the Jackson Community Supervision (Probation and Parole) Office received a surprise visit from a select group of VIPs in July. From left to right, TDOC’s newly appointed Commissioner Tony Parker, State Senator Ed Jackson, State Rep. Johnny Shaw, and State Rep. Jimmy Eldridge visited with Spectrum staff.  TDOC Chief Information Officer Neysa Taylor, Assistant Commissioner of Community Supervision Bobby Straughter, and Regional Administrator David Lane were also in attendance. 

During this visit Spectrum’s facilitator Ms. Brenda Scott (pictured front) was asked to speak to the group. She discussed our delivery of Batterers’ Intervention, Pro-Social Lifeskills, and Victims Impact classes, and took questions from the legislators who lauded the work she does with our clients on a day-to-day basis. Brenda helped to better inform our state’s decision makers of the work that is being done to reduce reincarceration, and at the same time represented Spectrum with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. 

Well done, Brenda! Thank you for a wonderful job. 


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Millbury Outpatient Services – Coming Soon!

On November 14, 2016 the Millbury, Massachusetts Planning Board voted unanimously to approve Spectrum’s site plans for the proposed new outpatient treatment center at 50 Howe Avenue in town. The Planning Board voted to approve the site plan under the state Dover Amendment, which protects the educational use of outpatient addiction treatment and counseling programs and prevents such programs from being blocked by local zoning action. 

Spectrum is moving full steam ahead with the buildout of the new center which will include 6 clinical offices, 2 large group rooms and a brand new Intake Office. The Intake Department will move from Spectrum’s Lincoln Street Center to Millbury when the new center opens. Spectrum’s Vice President of Inpatient and Outpatient Services Kristin Nolan anticipates the center opening in early spring.

In the meantime, Kristin has assembled an expert team to help lead both the Outpatient and Inpatient Services well into the future. Lisa Blanchard was recently named Spectrum’s new Executive Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Operations, Megan Gajewski is now Spectrum’s Executive Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Nursing and Lynn LeBlanc Marrone has taken on the role of Spectrum’s Executive Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Clinical Services. These individuals have spent years honing their skills in behavioral health and with Spectrum and will work with Kristin to ensure the highest quality of inpatient and outpatient services are available to individuals seeking treatment.

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Spectrum treatment staff participated in a Therapeutic Community Experiential Training alongside Virginia Department of Corrections (VA DOC) security staff in mid-September as part of Spectrum’s ongoing collaboration with the Virginia DOC. The training was co-facilitated by Dudley Bush and Jessica Lee of the VA DOC and Jim Piro, Spectrum’s Program Director at the Indian Creek Correctional Facility.

Spectrum first partnered with the VA DOC in 2015 when it was contracted to provide residential substance abuse treatment and reentry services at several state correctional facilities. Today, Spectrum operates one of the largest in-prison therapeutic community programs in the country at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake. Spectrum also provides transitional services for female offenders at the Deerfield Women’s Work Center in Capron on behalf of the VA DOC.

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Mass DOC Recognizes 16 Spectrum Staff

The Massachusetts DOC recently recognized 16 Spectrum staff who have excelled in dedication, teamwork and professionalism for the work they do in challenging correctional treatment environments. Here are the Professional Excellence Award citations from the MA DOC in their own words: 

To Melissa St. Hilaire, Eryn Burdett, Mary Geisler, Justin Perino, Paul Harrington, Charles Sexton, Meghan Popham, Bernice Richard, Samantha Gould, Constantinos Bitsikis, Nicole Charette and Paul Youngstrom — The CRA staff at MCI Shirley Minimum have been dealing with constant changes to policies and procedures and have handled all of them with complete cooperation and follow-through since its inception in 2008. It is the only minimum security correctional facility that operates the CRA in the Department. External stakeholders and national auditors have commented on the dedication and collaboration of Spectrum and DOC security staff. Spectrum staff’s responsiveness to MCI Shirley’s every changing needs make this group worthy of such an award.

To Analisa Bono, Leslie Reed, Shane McMahon and Leann Pruell — The Spectrum team at MCI Cedar Junction is a professional and committed group that is whole heartedly dedicated to their respective disciplines. They are a highly competent and extremely dependable, responsive group, which has integrated well into the operation of the facility. They have become integral and a needed part of the CJ community. This Spectrum team fully understands how their individual roles work into the greater vision of the treatment/classification divisions at Cedar Junction as well as the Department as a whole. They are invested in the work they do and expect results from themselves and the inmates their work with.

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A New Day at Everyday Miracles

Mike Earielo was recently promoted to Program Director of Spectrum’s nationally recognized Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Support Center. Mike stepped up to fill the big shoes of EDM Founder Athena Haddon, who relocated to Michigan in October to be closer to family.

While Athena will continue to be missed, Mike has certainly hit the ground running. He has helped organize a Thanksgiving feast for nearly 300 community members. He has started working with the local police department to help arrested individuals gain access to available services. He is also supporting members work on a new women’s recovery initiative, which we should hear more about soon. 

