Donald J. Wright LPC, MAEd, NBCC, CADCIII
Donny is a dual diagnosis counselor who has been providing mental health and addiction services in the area for over 15 years.
Donny Wright, clinical director of FIR, supports this project because it fits his therapeutic beliefs and style. “I believe that it’s within the caring, safe relationship and a safe community where the greatest amount of healing can start and end.” He believes it’s more about the relationship and support than the type of therapeutic theory. “A community should care because everybody is impacted directly or indirectly by the overall health of a community. Whether it’s somebody in your family, your child’s friend, your friend, anybody and everybody are impacted, and everybody should be a part of the healing and solution process.”
Anne Marie Lowe
Anne Marie is a career financial director, bringing over 20 years of banking and nonprofit management experience to local nonprofits. Her financial expertise includes working as a commercial banker in Portland bringing an array of financial products and services to a commercial banking client base. Over the course of her career, Anne Marie has spent time working within the nonprofit sector, bringing relationship management and cash management needs to the nonprofit industry. Her nonprofit experience includes organizational advancement through development and fundraising initiatives, fiscal management, budgeting, grant writing, workshop creation and facilitation, event management, and strategic planning facilitation to various nonprofit missions within the Portland metropolitan area.
Lowe holds a degree in International Business from Linfield College. An active member of the community, Anne Marie is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Portland where she served as President in 2010-2011. Other community involvement includes serving as an Advisory Board member for the Salvation Army and a member of the Royal Rosarians.
Taralynn Rayburn, BS, CADCII
Program Recovery Counselor
Taralynn is passionate about working with others in recovery. She brings her clinical experience as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADCII) to work at FIR. She is considered a jack-of-all trades and has worked in a variety of jobs in Substance Use Treatment. This includes working as a Counselor, Office Manager, Sober Housing Manager and Clinical Director. Outside of her time at FIR she manages a coaching and companion company for mental health and substance use. She advocates that change in the family system can help enact lasting recovery. Taralynn believes that looking at the whole person, and whole family will allow both clients and their families to find a place of emotional sobriety.
Early into her career she found her love for program and curriculum development and helped develop curriculum on emotional sobriety. She utilizes this approach to help clients find autonomy as they work to accept life on life terms. She utilizes a person-centered and Gestalt approach to help individuals address the various parts of themselves that have been blocked off due to substance use. Taralynn is presently a graduate student at Arizona State University working toward a Masters of Social Work. She relies on the words of a mentor, “one day teacher, next day student.” Her view is that we have many opportunities to learn each day.
Taralynn hopes to help her clients find their own strength and to see that recovery does not have to be dull! She is known for her adventurous and energetic spirit. In her free time she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing, reading books, attending concerts and spending quality time with her cats.
Riley Nelson received treatment and recovery support as a teen at Teen and Family Services an Alternative Peer Group in Houston, TX. He also graduated from the recovery high school Archway Academy in 2013. He spent several years working for Teen and Family Services on both the clinical and developmental side. He is now using his experience to assist adolescents and their family to find the support he received as a teen. He will share his experience, strength, and hope as the program coordinator at Family Inspired Recovery the first alternative peer group in our state.
Riley has been a contributor and recovery resource for many organizations and agencies sharing his personal experience in recovery and as a participant and professional of the Alternative Peer Group model. His experience as a young person in recovery has been shared on local and national blogs, magazines, and news sites. He speaks regularly at local and state wide engagements sharing his story and how the Alternative Peer Group model can help and support young people in recovery and their families.
His passion for recovery supports and recovery capital education led him to get involved with local, state, and national groups supporting young people in recovery. He is a member of the following groups/councils: a member of the Prescription/Opioid Taskforce (RxOT) Youth Initiative, a cooperative agreement with the Federal Government, a participant in the national group The Communities Project that works with communities across the country to align their voices and combat addiction through community organizing, and a co-founding participant of the first Alternative Peer Group in Oregon, Family Inspired Recovery.
