We believe in a multi-faceted approach to treatment. We focus on the underlying causes that trigger the addictive, self-sabotaging behaviour. Our small, intimate facility provides the ideal setting for addressing, exploring and understanding the issues that led to the addictive, and ultimately, self-defeating behaviors.
Desert Palms Staff
John Nekic, MBA - Executive Director
As Executive Director of Sunspire Health Desert Palms, John oversees the financial performance, operations and strategic direction of the center, striving to continually improve productivity and efficiency to offer the highest quality treatment for patients. John is an energetic leader and a creative problem solver who has a proven performance record of executing plans, optimizing operations and leading his team to achieve outstanding results. Having earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix and a B.A. in Psychology from Cleveland State University, John has over two decades of experience in leaderships roles at behavioral healthcare providers throughout the United States. He draws on this vast experience to ensure that Desert Palms is able to continue providing exceptional clinical care and services to patients.
Bryan Wilmoth, CATC III - Director of Outpatient Services
Bryan Wilmoth is the Director of Outpatient Services at Sunspire Health Palm Desert IOP with two decades of experience working with those suffering with substance use disorders. Prior to this role, he acted as program director of Rainbow Bridge Community Services, Inc., as a substance abuse counselor at Frank's House, and as a treatment advocate at Tarzana Treatment Center, providing individualized counseling and treatment programs for patients dealing with HIV, substance use disorders, and co-occurring mental health disorders. In 2007, Bryan received the Warrior Award from the City of West Hollywood for his dedication to the recovery community and his service on the Sacramento Ryan White Planning Council, AIDS Project Los Angeles panel, and City of West Hollywood's Alternative Meth Treatment Forum. He earned a B.A. in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles and is a CAADE Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor III.
Brett Drummond, RADT-I - Director of Admissions
As Director of Admissions, Brett Drummond is the first person patients interact with as they begin their journey to recovery at Sunspire Health Desert Palms. In this role, Brett is responsible for overseeing the admissions process, managing utilization review and referrals for admission at Desert Palms. With seven years of experience in the field of substance abuse treatment, his passion for helping individuals who are seeking treatment for substance use disorders motivates him each day. He began his career in addiction treatment as a chemical dependency technician at the Hazelden Betty Ford Center, working primarily with young adults in recovery. Brett advanced to management positions by leading fellow staff members to strive for a patient-driven approach to care, believing that the patient and their needs is top priority in treatment.
Jeff Andersen, CADC-CS, ICCS, ICADC - Director of Operations
As the Director of Operations, Jeff Anderson ensures that Sunspire Health Desert Palms is operating in accordance with the state licensing and accreditation standards. Jeff values the important role that environment has in recovery and cultivates a positive psychology approach to care at the facility to promote patient healing. He is active in the local recovery community and leads groups on Motivation for Change to guide people in recovery to continue on their path to self-betterment. Jeff is an internationally certified clinical supervisor through the IC&RC and the CCAPP and received his Associate of Arts in Psychology from the College of the Desert.
Steve Stafford, LVN - Director of Nursing
Steve Stafford is the Director of Nursing, responsible for supervising the nursing department and overseeing the medical and psychiatric management at Sunspire Health Desert Palms. His job is vital to the care and health of patients receiving treatment at Desert Palms, and as such, he has a high regard for patient safety. Steve is effective in executing operations plans, implementing policies and care standards, and leading staff to achieve goals to improve quality of care at the facility. In addition to his leadership within the nursing department of Desert Palms, Steve is active in the Palm Springs recovery community. He received his Vocational Nursing Degree at the College of the Desert.
Jonathan Wynne - Director of Clinical Outreach
Jonathan Wynne, Sunspire Health Desert Palms' Director of Clinical Outreach, is responsible for developing and maintaining referral sources on a national level, while also generating referrals from clinicians and other sources. Prior to this role, Jonathan was a National Outreach Liaison for PRIDE Institute in Eden Prairie, MN and a Principal Partner for Premier Merchant Services in California, where he managed operations, sales, and marketing. He also acted as Recruitment Manager, Training and Development Manager, and Director of Operations for Merchant Services Inc. in Irvine, CA., and earned his Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington, CA.
Dawn(DJ) Lemarie-Griffith, MEd, LPC - Primary Therapist
DJ Lemaire-Griffith is a Primary Therapist at Desert Palms, responsible for counseling patients and guiding them through the recovery process. Prior to this role, DJ provided crisis counseling and conducted diagnostic and Alcohol and Other Drug Assessments for Rescue Mental Health Inc. in Toledo, OH. She also acted as a school counselor intern in Pemberville, OH where she provided individual and group counseling. DJ is a Licensed Professional Counselor and earned both her bachelor's degree in psychology and MEd from Bowling Green State University.
Michelle Martinez, CADC-CAS - Milieu Manager
Michelle Martinez serves as Milieu Manager at Sunspire Health Desert Palms, where she ensures that the administrative and clinical policies are being followed to offer patients the best therapeutic environment for healing. Michelle has dedicated her life to guiding people struggling with substance use to recovery and is committed to patient advocacy. She has been in recovery from addiction for sixteen years, is actively involved in sponsorship for 12-Step Self-Help Support groups, and attends seminars for addiction professionals regularly. In addition, Michelle has training in DBT, seeking safety and women's issues in early recovery, and she participates in domestic violence and sexual abuse therapy groups in the area each month. She attended College of the Desert for Drug and Alcohol Studies and graduated from the CCAPP Institute with a certification as an Addiction Specialist.
Sarah Nunley, MS, LMFT, Ed.D - Clinical Director
Sarah Nunley brings 15 years of clinical experience and her vast knowledge of PTSD and sexual trauma therapies to her role as Clinical Director at Sunspire Health Desert Palms. Sarah has a passion for leading people and creating innovative clinical programming that inspires effective treatment and overall wellness for the people she has the privilege of serving. She has provided clinical leadership and implemented treatment programs for military, law enforcement, as well as county and city government mental health agencies in southern California. Having served in the military and as a community crisis responder, she has a passion for working within the areas of attachment and trauma.
Sarah received a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State San Bernardino and a master's degree in Marital and Family Therapy at Loma Linda University before earning a doctorate in counseling psychology for licensure. She is fully certificated as a Clinical Mediator for the State of California and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.