Muir Wood Care Team Meeting

Leadership

Muir Wood is the choice of medical professionals around the country because of its specialized, evidence-based care for teens. It is also distinguished by the talent and collegiality of its team members. Muir Wood carefully selects its staff for their ability to provide exceptional care, and for their ability to support the values of compassion, kindness, cooperation, and quality that are its hallmark. Working as a close-knit unit, our dedicated staff helps ensure strong collaboration and continuity of care for teens. They include clinical and medical professionals, academic leaders, and administrative staff. Meet the Muir Wood team that impacts lives by nurturing change and advancing adolescent health.

Founder CEO

Scott Sowle
Scott Sowle

Founder & CEO

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Scott Sowle has worked with teens and families for over 30 years. His goal has always been to create treatment programs that emphasize kindness and compassion over confrontation and control. He is passionate about creating settings that promote sustainable, life-long recovery by providing teens and their families idyllic locations coupled with caring, dedicated, and highly qualified professionals who partner with families to find more effective ways to communicate and begin the process of healing. To provide this level of care to as many kids and families as possible, Scott’s motto is “making exceptional care accessible.”

As an undergraduate and graduate student at UCLA, and as a means to better understand how both substance abuse and mental health issues intersected within his own family system, Scott began his professional journey at Hathaway Children’s Services. At the time, Hathaway was an orphanage for abused and neglected children whose parents were unable or unwilling to care for them. Many came from alcoholic and abusive families. It was at Hathaway that Scott first felt a sense of belonging and connection that continued with him to this day.

From 1990-2000, Scott worked as an administrator for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment programs within large, non-profit Catholic hospitals. These included the Sisters of Carondelet, St. Joseph’s, and St. John’s, all in southern California. In 2000, Scott became Executive Director of the then start up, Visions Adolescent Treatment Program, in Los Angeles. He would help launch that program’s residential and outpatient centers. In 2008, seeing a need for adolescent treatment in Orange County, CA, Scott conceptualized and was the visionary behind Newport Academy, launching that program as Founder and Chief Operating Officer. Scott remained at Newport Academy for close to five years.

Wanting to be closer to family in northern California, and recognizing a need for high quality treatment for struggling teens and families in the Bay Area, Scott launched Muir Wood Adolescent and Famliy Services in 2013. Muir Wood is the culmination of Scott’s personal and professional experiences, and has become recognized nationally as a gold standard in adolescent behavioral healthcare. Currently, Muir Wood operates ten campuses on over 60+ acres in Sonoma county, with a total of 64 beds. In 2023, Muir Wood will extend its exceptional treatment offerings to central and southern California. Kathy Ketcham, best-selling author of “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, “Broken”, and “The Only Life I Could Save”, says of Muir Wood, “It is a place of light and hope, offering a comprehensive program of treatment, academics, and family involvement that sets the gold standard for gender-specific adolescent treatment. If only every young person struggling with substance use and other problems could spend time at Muir Wood, where kindness, trust, and respect are the keystones of life-long recovery.”

Scott has authored a number of articles and is often asked to speak on mental health, substance use disorders, family systems, and paths to sustainable healing. He is passionate about education and is honored to sit on community advisory boards and non-profits and as an advocate for the underserved in hope that his voice can be a catalyst for effective and thoughtful substance use and mental health treatment policies. Scott is also most proud to mentor many young entrepreneurs and professionals, helping them launch their own programs. He has been widely recognized for his work, most recently as the recipient of the 2020 Miracles Award in the Bay Area for “outstanding lifetime achievement and outstanding service in the treatment of addiction and mental health disorders.”   

An avid cyclist, surfer, endurance swimmer, and runner, the outdoors have always played a significant role in Scott’s life, and were essential components of the program at Muir Wood. To quote John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Indeed, Scott named Muir Wood after the environmentalist, adding “…many may not know this, but while working on an assembly line as a young man, John Muir was blinded from a tool that had pierced his eye. He vowed that if he ever regained his eyesight, he would leave the assembly line and follow his passion. To me, this is akin to so many of the young persons we see at Muir Wood. If, with our help, they can free themselves from the bondage of substance use disorders or mental health issues that envelope them, then perhaps they may discover their true north and passions that inspire them.”

Scott lives in Marin with his wife Basia, an operating room nurse and nurse educator at UCSF, and a consultant at Muir Wood. She is a constant inspiration and beacon in his life.

Find Scott Sowle on LinkedIn.

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Clinical Leadership

Tara Krueger
Tara Krueger, Psy.D.

Chief Clinical Officer

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Dr. Krueger serves as Chief Clinical Officer, overseeing all aspects of clinical programming for Muir Wood’s growing teen mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs. Dr. Krueger comes to Muir Wood from Newport Healthcare where she served as National Director of Clinical Program Development.

A frequent national presenter on mental health topics, Dr. Krueger earned her doctorate from Argosy University and is trained in modalities including CBT, DBT, Functional Family Therapy, Attachment-Based Family Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.

She has conducted research on stress and competency in parents of adolescents and young adults with ASD, as well as on female aggression and barriers to reentry from juvenile detention. 

“Dr. Krueger’s impressive pedigree, extensive experience working with adolescents and their families, and her important academic contributions to our field, have made her an ideal addition to Muir Wood’s leadership team,” said Scott Sowle, Muir Wood Founder and CEO.

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Amber D.
Amber D., LMFT, BA, MA

Clinical Director – Lohrman Program

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Amber is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Sonoma State University. 

Amber started her mental health career working in adult crisis residential in 2015 where she worked as a counselor for individuals experiencing severe mental health crises and substance abuse. Amber later transitioned to working for a nonprofit where she provided case management and therapy services to California State Prison releases, CPS referred families and couples, the homeless, and veterans. 

Amber’s therapeutic approach stems from a person-centered perspective where she recognizes the significance and value attached to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. Amber aims to create a safe and welcoming environment that allows clients to explore the sources of their inner conflicts and healthy methods of coping and healing past trauma. Amber’s goal in therapy is to create a foundation for healing that will allow clients and their families to move forward and progress towards their goals. Amber leads Sunday outings and is always looking for creative ways to spark love for the outdoors and inspire movement, mindfulness, and creativity. 

Amber also regularly brings her dog Enzo, a playful and loving Australian Shepherd-Border Collie mix to treatment. Enzo loves comforting teens and families while in session, hugs and kisses, and is always ready to join in on an adventure.

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Heather R.
Heather R., LMFT

Vice President of Clinical Services

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Holly P.-L.
Holly P.-L., LMFT

Clinical Director, Auberry North and Makena Programs

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Nicolette G.
Nicolette G., LMFT, SUDCC

Clinical Director – Skillman Program

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Nicolette is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC) and has worked in the field of Substance Use Disorders for 6 years. She has been practicing as an MFT intern for 2 years. Nicolette received her B.A. in Psychology at Sonoma State University and M.A degree in Counseling Psychology Program with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counseling, and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Nicolette is trained in Depth Psychology and Substance Use Counseling. She has experience working with the homeless population of Marin County as well as in-home services for families and children struggling with mental health and behavioral issues. Nicolette uses a client-centered, humanistic and transpersonal approach to therapy along with a trauma-informed approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For fun, Nicolette enjoys kayaking, bicycling, archery and creative arts.

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Joanna O.
Joanna O., Clinical Director — Penngrove & Thompson Ranch Programs

LMFT

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Sam W.
Sam W., LMFT

Clinical Director – Riverside

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Medical Leadership

David Smith
David Smith, MD, DFASAM, FAACT

Chair, Addiction Medicine & Medical Quality Assurance Committee; Diplomate, American Society of Addiction Medicine

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Dr. Smith is recognized as a national leader in addiction medicine, the psychopharmacology of drugs, new research strategies in the management of drug abuse problems, and the treatment of adolescent substance abuse. He is the founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics of San Francisco and has been honored as one of the “Best Doctors in America.”

Dr. Smith is a fellow and past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, past medical director for the California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, and past medical director for the California Collaborative Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research. In addition to his role as Chair of Addiction Medicine here at Muir Wood, Dr. Smith is also an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Smith is the founder and publisher of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs and co-editor of the International Addiction Infoline newsletter. In addition, he has authored or co-authored twenty-six books, written over 340 journal articles, edited twenty-eight journals, and been the technical consultant for twenty-eight drug abuse-related films.

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Margaret G.
Margaret G., MD

Psychiatrist – Girls Programs

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Dr. Grimley is board-certified in both adult and child and adolescent psychiatry and has over 36 years of experience. She has expertise in alternative interventions including neurolinguistics programming and EMDR, has studied homeopathy, Gestalt, and Core Energetic therapies, and is open to incorporating individualized strategies for each patient. Dr. Grimley’s past leadership appointments include Medical Director, Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital; Medical Director, John Muir Behavioral Health Center Adolescent PHP and IOP; and with the Marin County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services both with adolescents and adults. She is also a published author, teacher and has been recognized and honored for her outstanding accomplishment in teaching medical students.

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Deborah B.
Deborah B., DNP, PhD, NP

Psychiatrist – Penngrove Program

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Mark S.
Mark S., MD

Psychiatrist – Boys Programs

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Dr. Schiller is a Yale and University of Chicago trained psychiatrist who has been a leader in the development of technologies that provide an objective and effective basis for guiding psychiatric medical treatment. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and has an MS in Economics from Golden Gate University. Additionally, he has been honored as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA).

He continues his research involvement in his role as Director of Medical Affairs of CNS Response, now Mynd Analytics. He is also the developer of Referenced Electroencephalogram (rEEG) which assists psychiatrists with medication selection. In addition to his work on electrophysiological technology, Dr. Schiller also focuses on the medication treatment of a broad range of difficult-to-treat psychiatric disorders. These disorders include treatment-resistant depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, adult attention deficit disorder, and addiction. The latter is a focus of his work as a consultant for the Bayside Marin Center drug and alcohol program.

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Nancy H.
Nancy H., MD

Consulting Psychiatrist – Girls Programs

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Dr. Nan Herron is a triple board-certified psychiatrist who received her training at Yale University and Brown University Medical School. She completed post graduate training at Brown University with a triple-board residency in Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and was a Clinical Fellow in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (supervised by Bessel van der Kolk, MD) at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University Medical School. Dr. Herron has extensive training in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction from the University of Massachusetts Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Training program and is certified in Trauma-Informed Mind-Body Programs. She has also received certification at the Marin Mindfulness Institute: Teaching for Children and Adolescents, and 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification. She has authored publications on the history of trauma in psychiatry, as well as trauma and the development of borderline personality disorder. Dr. Herron is affiliated with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Medical Association, and First Responder Support Network.

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Jon S.
Jon S., MD

Physician

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Administrative Leadership

Bryan Bowen
Bryan Bowen

Partner, Chief Operating Officer

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Bryan is a proven addiction treatment executive with a unique combination of experience in new business venture, management, business development, admissions, and intervention. With over 20 years in the treatment industry, Bryan got his start as an overnight tech and has worked his way up to be recognized as a National Leader in the Industry. Bryan has served on many non profit boards for recovery, addiction and intervention related organizations. These include; California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources (CAARR), The Association of Intervention Specialists, The Helen Vine Detox Center and The Henry Ohlhoff Programs. Bryan’s philosophy on treatment is to provide the best clinical care and provide families with the education and resources they need to become an integral part of the healing process. He is an empathetic leader who creates teams that people want to be a part of. In his spare time, Bryan leads an active life in the beautiful surroundings of Northern California with his wife and daughter.

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Brent Bowers
Brent Bowers

Chief Compliance Officer

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Brent is an extremely respected professional in the field of behavioral health and addiction treatment with over two decades of experience working in executive level positions at many highly regarded treatment programs and organizations. Additionally, as a consultant, Brent has been instrumental in assisting many other programs with licensure, accreditation, compliance and regulatory issues. As the Director of Compliance for Muir Wood, Brent ensures that the facility is in compliance with all health and safety practices, monitors the policies and procedures to ensure they are in alignment with licensing, manages the program’s performance improvement planning and monthly meetings, monitors the electronic health records to ensure proper and timely documentation, monitors employee hiring practices and human resource compliance, and is a valued member of the executive leadership team at Muir Wood.

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Heather Stratford
Heather Stratford

Vice President of Payer Strategy and Relations

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Heather brings over 30 years of experience to the Muir Wood team, with the last 25 years focused on behavioral health treatment. The behavioral health insurance realm can be complicated for families and programs alike. Her passion is helping both parties navigate the complexities which arise. Heather is well versed in revenue cycle management, payor strategy / contracting and utilization review. She enjoys working through the challenges each of these offers. When not working, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, fishing, and traveling.

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Kelli Azevedo
Kelli Azevedo

Director of Operations

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Kelli brings years of administration and operations experience to Muir Wood in her role as Director of Operations. She joined the Muir Wood team in July of 2021. Kelli formerly worked in other treatment center settings and most recently worked as an Operations Manager for a small private school in Marin County. Kelli was born and raised in Sonoma County. Kelli has been in recovery since she was 17 years old and is passionate about her own recovery and helping others on their journey. At Muir Wood she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all Muir Wood properties and facilities, supporting Muir Wood’s mission, goals, and professional standards. 

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Maura Sangster
Maura Sangster, BS, CADC II, ICADC

Director of Admissions

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Maura, or “Mo” as we call her, brings two decades of business experience to her role as Director of Admissions. Previous to working at Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services she was an Admissions Counselor at a treatment center in Marin County and also held positions in sales, marketing, finance, and operations in various industries over the years. She joined the Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services team in February of 2018 and was our Director of Operations for 3.5 years before moving over to the business office in July of 2021 to direct our admissions department. When asked about being part of the Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services team, she states, “to be fortunate enough to help adolescents and their families in the very same county where I was once an adolescent myself, it just feels like home, it is an absolutely beautiful feeling.” Maura was born and raised nearby in picturesque Sonoma Valley and her family still resides there. At 22 years of age, she graduated Cum Laude from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business and a minor in Viticulture. Maura is passionate about helping others become the best version of themselves through living a healthy, balanced, sober, lifestyle and is extremely proud of the excellent care that the Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services Team provides its clients and families. Outside of work, she is fulfilled by spending time with her loving husband, young son, rescue kitty cat Indy, and French Bulldog Luna.

You can reach Mo at Msangster@MuirWoodTeen.com

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Pat D’Amico
Pat D’Amico, BS

Chief Marketing Officer

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Pat has more than 20 years of behavioral health marketing experience and has worked for a who’s who of mental health and substance use disorder treatment brands. Most recently, Pat served as VP of Marketing for Altior Healthcare where he guided the marketing of four adolescent and young adult mental health treatment brands; Paradigm Treatment Centers (CA & TX), Innercept (ID), Shortridge Academy (NH), and Ironwood Maine (ME). From 2002 until 2018, Pat was a founding partner of Psynchronous Communications, a premier behavioral health marketing firm. During that period, Muir Wood was an agency client. So, Pat is well familiar with the Muir Wood brand, its people and its programs.

Prior to co-founding Psynchronous, Pat served as SVP/Group Director at the venerable Arnold Worldwide in Boston where he set the strategic direction for the $600mm Verizon account. While at Arnold, Pat also helped craft the branding for the launch of www.WSJ.com.

Pat has twice been honored for his work benefiting the hungry with the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Award for Public Service, “…the only award that ever really mattered,” says Pat who has seen an award or two in his time. Two fantastic grown daughters – a 2nd grade teacher and a musical theatre actress – and a healthy obsession with the guitar keep Pat occupied when he isn’t laser focused on his marketing responsibilities.

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