Josh has worked in the treatment and recovery field for over 2 years. His roles in these fields have allowed him to seek to understand, accept, and help those around him; demonstrating the worth of recovery through his own personal word and deeds. FIR, an APG model is another opportunity to connect youth with a new way of life and hope for the family. He is excited to be part of the team. He also enjoys anything outside, staying physically active, and a good cup of coffee
Pam Pearce, Certified Recovery Mentor
Co-Founder, Community Organizer
Pam Pearce is a wife, mother, and a person living in long-term recovery (24 years). She takes advantage of every opportunity to share her passion for the gifts and hope recovery has given her. She wants all to know that hope and healing are possible.
She leads Community Living Above, an organization that provides prevention education, access to support resources, and peer-to-peer encouragement. Over the years, Pam has been a contributor and prevention resource for online prevention and recovery sites and has shared her personal experience in recovery and as a prevention leader on local and national blogs, magazines, and news sites. She speaks regularly at local and state wide engagements like OHSU, County agencies, and youth groups to national speaking engagements – her college alma mater the University of Southern California where she was able to share her story with families.
Her passion for prevention awareness education led her to get involved with local, state, and national groups supporting prevention, awareness, and recovery. She is a member of several groups/councils. The Clackamas County Prevention Coalition working to create healthy communities supporting prevention education and supports. An Executive Board Member to the Mental Health and Addiction Council with Clackamas County. A member of the Prescription/Opioid Taskforce (RxOT) Youth Initiative, a cooperative agreement working to support the national opioid crisis. She is also a participant in the national group The Communities Project that works with communities across the country to align their voices and combat addiction through community organizing.
Her work involves board participation too. She is a board member of the Oregon Public Health Association, the Addiction Prevention Section. An advisory board member for CLEAR Alliance, a statewide coalition, which focuses on reducing and preventing youth substance abuse and impaired driving through fact-based education in Oregon, and a co-founding board member of the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative.
She has been honored personally and professionally at the local, state, and national levels for her work in prevention and recovery awareness and supports. Recognized as the Volunteer of the Year in her local school district, where her work to engage, empower, and educate youth on drug/alcohol prevention started. Chosen in 2018 as the Freedom Award winner given by DePaul Treatment Centers, an honor given to those who help battle the stigma of addiction by sharing their story of recovery and giving back to the community in a meaningful way.
Her work professionally has been recognized by national organizations for work in her local community. Facing Addiction with National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence launched a Pilot Project that worked to reform the public response to “face” addiction. Community Living Above was one of 15 cities selected in the national search. The Addiction Policy Forum, a leading national nonprofit, recognized Pam’s work with Community Living Above in its Oregon Innovations to Address Addiction report, spotlighting innovative programs in Oregon that address addiction and provide support for families and communities.
Most recently, Pam co-founded two new projects that will serve teens and their families who find they need recovery support. The first is Family Inspired Recovery (FIR), an Alternative Peer Group model. FIR is a community of families growing and healing from the effects of teen substance use and other high-risk behaviors. The other organization in which Pam is a co-founding member the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative, a coalition of recovery advocates, educators, health system professionals, and business leaders committed to launching Oregon’s first recovery high school, Harmony Academy. Both organizations are the first of their kind in our state. It is Pam’s mission to create communities where families can grow and heal from the effects of substance use disorders and other high-risk behaviors.
Pam feels her work supporting young people and their families is her highest calling thus far. Her mess is now her message and redemption is the blessing.
Board of Advisors
Accomplished Experts Offering Innovative Advice and Dynamic Perspectives
John Cates, MA, LCDC
John Cates is an expert at helping individuals and families cope, heal, and recover from substance abuse problems. John is world renown as a therapist, author, speaker, and designer of successful inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs. He serves as Chair for the Association of Alternative Peer Groups (AAPG) board which consists of professionals from Alternative Peer Groups and community organizations that support APGs.
Recipient of multiple awards, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) named John Counselor of The Year for the United States in 2001. John has a Masters Degree in Counseling, he is the co-author of “Recovering Our Children: A Handbook for Parents of Young People in Early Recovery,” and the founder and Chief Executive Officer for Lifeway, a substance abuse (APG) Alternative Peer Group program serving young people across the nation for over 28 years.
