The Power of Gratitude in Recovery Thanksgiving is a time... Read More
Mr. Levin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addiction Professional, Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Certified Mental Health Professional, Certified Daring Way Facilitator and Certified Rising Strong Facilitator. Mr. Levin graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida Atlantic University in 2004. While at FAU, Mr. Levin completed an internship at The House of Hope, helping dual diagnosed patients released from jail or prison re-integrate into society. Academic excellence continued as Mr. Levin received his master’s degree from Barry University, with a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. While at Barry, Mr. Levin completed an internship at Victim Services Center of Miami, where he was trained in Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR), and assisted individuals afflicted with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder to better cope with their symptoms.
Upon commencement from Barry University in 2005, Mr. Levin began his mission of “fighting” the disease of addiction. Mr. Levin has spent the past thirteen years working in residential substance abuse treatment here in South Florida; “I feel extremely grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to help individuals and their families, afflicted with this heinous disease, gain closure with regards to their traumatic pasts, cultivate a recovering identity and develop hope for a brighter future”. Mr. Levin believes that addiction is a primary medical disease, not a moral deficiency. “Most individuals and families that I have the privilege of treating typically ask me how or why this happened, and I explain to them that while a genetic predisposition is the number one risk factor in contracting the disease, the environment that an individual grows up in plays an important role as well. Mr. Levin believes in a multi-modal approach consisting of the timely application of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and 12-step self-help support groups.
As is the case with many families throughout the world, Mr. Levin was impacted by the disease of addiction and thus devoted his academic career to researching the social problem addiction poses to the addict and society at large. Reflecting on his decision to commit his life work to helping addicts and their families, “Looking back on my life, I would have to say that my interest in social work was fostered by my father’s career as a psychologist and my mother’s genuine warmth, kindness and humanity. As a young child I always enjoyed giving as much as receiving, and I always feel a sense of joy when I put a smile on another human beings face. Human interaction is what I desire; I enjoy talking to people of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
Mr. Marc Effron, Founder of Legacy Healing Center is a seasoned financial services professional who spent more than 20 years in annuity and mutual funds sales, training and consulting. He is a renowned motivational speaker and enjoys coaching his sons’ athletic teams, and making an impact in his local community. Mr. Effron, a person who has been affected thru family and friends by the disease of addiction, felt compelled to improve the quality of care, treatment and service in the South Florida behavioral health space. After the birth of his second son he became overwhelmed to act, he thought, “GOD forbid either of my sons needed help, I would not be comfortable sending them to most rehabs in South Florida, as they wouldn’t meet my personal standard.” After numerous accomplishments in the financial field, Mr. Effron, chose to follow his dream. He created a professional behavioral health organization prided on fostering an environment of ladies and gentlemen leading ladies and gentlemen into recovery.
Mr. Effron often states, “I want to create a behavioral health company that I would feel confident sending my own children to. Which is why Legacy Healing Center, needs to operate at the highest standard. My vision is to fundamentally operate ethically while providing premier quality of care.”
Legacy Healing Center offers a holistic approach to healing through psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, exercise and nutrition. It’s a program that offers an opioid alternative to chronic pain management in the form of physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy. Mr. Effron also believes in annual recovery check-ups and uses recovery/sober coaches to help with re-integration into society. Mr. Effron is responsible for the daily operations of Legacy Healing Center and reports directly to the clients he serves.
Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD
Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD is recognized as one of Florida’s leading physicians, addiction medicine specialists and psychiatrists. He is often sought out to provide lectures, education and trainings regionally and throughout the country, providing expertise on the topics of behavioral health and addiction. He is known to be “exacting and precise”, taking a comprehensive approach to all patient diagnostic assessments and treatment. Dr. Bhatt is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both Adult Psychiatry as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. This expertise allows him to recognize various illness which occur throughout the lifespan. Dr. Bhatt is also board certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine as well as a Certified Medical Review Officer, (MRO). He completed his fellowship training at The University of Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital and also served as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami. He has served in many prestigious roles throughout his medical career, from the Chief and Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Inpatient and Emergency Crisis at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital as well as Director of the Adult Intensive Unit at Jackson Memorial, in addition to extensive administrative and executive medical leadership roles in both the public and private sectors of the healthcare industry.”