The secret to Mike’s success might just be the knowledge gained from coming up through the ranks. In a recent “Two Minutes” segment of Worcester Magazine, Mike talked about volunteering at EDM before being hired as full-time staff. “When I came to EDM they told me the only limitations I have are the ones I put on myself. After that I went back to school, got an education and started believing and setting goals.” We wish you all the best in pursuit of your goals, Mike, and look forward to hearing all about new happenings at EDM!

The full Two Minutes interview with Mike Earlielo is available here.

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Indian Creek Celebrates Milestone

Staff at the Indian Creek Correctional Center recently hosted a graduation ceremony for 33 offenders who completed Phase Four of the Therapeutic Community program. Offenders were allowed to have family members attend. It was also well attended by DOC support staff. The event included music and food and was reported to be a truly uplifting event.

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Community Awareness Fair


Brittany George, Lauren Cappello and Mark Orris were recently recognized by Harrington Hospital for presenting at the Community Awareness Fair in Southbridge. The Community Awareness Far was an interactive health fair designed specifically to inform the community about substance abuse treatment and recovery support services available in the local area. Pictured here from left to right are Southbridge Police Chief Shane Woodson, Spectrum Southbridge Office Coordinator Brittany George, Spectrum Business Development Liaison Lauren Cappello and Spectrum Regional Program Director Mark Orris.


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Recovery Month

Recovery Month was celebrated in style in September with a fun-filled month of recovery-oriented activities that included clients, family/friends, community members and staff. We have selected a few creative ideas from the Outpatient Recovery Month calendar to share below. If you are interested in including any of these activities in your own programs, Lori Canane, Spectrum’s Outpatient Operations Manager, is a great resource. 

Recovery Bracelet Competition – A friendly group competition where clients brainstorm an inspirational recovery slogan to place on a bracelet. The selected group is given a prize in addition to bragging rights!

Success Stories – During the week all clients are given a chance to write their personal success story which is then posted in the lobby to inspire others.

Free HIV/Hep C testing – Free testing is provided onsite by a community partner and gift cards are offered to everyone who participates.

Flu Clinic – Partner pharmacies are onsite to provide flu vaccines to interested individuals. Clients who participate receive a raffle ticket and a priority medication pass. 

Overdose Awareness Day – Community partners provide overdose awareness education and distribute naloxone emergency kits onsite. 

Make Your Own Stress Ball – This is an activity for clients in group that is fun and stress reducing and also promotes healthy recovery. 

Glitter Jars – Along the same lines as the Make Your Own Stress Ball, Glitter Jars require some supplies and are a calming and mindfulness-focused activity that promotes wellness. 

Family Forum – Family members are invited to attend an educational session with staff and current clients. Snacks are provided and participating clients also receive a $5 gift card.

Raffle Tickets – Clients receive raffle tickets throughout the month for participating in recovery activities, clinical sessions, and more. Raffle prizes include priority medication passes, one excused absence from group pass, meditation CDs and gift certificates for coffee and groceries. 

Recovery Quilting – Clients decorate square patches in group sessions in September. Patches are then used to create a recovery quilt for the program.

Eliana Noblet and Kerry Peck from North Adams OTP at the Josh Bressette Commit to Save a Life Rally and Vigil on 9.24.16.

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Spectrum Annual Meeting

AG Maura Healy

Spectrum held its Annual Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, October 13th at the Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, Massachusetts. The purpose of the Annual Board meeting is for staff to report on strategic business development initiatives from the previous year and for Board members to elect or re-elect members to Spectrum’s Board of Trustees for the coming year(s). The event gathers state and local government officials, community partners, employees, consumers and their family members to recognize Spectrum’s important role in helping people in need.

This year, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was the keynote speaker for the evening event. According to AG Healey, “You help people rebuild, you give them a second chance, and that’s why resources matter now more than ever.”

The event was attended by nearly 100 individuals and included Spectrum staff from Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State. 


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Golf Fundraiser

Spectrum raised nearly $70,000 in donations in early October at its 15th Annual Charity Golf Classic. The event attracted more than 120 golfers to the Framingham Country Club for a fun, festive afternoon. A very special thank you to all of our employees who played or volunteered at the fundraising event, our largest of the calendar year. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!



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In Georgia, shout-outs go out to Counselor LaCosta Hicks who works at Johnson A RSAT who received her Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential, Counselor Bernadette Smokes who works at Coastal State Prison on receiving her CADC II credential, and Counselor Devondra Nolan who works at Paulding RSAT who became a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC). Heartfelt congratulations to all of you! A special shout-out also goes out to staff at the West Central Integrated Treatment Program. West Central is 100% certified/licensed. BIG congrats! Georgia State Director Sabrina Hudnall had a special thank you message for staff, “I just want to simply say ‘THANK YOU’ for all that you do, seen and unseen. I have the most incredible and competent staff. You all have a great work ethic and dedication to this field that is unparalleled. I hope each of you have a great work week that is overflowing with a peaceful work environment. Remember that happiness is a choice… choose wisely and take care.” Thank YOU Sabrina and thank you to our Spectrum Georgia team! 