Since 1976. John has also specialized in creating sober schools that offer students in recovery a safe place to learn in a chemical-free supportive environment.
Besides being one of the most influential therapists in his field, John is a recovering heroin addict. He has been clean and sober for more than four decades and knows first hand what it takes to live a successful drug free life.
Dr. Crystal Collier, PhD, LPC-S, Therapist, Author, Educator
Dr. Crystal Collier has been working with adolescents and adults suffering from mental illness, behavior disorders, and substance abuse since 1991 when she started out as a mental health technician while studying undergraduate psychology. She earned her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and her doctorate in Counselor Education at Sam Houston State University. Crystal’s areas of expertise includes addiction, adolescent brain development, prevention programming, independent living skills training, parent coaching, and training new clinicians. She serves on the board for the Association of Alternative Peer Groups (AAPG) board which consists of professionals from Alternative Peer Groups and community organizations that support APGs.
Crystal’s dissertation focus was the creation of a comprehensive prevention model to teach the neurodevelopmental effects of risky behavior to children, teens, and parents which was selected for the 2015 Prevention and Education Commendation from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In addition, Crystal teaches counseling skills and addiction classes as an adjunct professor and was awarded the Torch Bearer of the Year award in 2018 by the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals.
As the Murphy-Petersen Behavioral health fellow, Crystal will write a high-risk behavior prevention guide for parents, develop a prevention video series, conduct research on Alternative Peer Groups, and continue to educate the community regarding how a variety of high-risk behaviors can turn into addiction and effect healthy neurodevelopment. Crystal and her husband enjoy traveling and cuddling with their three cats.
Adam M. Leventhal, PhD
Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, is an addiction psychologist and public health scientist. In addition to his role as Founding Director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science, Dr. Leventhal is the Founding Director of the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL; heal.usc.edu), a group of six faculty investigators and 30 staff and trainees who study the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of addiction and mental illness across the lifespan.
Angela J Nash, PhD, CPNP-PC, PMHS
Dr. Nash is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with dual board certification in primary care and pediatric mental/behavioral health. Her areas of expertise include pediatric primary care and mental-behavioral health; adolescent substance misuse and disorders; recovery from substance use disorders (SUD); health problems related to prenatal alcohol and drug exposures; and reduction of stigma for patients with alcohol or drug-related problems.
A qualitative and mixed-methods researcher, Dr. Nash’s research focuses on Alternative Peer Groups and other recovery-support treatment models for adolescents with SUD and reduction of stigma for patients with alcohol or drug-related problems.
Dr. Nash received her BSN and MSN degrees from The University of Texas Austin. In 2005, she moved to Houston for a faculty appointment at Baylor College of Medicine, where she completed an Educational Fellowship designed to prepare clinicians for scholarly work. She received her doctoral degree and post-master’s in Nursing Education from the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth as a George Foundation Scholar in the Accelerated PhD Program and has been appointed to the Cizik SON faculty since 2013.
Tony Vezina, CRM + PRC
Tony Vezina identifies as a person in long-term recovery from alcohol and drugs and has been sober since July 20, 2012. He is the co-founder and current Executive Director of The 4th Dimension Recovery Center (4D), an innovative non-profit youth recovery center that serves over 500 young people each month with comprehensive recovery support services, including peer-mentoring, sober social events, recovery advocacy projects, mutual aid support meetings and much more. 4D is the first youth-led recovery community organization of it’s kind in the United States.
Over the past four years, Tony has been a force for change in Portland, founding the Portland Community College (PCC) Recovery 101 Club in addition to his ground breaking work with 4D. While at PCC Tony had the distinct honor of serving as the Phi-Theta Kappa Honors Society President, gaining regional and national recognition for his service projects. In his last year at PCC Tony served as Student Body President, receiving a Diversity Award for his student advocacy efforts. During his tenure as Student Body President, Tony also led an initiative that was successful in adding an Ex Officio Student to the PCC Board of Directors.