Mr. Benfaida is a Florida Board Certified Recovery Support Specialist serving as the Chief Executive Manager at Legacy Healing Center. Travis graduated from FIU in 2018, receiving his bachelor's degree from the College of Public Health. His passion and desire to fight the disease of addiction originated in 2012, when he was introduced to recovery through the South Florida model of treatment for a five-year opioid addiction, stemming from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained while playing college basketball at The University of Central Florida. Through the grace of God, Alcoholics Anonymous and his personal determination, perseverance and work ethic, Travis will be celebrating nine years sober in April of 2021. Having transformed his life from a state of darkness and depression into one full of gratitude and enthusiasm for any, and all opportunities, Travis’ experience, compassion and leadership allow for him to create a successful work environment for himself, staff, clients and their families.
Ms. Gonzalez is the Director of Operations at Legacy Healing Center of Margate. Damaris achieved her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from South University in Palm Beach, Florida. As Director of Operations, Ms. Gonzalez oversees the administrative office and is also the first point of contact as intake coordinator when clients admit into the program. “When clients’ arrive they are scared, angry and depressed. I want to welcome them, orient them and let them know that they will be ok. I’ve witnessed family and friends, throughout my life, struggle with addiction, and that was what attracted me to the industry.” Ms. Gonzalez plans on furthering her education and becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor so that she may continue to work with, and have a positive impact on those who need it most. “I don’t believe in giving your past decisions the power over who you are in the future. I believe that anyone can achieve their goals if they give it their all.”
Mr. Perez is a Florida Board Certified Recovery Support Specialist serving as the Executive Manager of Legacy Healing Detox. Cody’s drive and passion to helping others can be attributed to living through and surviving a disease, we strive to overcome; Addiction. “I tried several times to get clean and sober, but nothing ever worked until I found God and surrendered to this process. I believe everybody has a chance to become successful and nobody should be left behind.” Having been an addict for nearly 10 years, Mr. Perez was no stranger to the recovery program, but in April 2011 something changed. He accepted God was in control leading him down the path he needed to take but it was up to Cody to take the right path when he came to that inevitable fork in the road. April 2011 was the last time he walked into recovery needing help to get clean. Now his fight is to help others find that path and lead them to success the way he was lead, with support and God on his side. It is through this strength, courage, and passion that Cody is enrolled in school to become a Certified Addiction Counselor and become a Nationally Certified Recovery Support Specialist. No one said the fight would be easy, but it is possible.
Tatiana St Germain
Tatiana St. Germain is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor here in the State of Florida. She received her Bachelors of Science majoring in Psychology from the University of Florida, and her Master of Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. For the last 8 years, Tatiana has worked with individuals from a diverse population of social, cultural, and ethnic background struggling with substance abuse, trauma, anxiety, depression, life transitions, spirituality and other issues. Tatiana has a strong belief in empowering individuals to awaken their confidence and live their purpose despite of what has occurred in their lives. She uses a client-centered, humanistic approach which helps in providing individualized treatment tailored to the needs of the person. Besides being passionate to help those in need, she is also passionate to provide guidance and support to those who work one on one with her in the field of substance abuse and mental health.
Hello! My name is Ashley Bayliss, and I’m an LCSW. I grew up in Melbourne Beach Florida until attending Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. I earned a double Bachelors in Psychology and Social Work, before continuing on to my MSW and licensure. I have always been fascinated by human behavior and neurobiology, and helping others has always been in my nature. I utilize multiple modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and emotion focused therapy, as well as mindfulness, breath work, and expressive art therapy. I believe my compassion and authenticity create a safe environment for my clients to grow and learn about how to live a sober lifestyle.
Eileen Somerville is a licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, who earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Florida International University. Eileen has ten years of experience working with mental health issues of all types and substance abuse addiction. As a therapist, Eileen believes that she is gifted in her ability to empower others to find their truth, use their voice, and actualize their maximum potential. The framework for which this is done, is primarily a humanistic approach that incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy. Eileen also utilizes the spirituality component and it’s power in an individual’s life to revive the hope that many are yearning for or have been missing. Eileen is dedicated to fostering a nurturing yet challenging environment for her clients, where the dynamic is supportive yet effective in eliciting change. Through motivation and encouragement via an authentic connection, Eileen is able to help those she counsels who suffer from addiction, to obtain long lasting intimate relationships with themselves and their loved ones. Eileen’s passion is ultimately to make a profound difference in her client’s lives and assist them in establishing a solid relationship with sobriety long term.
