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.

Judith Chappell
Judith Chappell

Judith Chappell, LCAS, LPC, CCS

Behavioral Health Practice Administrator, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Certified Clinical Supervisor in the Addictions field.

Focus areas:

  • Opioid epidemic and its impact within families and the community
  • Behavioral Health supports within the community
  • Whole health care

For the past 20 years, Judith Chappell has made her career caring and assisting others to overcome addictions. Chappell began as an intern at Stanly County practice for those addressing driving while intoxicated charges, where she focused on becoming educated in the field of addiction obtaining her licensed clinical addiction specialist certification.

Chappell quickly recognized that a number of her patients were affected by underlying mental health conditions that were not being addressed. This realization prompted her to pursue and attain her license as a Professional Counselor and a Certified Clinical Supervisor.

While beginning her career at Monarch, Chappell rose from her initial role as associate level therapist to her current role as practice administrator for the CCBHC, the state’s sole certified community mental health clinic. As the CCBHC’s practice administrator, Chappell takes great pride in leading the behavioral health experience for individuals seeking care. Her current role includes guiding the day-to-day operations at the CCBHC, in both the administrative and clinical realms, while directing a robust clinical internship program.

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling, from Webster University, St. Louis, MO
  • Bachelor of Psychology, from Pfeiffer University

Articles of Interest:

Dr. Sharyn Comeau
Dr. Sharyn Comeau

Dr. Sharyn Comeau

Medical Director, Wake Behavioral Health Urgent Care, Raleigh Certified by the American Board of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

Focus areas:

  • Mental health challenges of all ages
  • Focused interest in child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Autism and Women’s Health

With Monarch since January 2014, Dr. Comeau, a Pediatric and Adult Psychiatrist based in Mecklenburg County, has been practicing medicine for more than 22 years. She specializes in treating people with mental health challenges of all ages with a focused interest in children and adolescents.

Dr. Comeau welcomes the opportunity to provide her professional insight into assuring that all patients in crisis receive prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Education:

  • Doctor of Medicine from Ross University; Master of Arts from New York University; Bachelor of Science from Pace University.
  • Medical training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard University; general psychiatry at University of Connecticut / Institute of Living

Articles of Interest:

Leigh Daughtridge
Leigh Daughtridge

Leigh Daughtridge, LCSW

Practice Administrator, Nash Outpatient Behavioral Health
Certified by the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board, Certified Crisis Prevention Institute Instructor

Focus areas:

  • Adult and child mental health
  • Conflict resolution
  • Crisis assessment and intervention

Leigh Daughtridge manages outpatient services for individual, group and psychiatric services at the Nash Outpatient location.

Daughtridge also guides staff while serving as a Certified Crisis Prevention Instructor through the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI). Used worldwide in a variety of settings, CPI is implemented in hospitals, schools or behavioral health sites equipping staff with the skills and confidence to safely manage and prevent difficult behavior during times of crisis.

Daughtridge teaches administrative staff and therapists to identify escalating behaviors, which appropriate responses to those behaviors should be applied and what skills would provide the best possible care to people served, while maintaining the safety of both patients and staff.

Education:

  • Master’s degree in Social Work, East Carolina University; Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, East Carolina University
Dr. Nora Dennis
Dr. Nora Dennis

Dr. Nora Dennis, MD, BA, MSPH

Medical Director Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and member of the American Psychiatric Association

Focus areas:

  • Clinical psychiatry
  • Evidence-based treatment for mental illness, including psychopharmacology and psychotherapy
  • Organizational leadership

As Medical Director, Dr. Nora Dennis is responsible for oversight of the quality of services provided by the Behavioral Health division. Her role includes ensuring quality of providers and services delivered. As Medical Director, Dr. Dennis works closely with the Chief Medical Officer, and other clinical leaders, on clinical initiatives and monitoring quality of care. Her primary focus is the development of structures for clinical operations that promote companywide consistency and integrity of clinical treatment.

Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Dr. Dennis has worked as a staff psychiatrist at the Durham VA Medical Center where she was Medical Director of the Psychiatry Emergency Care Clinic and she started an outpatient clinic for veterans with treatment-resistant psychotic disorders.

She was concurrently an assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine and a faculty attending for the Duke Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Clinic. She has published numerous peer-reviewed papers on ECT, mental health disparities, and emergency psychiatric care. She is passionate about access to high quality mental health care for all.

