The Summit Malibu Team

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William Oswald, Executive Director and Founder

Over the past 30 years William Oswald has established himself as a pioneer in the alcohol and addiction recovery field. At the Adult Substance Abuse Program of Southern California (ASAP) he was one of the first to expand the scope of addiction treatment into mainstream medical facilities. In 1988 he founded Avalon Treatment Centers at Van Nuys Hospital, the first center to provide a broad range of social and therapeutic treatments that significantly reduced relapse rates. In the 1990s he established Lumax Mental Health, a company specializing in day treatment programs for dual diagnosis patients at area hospitals, and went on to direct business development for New Seasons Behavior Health Center, one of the first centers to utilize neurocognitive treatment for addiction. Mr. Oswald was also instrumental in creating Cocaine Anonymous, a 12-Step fellowship that has helped thousands.

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Steven Booth, Finance Director and Founder

Steven earned his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Economics. Before helping to co-found Summit Malibu Steven worked in both private and public accounting. Like many others, Steven has seen first hand the destruction that addiction can inflict on family and friends. He has also witnessed the extraordinary changes that can be made when addicts receive the necessary treatment.

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Geoffrey Booth, M.D., Independently Affiliated Physician

Along with Steve and Willie, Geoffrey A. Booth, MD co-founded of Summit Malibu.  He currently functions as an independently contracted physician providing expert medical detoxification for the most complex clients.  After earning his B.A. in psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, Dr. Booth attended New York Medical College.  He completed his internship and residency at UCLA Olive View Medical Center and subsequently went in to private practice where he had a statewide and nationwide referral base for patients who suffered from difficult to treated diagnoses.  Dr. Booth subsequently dedicated several years to providing medical services to the poor and uninsured.  During this time was the Chief Medical Officer of three large urban Federally Qualified Health Centers.  During this period his responsibilities included supervising alcohol and drug and behavioral health departments.  Over the years, Dr. Booth has treated thousands of addicts and now has dedicated most of his clinical time to providing medical detoxification to clients and helping them establish the foundations for long-term sobriety.   “It is a courageous and monumental decision to leave the drink or drug you’ve known for so long and to reach out for a chance at freedom and a new life,” says Dr. Booth.  “We provide the love, hope, and professional care clients need to safely start this magical journey,” he says.

While not working, Dr. Booth has a rich personal life filled with activities surrounded by friends and family.  You can often catch him running through Palisades Park or cycling along the bike path through Santa Monica.  He loves his family and spends a lot of time with his son playing games and teaching him sports.

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Shahla Modir, M.D., Independently Affiliated Physician

Dr Modir is one of the most recognized and respected physicians in the addiction recovery field, and is known for the effectiveness of her holistic approach to treatment. She completed residency training in Psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and sub-specialty training in Addiction Psychiatry at the UCLA Medical Center. Dr Modir is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for Addiction Psychiatry, and has extensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Dr Modir is also a licensed buprenorphine provider.

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Richard Sandor, M.D., Independently Affiliated Physician

Richard S. Sandor, M.D, received his undergraduate degree at Yale in 1968 and his medical degree at the University of Southern California in 1972. After working as an emergency room physician for several years, he completed post-graduate training in psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in 1980. He was Board certified in psychiatry in 1985 and was certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 1986.
In 1982, Dr Sandor became the founding Medical Director of the Redgate Memorial Recovery Center. He went on to serve as the Chief of the Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center, the Medical Director of the Betty Ford Center outpatient program in Los Angeles, and finally, as the Medical Director of Saint John’s Hospital Chemical Dependence Center in Santa Monica. He has lectured and written widely on the subject of addiction, has served as an expert witness before the California State Bar and Medical Board of California, and was President of the California Society of Addiction Medicine from 1993 to 1995. Dr Sandor is the author of Thinking Simply About Addiction, published in March, 2009, by Tarcher/Penguin.

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Lisa Benya, D.O., Independently Affiliated Physician

Dr Benya is a 1995 graduate of the Ohio University College Of Osteopathic Medicine. She is an nternal medicine doctor that has serviced the Malibu community for over 10 years. Her caring and compassionate approach combines both eastern and western medicine and has earned her a great reputation and a lot of respect in the community. In addition to her regular medical practice, she also offers top of the line spa treatments at her CURE Spas, located in Malibu, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Also, she has recently began a Concierge based medicine practice, offering personalized medical care 24/7.

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Stephanie Kavoulakos, LMFT Clinical Director

Stephanie Kavoulakos is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She uses a strengths-based approach to work with her clients and integrates a trauma-informed sensibility with family systems and solution-focused interventions.  Stephanie is passionate about guiding clients to uncovering their inner resources through a collaborative and inspired exploration process that utilizes CBT, DBT, mindfulness and brief psychodynamic therapy.

With a diverse background that includes a long-time career as a public relations director in the music industry, Stephanie received her Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. Her clinical experience includes work in community, school and outpatient settings with adults, couples, families, adolescents and children. 

Stephanie is trained and certified in several evidenced based practices related to addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.  She has served on the board for many years of her local CAMFT chapter as the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations.  Stephanie maintains a private practice in the San Fernando Valley where she focuses on family recovery from addiction, complex trauma and working with creative individuals.  She has written about addiction for The Therapist magazine and pens a blog.

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Jason Batanides, MFTI, Primary Therapist

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Virginia Conesa, MFTI, Primary Therapist

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Julia Alperovich, MFTI, Primary Therapist

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Rosalia Sandoval, Director of Residential Facilities

Rosalia has been a member of Summit’s all star team from day 1. She is committed to world class service on every level of the program.  From facility cleanliness to client care.  She enjoys interacting with clients and staff and is present every day to welcome clients with a fresh breakfast and warm smile.  Her immense gratitude for her own family and life shows through her energy and dedication to the Summit Team. She inspires the team to do their best work and has left an impression on every client that comes through Summit.

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Kristin Robert, Program Director

Kristin has been a part of Summit Malibu since January of 2014. In that little time Kristin has propelled herself into several leadership roles due in large part to her decisiveness and ability to understand and effectively communicate client needs to all staff and medical personnel. Kristin trained under Dr. Mohammad for 4 years through various facilities before coming to Summit. Her treatment experience combined with her desire to serve those in need have given her a perspective that is valued among the staff here at Summit. Kristin oversees several departments at Summit Malibu including but not limited to Medication Protocol, Staffing, Appointment Scheduling as well as being the primary liaison between Management, Physicians, Clinical Team and staff. Kristin leads a staff of over 25 individuals each day with honesty and integrity.

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Becca Zimble, Director of Marketing and Admissions

Becca is an LA native.  She is passionate about helping clients see a new way of life.  She studied Psychology, Communication and Biological Sciences in college and takes her own experience in recovery into the field when communicating the benefits of treatment for long term success with families and clients. She works in congruence with the Clinical departments to ensure stellar client care and aftercare. She knows that each individual’s recovery looks different and the road to self-discovery is inevitably the most powerful one of all. Her experience in the marketing field coupled with her ability to relate to each step of the treatment process gives her a unique perspective on the ever changing recovery world, the difficult stigma’s surrounding medication and dual diagnosis, and the evolving therapeutic and holistic techniques associated with addiction. Becca enjoys spending one on one time with clients to build lasting connections with the Summit family even after client’s graduate. She believes in the power of community to heal our past and move confidently into the future. Becca is also a Yoga and Meditation instructor who loves all ocean activities.

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Maria-Flora Miller, Alumni Coordinator and Business Development

Maria-Flora (Monkey) became a client liaison for Summit in October 2014 and is now the Alumni Coordinator and a crucial figure in Summit’s Business Development. She works in congruence with the Marketing/Admissions  department and hosts Alumni events and meetings. She is known for her bright spirit and deep understanding of the recovery process through community. Monkey understands the unique power of an Alumni program to keep connected to the place where client’s began their recovery journey and is passionate about creating a space for graduates to share their spirit, strength and hope. She is the mother of five incredible kids and has lived in Malibu for the past fifteen years. Maria-Flora has been an active volunteer with the PTA and Booster Club. She is also the co-founder of A Safer PCH and an active member of the Malibu community, including being the music supervisor for the Kiwanis Club musical festival and chili cook off.  Maria-Flora has been sober for 26 years and loves the beach, music, and traveling.

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Christian Savala, Director of Operations

Christian is passionate about watching the light come on in individuals who reinvent their self worth by eliminating mind altering substances and coming clean about their struggles.  He knows that a strong community in many areas of life can be the turning point to reconnecting with self.  Christian is in the process of obtaining his CAADAC to further his knowledge of the psychology and science behind addiction and treatment.  He has been sober since 2013 and began his days at Summit doing overnights.  He transformed into a Lead Technician through hard work and dedication to client needs and attention to detail from medication to new admit pick-ups and communication with the clinical team.  He eventually found his niche in the operations department as he found that he was able to share time with the clients alongside making sure the facilities are up their world-class status and keeping clients and staff safe.

