Susi Ferguson is a long time employee and member of the 1st Step family. Susi started her career here as a bus driver in March 2007. Over the years, she has worked up the ladder, receiving several promotions and is now a Supervisor overseeing all residential operations including transportation, support staff, housing operations and client activities. Susi works in direct contact with clients and their families. She makes sure to come to work each day with a positive attitude in hopes to affect each clients’ life in a positive way.
Vandy Brisbon joined the 1st Step Behavioral Health team in 2009 as a Behavioral Health Technician and has since became the evening Residential Supervisor. Vandy takes pride in his work and personal contact with each client that walks through the door. He has become an unwavering staple of the 1st Step staff, always willing and ready to assist clients in any way possible. With 11 years in recovery under his belt, Vandy has an innate ability to connect with clients and be a part of their early recovery process. He believes in the principles of 1st Step Behavioral Health and enjoys the sense of family and community he finds while helping clients get introduced to the recovery process.
Annette originally joined 1st Step in 2008 as a Chemical Dependency Technician and has since risen through the ranks to Residential Supervisor. Annette’s responsibilities are to oversee the Behavioral Health Tech staff and to ensure all daily tasks at the residences are managed effectively. Having been in recovery for over 11 years, Annette is always available to our clients and willing to assist in getting them through any situation. Annette decided to stay at 1st Step after being “enamored by the owner’s big heart and the actual care for the clients.”
Amanda recently graduated top of her class for Medical Billing and Coding. She works with the COO of First Step to ensure all insurance is billed correctly. Amanda handles any audits, discrepancies and updates with the policies, as well as marketing tools. She works closely with the administrative team and coordinators.
Sarah Hatch Carlisi joined the 1st step team in 2017 as an administrative assistant and client account coordinator for the detox. She works closely with the admissions and case management departments to ensure the clients’ financial needs are taken care of sometimes before they even arrive and up until their transition out of the detox level of care. Sarah became interested in the treatment field in 2012 when she entered into rehab for her own battle with addiction, and has since celebrated over 5 years of sobriety. She is currently a student at Florida Atlantic University, working towards becoming a licensed mental health counselor. Outside of work and school, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful daughters.
Gail has been an important member of the treatment team since 2004. As Case Management Supervisor at 1st Step, Gail serves as a liaison between the clients and their employers, attorneys and EAP. She provides documentation for clients with a leave-of-absence from work, a disabled status, or those involved with the criminal justice system. She works closely with attorneys and the court liaison. Gail is also skilled in helping clients who are applying for assistance, both for vocational and financial needs. Her role on the clinical team is significant, in that she assists our clients with the numerous resources available in the community. Gail helps each client with compassion, support and dignity as she guides them through complex matters. It is of extreme importance to her to make certain our clients are able to accomplish their goal of returning to the workplace after treatment.
Jason became a part of first step as a client in 2014. After successfully completing his treatment, he became a member of the staff in 2015 as a behavioral health technician. By the end of 2016, Jason was promoted to the admissions team where he then was able to utilize the tools he learned while under the care of first steps’s devoted staff. He is now able to impart the things that he learned to other prospective clients and their families giving them hope for a better future through his own experience. Throughout the time Jason has worked at first step, he has also been a valuable member of the recovering community in South Florida. Coming from Philadelphia, Jason has adopted Florida as his new home and enjoys playing golf, relaxing on the beach and spending time with his new family and friends.
Donna Grizzle joined the 1st Step family originally in 2010 as a client and has since become an integral part to our daily operation. With many years experience working in a private practice as an RN, Donna is the physician coordinator, and most recently became the outpatient supervisor at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Donna’s responsibilities range from working hand in hand with our team of physicians, to being a willing listener for struggling clients. Her education combined with her passion to help those in need has been her greatest asset at 1st Step. As a result of overcoming her own battle with addiction, Donna is now known as a mother figure to many of the clients at 1st Step, and is a wealth of knowledge and comfort for clients in need.
Claudia joined the 1st Step team in 2011 as a recent nursing graduate. Claudia’s knowledge, passion, and work ethic makes her a major asset to the 1st Step medical staff. Claudia enjoys helping clients and seeing their transformation from detox to discharge. She is continuing her education, and looks forward to becoming a Registered Nurse.
Dr. Craig Vrablic holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Sexology from The American Academy of Clinical Sexologists and a Master of Science in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing from Florida International University. As an undergraduate, he studied at the University of Miami and Northwestern University. He is a Board Certified Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Board Certified Sex Therapist. He is a member of The National Honors Society, The Honor Society of Nursing, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Neuroscience Education Institute, and Diplomat of the American Board of Sexology. Dr. Vrablic has worked in health care since 1978 and in the past 20+ years of his professional career, he has focused in the field of Psychiatry and Addiction. Dr. Vrablic blends the Rogerian Client-Centered approach with Rational Emotive Therapy, building on client’s strengths and integrating harm reduction. He incorporates appropriate psychopharmacology when necessary to achieve optimal mental health and functioning. Dr. Vrablic is available to address psychopharmacology needs, sexual issues, brief psychotherapy, individual, relationship and family therapy, as well as addictions and co-dependency issues.