Joe is originally from Cape Cod, MA. He has a bachelors degree in sociology from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Joe was also an All-American collegiate football player for Hartwick college as well. Joe brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the legacy team, having served in the public sector as a law enforcement officer for 9 years (K-9, SWAT and Interview Interrogation). Joe has also worked as a Adolescence social worker for the Massachusetts Department Of Family And Children. Joe worked in the private sector for many years as well. First as a clinician in the substance abuse field and for the past 5 years a business developer. Joe has devoted his life to helping alcoholics live a better life and break the stigma of addiction. In fact, the stigma of addiction was the inspiration for Joe’s senior thesis while at Hartwick College. Joe’s core principles are hard work, perseverance and determination. You can hear Joe say daily “everyone loves a comeback” in motivating and implementing hope with people struggling with addiction. In Joe’s current position as President of Business Development, he has developed tight-knit relationships with alcohol and substance abuse facilities nationwide. Joe has a proven track record in admissions and marketing with 7 years experience in the substance abuse and mental health field. Joe is passionate about assisting clients and their families throughout the recovery process, using his expertise in addiction and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) in an effort to create a life worth living….
Michael DePasquale who is the Vice President of Business Development was born and raised in East Greenwich, RI. Michael attended the University of Rhode Island where he studied in communication. His addiction started in his early teen years and as it progress he was eventually stripped of everything. Moving to Florida and having to restart he realized the only way out was through God and the twelve steps of A.A. His passion in helping other stems from his own struggles. He has worked in the addiction field for several years. As VP of Business Development he develops relationships in the community along with other substance abuse facilities nation wide. Michael believes a person finds his or her true self through struggle and overcoming life’s obstacles.
Dennis Feinstein was born in Willingboro, New Jersey. He moved to Florida at a very young age and this was around the time his journey of addiction to recovery began. Going from the process of active addiction to recovery, Dennis was able to overcome many challenges while learning the tools to reach higher potentials of himself. Now coming up on five years clean, Dennis has chosen to use his dark times to help others, dedicating his life to helping the next addict seeking recovery. As the Alumni Coordinator at Legacy Healing Center, He has been given the opportunity to not only help individuals in the beginning stages of their transformational process but also provides a resource to clients for the rest of their lives so they maintain and achieve lasting recovery.
Christina Holmes was raised in Plantation, Fl. Struggling with addiction since high school, her addiction consumed her life for many years. Waking up one morning feeling sick and tired, she went to treatment hoping things would get better, while giving herself the opportunity to learn the true power of herself. Christina has been sober for four years now and is raising four beautiful daughters in a life of recovery. She started working at Legacy Healing Center as a Behavioral Health Technician three years ago and grew within the company to case management and now works as the Program Manager. Christina is also a Certified Life Coach. She is blessed with the opportunity to help others struggling with addiction and provides all she can to help.
Amina Laurenceau, Director of Human Resources
Amina is a well-versed HR professional with over 10 years in the HR and management field. Amina is a mother of three beautiful and energetic children and enjoys being a football mom on the weekends!
Amina’s responsibilities have included recruitment and staffing, benefits, classification and compensation, talent development, employee relations, career services, and payroll. Amina oversaw the creation of human resources systems, and implemented six major IT systems in five years, upgrading from heavily paper-driven processes to bring tools and resources to the desktop and mobile devices of employees and managers.
Amina has successfully worked in the health care and psychiatric industries. Her work in designing systems and practices includes implementation with significant levels of coaching and training at all levels of the organization.
Amina has incorporated her skills into the Legacy family and is passionate about continuing to create and implement programs that enhance productivity and encourage employee morale.
Allison Trim is the Regional Director of Community Relations. She was born in a small town in central NJ. Allison attended Temple University where she studied Public Health. Her addiction took a hold of her when she arrived in Philadelphia and she lost everything. After multiple treatment attempts, Allison finally found her way to recovery. She has found lasting sobriety through the 12 steps of AA and God. She has furthered her education with a CNDAI II, which has allowed her to facilitate many interventions, as well as a certificate as a certified hypnotherapist. Allison truly has a passion for bridging the gap between loved ones, their families, and the resources available to them.
Charles Rose, BSN RN
Charles is a board-certified registered nurse that has been serving in dual diagnosis addiction for 20 years and is the Director of Nursing of Legacy Healing Detox. He is originally from Jamaica and started his medical career serving in the United States Army as a combat medic. He received his nursing degree and started working in cardio thoracic ICU and E.R. His passion lies in serving others and helping them to achieve optimal health and sobriety.
Allison Slack, PMHNP-BC, is a Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, with training and experience in treating acute and chronic psychiatric conditions across the lifespan and practice settings. She is certified to provide treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and psychosis. Allison is also certified to provide treatment in drug and alcohol addiction, including acute detoxification, stabilization, and treatment. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, she is committed to providing individualized, personalized, and comprehensive care for her patients.
Allison Slack was born and raised in Pembroke Pines, FL, and always dreamed about becoming a nurse. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Bachelor of Nursing Degree in 2011. While working as a registered nurse at Holy Cross Hospital was fulfilling and challenging, she realized that she wanted to expand and enrolled in an advanced practice nursing program. Allison was rewarded her Master of Nursing Degree, specializing in psychiatry and mental health, in 2013, from StonyBrook University. For the past six years, she has worked as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and concentrates on educating, mentoring, advocating, and prescribing for her patients.
Lina Pepper received her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Northwood University in West Palm, Florida and has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida. She is a Board Certified Hypnotist receiving this credential from the National Guild of Hypnotists and is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, certified by the International Association of Trauma Professionals.
Mrs. Pepper began her career treating psychological trauma while providing crisis intervention to victims of violent crimes, sexual assault, and domestic abuse. Witnessing first-hand how the impact of trauma leads individuals to addiction, she became determined and fervent to treat the core issues at an addiction treatment level to help minimize the impact of trauma in their lives.
As a result of Mrs. Pepper’s training and experience, she came to the profound understanding that only one trauma therapy modality will not reach all individuals requiring this kind of care. In order to reach as many individuals as possible, Lina received training in a number of modalities which includes Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psycho-education, Psycho-dynamic Theory and practice, Trauma-Informed Care Approach and exposure therapy. In preparation for the future and to ensure her capability of assisting as many clients as possible in her career, Mrs. Pepper has recently been certified in treating Trauma- Related Disorders due to the Covid-19 Pandemic from the Cognitive Behavioral Institute in Florida.
Mrs. Pepper’s tenacity to aid clients in overcoming trauma far exceeds her client’s expectations and the lives they rightfully deserve to lead thereafter.
Olushola Lawal, MSW, RCSWI
Olushola (Shola) Lawal serves as a Primary Therapist at Legacy Healing Detox. Shola was born and raised in south Florida. He is a Florida State University double alumni graduating with his Bachelor’s of Social Work in 2013 and his Master's of Social Work in 2015. Shola’s passion for social work stems from the six core values of the profession. The six core values of social work are Service, Social Justice, Dignity and Worth of the Individual, Importance and Centrality of Human Relationships, Integrity, and Competence. These core values serve as his elements of change. Shola has provided therapeutic and mental health services to a diverse population afflicted with substance use, mental health and other biopsychosocial disorders.
Marykate DiBenedetto (RMHCI) is a Primary Therapist. Marykate earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from Montclair State University and earned her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Marykate feels passionately about the importance of physical and mental health and how each play a role in the other’s overall well-being. Marykate utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a Person-Centered Approach, Solution-focused, Psychoeducation, and Narrative Therapy. Marykate works with clients in group and individual sessions addressing goals and establishing treatment plans specific to each person’s needs. She encourages open communication of life experiences, emotions and thoughts.
Devon Grant is one of the primary therapist’s currently working at Legacy Healing Detox, treating patients at the detox and residential levels of care.
He graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2006 with his B.S. in Psychology. After that he worked in the Georgia school system with high-risk populations before obtaining his M.Ed. in Professional Counseling from the University of Georgia. Devon is currently pursuing his Master's Level Addiction Professional certification.
He worked as a school counselor with children and adults before switching his career towards addiction counseling. Devon likes to use a solution-focused and cognitive behavioral approach to assist patients with overcoming their addiction. Devon's previous work experience has taught him to remain calm in high-stress situations which has helped him to excel in this field.
