Nearly ten years ago, Ward Blanchard found his life’s passion: working in the field of mental health and addiction. Growing up in a small coastal town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ward’s desire to help others was cultivated through the small-town values of service, hard work and volunteering.
Ward’s professional career began in business as he represented the third generation to work at Kellogg Supply Company, a building supply and lumber chain founded by his grandfather. Working in an established family company provided Ward with the opportunity to understand the value of relationships, communication and integrity. Although Ward thoroughly enjoyed working in business and with his family’s company, the field of psychology and the “helping profession” were careers always close to his heart.
Coachella Valley in Southern California provided Ward an environment where he could continue furthering his education while working alongside some of the world’s most well-known addiction and mental health treatment centers, such as The Betty Ford Center, Michael’s House Treatment Center and Foundations Recovery Network. Ward moved to Palm Desert, California and went back to school in 2008 to receive his master’s degree in psychology, marriage and family therapy. Specializing in addiction, Ward obtained his advanced addiction counseling education and credentials through the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC-II), which required a minimum of 8,000 hours of supervised counseling experience. Ward is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) and has worked in all facets of addiction treatment: interventions, admissions, business development, therapy, continuing care and operations.
Cristina was born and raised in Pasadena, CA and began working in the field of mental health/addiction while in graduate school at Pepperdine University in 2003.
Cristina has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist Associate who is currently receiving her North Carolina credential as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Cristina began her career working with severe mental illness in an inpatient psychiatric setting, and then progressed to working with children, teens and families in various inpatient and outpatient settings. Cristina feels that her true calling is working with children and teens and their families to address substance abuse, mental illness and various other factors that impact the overall well-being of the family unit.
Cristina worked for several years with children and families as the primary therapist in group home settings, outpatient settings and private practice and has advanced specializations in trauma work, childhood post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, and parenting interventions. Cristina has advanced training in cognitive behavioral therapy and has been trained to work with children as young as 5 years old who have experienced neglect and abuse.
Cristina’s approach to therapy is to lead with compassion and acceptance, respecting the family unit and assisting all members of the family to work toward improved understanding, communication and resilience. Cristina became more immersed in addiction treatment after recognizing that many of her families struggled with substance abuse and seeing the generational pattern of substance use in families. Cristina joined Michael’s House, an FRN organization, and then Desert Palms Treatment Center, occupying positions including Primary Therapist, Assessment Therapist and Family Program Coordinator and Creator. Upon moving to North Carolina, Cristina worked as the Director of Adolescent Treatment at a local intensive outpatient treatment center before leaving to pursue our vision at the Blanchard Institute. Cristina continues to passionately help families heal and become healthy and united in the midst of mental illness, addiction and various transitions that families face.
Heather Jennissen holds a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Mankato State University. She has over 20 years of experience working in both clinical and business development aspects of mental health and substance use disorders. Heather’s passion is helping individuals and families access treatment services. She is on the board of the North Carolina Foundation of Alcohol and Drug Studies and The International Nurses Society on Addictions.
Allison Christie possesses more than 20 years of professional leadership and operations management in several industries in the United States and abroad. Allison has worked in education as a teacher and business manager, in commercial diplomacy as a specialist for the U.S. State Department and in mining as a social development and stakeholder engagement coordinator. Allison earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and an MBA from the Fisher Business School at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Allison joined Blanchard Addiction Resources in Charlotte, North Carolina in April, 2016. In October of 2016 she was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for The Blanchard Institute.
George L Raad, MD
Dr. Raad has treated over 28,000 moderate to high acuity patients during his thirty-plus year career as Medical Director for an urban inpatient medical detoxification program. Dr. Raad has been innovative in his response to changing patients and changing drugs in the substance use disorder field, and he has earned high patient satisfaction scores during his tenure.
He is the past recipient of the prestigious North Carolina Jody Kellerman award for excellence in the field of substance abuse treatment. Dr. Raad is a much sought-after trainer and expert in the field of substance use disorders. He has presented to many varied professional groups and has appeared on numerous television reports on addiction. He has a private family medicine practice, a concierge medical practice and a research facility in Charlotte, NC.
We are so excited to have Judy Goodwin join our team at The Blanchard Institute.
Judy brings 24 years of knowledge and experience working as an Admissions Coordinator in the field and is well connected to the community and behavioral health industry. She has a volunteer history working with the Union County Substance Abuse Task Force, NC MADD, Union County Public Schools and various community organizations.
Judy can often be heard telling others “this is not a job … it is a calling.” Judy is usually the first point of contact for our clients and welcomes the opportunity to help those seeking help.
Edward R. Mogabgab, MD
Dr. Mogabgab has been an ER doctor and internist for 30 years. Since 2014, he has focused his life on treating addiction, including extensive experience in relapse prevention therapy inspired by Gorski. In 2015 he joined Dr. George Raad at Park Road Medical, where he has treated patients in detox and provided preventive care for alcoholism and addiction. He has also provided medically assisted therapy for newly recovering patients. Dr. Mogabgab has fundamental knowledge of the principles of recovery and relapse prevention.
Amie Hopper was born in California but grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. She has been working in Charlotte and the surrounding areas for the last few years, providing mental health and substance abuse services.
Amie obtained her Bachelor’s of Psychology from the University of South Carolina and her Master of Professional Counseling from Liberty University. Amie has a variety of work experience, from treating the severely mentally ill to treating adolescent substance abuse and mental health and working with dually diagnosed adults. Amie has extensive training in opioid use and medication-assisted treatment.
Amie is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed clinical addiction specialist, and her passion is helping others navigate their way through life’s trials to find a healthy balance. Amie’s approach to therapy is founded on respect and acceptance and the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people heal. Amie enjoys working with clients of all backgrounds and finding an individualized approach to help people in their journey.
Julie is coming on board with over 25 years of experience in management and business operations. She graduated from Linn State College as a Physical Therapy Assistant with an associate degree in applied science. After moving to Charlotte and working in occupational health for 10 years, she recently transitioned to the substance abuse field when she began working for Carolinas Healthcare System.
In addition to working full time, Julie served as board member of the Athletic Booster Club for six years and on the PTSO board—one year served as president—for Ardrey Kell High School. She is excited to be part of The Blanchard Institute family.
Kasie joins the team with over 10 years of corporate marketing experience and communications strategies for a multitude of industries.
Kasie graduated Suma Cum Laude from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Communications. She has helped to create the brand, voice and overall messaging for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the Southeast.
Over the last 3 years, Kasie has worked closely within the addiction and treatment field, combining her corporate approach with her passion to lend a voice and positive image to the faces of recovery.
Gibbs, Therapy Dog
Gibbs the Therapy dog, born in raised in Southern California, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014 to continue to cultivate her passion of delivering cuteness, comfort, and adorability to anyone and everyone she encounters. Gibbs was drawn into the field of substance abuse and behavioral health after her own personal recovery from a process addiction with chewing shoes and furniture. She understands how such an addiction truly is a family disease—impacting the whole family. Gibbs is intelligent, focused, enjoys attention and being pet behind the ears. Gibbs received formal education through The Dog Knowledge Obedience School of Charlotte, NC. She graduated with spectacular mediocracy in obedience, but excelled in the subjects of advanced charm, good looks, and tennis-ball catching. She loves riding horses, a good hot dog, listening to Dave Matthews Band, is a documentary film enthusiast, and is avid about sharing global warming articles on her Facebook.