Movers & Makers asked organizations within the addiction and recovery services sector to introduce their “notables” to our readers, part of a new regular feature highlighting people making a difference in various sectors of Greater Cincinnati’s nonprofit community.
Nelson leads CRC’s work to help those facing illness, homelessness
Laurel Nelson, CEO for the Center for Respite Care, has held that title for nine years. In that time, the center has become well-known for helping adults experiencing homelessness who have been released from a hospital. In 2023, the center will celebrate its 20th anniversary providing medical healing and the transition to stable housing and often employment. Under Nelson’s tenure, the center relocated from a standalone operation in Avondale to a shared location in OTR with the Saint Anthony Center. Nelson’s steady hand, caring nature and commitment to the center’s financial stability have aided its success. Nelson loves to travel, to hike and shoot macro photography. During the pandemic, while working in person full time, she earned her second master’s degree, an executive M.A. in nonprofit management from the University of Notre Dame.
Holt translates personal experience into advocacy for those rebuilding lives
Rayshun Holt, director of Cincinnati Works’ Beacon of Hope Business Alliance, works to improve the experience and long-term success for justice-impacted citizens looking to rebuild their lives. They foster partnerships between businesses, human service, faith-based and government agencies, and corrections institutions. Holt is motivated by his own successful transition and the opportunity he received at Nehemiah Manufacturing, where he saw the power of a supportive employer to nurture talent beyond a fair-chance job. Outside work, Holt enjoys attending sporting events and reading the classics. And whenever he’s in the South, he looks for the best shrimp ’n’ grits in town! He also shares his expertise on fair-chance hiring as a regular lecturer at Harvard Business School and Stanford Business School.
Johnson focuses on problem gambling in work at Center for Addiction Treatment
Rachel Johnson, the Center for Addiction Treatment’s senior director of clinical services, has established a career dedicated to providing accessible recovery treatment and services. Her efforts to individualize patient treatment options through the expansion of CAT’s outpatient service offerings have included the development and implementation of the organization’s Intensive Outpatient Program, as well as CAT’s problem gambling treatment program. The Walden University doctoral candidate was also one of five 2023 recipients of the Ohio Problem Gambling Treatment Fellowship. Johnson enjoys spending time with her 2-year-old son and her stepdaughters, as well as her five pets.
Newtown’s Synan a national leader in fight against opiate addiction
Tom Synan, chief of the Newtown Police Department, has gained international recognition for his work to reduce opiate addiction. Synan is a Marine Corps veteran with 29 years of police work. In 2014, after watching drugs kill an entire family, the last two from heroin and fentanyl, Synan helped form the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition, for which he sits on the Steering Committee. Synan coordinates law-enforcement efforts to reduce supply and works with other members to connect resources for recovery. He has implemented initiatives for deflection to recovery, has spoken and published columns, and advocates to reduce stigma. Synan testified in Washington before a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee on synthetic opiates and the impact fentanyl and carfentanil have had on the country. He has spoken internationally on the opiate issue.
Logan and Prospect House helped thousands over 36 years
David Logan, former executive director of Prospect House, a long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment center in Price Hill, retired on his 80th birthday in February 2022 after 36 years. He is a happily recovering alcoholic himself, with 43 years clean and sober. He’s proudest of assuring the integrity of its 12-step recovery environment, and of having helped to launch “Family Prospects” for families and friends of the residents and alumni. Over 6,000 men have come through the program since it started in 1970. Numbers kept since 1990 show that more than two-thirds have entered real recovery. Logan likes to travel with his wife, Dale Hodges, and their grown sons, Hugh and Sebastian. And he still likes going to live theater, concerts and the opera, as well as riding his 1700cc Yamaha.
Drug court gains new tools, funding under Judge Sanders
Judge Nicole L. Sanders, Hamilton County Drug Treatment and Recovery Court, began her tenure in that court in 2021 by requesting an independent and objective audit of the court and its operations. Her first major change was hiring a clinician as program director. She also hired new staff, required retraining of everyone associated with drug court (65-70 people), brought in new assessors with new assessment tools, introduced comprehensive substance abuse treatment, expanded medication-assisted treatment and started providing wrap-around services. The court was awarded federal grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and from the Bureau of Justice Assistance totaling $2.7 million. The program has graduated over 150 persons.
