Experts Guide

We are proud of our exceptional staff who stay current and are among the best within their fields of expertise. Monarch professionals have expansive knowledge in behavioral health and topics related to the long-term services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Experts Guide

If you need help identifying an expert, for media interviews or otherwise, please email pr@monarchnc.org.

Ana Liza Cisneros-Howard
Ana Liza Cisneros-Howard is a behavioral health therapist based in Albemarle. In addition to providing individual therapy for children, teens and adults, she facilitates three therapeutic adult groups and co-facilitates one Dialectical Behavior Therapy group for adults weekly.

During the school year, she provides school-based therapy in several schools in Stanly County several mornings per week.

She began her career in mental health at Monarch in 2009 after earning a Masters of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Cisneros-Howard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and is currently receiving supervision to become a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS).
Cisneros-Howard became a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) in 2014, an area focused on treating children who experience trauma through play therapy. She is also trained to work with adults who have experienced trauma. Cisneros-Howard has worked on an Intensive In-Home Team and a Day Treatment Team both focused on children and their families.

Cisneros-Howard lives in Charlotte with her husband and their Maltese dog named London.

Sharyn Comeau
Dr. Sharyn Comeau, a Pediatric and Adult Psychiatrist based in Mecklenburg County, has been practicing medicine for more than 21 years and has been with Monarch since January 2014. She specializes in treating people with mental health challenges of all ages with a focused interest in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Comeau is certified by the American Board of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, and completed her medical training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University and in general psychiatry at the University of Connecticut/Institute of Living. In addition, Dr. Comeau holds a medical degree from Ross University, a Master of Arts from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from Pace University.

Bill Garrot
Bill Garrot is a behavioral health therapist and has worked in the industry for 25 years with almost a decade of experience in crisis services.

He has served as a crisis services supervisor and hospital liaison and has spent time as an outpatient therapist providing individual, group, and family therapy to latency age children, adolescents and adults. Additionally, he is a certified forensic screener, who has worked with local law enforcement to evaluate people’s capacity to proceed to trial.

He is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), has extensive experience in mental health crisis services and earned both an undergraduate and master’s degrees from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Karen S. Holst
Karen S. Holst is a licensed therapist that specializes in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness meditation.

She has experience working with a variety of populations in both an inpatient and outpatient setting, short and long-term treatment with the SPMI population, as well as working with children and adolescents in an alternative school/day treatment setting.

Holst has participated in the seven-day Mind/Body Medicine training under the direction of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and Saki Santorelli, Ed.D., and attended the nine-day Intensive Residential Practicum in MBSR through the Center for Mindfulness. She completed the eight-week MBSR course through Duke Integrative Medicine as well as studied MBSR under the guidance of Certified Mindfulness Teacher, Lindsay Bridges, MD. Holst has a Doctorate degree in Human Services Administration.

Jude Johnson
Jude Johnson is a licensed therapist that specializes in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness meditation.

Since 2011, he has provided mindfulness trainings to mental health professionals, schools, and businesses interested in improving his/her well-being, and has taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) since 2015.

He completed specialized training on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. Johnson reaches even more people through his holistic health service A Keen Mind, which offers a range of programs and tools designed to help reduce stress and cultivate mindfulness in daily life.

Amanda Matthews
Amanda Matthews is a psychologist for Monarch actively supporting, educating, and empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

She has presented at numerous professional conferences, most recently including both the 2014 Spring and Fall North Carolina Training, Instruction, Development, and Education (NC TIDE) Conferences, the 2013 National Adolescent Perpetration Network (NAPN) International Conference, and the 2012 Spring North Carolina Juvenile Services Association (NCJSA) Conference.

Matthews graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College, with a B.S., with Honors, in Psychological and Brain Sciences. She received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Notre Dame.

She is also a board member of the North Carolina Association for the Management and Treatment of Sexual Offenders (NCAMTSO).