Education:

  • Psychiatry Residency Program at Duke University, where she served as Chief Resident; attended Duke University School of Medicine as a Morehead Scholar as a Nanaline H. Duke Scholarship recipient and received the Dean’s Award; Master of Science in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Public Health; Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill; graduate of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Articles of Interest:

Bill Garrot

Bill Garrot, LCSW, LPC, LCAS

Behavioral Health Therapist Certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Addition Specialist (LCAS)

Focus areas:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Life Transitions

Bill Garrot, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed clinical addictions specialist (LCAS), has worked in the behavioral health field for the past 25 years with over a decade of that focus on crisis services.

Serving as a crisis services supervisor and hospital liaison, Garrot has spent time as an outpatient therapist providing individual, group and family therapy to latency age children, adolescents and adults. For most of Garrot’s career, he has focused on working with individuals experiencing co-occurring disorders such as mental health issues with substance use disorders.

He is a certified forensic screener, working with local law enforcement to evaluate an individual’s capacity to proceed to trial.

Education:

  • Master’s degree in Agency Counseling and Bachelor of Arts in History, both from Louisiana State University.

Articles of Interest:

Dr. Karen S. Holst

Karen S. Holst, EdD, MSW, LCSW

Mindfulness Meditation Instructor and Consultant Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Focus areas:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Stress Reduction
  • Mindful Leadership

Karen Holst is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds a doctorate degree in Human Services Administration. Karen has attended key mindfulness training programs including the seven-day Mind/Body Medicine training under the direction of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and Saki Santorelli, Ed.D., and 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. Karen has been a member of the adjunct faculty under the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, teaching a master’s level course on mindfulness and meditation.

Karen is authorized to teach MBSR pursuant to the guidelines from the Center for Mindfulness, provides instruction and guidance to individuals, groups and organizations and presents at various conferences. Karen maintains her own practice and attends silent retreats to deepen her practice, so she can teach from a place of authenticity.

Education:

  • Doctorate in Human Services Administration from Nova Southeastern University; Master of Arts in Social Work from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hanover College.

Articles of Interest:

Jude Johnson

Jude Johnson, MA, LMFT

Mindfulness Instructor and Consultant

Focus areas:

  • Stress Management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual and Group Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Mindfulness and Meditation

Jude Johnson is a licensed therapist that specializes in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness meditation. Since 2011, Johnson has been teaching regular mindfulness-meditation groups and providing training to health care providers and businesses. Jude teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and trained at Omega with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli.

Johnson became interested in mindfulness while working in an alternative school with at-risk youth. There he developed a passion for mindfulness and meditation because of the positive transformations he experienced personally and that he observed in the participating youth.

He completed specialized training in MBSR through the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical School. Johnson reaches even more people through his holistic health service A Keen Mind, which offers programs and tools designed to help reduce stress and cultivate mindfulness.

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Counseling with a focus on Marriage and Family from Webster University and Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) extensive training, Center of Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Articles of Interest:

Mary Locklear
Mary Locklear

Mary Locklear, CCS, LPC

Behavior Health Therapist Certified as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist

Focus areas:

  • Substance Use Disorders within adults, adolescents and children
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Psychotherapy
  • Case Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Life Transitions

Mary Locklear has served as a therapist at Monarch since 2015, also having worked in the Robeson County Public Schools and in the therapy field for private organizations, as well as self employed as a licensed therapist.

Her career focus has been to treat, as a professional counselor, mental illness and substance abuse with the adult, adolescent and children populations. She participates with and advocates for community coalitions and collaborations dedicated to Recovery. She has extensive training and expertise in substance abuse education and treatment.

Education:

  • Master’s degree in Service Agency Counseling, Master’s degree in Public Administration, Bachelor’s degree in History, University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Monique Lucas
Monique Lucas

Monique Lucas, BSN, RN, CCM, CCCTM

Director of Integrated Care, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic

Registered Nurse, Board Certified Care Manager, Certified in Critical Care Medicine, and Care Coordination and Transition Management, Member of the American Nurses Association

Focus areas:

  • Mental and Behavioral Health Care Coordination, Care Management and Transition Management
  • Partnering with community-based agencies with a focus on the opioid epidemic within families and the community
  • Population health programs

With 14 years of experience as a registered nurse and 10 years in healthcare leadership, Monique Lucas is an expert in care management and population health programs. Beginning her career as a pediatric intensive care nurse, Lucas possesses experience in a variety of nursing areas, however, her passion focuses on care coordination and care management.

Lucas collaborated with a variety of innovative players in healthcare, helping to develop one of the nation’s largest patient centered, medical home programs. With her background and expertise, Lucas is knowledgeable in what is needed to build ambulatory care management teams, develop value-based primary care practices with a team-based model and create training programs to support reaching healthcare missions.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Articles of Interest:

Blake Martin
Blake Martin

Blake Martin, MHA

Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer

Focus areas:

  • Real Estate and Business Operations
  • Contracts and Payer Relations
  • Corporate Marketing, Referral Marketing, Brand Management, Communications and Philanthropic Development

As part of the Executive Leadership Team at Monarch, Blake Martin provides strategic direction and oversight of corporate real estate, lease management, payer and vendor contracts, marketing and corporate communications, business development and philanthropic financial development.