Webb-Edgington brings service skills to Life Learning Center
Alecia Webb-Edgington, president and CEO of Life Learning Center, has been directly contributing to public service with over 25 years of experience in law enforcement and public policy. Under Webb-Edgington’s direction, the Covington-based nonprofit has earned national recognition for its recovery services for the most “at-risk” citizens in the region. She has positioned LLC as a model program for life skills and workforce development among those hardest to serve. In 2021, LLC served over 660 individuals, steering them to sustainable employment and/or post-secondary education. When not at LLC, Webb-Edgington and her husband, Ted, enjoy planning adventurous vacations to visit such sites as the largest ball of twine.
Prospect House’s Garry active in recovery services
Patrick J. Garry, executive director of Prospect House, is in long-term recovery himself. Now he participates in our community’s recovery services sector. Over the past 20 years, he has served in various other recovery services capacities: associate director of the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program; Gateway House board member and president; Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services board member; Cincinnati Bar Association Mental Health and Well Being Committee member. Outside of work, Garry enjoys time with Catharin, his spouse of 28 years; working in the kitchen; exercising; walking with Jimmy Chew, their deaf dog; reading; note writing; and fixing anything that requires tools. Having earned a law degree and a license in 1991, he recently completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training course to further – and to balance – his educational experience.
Schmidt provides ‘kind, caring’ treatment as addiction psychiatrist
Dr. Katherine (Katie) Schmidt, medical director at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services, oversees their Opiate Treatment Program. She provides direct psychiatric care and Medication Assisted Treatment in an outpatient setting to clients with mental health and substance use disorders. Her patients describe her as “kind and caring.” She advocates for her clients and gives them the tools they need to succeed. She treats everyone with respect and she has an abundance of knowledge in the field. Dr. Schmidt received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from NAMI in 2017 and was recognized as Best Addiction Psychiatrist (2021 & 2022) by Cincy Magazine. She lives with her husband Jeff and their three children in Anderson Township. When time permits they like to travel to national monuments and historical places.
Tyehimba leads Talbert House addiction service initiatives
Kamaria Tyehimba, addiction service director for Talbert House, has 35 years’ experience in recovery services working with youth and adults. Tyehimba holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and a Master’s in social work. In 2019, she led efforts to form the African American Engagement Workgroup to address the increasing accidental overdose death rate in the black community, to gain an understanding of why Black Americans were not accessing treatment, and to develop an action plan. Under Kamaria’s leadership, Talbert House serves as the lead agency with stakeholders including the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition, the faith-based community and other providers. The AAEW partners with churches to conduct minority outreach with access to treatment and recovery services. The mother of five sons, she enjoys cheering for the Bengals.
Lindner Center’s Crosby leads effort to support those with mental illness
Paul R. Crosby, president and CEO of The Frances and Craig Lindner Center of HOPE, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who joined LCOH in 2008 and became CEO July 2021. He works to instill an organizational culture of empathy, compassion and excellence where those who come to the center are met wherever they are on their mental health journey, so that the latest science can best be leveraged towards achieving mental wellness. He advocates to eliminate stigmatization of and discrimination against people with mental illness. Crosby is an associate professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry at UC. He serves on the Ohio Hospital Association’s Behavioral Health Committee and the board of Little Fork Family Advocacy Center in Clermont County. Outside of work, he enjoys running, cooking and spending time with his wife, Erika, and their six children.
Bowman transforms childhood struggles into life helping others overcome addiction
Lucretia Bowman, vice president of transformational recovery at City Gospel Mission, endured pain and addiction during her early years. She was placed in foster care at birth, abused as a child and placed in a mental hospital. She became a runaway and turned to a life of drugs and crime. She spent 17 years in prison. Despite all that – perhaps because of all that – she has become one of the most inspirational leaders in the recovery sector in Cincinnati since 1997, helping hundreds of women and men overcome addiction and other life-controlling behaviors. She oversees City Gospel Mission’s residential program for men and women up to 36 months. A typical stay is 12-24 months. More than 70 percent of program graduates are sober five years after graduating.