Dr. Robert McHale
Dr. Robert James McHale, FAPA and a Board Certified Psychiatrist specializes in evidence-based mental health care practices for both adults and adolescents.

He has been Medical Director of Monarch since July 2010. He provides supervision and oversight for the behavioral health services of Monarch. In addition, he works with people of all ages dealing with mental illness and substance abuse concerns. He has a special interest in intellectual disabilities and general medical conditions of the people we serve.

Dr. McHale received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology at Saint Louis University, a Masters of Science Degree in Biology at University of Missouri – St. Louis, and his Medical Degree from Saint George’s University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry at the University of Kansas – Wichita, School of Medicine. He was named Chief Resident during his training. He has been Study Physician and Sub-Investigator at the Clinical Research Institute in Kansas, involved with research concerning Depression, Psychotropic medications and drug – drug interactions of medications. Prior to entering into medical school, Dr. McHale worked as a biochemist at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and has been a co-author of over 30 scientific publications and abstracts. He was also involved in research and study of Sleep Disorders at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry – Sleep Disorders Center. He has given numerous lectures and presentations on mental illness and believes education is a hallmark for quality of care for all the people with serve in our communities.

Dr. McHale was awarded Excellence In Service Award from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), The Laurie Coyner Award: Excellence For Psychiatric Inpatient Care at University of Kansas, Saint Louis University Undergraduate Research Award. He is a Member of several Professional Associations; American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, North Carolina Psychiatric Association, North Carolina Medical Society, Kansas Psychiatric Society, Collaborative Family Health Care Association. Dr. McHale recently has been recognized as a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Dr. McHale and his wife (Amy) are new to the North Carolina area and are pleased with the generosity and hospitality of the North Carolinians. Robert and Amy are the proud parents of a young son named Thomas.

Benjamin Neal Millsap
Benjamin Neal Millsap is the Senior Vice President/Chief Clinical Officer at Monarch. He joined Monarch in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Virginia Tech and a Master of Social Work from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

His previous experience includes outpatient therapy in Stanly County, providing services to adults with both mental health and addiction issues. He has also served as a case manager with Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare working with children and adults.

Milsap is responsible for ensuring Monarch’s use of evidence based or best practices, fidelity to those practices, for agency wide endeavors to improve practices such as Trauma Informed Care and suggesting and implementing new clinical initiatives across our Behavioral Health system. He works as part of a dyad with our Senior Vice President of Operations for Behavioral Health to support Monarch’s leadership staff. His area of expertise focuses on working with those who are dually diagnosed with a mental health and substance use disorder.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) in the State of North Carolina, Ben is also currently a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) for the North Carolina Professional Practice Board. After several years as a mental health and substance abuse clinician, supervisor and regional director, Milsap’s current role at Monarch is to continue to develop new opportunities, programs and service lines statewide, while enhancing the quality of Monarch’s services through the use of evidence-based practices.

Milsap lives in Locust, NC with his wife, Christy who also works for Monarch.

Sarah O'Horo-Nash
Sarah O’Horo-Nash MSW, LCSW is a Practice Administrator for Monarch’s Lexington office, which includes managing outpatient services for individual, group and psychiatric services along with peer support.

O’Horo-Nash earned her Masters of Social Work from Winthrop University in 2010. She joined the Monarch team that same year as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) bringing experience as an intensive in-home team leader providing services to children and adolescents at risk of out-of-home placement. She has also worked as an outpatient therapist and day treatment therapist. Prior to her current role, she was the supervisor for three intensive in-home teams; an in-home team, peer support and outpatient services.

She is rostered as a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) clinician through the North Carolina Child Treatment program. She is also certified to provide treatment and assessments to children and adolescents with concerns of harmful sexual behavior.

Jacqueline Smith
Dr. Jacqueline N. Smith is the Associate Medical Director based in Mecklenburg County. She is primarily responsible for providing care to children, adolescents and adults.