 

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Anthony Loupe, Administrative Assistant

Anthony is a born and raised Los Angeles native. He is a dedicated team player at Summit Malibu and really enjoys interacting with clients. Assisting the Administrative Staff, Anthony is always helping out any way possible. Surviving the streets of Los Angeles, Anthony has overcome the temptations of gangs and drugs to become the strong independent gentleman he is now. You can always find him at the beach with his family showing his positive mental attitude.

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Tom Drennon, Clinician Assistant and Group Facilitator

For the past 31 years Tom has been helping individuals seeking recovery
from addiction. He’s retired now from a 40 year career creating iconic images for
the entertainment industry. As an Art Director, Illustrator and Graphic, Designer,
he has had the privilege to work with such artists as Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson,
Neil Diamond, Kansas, George Duke and REO Speedwagon to name a few.
Tom’s movie poster projects include Pretty Woman and Home Alone. He feels
his greatest accomplishment Is an on going series of books for The Betty Ford Center
with his friend Jerry Moe, the National Director of Children’s Programs. Tom and Missy are
retired and living in Malibu, where he now works exclusively for Summit Malibu
as their biofeedback and Music Vibration Therapist. Tom also
creates art and music programs for his clients.

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Scott Newlin, Lead Clinician Assistant

Scott has experience in the recovery world since moving to Los Angeles in 2013.  He has a passion for helping people who struggle with addiction and has experience working in multiple areas of the mental health industry. Scott has a bachelor’s degree in business, and is currently earning his JD from Pepperdine University School of Law.  He plans to pursue a career as a human rights attorney and continue to practice his compassion to help make a positive difference in the world.

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David Doudoumian, Lead Clinician Assistant

David has been sober since 2013 and is involved in both AA and NA. David has a background in banking and finance but since becoming sober has had a passion for helping other addicts and alcoholics achieving a new life in sobriety. He has worked in treatment for over two years and plans to take his new journey in recovery to newer heights with Summit.

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Steven Buchan, Medication Room Supervisor

Steven has been sober since 2013 and is very active in his AA community in the San Fernando Valley. He’s strives daily to work a strong program, sponsoring men in AA & teaching them how to stay sober. In under a year & a half, Steven has propelled himself through the ranks of Summit with hard work, from a tech, to a lead tech, to now being the medication room supervisor. His passion for helping alcoholics and addicts as well as leadership skills has made him a vital member of the Summit team. Steven was in and out of treatment for over a decade himself and was unable to stay sober until he surrounded himself with a strong community. This gives him a unique perspective and knowledge of relapse prevention and the struggles associated with the treatment and recovery process. Outside of Summit and AA, Steven’s other passion is surfing. You can catch him on the weekends making his rounds up and down the coast of California competing against some of the best longboarders in the world.

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Scott Naslund, Lead Clinician Assistant

Scott is a graduate of UCLA and has been working at Summit Malibu since its inception. His experience in recovery has been both challenging and rewarding. The challenge has lied in helping people through the throes of addiction by being supportive. The reward from witnessing people heal through Summit’s therapeutic process and rekindle their fire for life. His passion for learning has helped him realize the importance of helping people and the value of sobriety.

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Suzy Davis Mantee, Clinician Assistant

Suzy is a California native dedicated to living a healthy and productive lifestyle. She has spent years gaining extensive experience assisting others with overwhelming life challenges, giving her the compassion and strength to assist clients during the early stages of recovery. Suzy brings a positive, compassionate, and harmonious energy to all that she encounters.

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Jerry Spates, Clinician Assistant

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Richard Kantor, Boxing Coach

Richard is a life Coach and Personal Trainer who works with people with and without addictions helping them to transform their lives. He uses boxing training as a vehicle to get back in touch with our innate power that has been lost to addiction. He also uses techniques known to combine mind, body and spirit. The stand he holds for his clients include radical self expression, freedom to find and be fully themselves, love and courage. Knowing addiction and recovery first hand, experiencing at times the seemingly impossible physical and emotional climb- it’s seeing the light come back in his clients eyes that makes what he does so very rewarding.

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Tom Hart, Honorary Team Member– Posthumously

Tom was born in Hermosa Beach, attended High School in Redondo Beach, and studied at UCLA. Tom worked in the Treatment field from 1983 until his death in 2016. Tom’s greatest strengths were his genuine interest in his peers, his innate ability to uplift those in need, and his contagious laugh.
Tom left a mark on all that interacted with him. He had the ability to make everyone feel important, loved, and heard. There isn’t a staff member at Summit without a funny story involving Tom. He was a rock for both the clients and the staff.
His values and the way he loved are living inspirations to the entire staff. He may be gone physically, but the lessons he taught us all still influence the energy and spirit of Summit’s community.