A round of shout-outs go out to Spectrum staff in Washington State. There are a number of new staff to recognize: Matthew Matthew, Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee (CDPT) at Washington State Penitentiary; Chrystal Montgomery, CDPT at Tri-Cities Work Release; Viviana Castaneda, CDP at Ahtanum View Work Release; Sherry Watson, Western WA Clinical Supervisor at Tacoma Community Justice Center; Phillip Appling, CDPT at Progress House Work Release; Charles Barnes, CDPT at the Progress House Work Release; Mitchell Lykins, Assessment CDP at the Eleanor Chase House Work Release; Kunbi Olukoya, Program Manager at the Everett Community Justice Center, Karie Kindrew, Administrative Assistant, and Dana Brooks, CDPT, at the Tacoma Community Justice Center; Karli Skjervold, CDPT, and Jamie Womack, CDPT, at the Airway Heights Correction Center; Tammie Holmes, CDPT at Helen B Ratcliff Work Release; William Haggerty, Assessment CDP at Seattle Community Justice Center; Janice Batt, CDP at the Washington Correction Center for Women; Gregory Ramsay and Michelle Merrill, CDPTs at the Larch Correction Center; La’Ticia Wilks, CDP, and Stacy Bidleman, Administrative Technician, at the Coyote Ridge Correction Center; Scott Haugh, Program Manager at the Reynolds Work Release; and, Lola Jett, CDPT at the Everett Community Justice Center. Welcome one and all!

Also in Washington, we would like to congratulate the following trainees who successfully passed the Washington State CDP exam: Steven El-Ayache, Dan James, Tana Siler, Kirk Fowler, Shawna Sunday and Brenna Taylor. Special congrats also go out to Jason Lewis who was promoted to Program Manager at the Tacoma Community Justice Center; Tiffany Traylor who was promoted to Program Manager at Airway Heights Correctional Center; and, Thomas Hamman who was promoted to Program Manager at Washington State Penitentiary.

Dennis Theriault, Executive Director of Quality Improvement and Compliance, also tells us about a key hire in his department. Christian Kelley recently joined Spectrum as the new Quality Improvement Manager. Christian has more than 12 years of experience in the behavioral health field, including extensive experience with adolescent and residential programming. Christian received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Marshall University in West Virginia and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Welcome aboard Christian!

In Spectrum Outpatient, Merrick Street Clinician Sarah Moore passed her Licensed Mental Health Clinician (LMHC) exam! Pittsfield Clinician Jess Kiernan also passed her LMHC exam! In Framingham, Senior Clinician Meghan Wood achieved her LMHC and Office Coordinator Trish GreeneDay achieved her Certified Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor (CADAC) credential! Way to go peeps! Also, Leominster Clinician Sonya Brock passed her test to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Case Manager Keith Barnaby graduated with his CADAC credential. Woohoo! Program Director Shanna Large also sends a special Shout-Out to the whole Leominster team for hitting a new milestone – 400 clients served! Way to go Leominster!

In other news, Clinical Program Director Sandra Beatty and her family hosted a memorial golf tournament, which raised $15,000 for Learn to Cope, a non-profit support network that offers education, resources, peer support and hope for parents and family members coping with a loved one addicted to opiates or other drugs. Amazing, Sandra! Thank you!

Also, Mark Orris volunteered his time to speak to the parents at the Head Start program in Southbridge. He spoke to the parents about the types of services Spectrum provides and provided them with referral information. He also took time before his presentation to read “Where the Wild Things Are” to the kiddos. Well done Mark! 

In Pittsfield, Meg Tillinghast completed a Whole30 challenge. Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to help you change eating habits, restore a healthy metabolism, and balance your immune system in 30 days. Nice! Also, Outpatient Regional Director Rebecca Polastri sends a big shout-out to the team in Pittsfield on reaching a census of 600. Way to go Pittsfield! 

Christina Rossi, new Regional Director for Spectrum Outpatient Centers in Haverhill and Saugus, ran her first marathon. Way to go Christina! We also heard that Outpatient Systems Administrator Jenn Cummings ran her first half marathon on a broken foot! Oh boy!

Rounding out our Shout-Outs section is a new Nurses-of-the-Month recognition launched by Executive Director of Nursing Megan Gajewski. Nurses-of-the-Month celebrates nurses in our inpatient and outpatient programs that have gone above and beyond their core responsibilities in terms of communication, teamwork, customer service and much more. BIG congratulations go out to the following Nurses of the Month: Helenda Benoit, Alisha Goulet, Amanda Holthaus, Ryan Flattery, Danielle Kaplan-Dearden, Kenneth Umeibe, Angel Colon, Mary Thomas, Odete Herrmann and Jeffrey Stastny. Ladies and gentlemen thank you for all you do! 

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