She collaborates with community partners, supervises nurse practitioners, meets regularly with staff, and teaches physician assistant students. Smith’s areas of expertise include child/adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and cross cultural issues.

Before arriving at Monarch in April 2016, she completed all psychiatric training at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. While enrolled there, she worked at a state prison, a state mental health hospital, and a county crisis clinic. During her training, she also co-founded a free mental health clinic at a women and children’s shelter in Chapel Hill.

She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and psychology, and completed medical school at the UNC School of Medicine in 2005. She remained in Chapel Hill, where she finished specialty training in general psychiatry, child/adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. She is board certified in all three specialty areas.

Smith lives in Charlotte with her significant other and daughter.

Brandon Tankersley
Brandon Tankersley is the Director of Peer Services for Monarch. He specializes in Evidence-Based Practices such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan.

He supervises Monarch’s Peer Support Specialists in five branches of services; basic Peer Support, Tenancy Support, Individual Placement Support (IPS), Transitional Care Team (TCT) and Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT). These programs help people in various stages of recovery identify and reach their goals.

Tankersley has worked in North Carolina as a Special Education teacher, and previously in Ohio as a Software Engineer. In 1991, Brandon sustained life threatening injuries and was in a coma for six weeks after a car accident involving a drunk driver. His family was informed by doctors that he would likely be in a “vegetative state for life”. After ongoing prayers, great medical attention, and years of continuous, intensive therapy, Tankersley has overcome and continues to beat the odds that were stacked against him.

He graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Information Technology courtesy of a scholarship from the university’s Office of Disability Service. He earned a Masters in Special Education with a concentration on Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Cincinnati, also on scholarship.

Tankersley is active with his church, has volunteered countless hours, and has spoken to many schools, organizations, and community groups about working hard, being focused on doing your best, the dangers of drinking and driving, and not giving up in the face of adversity. Brandon’s story has been documented numerous times, and he has received several scholarships and awards since his recovery.
In 2014, Tankersley was appointed by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to be a board member on the North Carolina Brain Injury Advisory Council (BIAC). There, he works with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to help contribute towards the definition of brain injury, promoting inter-agency coordination of efforts, studying the needs of persons with brain injuries, coordination of prevention efforts, and make recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Tankersley is also a contributing board member to The North Carolina State Consumer & Family Advisory Committee, The North Carolina Stakeholder Engagement group, and The North Carolina Integrated Care Steering Committee.

Dr. Peggy Terhune
Dr. Peggy Terhune is the CEO of Monarch and The Arc of Stanly County since June 1995.

Under her leadership, Monarch has moved towards evidence-based and best practice in all areas, successfully added services, enhanced community integration, improved customer satisfaction, reduced turnover and successfully developed programs to serve consumers with multiple disabilities. She has worked with and advocated for people with disabilities for more than 40 years.

Mary Beth Young
Mary Beth Young is the Assertive Community Treatment Team Lead (ACTT) for Davidson and Rowan counties, which involves supervising a team of multi-disciplinary professionals who support individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in their homes and in the community.

Young worked for Monarch from 2007 to 2010 as a Clinical Program Manager and then a therapist. In 2008, Monarch honored her with the Eula B. Cranford Professional of the Year Award. She returned to Monarch in 2016 to serve in her current role.

For the first half of her career, she worked with children and adolescents who experienced trauma and displayed severe emotional and behavioral issues. Since then, she has focused on being an administrator and working with individuals who have complex clinical issues. Her volunteer experience includes training caregivers in Senegal, Ukraine, and Haiti on how to work with young people who have experienced trauma.

Young’s areas of expertise include trauma, working with individuals who demonstrate complex clinical issues, and serving as an administrator. She has written two chapters published in the book “Healing for Hurting Hearts: A Handbook for Counseling Children and Youth in Crisis”; one titled Basic Counseling Skills and the other Healing Through Focused Play.

Young earned a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for 21 years. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends.