D’Amore Healthcare Executive Management Team continue advancement of private, quality, affordable dual diagnosis, substance abuse addiction treatment and mental health treatment.
Additionally, the organization has strengthened their executive management team showing early positive results with a significant success rate. These appointments and their staff play a key role in advancing D’Amore Healthcare’s mission of serving thousands suffering from mental illness and substance abuse addiction.
Chief Executive Officer, CEO
Britten brings her knowledge of change management, social science, public policy, and business analytics to healthcare. Completing her Master’s of Science in Addiction Counseling, while working as a Clinical Supervisor, then Managing Director, Britten ensures patients are treated with dignity and that services focus on positive reinforcement. “Individual mental health is the axis point to family stability, marketplace innovation and overall wellness.” As a Licensed Advanced Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Britten has her MAC from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals and is committed to research and outcomes based care planning, “Healthcare is complicated, requiring several linkages between patient history and patient goals. Listening to others is the most important part.” Outside of D’Amore Healthcare Britten enjoys the outdoors, music and fitness.
J. John Emma
Chief Financial Officer, CFO
Graduating San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting, John has accumulated a balance of experience in community non-profit and for-profit businesses. In the first 20 years of his career, John directed $18 million in growth or acquisitions. Today, bringing D’Amore financial and operational dexterity, John ensures D’Amore’s ethical fiduciary practices. But, John is quick to override a professional engagement to participate in the recovery ministry at his church or, to hang out with his sons, Ryan (21 years old) and Kyle (17 years old). John enjoys the benefits of a sober life, such as item #3 on his bucket list: travel to all 30 Major League Baseball Stadiums.
John is D’Amore’s watchman and shield. As a result, he anchors each strategic decision to common sense and optimum long-term outcomes.
Originally from Chicago, Rick fell in love with California while serving in the United States Marine Corps. After his service, he moved back to Chicago until 1978. When Rick relocated to Costa Mesa, California and eventually to Huntington Beach, California. Early in his career, Rick worked as a counselor at Phoenix House. Quickly, he enjoyed the rigor of social services. Although, his success took him in different directions, Rick knew he would work in recovery services again for two reasons: one, he loved it and two, he was determined to give back. In 1986, Rick’s life took a dramatic turn for the good when his recovery began. His plan to pay it forward was underway.
In 1995, Rick married his lovely bride, Vicki. They are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Nicole who attends college in San Luis Obispo and Noelle, studying in Santa Barbara. After years of labor and success, Rick sold his company in 2012, beginning his new journey: looking for the perfect team. In Rick’s words, “it has taken me 3 years. But, I have found the best three people to create the best in recovery.”
Dr. Mohamed El-Gabalawy, MD
Psychiatrist & Addictionist
Dr. Mohamed El-Gabalawy, MD is an addiction psychiatry specialist and has been practicing for over 30 years. He graduated from the University Of Cairo, Faculty Of Medicine in 1978 and specializes in Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. El-Gabalawy did his Psychiatric Residency at Winnebago Mental Health Institute and Loyola University Medical Center, and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in their Substance Abuse Treatment and Research Center. He is Board Certified by American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry, and through American Society of Addiction Medicine in Addiction Medicine. With fluency in English, Arabic, and Spanish, Dr. El has substantial affiliations with Hospitals and Societies that fight addiction and help individuals face mental illness.
Dr. El-Gabalawy has four children, 2 of which are following his footsteps and pursuing careers in medicine. His favorite books are An Unquiet Mind and Feeling Good, movies Beautiful Mind and Sound of Music, favorite foods are seafood and French pastries.
Chinyelu Chukwurah, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
Dr. Chinyelu Chukwurah is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who graduated from California State University, Long Beach. Her background includes primary care medicine and sexual assault induced trauma. Dr. Chukwurah’s clinical career took her on a journey through the healthcare system, from outpatient primary setting to working in the community, managing chronic comorbidities in the adult and geriatric population.
Upon completing her doctorate degree in advanced nurse practice, Dr. Chukwurah began consulting for UCLA Medical Center’s rape trauma treatment center. As a nurse practitioner, she offers quality patient care centered on evidence-based practice.
In her free time, Dr. Chukwurah enjoys watching movies, cooking, hiking outdoors, and attending social events. She is a strong advocate for empowering patients to participate in personalizing their own treatment plan. Princess Diana once said “ Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you” which represent her lifestyle.
and Family Therapist
Jordon’s understanding of mental disabilities started very early. His father was a Psychiatrist and he was fortunate to accompany him to work at various hospitals, clinics, etc. The facilities included College Hospital in Cerritos and Board and Care facilities in low-income areas such as South Central Los Angeles and Rialto. Upon enrolling at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Jordon made his future intentions clear from day one with the clinical training coordinator at Pepperdine Encino. He said he came to increase his knowledge in chronic and severe mental health so he could return to the field more prepared to help. He used his education to continue working at inpatient facilities treating chronic mental disorders including schizophrenia, severe depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
Jordon was fortunate to have made his mind up that he wanted to be an instrument of recovery for individuals needing mental health services. He used this experience to obtain a license in Marriage and Family Therapy and continue working with adults diagnosed with chronic and persistent mental illness in addition to substance use disorders at D’Amore Healthcare. He brings over 10 years of experience and counting in the field of chronic and persistent mental illness. Jordon continues to advocate for his caseload and assist them in improving their insight, judgment, and symptom awareness to help prevent long-term hospitalization and transition them to a less structured environment.
and Family Therapist
Joseph grew up in farm country in Illinois then migrated to Urbana where his father practiced medicine and taught at the University of Illinois. Joseph moved to Utah in the early 1980’s and worked for Deer Valley Resort for ten years, then moved to California with his wife Patti who accepted a position at UC Irvine. Joseph drove a school bus in the early 1990’s in order to be able to be home and present for his daughter. Someone suggested that he could park the bus at Irvine Valley College during the long lunch break and take a class— he did that and eventually finished undergraduate work with a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Services from Cal State Fullerton.
Joseph followed his youthful dreams and went to work at the Glacial Garden Ice Arena in Anaheim where he worked as an Ice Hockey program administrator and scheduled ice time. (Joseph also drove the Zamboni a lot, a fact of which he is very proud.) After 8 years at the ice rink, Joseph was motivated by a friend to attend the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology where he completed a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Joseph interned at Aspen community services, then remained on the team for 10 years, during which time he became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and gained certification from the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Association as a Mental Health Provider in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
Joseph worked in private practice and contracted with the Santa Ana Unified School District Special Education Department until 2017 when he joined the Team at D’Amore Health Care.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Group Facilitator & EMDR Referral
Michelle Frankley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with close to 20 years of experience as a clinician with a private practice in Newport Beach. As an EMDR Certified Therapist, quite often her primary focus is on assisting her clients to heal from trauma (i.e. disturbing, highly emotional and unsettling experiences). Additionally, Michelle specializes in the treatment of adolescent and adult clients struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety and related disorders.
As a clinician, Michelle’s approach is to assist and guide her clients in overcoming obstacles and resolving struggles that have gotten in the way of achieving life balance and, essentially, peace of mind. Because clients need a treatment plan tailored to fit their specific needs Michelle utilizes a comprehensive approach to include EMDR; cognitive behavioral therapy; attachment theory principles; 12 step work/meetings; journaling and mindfulness meditation techniques. Michelle supports a team approach so there is often communication with clients’ psychiatrists, dieticians, and other treatment providers.
Michelle has extensive experience facilitating individual and group sessions with men and women from diverse cultural backgrounds in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Michelle held the position of Clinical Director for 6 + years with a residential treatment center for adolescent girls. Prior to her role as Clinical Director of a residential treatment center, she was the Director of Social Services for a hospice organization and then spent 4 years as an individual and group therapist in a psychiatric hospital. Michelle previously served on the board for the Orange County chapter of IAEDP.
Michelle’s view is that life is an incredible yet very challenging journey. Her passion as a therapist is to help individuals heal and recover from painful experiences and develop the skills they need to navigate their way on this journey so their life path can be a rich and fulfilling experience.
Certified Life Coach
Elizabeth Stipher is a Certified Life Coach who has dedicated her professional talents to supporting helping professionals take care of themselves. Helpers not only serve the wounded, anxious and ill, but they also open their hearts with empathy and care. Endeavoring to combat burnout and compassion fatigue, Elizabeth focuses on integrating self-care, nature, mindfulness, writing, and problem-solving. Her support and guidance help her clients feel more centered in both their personal and professional lives.
Elizabeth received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from National University (2007), Bachelor’s degree from California State University Fullerton (2000) and her coaching certification through The Life Coach Institute of Orange County (2012).
Hanging out with her husband and two kids, in nature, is a top priority. But you can also find Elizabeth taking a yoga class, hiking with her dog, stand up paddle boarding at the beach, traveling or spending time with close friends.
B.S. in Dietetics and Food Administration
Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Cindy has always felt that the human body is an absolutely amazing machine with an innate ability to heal itself, given the right tools. Her focus encompasses not only nutritional guidance and therapy but also includes other healing modalities to support the health of the mind as well as the body.
Her educational background includes a B.S. in Dietetics and Food Administration in 1985 along with many advanced courses in nutrition as it relates to addictions/recovery, depression, digestion, and hormone balancing.
Cindy’s professional background includes helping numerous individuals in their recovery from addictions, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, digestive dysfunction, fatigue, allergies, type II diabetes, infertility, and more. Guiding individuals to feel and look their best through balancing the body is her focus.
Cindy has two grown sons who bring her lightness and joy. She loves to cook, create new recipes that nourish and tickle the taste buds, blog about health and nutrition, and be outdoors!
Chris Reilly, CATC I
Chris Reilly began his life in recovery at The Beacon House Association on May 11th, 2012 and discovered a passion for helping others live a better life. He is a certified chemical dependency counselor and case manager who has been with D’ Amore Healthcare since November of 2016. Chris is currently attending Arizona State University, studying Psychology to become a more effective helper. Chris’ number one priority is to help individuals and their families on the road to recovery.
Nicholas Lazzareschi B.A., MFT-Trainee
Nicholas brings passion coupled with research and clinical experience to D’Amore. He is most passionate about working with individuals and families to encourage and support a sense of emotional safety so they can make strength-based choices that will allow for a better outcome of therapeutic work. Nicholas’ versatility in the field is evidenced by his experience as a group facilitator, case manager, interventionist, and sober companion.
Furthermore, his research experience at UCLA led to the presentation of his work on the relationship between trauma and various cultural constructs at five national conferences.
Nicholas is currently finishing his M.S. in Counseling at CSUF. He aims to integrate a strengths-based, recovery-oriented approach with current evidenced-based treatments to promote meaningful change at D’Amore.
Associate Social Worker
Meghan graduated from Rutgers University in August 2017 with a Masters in Social Work and made a swift move across the country from Queens, NY to pursue her career in substance abuse treatment. Successful internships and volunteer experiences have led Meghan on her path not only to social work but to work with the dual diagnosis population. Meghan spent the previous 5 years coaching volleyball while completing her MSW and working at an outpatient addiction treatment facility located in Brooklyn, NY. She has found many parallels between her coaching and career experiences and integrates applicable parts of each into her work at D’Amore.
Director of Admissions
Jennifer serves as the Admissions Director for D’Amore Healthcare and has almost 12 years experience working in the recovery field. Before landing at D’Amore Healthcare Jennifer worked for a local nonprofit organization ranging in positions from Healthcare to Financial Administrator before finding her true passion in Admissions. Jennifer’s own personal journey has led her to want to help others struggling with mental health and substance abuse and allows her to be the point of contact to individuals and their families looking to start their recovery.
Jennifer is responsible for making sure that clients are aware of the individual care they will receive while at D’Amore Healthcare, the screening and assessment prior to admission and following through with the clients intake from start to finish. Jennifer strongly believes that “your present circumstances don’t determine where you go, they merely determine where you start.”