Staff

MEET THE SERENITY AT SUMMIT STAFF

We’re proud to have such a wide range of addiction counselors and specialists on our team. Together, our team brings years of experience in treating addiction and helping clients fight to reach addiction recovery. It’s our goal to offer a new chance, for everyone we treat, to redeem life and recover successfully.

Maria Ulmer

Regional Executive Director of Operations

Maria is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in addiction counseling with over 15 years of experience in the addiction and mental health treatment fields. She has worked in a wide variety of addiction treatment settings as both a clinician and an administrator.

As a clinician, Maria focuses on a variety of behavioral health needs including addiction and other compulsive behaviors, mental health disorders, trauma/PTSD, co-occurring disorders, and addiction in the family. In her role as the chief clinical officer, Maria oversees the development and implementation of client-centered treatment programs focusing on restoring individuals’ dignity and respect. She has trained with renowned trauma treatment experts Tian Dayton and Judy Crane, which has guided Maria in cultivating a trauma-informed environment for clients, families, as well as employees.

Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Temple University and her master’s degree in clinical counseling psychology: marriage and family therapy and addiction counseling at LaSalle University. She has also served as an adjunct professor of psychology at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania.

Susan Stelmach MSHR, SPHR

Director of Human Resources

Susan is a senior human resources professional with 20 years of strategic and tactical experience. She holds a master of science degree in human resources from the Rutgers Graduate School of Management & Labor Relations.

Among her HR roles, and for over 10 years, Susan was the director of human resources for Catapult Learning (formerly Sylvan Learning Systems), an industry leader in educational, nursing, and counseling services for at-risk youth. Susan is a hands-on professional who has spent most of her HR career in entrepreneurial, mid-sized companies. She has managed teams of up to 12 employees in professional services companies and has supported educators, nurses, and clinicians throughout the United States and Canada.

Susan is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the Association for Talent Development, and the Greater Princeton Human Resources Association. She is thrilled to be a part of the Summit Behavioral Health Holistic Team

Patricia Allen MSN, PMHNP-BC

Executive Director of Medical Services

Patricia received her post-master’s psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at Drexel University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice. Patricia practices at Summit Behavioral Health in the PHP, IOP and outpatient services, as well as her contributions in an acute behavioral hospital setting.

Pat is tenured nursing faculty at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania where she teaches mental health nursing and leadership. She developed an elective mental health rotation for seniors interested in psychiatric nursing that led Pat to present a poster on this endeavor at the annual American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) in 2010 and 2012. She has developed case management programs for those with co-occurring disorders and presented her findings at the APNA and American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) conferences.

Over the years, Pat has served in various positions on the Philadelphia area board of directors of APNA, PSNA, CMSA, and AAOHN

Paul Lavella Jr. MA, LPC, LCADC, ACS

Director of Alumni Services

I’ve always considered myself lucky that I’m able to do the type of work that I do, and in the best of ways, I’ve considered my career to be a series of happy accidents. I come from a family with significant mental health issues and as a teen, had many friends who struggled with addictions – some of which are no longer with us.

When it came to figuring out what I wanted to do when I grew up, I knew I wanted to be of service and work with teens who were struggling, the way my friends had struggled. I had envisioned myself providing school-based counseling services. However, when I interned for an outpatient treatment facility and fell in love with the work we did, I couldn’t resist!

After completing a master’s degree in clinical and counseling psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University 12 years ago, I pursued a path toward enriching the lives of adolescents, young adults, and families healing from substance use disorders and other self-destructive behaviors. Now licensed as a professional counselor and clinical alcohol and drug counselor, I continue to collaborate with teens, young adults, families, and professionals to educate, enrich lives, and advocate for ongoing, sustainable recovery.

Embarking on this journey of wellness and recovery is perhaps the bravest and most inspiring thing a person can do. Summit Behavioral Health is here for you every step of the way. I’m humbled to be part of this team and honored to walk this path with you

Diane Mankus

Executive Director (Serenity New England)

Diane joined Serenity New England in 2017 with over 35 years of integrated managerial and clinical experience as a clinical and nursing director, RN, LCPC and pastoral counselor working with patients of all age groups struggling with mental illness, addiction, and oncology. She holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Northeastern University and a master of science degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola University. Her clinical, nursing and leadership experiences include acute inpatient hospitalization, partial hospitalization, detox, residential, outpatient and home care settings throughout the United States and Europe.

She strives to promote a high standard of care by focusing on clinical excellence, patient and employee satisfaction, quality measures, in a safe and supportive environment. She works to develop an autonomous and innovative team of staff members, leads by example, manages programs, and promotes a collaborative team environment. She takes a holistic approach with attention to the integration of the medical, behavioral, mental health and pastoral aspects of the patient and their families while treating addiction and mental illness.