Tony is a visible and respected leader in the youth recovery field in Oregon, and as such, is often invited to present about effective youth recovery support practices at high schools, community colleges and trade associations. Additionally, Tony has been a keynote speaker at large recovery-related events and organizations in Oregon, including Hands Across the Bridge, Northwest Institute of Addiction Studies and Generation Found screenings among others.
Tony was recently elected to serve as a Board Member of the Metro Area Association of Addiction Peer Professionals, a new trade association representing addiction peers from the Portland Tri-County Region. Tony was also instrumental in the production and distribution of the first Recovery Voices Count! Voters Guide in Portland, OR and helped organize the first Portland screening of Generation Found, the groundbreaking documentary on recovery high schools. Most recently Tony was invited to serve as a Board Member of the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative, a group of community leaders who launched the first recovery high school in Oregon, Harmony Academy.
Tony is a proud dad to two girls. He contributes his recovery experience generously within the 12-Step community in Portland, supporting many young men on their recovery journey. Tony holds credentials as a Certified Recovery Mentor and Peer Recovery Counselor. Additionally, he has an Associate of Arts and is working on a Bachelor’s of Social Work at Concordia University, where he is on scholarship for academic excellence.
Marvin Seppala, MD
Dr. Seppala is one of the foremost national experts on addiction treatment, pharmacological treatments and the integration of evidence-based practices. Dr. Seppala was also the first adolescent treated at Hazelden. As such he has a deep and personal understanding of the significant challenges faced by adolescents with substance use disorders, and why they desperately need a safe and supportive educational pathway, like that being called for by the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative.
Dr. Seppala serves as the Chief Medical Officer at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and serves as adjunct Assistant Professor at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. His responsibilities include overseeing all interdisciplinary clinical practices, maintaining and improving standards of care, and supporting growth strategies for residential and nonresidential addiction treatment programs and services throughout the country.
Dr. Seppala attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He obtained his M.D. at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, serving his residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in addiction at University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis.
Dr. Seppala is the author of Clinician’s Guide to the Twelve Step Principles, a McGraw-Hill/Hazelden book published in 2002. He co-authored When Painkillers Become Dangerous, Hazelden Publishing, in 2004, followed by Pain-Free Living for Drug-Free People, Hazelden Publishing, in 2005. He is also the author of Prescription Painkillers: History, Pharmacology and Treatment, Hazelden Publishing (2010).
Dr. Seppala has served as a board member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and is a founding member of the Oregon Society of Addiction Medicine (OSAM), and the Oregon Recovery High School Initiative which launch Oregon’s first recovery high school, Harmony Academy. As a national addiction expert he has appeared as a guest on CBS’s The Early Show, CNN, and National Public Radio. He has also been quoted widely on addiction and recoery issues in major publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal.
Elizabeth Glaser MBA
Elizabeth spent her career working as a senior executive working for mission driven enterprises in the fields of health and human services in Massachusetts. Prior to her retirement, Elizabeth was the Chief Operating Officer of Vinfen, a $120 million human service agency providing a comprehensive array of programs and services to adults with psychiatric, developmental and behavioral disabilities in New England.
Prior to joining Vinfen, Ms. Glaser spent 14 years in a number of senior positions within the Partners HealthCare System, the integrated health care entity formed by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During her tenure, she served as a Vice President at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Senior Vice President at a community hospital and as the first administrative director for the newly integrated Psychiatry and Mental Health service line. Glaser originally joined Partners to lead the collaborative efforts of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA and Partners HealthCare System. Prior to her long career in health care, she worked as a consultant for McKinsey and Company, Inc. in Chicago.
In addition to her relevant work experience, Ms Glaser served on the Board of the Hazelden Foundation, a leading national provider of a full continuum of addiction services, where she was the Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee, as the Founding Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Mood and Anxiety Resource Center at the MGH and as a Fund Director and Chair of Bowdoin College’s Annual Fund.
She received her graduate degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and her undergraduate degree cum laude from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME.