Martin serves as the lead liaison for Medicaid Transformation – Standard Plans and Tailored Plans – as the representative to the Department of Health and Human Services for the design and development of Medicaid’s Tailored Plan.

Martin possesses a keen business sense and ability to identify real estate opportunities best suited for a variety of mental and behavioral health services such as outpatient medical office buildings, corporate office buildings, 24-hour acute inpatient units and multi-family residential apartments. Martin was instrumental in the construction, completion and opening of the SECU Youth Crisis Center in Charlotte and the Behavioral Health Urgent Care in Raleigh.

Martin best utilizes his industry experience and knowledge base in positioning Monarch as an industry leader for mental health and long-term services and supports.

Education:

  • Master of Health Administration, MHA, from Pfeiffer University
  • Bachelor of Arts in American History from Pfeiffer University

Articles of Interest:

Amanda Matthews

Amanda Matthews, M.A., LPA, HSP-PA

Staff Psychologist Board Certified Telemental Health (BC-TMH) and Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS)

Focus areas:

  • Works with individuals who maintain intellectual and/or developmental disabilities diagnoses

As a psychologist at Monarch, Amanda Matthews actively supports, educates and empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Her knowledge and expertise have provided her the opportunity to be a frequent presenter at numerous professional conferences including the NC TIDE Conferences, National Adolescent Perpetration Network (NAPN) International Conference, and Spring North Carolina Juvenile Services Association (NCJSA) Conference. She has also authored numerous publications in multiple fields.

She is a board member as well as Membership Chair of the North Carolina Association for the Management and Treatment of Sexual Offenders (NCAMTSO), on which she has served since 2013.

Education:

  • Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychological and Brain Sciences, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Dartmouth College

Articles of Interest:

Dr. Robert McHale

Dr. Robert James McHale, M.D., M.Sc., DFAPA, ABPM, FASAM

Medical Director, Psychiatrist Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Certified by the American Board of Preventative Medicine in Addiction Medicine.

Focus areas:

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment for patients of all ages
  • Psychotropic Medication Management
  • Interest in Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics of Psychotropic Medications
  • Evidence-based mental health care
  • Individual and Family Therapy
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Life Transitions

Since 2010, Dr. McHale has held the position of Monarch’s Medical Director. He provides supervision and oversight for the behavioral health services working with people of all ages dealing with mental illness and substance use disorders. He has a special interest in intellectual disabilities and general medical conditions of the people we serve.

Prior to entering medical school, Dr. McHale worked as a biochemist at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in the Department of Biochemistry and has co-authored over 30 scientific publications and abstracts. He was also involved in research and study of Sleep Disorders at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry’s Sleep Disorders Center.

Education, Awards, Experience:

  • Chief Resident, Residency training in Psychiatry, University of Kansas – Wichita School of Medicine; Doctor of Medicine, Saint George’s University School of Medicine; Master of Science in Biology, University of Missouri; Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Saint Louis University, Missouri.
  • Study physician and sub-investigator, Clinical Research Institute, Kansas, researching depression, psychotropic medications and drug interactions.
  • Member of the American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Medical Association, North Carolina Psychiatric Association and North Carolina Medical Society.
  • Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
  • Awarded the Excellence in Service Award from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness); the Laurie Coyner Award: Excellence for Psychiatric Inpatient Care at the University of Kansas; and the Saint Louis University Undergraduate Research Award.

Articles of Interest:

Sarah O'Horo-Nash

Sarah O’Horo-Nash, LCSW, MSW

Behavioral Health Practice Administrator Certified by the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board

Focus areas:

  • Intensive In-Home Therapy
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Family Therapy
  • Case Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Life Transitions

Sarah O’Horo-Nash MSW, LCSW, holds the position of practice administrator for Monarch’s Lexington office, at which she manages outpatient services for individual, group and psychiatric services along with peer support.

In 2010, O’Horo-Nash joined the Monarch team that same year as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) bringing her expertise as an intensive in-home team leader while providing services to children and adolescents at risk of out-of-home placement. She has also worked as an outpatient 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.

Through the North Carolina Child Treatment program, O’Horo-Nash serves 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.