“My passion in life is to help others who struggle with physical, emotional, and relational pain by providing holistic, safe, and peaceful care”

Mary O’Neill

Treatment Consultant (Serenity New England)

Mary O’Neil is a marketing, public relations, and communications professional with over 20 years of experience. Prior to joining Summit Behavioral Health, O’Neil was a member of the senior leadership team at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill where she served as the director of marketing and public relations. She was later promoted to the northeast regional marketing director for Steward Health Care, the hospital’s parent company. In addition to a successful career in marketing and communications, O’Neil has held adjunct faculty positions at Northern Essex Community College and, most recently, at the Summerfuel Pre-College Program at Harvard where she teaches public speaking and debate.

O’Neil is actively involved in her community and currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the Haverhill YMCA and as a member of the YMCAs of the North Shore corporate board of directors. In 2011, O’Neil was selected as a YWCA’s Woman of the Year and received the 2013 Book of Golden Deeds Award from the Exchange Club of Haverhill. O’Neil holds a master’s degree in visual and media arts from Emerson College in Boston.

Dr. William Stanley MD

Medical Director (Serenity New Jersey)

William D Stanley, born and raised in Baltimore, MD, attended UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical school. Later, he did his internship and residency at Albert Einstein Med Center in Philadelphia. Initially, he practiced primary care for many years but due to the influence of many people—in particular, Dr. Lou Baxter—his eyes gravitated to the world of substance abuse.

Dr. Stanley became certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine in 2000. He initially focused on outpatient treatment of opioid dependence with Suboxone and, more recently, Vivitrol. He was invited to join the family of Summit Behavioral Health in 2013 part-time and started full-time as the medical director of their detox in December 2014.

Tricia Kostin MSW, LCSW, LCADC

Program Director (Summit at Florham Park)

Tricia is a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor and a licensed clinical social worker. She obtained her master’s degree from Rutgers University School of Social Work and has over 10 years of experience in various positions and treatment settings.

Starting in an outpatient ambulatory detox/maintenance program, Tricia was able to see the need for education and support for both the consumers as well as their families. Tricia transitioned from a medically-assisted modality of treatment to delving into intensive outpatient services. She initially found her niche in working with young adults and their families. Currently, Tricia focuses much of her energy on program development and team building.

As the clinical director of Serenity’s Florham Park location, Tricia and her team work closely to provide the best treatment outcomes for clients and their families. Utilizing both group and individual therapy, Tricia ensures everyone is involved, informed, educated and supported throughout their journey.

Christina Varano-Sanabria – Clinical Director (Summit at Union)

Christina D Varano-Sanabria received her master’s degree in mental health counselling and addiction from Caldwell University. Over the course of her career, which spans more than a decade, she has exceeded requirements in order to obtain multiple licenses which include her LPC, LCADC, and ACS in the state of New Jersey. She believes in a client-centered approach utilizing DBT and CBT methods and has worked in both clinical and private practice settings addressing issues ranging from Addiction to co-occurring disorders.

Her undergraduate degree was completed in psychology at Manhattan College. She is also certified in treating anger management and is a national board-certified counselor. Christina’s hobbies include spending time with her husband and her 1-year-old puppy Flash, reading, and spending time in nature.

MARIAN-ABDELMESSIHMarian Abdelmessih – Program Director (Summit at Princeton Junction)

Marian Abdelmessih MS, LPC, LCADC, CCTP, NCC, is a licensed professional specializing in addiction counseling, trauma therapy and mental illness with over 10 years of experience in the addiction and mental health treatment fields. She has worked in a wide variety of treatment settings including residential and outpatient.

As a clinician, Marian focuses on a variety of behavioral health needs including addiction, mental health disorders, trauma/PTSD, co-occurring disorders, and intellectual disabilities. In her role as clinical director, Marian oversees the development and implementation of client-centered treatment at Serenity’s Princeton Junction location, focusing on reintegrating individuals into the community and helping them regain their independence.

Marian earned her bachelor’s of arts degree in psychology at Kean University and her master’s of science degree in mental health counseling.

Dr. Tracy Blatt – Medical Director (Summit at Doylestown)

An alumna of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine with significant concentration in molecular and cellular biology, Dr. Blatt is an avid proponent for preventative health and strong patient/physician relationships. She is delighted to work with Serenity at Summit because of their shared philosophy of assured help and support for their patients. Serenity offers Dr. Blatt the opportunity to see that her patients are getting the therapy that they truly need and support them through the process. Her passion for her work stems, in part, from her dedication to internal medicine but, in large part, from her relationships with her patients.

When she is not with her patients, Dr. Blatt’s passions lie in the time that she spends with her husband and her children. During her free time, she can be found on the golf course.

Lisa-HallahanLisa Hallahan – Clinical Director (Summit at Doylestown)

I am a licensed clinical social worker and I have been in the profession for 13 years. I’m a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and have worked in several outpatient settings with clients who have experienced various forms of trauma, legal issues, loss, addiction and mental illness. I have recently taken the role of clinical director of Serenity at Summit at the Doylestown location. I have loved working with the clients here, try to get to know them personally and helping staff provide the best individualized care for each client. My hobbies include spending time with my children, being outdoors and watching movies.