Dr. Kenneth Blum, PhD, MSc, DHL
Dr. Blum received his PhD in Neuropharmacology from New York Medical College and is a graduate from Columbia University and New Jersey College of Medicine. He trained at the Institute of Behavioral Genetics, Colorado University at Boulder, Colorado. He also received a doctor of humane letters from St. Martins University. He has published over 550 abstracts, peer– reviewed articles and 17 books.
He has been the recipient of many grants and awards including a Life-Time Achievement in Addiction Medicine (Holistic Institute on Addiction Studies); Marquis Who Who’s Life –Time Achievement Award, and Presidential Award for Scientific Excellence (National Council of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Councilors), Scientific Achievement Award (City of Life Miami) and Best Abstract (2012) Award ASRA (Pain); Path Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award (2014) and Honorary Full Professor (Eötvös Loránd University, Institute of Psychology, Budapest, Hungary) and American Society of Addiction Medicine Millennium Laboratory Award and Top Registry Professional of the Year Award 2018 among many others. He coined the term “Reward Deficiency Syndrome“ in 1995 now in Microsoft Dictionary, Gates Scientific dictionary and featured in SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal Psychology (2017).
Currently he serves as Editor-in-chief (EIC) of Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome & Addiction Science (Editor-in-chief), EIC of Journal of Systems & Integrative Neuroscience, EIC of Journal of Addiction & Recovery, and Co-EIC Neuroimaging in Psychiatry & Neurology, Regional Editor of Current Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology, and is on the editorial board of 18 other scientific journals. As the lead author on the first genetic association of a dopaminergic gene with severe alcoholism, he is considered by some as the “Father of Psychiatric Genetics”. He is the holder of many U.S. and foreign patents involving nutrigenomics. Recently he has been awarded the USA patent on Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS). He is the lead author of the Springer Neuroscience Brief book on the 12 Steps -entitled “Molecular Neurobiology of Addiction Recovery.” Dr. Blum along with Mark Gold (St. Louis) has been named Editor-In Chief of Frontiers of Bioscience Special Issue on Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS). Dr. Blum was a Volunteer Professor, in both the Department of Psychiatry at University of Florida College of Medicine and McKnight Brain Institute. He is currently adjunct Full-Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He was an Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. He is currently Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Wright University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio. He also serves as Neuroscience advisor to many companies and foundations including Dominion Diagnostics (Chief Scientific Adviser), Path Foundation NY (Director of Science), Victory Nutrition, Impact Genomics, Shores Treatment & Recovery Center (Neuroscience Advisor) and Nupathways. He currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman of the board of Geneus Health, and Restoregen, San Antonio, Texas. He is Emeritus Faculty of The Institute of Applied Genomics and Biotechnology, Nagpur, India. Major media outlets worldwide have covered his work on addiction. Dr. Blum is Chief Neurogenetic & Addiction Therapy Advisor, The Florida House Experience. He is currently serving as Founding President of United Science Group (USG). Dr. Blum has developed the first ever patented Genetic Addiction Risk Score (GARS) in conjunction with Geneus Health. He is a frequent contributor to Sober World and Addiction Professional magazines. In conjunction with Merlene Miller and David Miller they just published their award winning book “Staying Clean and Sober”. He is a sought after speaker on a global basis for insights into RDS and genetics. He has published in almost every major peer review journal in the world including Science, Nature, Lancet, JAMA, JAMA Psychiatry, PNAS, Plus One, Oncotarget, Cureus, amongst many prestigious journals. His work has been featured in every major newspaper, magazine and television worldwide as well as Harvard Review. He is indeed the father of Amino-Acid Therapy for Reward Deficiency Syndrome developing Pro –Dopamine Regulation to induce “dopamine Homeostasis “coupled with genetic testing for “Precision Addiction Management”(PAM)™ and Precision Behavioral Management”(PBM).™ He also has a vast business experience including former Chairman of a Public Company. Most recently he is the Principal Investigator of grant from the NIH selected to be funded relate to both GARS and Pro-dopamine regulation in the African-American population along with Dr. Marjorie Gondre-Lewis Howard University and the National Human Genome Center (NHGC). He has been nominated to the board of directors of the National Whole Genome Science Foundation.