Education:

  • Master of Social Work, Winthrop University; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, SUNY Potsdam in New York.
Dr. Chalyce M. Smith
Dr. Chalyce Smith

Dr. Chalyce M. Smith, PsyD, LP

SECU Youth Crisis Center Staff Psychologist, Certified by the North Carolina Psychology Board, Certified in the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, the Seven Challenges and Dialectical Behavior Therapy for teens

Focus areas:

  • Psychological Testing
  • Crisis De-escalation
  • Behavior Management Techniques for Youth with At-risk Behaviors

Dr. Smith joined the SECU Youth Crisis Center staff when it began serving children in December 2017. At the YCC, Dr. Smith provides crisis stabilization services to youth with behavior health and substance use disorders. She also determines stabilization needs of youth with autism spectrum and/or intellectual disorders.

Once admitted to YCC, Dr. Smith oversees and ensures that youth receive appropriate evidence-based treatment and assists the clinical team to connect youth with resources that best fit their individual needs, as well as securing support for their families upon returning home following discharge.

Prior to Monarch, she provided outpatient therapy to youth with behavior and substance use disorders, including crisis assessments for youth and adults for a hospital emergency department. Additionally, she conducted psychological testing, clinical assessments and school-based mental health treatment. In 2008, Dr. Smith’s clinical career began in North Carolina as clinical director for a residential service providing substance recovery and parenting skills to families.

Prior to starting her clinical career, Dr. Smith served as program clinical manager for a Wright State University program providing individual therapy to victims of domestic violence and group therapy to offenders of intimate partner violence. Dr. Smith’s experiences include serving as a volunteer educating individuals who are incarcerated on domestic violence and teaching courses through Wright State University’s Department of Psychology.

Education:

  • Clinical Psychology Doctoral Internship, Warm Springs Counseling Center
  • Post-Doctoral Training, Wright State University PATH Program
  • Doctor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology – Child and Family Focus, Argosy University-Washington DC
  • Bachelor of Arts, Clinical Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Jacqueline Smith

Dr. Jacqueline Smith

SECU Youth Crisis Center Associate Medical Director, Mecklenburg Clinic Lead Psychiatrist Board Certified in Adult, Child-Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatry

Focus areas:

  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Cross Cultural Issues

Dr. Jacqueline Smith is based in Mecklenburg County. She provides care to children, adolescents and adults in the outpatient clinic and at Monarch’s Youth Crisis Center. She collaborates with community partners, supervises nurse practitioners, meets regularly with staff and teaches physician assistant students.

Before arriving at Monarch in April 2016, she completed all psychiatric training at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While in training, she worked at a state prison, a state mental health hospital, and a county crisis clinic. She also co-founded a free mental health clinic at a women and children’s shelter in Chapel Hill. She has provided expert advice to writers and contributors for The Grio, MSNBC and NBC’s Today.

Education:

  • Residency and Fellowships, UNC Hospitals; Doctor of Medicine degree, UNC School of Medicine; Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, UNC Chapel Hill.

Articles of Interest:

Dr. Alexandra Spessot
Dr. Alexandra Spessot, MD

Dr. Alexandra Spessot, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and member of the American Psychiatric Association

Focus areas:

  • Psychiatric principles, models of behavior, and psychopathology
  • Evidence-based treatment for mental illness, including psychopharmacology and psychotherapy
  • Organizational leadership

As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alexandra Spessot works to ensure that Monarch’s behavioral health services are consistent with best practice standards and meet the diverse needs of the people we support. With the support of her clinical leadership team, Dr. Spessot provides oversight and direction for all the prescribing providers and psychotherapists in Monarch’s Behavioral Health division.

Dr. Spessot provides medical leadership, on behalf of Monarch, at the community and state levels. She establishes positive relationships with local stakeholders, legislators, potential donors, payors, and physician groups, as pertains to Monarch’s behavioral health services.

Prior to joining Monarch, Dr. Spessot was the Director of Psychiatric Emergency Care at the Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, NC.

Education:

  • Psychiatry Residency Program focusing on General Adult Psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine; Doctor of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Bachelor of Arts, International Studies and Sociology, John Hopkins University.

Articles of Interest:

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.

Articles of Interest:

Niah White
Niah White

Niah White, LCSW

Behavioral Health Therapist Certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Focus areas:

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Mood Disorders
  • Women’s Issues

Niah White’s professional experience spans across 10 years, and centers on collaboratively working with community partners, facilitating coordination of care, and delivering integrated behavioral health care services. Niah’s experience features working within a variety of settings including outpatient community mental health, enhanced mental health services, and the non-profit sector.

Her ongoing interest centers around the delivery of trauma informed and trauma specific services. Niah’s therapeutic approach focuses on increasing self-awareness, implementing boundaries, and building capacity to live well. Niah is active in her church, enjoys dance, and has a passion for self-care and self-discovery.

Education:

  • Doctor of Philosophy – PhD, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counselor Education, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Master of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Bachelor of Social Work, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.