Danielle Kaplan is a Master’s Level Social Worker receiving her BSW and MSW from Florida Atlantic University in 2015 Summa Cum Laudi, while continuing to work towards her LCSW. Danielle currently works as a primary therapist at Legacy Healing Center treating patient’s working through detox and residential levels of care.
Danielle embraces a deep sense of dedication and commitment towards helping individuals combat and heal from the disease of addiction and other co-occurring mental health disorders. Her genuine desire to assist this population began from her own personal experiences fighting addiction and her mission continues as she helps others learn how to utilize addiction as a monumental strength while embracing a life in sobriety.
Danielle’s education background promotes her ability and innate desire to help others treat and successfully maintain substance use and other mental health disorders by utilizing a combination of evidence-based therapeutic modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapies, while putting great emphasis on Existential Therapies that help patient’s explore and embrace meaningful and purposeful lives.
Danielle takes pride working alongside a strong and comprehensive treatment team of professionals who share a similar mission, treating patients with dignity and respect, while providing the services and tools our patients need to succeed in their own personal journeys as they grow and evolve in recovery.
Whitney Peavler, MSN, FNP-C
Whitney is a board certified family nurse practitioner and acts as the full time medical ARNP at Legacy Healing Detox. Originally from Topeka, KS, she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS, in 2014. She starting her nursing career at The University of Kansas Medical Center in the emergency room before becoming a full time travel ER nurse in 2016. She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Nursing from Maryville University of St. Louis in 2019 with a focus in family medicine. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Her passion lies in serving others and helping them achieve an optimal level of health; physically, mentally, and spiritually. She has found a home in addiction treatment and is relentless in her pursuit to see her patients recover.
Jason Barry moved to Florida from South Philadelphia in 2013 beginning his journey to recovery and developing a clean and sober lifestyle. Jason joined Legacy Healing in 2020, starting as a Behavioral Health Technician then promoted to Operations Manager but has worked in the substance abuse field for 6 year. Jason has held several positions ranging from case management to operations and director-level positions and is proud to be a part of team Legacy. Jason is extremely passionate about helping others suffering from addiction and encourages others to put actions behind their words in order to live a clean and sober life daily.
Kristine “Kristy” Youst is a RMHCI, who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Auburn University and her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. As a therapist, she utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Person-Centered Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Kristy approaches each client on an individualized basis to assist them in meeting their goals and objectives. She strives to empower, support, and strengthen the well-being and mental health of her clients. Kristy also assists clients in implementing and learning effective coping skills on how to live a more healthy and sober lifestyle.
Megan Harrigan, PMHNP-BC
Megan Harrigan is a Board Certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with extensive experience in treating acute and chronic psychiatric conditions, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. She has worked alongside board certified psychiatrists and addictionologists overseeing and managing the treatment of patients during acute detoxification, stabilization, treatment, and recovery. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from Florida International University, graduating with honors, and her professional career has been dedicated to the proper delivery of competent care to those struggling with mental health and chemical dependency issues. She has made it her life’s goal to meet the needs of these populations and is passionate about addressing psychiatric and substance abuse issues while providing collaborative patient centered care.
Nicole Ouzounian, MCAP, PhD
Assistant Clinical Director
Nicole Ouzounian received her Master’s degree in Addictions Counseling from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey and her Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from NOVA Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. She is a Masters Certified Addiction Professional with over 15 years of experience in the addiction field providing treatment for adults, adolescents and families in recovery. While working for the Saint Barnabas Healthcare System in New Jersey, she was recruited to Prevention Specialist and Operational Director for the Institute for Prevention. In that role she managed and facilitated a state-recognized educational program teaching anger management, conflict resolution, nutrition and drug and alcohol prevention throughout the tristate area. Relocating to Florida, Dr. Ouzounian focused her career on treatment, becoming responsible for the day-to-day operations of the clinical program for a Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Faith Based Program for a privately owned treatment center in Boynton Beach, Florida.Working in the field of addiction enlightened Nicole to the true strength of the human spirit. She has witnessed and helped individuals transform from despair to discovering their strength and wisdom within themselves.
Brad Silver, Program Manager
Bio coming soon.