- Centerstone of America Board Back to top
- Jim Sweeten, Chair
- Lee Brackett, Immediate Past Chair
- Patricia Lucas, Secretary
- Phil Krebs, Vice Chair
- David Guth, CEO
- Reed Farley
- Sara C. Huggins, JD
David Guth – Chief Executive Officer
David Guth is the Chief Executive Officer at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Chief Executive Officer, Guth leads all areas of the organization, including quality of client care, strategies for growth, standards for operational excellence, and delivering strong financial performance.
Guth has more than 40 years of health care leadership and has served as Centerstone’s Chief Executive Officer since 1992. Under his leadership, the organization has grown from $6M in revenues and 300 staff serving 2,000 individuals to revenues of $278M and 3,800 staff serving more than 140,000 people each year.
Guth has served on the Board of Directors for many notable organizations, including Triad Learning, the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the Board for University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work. He is highly-regarded in the industry and has received many recognitions, including the National Council Visionary Leadership award, Nashville Business Journal’s Health Care Power Leaders Award, and the Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk from the University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work. Guth also works as an industry consultant, primarily in the area of affiliations, mergers, and acquisitions. The National Council for Behavioral Health published Guth’s book on mergers, “Strategic Unions: A Marriage Guide to Healthy Not-for-Profit Mergers.”
Guth graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and from the University of Tennessee with his master’s degree in social work administration and planning.
April Van Epps – Chief of Staff
April Van Epps is the Chief of Staff at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. Van Epps supports the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and executive leadership team through a variety of administrative and strategic planning functions. She also serves as a liaison between Centerstone’s eight Boards of Directors and the executive cabinet team.
Van Epps has more than 15 years’ experience in executive administration and prior to joining Centerstone was the Executive Officer Manager for Seven Counties Services in Louisville, Kentucky. There she was responsible for coordination of the leadership team, strategic support of the CEO and the organization’s Board of Directors.
Van Epps is active in her community and volunteers regularly for the Green County Food Pantry, a local food pantry serving residents of Greensboro, Georgia. She also serves in a volunteer capacity as an Assistant Online Trainer for Bible Study Fellowship.
Van Epps graduated from Franklin College with a bachelor’s degree in business management & theatre.
Melissa Larkin-Skinner, MA, LMHC – Regional Chief Executive Officer, Florida
Melissa Larkin-Skinner is the Regional Chief Executive Officer for Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Regional Chief Executive Officer, Larkin-Skinner is responsible for the leadership and oversight of Centerstone’s operations in Florida.
Larkin-Skinner has more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of mental health and addiction care. As a licensed mental health counselor, she has worked with children and adults of all ages in diverse treatment programs including inpatient, outpatient, crisis intervention, intensive community-based care, and child welfare. She has designed and operated innovative programs to meet community needs such as the Children’s Community Action Treatment Team (CAT) which was adopted as a statewide model of care for Florida’s youth and their families.
Larkin-Skinner serves as a persistent voice bringing attention to the opioid epidemic. She is an authority on the disease of addiction’s devastating effects on communities, regularly providing state and federal policy feedback and engaging in legislative advocacy as a mental health and addiction subject-matter expert in Tallahassee, Florida, and Washington, D.C. She also serves as the sole behavioral health provider on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. She is a recipient of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association Administrator of the Year Award for her efforts combating the opioid epidemic. She is the past Chair of the Florida Council for Behavioral Health, is current Chair of the Florida Behavioral Health Association, and has been appointed to serve on the Florida Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
Larkin-Skinner holds a master’s in healthcare administration from Saint Leo University and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of South Florida.
Suzanne Koesel – Regional Chief Executive Officer, Indiana
Suzanne Koesel is the Regional Chief Executive Officer for Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Regional Chief Executive Officer, Koesel is responsible for the leadership and operational oversight of Centerstone’s clinical divisions and specialized services, as well as strategic business development and fiscal accountability, in Indiana.
Koesel has more than 30 years’ experience in behavioral health and has been a part of Centerstone since 1996. She has held previous positions as Chief Operating Officer, Business Development Director, Therapist, Community Planner, and Grant Writer. Under her Leadership, Centerstone has expanded its operations in Indiana by more than 65%, opening seven new addictions residential treatment centers, adding 110 new permanent supportive housing units, and doubling school-based services.
Koesel currently serves the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers as Chairperson for the Board of Directors and member of the Public Policy Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Mental Health America of Indiana and on the Bloomington Safe and Civil Cities Leadership Council.
Koesel holds a master’s degree in social work from Washington University.
Ben Middleton, MS – Regional Chief Executive Officer
Ben Middleton is the Regional Chief Executive Officer for Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Regional Chief Executive Officer, Middleton is responsible for the leadership and operational oversight of Centerstone’s clinical service lines in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, as well as strategic business development, fiscal performance and accountability, and the organization’s philanthropic fund development efforts.
Middleton has worked in behavioral health care since 1979, specializing in substance use treatment and the continuum of services for those with mental illnesses. He began his career as an alcohol and drug treatment therapist in Alabama. As a consultant for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health, he led an advisory committee to develop a statewide culturally competent system of care for children and youth. He first joined Centerstone in 1985 and was named Director of Program Development for Alcohol & Drug Services at Centerstone in 1990. Middleton later advanced to Vice President for Core Services and Regional Chief Operating Officer before becoming Regional Chief Executive Officer.
Middleton is an active volunteer board member with the King’s Daughters Home and the Madison Kiwanis. His professional memberships include the Nashville Substance Abuse Forum, Licensed Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse Counselor, and National Certified Addiction Counselor II. Middleton graduated from Oakwood University with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and from Alabama A&M University with a master of science degree in clinical psychology.
Kevin Norton – Chief Operating Officer
Kevin Norton is the Chief Operations Officer at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Chief Operations Officer, Norton provides leadership and management to Centerstone’s Regional Officers while ensuring operational excellence and positioning the organization for growth.
Norton has more than 25 years’ experience in health care leadership and prior to joining Centerstone, he served as Chief Executive Officer for Lahey Behavioral Health Services in Danvers, Massachusetts. There he led the integration of behavioral health clinicians into primary care practices, drove the establishment of an enterprise risk management process to ensure quality and minimize risk, and led the integration of Northeast Behavioral Health with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, as well as the merger of a $20M substance abuse treatment agency with a $50M community mental health center.
Norton has served on the Board of Directors for many industry organizations, including the National Council for Behavioral Health, The Association for Behavioral Healthcare, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Norton graduated from State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, from Salem State University with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and also from Suffolk University with a master’s degree in business administration.
Ramona Rhodes – President, Centerstone’s Foundation
Ramona Rhodes is President of the Foundation at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As President of Centerstone’s Foundation, Rhodes is responsible for advancing Centerstone’s mission through philanthropy. She works in direct collaboration with Centerstone’s Foundation Board of Directors in the areas of endowment investment and management, stewardship of donor intent, growth of philanthropic support, and day-to-day operational management of the nationwide Foundation team.
Rhodes has more than 30 years’ experience in marketing and fundraising and has been with Centerstone since 1989. Other roles she has served within Centerstone include Foundation Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing & Communications. She created and developed the organization’s first marketing and communications office, including Centerstone’s first magazine, Reclaiming Lives.
Rhodes has been named a Health Care Hero by the Nashville Business Journal and is a member of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy. She has also held positions with the Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations (TAMHO) and has been a member of the American Marketing Association and the Nashville City Cemetery Association Board of Directors.
Rhodes graduated from Lipscomb University with a dual bachelor’s degree in Music Education & Piano Performance.
Prasad Kodali – Chief Information Officer
Prasad Kodali is the Chief Information Officer at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Chief Information Officer, Kodali directs information technology operations and strategy for all of Centerstone’s strategic business units. As Chief Information Officer, Kodali manages approximately 90 staff members and budgets over $20 million in total. He is responsible for ensuring that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and aligning deliverables with core business needs as well as Centerstone enterprise’s technology infrastructure.
Kodali has two decades of information technology experience. Prior to serving as Centerstone’s Chief Information Officer, Kodali led projects as a developer, solution architect, project manager, director of enterprise applications, and vice president at Centerstone and previous companies. He has managed teams that span multiple states in addition to staff in India and China. Kodali has led or been a part of over 50 different large scale implementations of technology projects in his career thus far.
Kodali has served on several non-profit Boards of Directors, including Middle Tennessee Futbol Club and Youth Movement Inc.
Carol Bean, MBA — Chief Financial Officer
Carol Bean is chief financial officer for Centerstone, a national leader in behavioral health and addiction services. She manages Centerstone’s revenues and leads a finance team of more than 225 professionals, including those working in financial planning and analysis, accounts payable, accounts receivable, procurement, and payroll. Bean also works alongside Centerstone’s chief information officer to have oversight of the organization’s robust information technology department.
Bean first joined Centerstone in 2014 as assistant corporate controller then advanced to director and vice president posts. Prior to that, she served as finance manager at Deloitte Services LLP, account specialist at Cigna Government Services, accounting services supervisor at Coventry Healthcare, and regional accounting manager at America Service Group.
She holds a Masters of Business in administration from University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in business administration, accounting from East Tennessee State University.
Jason Hernandez, EdD, MBA — Chief Human Resources Officer
Jason Hernández is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatments. As Chief Human Resources Officer, Hernández leads all human resources efforts across Centerstone’s multi-state footprint. His teams include Centerstone staff members working in talent acquisition and onboarding, learning and development, employee benefits, and employee support and engagement efforts.
Hernández has more than 20 years’ experience in the human resources profession and prior to joining Centerstone was the Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx Freight in Memphis, Tennessee. There he was responsible for all aspects of the multi-billion dollar company’s human resources operations, including creating and delivering business-focused human resources strategies and implementing change management protocols and methodologies.
Hernández is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and honorably served our nation from 1988 to 1993. He’s also served on numerous Boards of Directors, including those at Latino Memphis, MPact Memphis, Pi Kappa Alpha, Chapman University Alumni Association, and Porter-Leath Children’s Center.
Hernández graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor’s degree in social science & biology and from Union University with a master’s degree in business administration. He earned his doctorate degree in education – organizational leadership at Vanderbilt University.
Blas Villalobos, DSW – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone’s Military Services
Dr. Blas Villalobos is the Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone’s Military Services. As the Chief Executive Officer, Villalobos leads the organization’s delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services to veterans, active duty military personnel, and military families. Villalobos also leads the organization’s partnerships with other military-friendly organizations, including partnerships with Wounded Warrior Project, Cohen Veterans Network, and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
Villalobos has more than 10 years’ of specialized experience working with veterans and the military community, most recently serving as the Director of Veterans Affairs for Chapman University. Villalobos has held previous positions as Veterans Affairs Manager for the Los Angeles Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Executive Director of External Programs for U.S.VETS.
Villalobos is a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having served honorably from 1999 to 2003. He is active in his community and currently serves on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Board of Directors for JVS SoCal. He previously served as a committee member for the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans and as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Community Veterans Engagement Board. He began his academic career at Long Beach City College and holds doctorate and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Southern California, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University – Long Beach.
Johnel Reid – Chief Marketing Officer
Johnel Reid is chief marketing officer for Centerstone, a national leader in behavioral health and addiction services. She leads strategy and oversight for the organization’s branding, communications, grant writing, national policy, and referral marketing.
Reid joined Centerstone as vice president of public affairs and marketing in 2018. Prior to that, she served with two Fortune 500 companies. At Community Health Systems, Reid was vice president for strategic planning and marketing, providing executive support to an operating division that included 38 hospitals and systems across several states. From 2003 to 2012, she was director of marketing and public relations at HCA Healthcare where she led development of market based branding into a consumer health network.
Reid holds a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and political science from Longwood University in Virginia.
Ashley Newton – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone’s Research Institute
Ashley Newton is the Chief Executive Officer of Centerstone’s Research Institute. She directs all clinical research and program evaluation activities, as well as quality and patient safety programming to ensure compliance and continued process improvement. She also oversees the implementation of policies and procedures aimed at improving patient care and quality improvement throughout Centerstone, ensures continued survey readiness, and provides direct management to quality leaders.
Additionally, Newton serves as the Executive Director of Centerstone’s federally-certified Patient Safety Organization, which exists for the sole purpose of conducting activities to improve patient safety and quality of care. Newton also chairs the Enterprise Quality Council, a governance group leading system-wide initiatives that directly impact quality, risk management, and patient safety practices. Newton has more than 15 years’ experience in behavioral health service delivery and healthcare leadership, and more than five years’ experience in healthcare research leadership and clinical transformation efforts.
In her previous roles at Centerstone, Newton developed and implemented standards of care intended to improve access for those with complex needs, implemented standardized quality improvement methodologies that align with best practice, introduced technology-based solutions to manage key quality and risk processes, and led efforts for the Centerstone PSO to become federally certified through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Other clinical transformation efforts include integration of research and technology into clinical operations, implementation of clinical and quality metrics to drive value-based care readiness, implementation of change management and continuous quality improvement methodologies, new service line development and growth, and implementation of design thinking methodologies in community behavioral health settings. She also sponsors the Centerstone Women’s Network, an employee resource group that seeks to address the unique challenges women experience in the workplace.
Newton is a member of the Project Management Institute, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, National Alliance for Healthcare Quality, and other various professional organizations.
Newton holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), certified ACRA-ACC clinical supervisor, Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and has a Design Thinking Certification from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).