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Faculty Roster

We are incredibly grateful to the following experts who have generously invested their time and expertise to this professional education program focused on science, policy, and treatment of addictions.

Keynote Speakers

Headshot of Mehdi Farokhnia

Mehdi Farokhnia, MD, MPH
Clinical Staff Scientist, NIDA and NIAAA

Addictions Update 2024 is pleased to welcome Dr. Mehdi Farokhnia. As a physician-scientist at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), his research has been focused on understanding the neurobiology of addictive behaviors and identifying novel therapeutic targets for alcohol and other substance use disorders, with a particular focus on neuroendocrine pathways. He uses a combination of behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, and neuroimaging methods and is interested in investigating innovative human laboratory approaches, as well as large-scale epidemiological methods, that may facilitate the crosstalk between preclinical, clinical, and population-based research, especially in the field of behavioral pharmacology and substance use. Another line of research that Mehdi is pursuing includes utilizing big data to characterize biobehavioral substrates of health disparity (e.g., racial differences) in risk/resilience to addiction and other mental health disorders. 

Dr. Farokhnia received his Medical Degree from Tehran University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Dr. Leggio’s lab at the NIH Clinical Center when he was also a Fellow at the NIH Center on Compulsive Behaviors (CCB). Recently, he earned a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, along with two Graduate Certificates - Public Mental Health Research, and Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. View profile.

Headshot of R. Corey Waller

R. Corey Waller, MD, DFASAM 
Chief Medical Officer, BrightView Health

Corey Waller, MD, MS, FACEP, DFASAM is board-certified in emergency and addiction medicine with extensive experience at the local, state, and national levels. He works with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and related organizations to advance the evidence-based practice of treatment and recovery for individuals affected by addiction. A nationally recognized expert in substance use disorder (SUD), he is editor in chief of The ASAM Criteria and as such, will be able to provide ADDICTIONS UPDATE’s audience great insight to the changes hitting their practices.

As BrightView’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Waller oversees medical team education, practice standards, and care delivery. By actively engaging and leading BrightView’s physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, he drives service quality, care integration, and the delivery of consistent patient outcomes. Prior to joining BrightView, Dr. Waller was managing director of the HMA Institute on Addiction, where he was responsible for consultation and development of addiction treatment systems for hospitals, primary care practices, justice involved populations, and addiction treatment providers. His experience also includes serving as senior medical director for education and policy at the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs (National Center), medical staff chief of pain medicine at Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, MI. Additionally, he oversaw the development of core competencies for addiction treatment in the labor and delivery unit and the neonatal abstinence syndrome treatment algorithm for the Level 1 neonatal intensive care unit.

Dr. Waller earned his master’s degree in biology, with a neuro-molecular focus at Southwest Texas State University and his medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He completed his emergency medicine residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and is board-certified in emergency medicine and addiction medicine. View profile.

Complete Faculty Roster

*Contact emails are provided for faculty members who authorized release of this information.

Erica N. Baiden, MD

Physician, University of Utah Intensive Outpatient Clinic

Michael J. Baron, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Tennessee Medical Foundation Physicians’ Health Program

Kimberlee Bayless, DNP, FNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner & Director of Transitional Pain Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Salt Lake Medical Center

RD Boardman, PhD

Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Nat-Su Healthcare

Headshot of Kevin Byrne, MD

Kevin Byrne, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry - University of Utah

Outpatient Psychiatrist - Huntsman Mental Health Institute & Huntsman Cancer Institute

Headshot of Kevin Byrne, MD

Darin Carver, LCSW

Associate Clinical Director, Weber Human Services

Jeff Clark, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor and Addiction Psychiatrist, University of Utah

Amy de la Garza, MD, FASAM, IFMCP

Physician/Owner, Heron Wellness

Adjunct Faculty, University of Utah Department of Psychiatry

Thom Dunford, BSW, MBA

Administrator II, Utah Office of Substance Use & Mental Health

Luz Escamilla, MPA

Senator, Utah State

Mehdi Farokhnia, MD, MPH

Clinical Staff Scientist, NIDA and NIAAA

Jess Farrar, PhD

Associate Clinical Professor, University of Utah Rehabilitation Psychology Clinic

Spencer Hansen, MD

Addiction Psychiatrist, Intermountain Health

Missy Henke, MD

Supported by the Opioid Response Network

Medical Director, Heartview Foundation

Elizabeth F. Howell, MD, MS, DLFAPA, DFASAM

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University of Utah Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine

Addiction Psychiatrist, Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Lucy Izard, LCSW

Clinician, Huntsman Mental Health Institute Recovery Works Intensive Outpatient Program

Rachael Jasperson, LCSW, PhD, MBA

Zero Suicide Program Manager, Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Wendy A. Johnson, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Intermountain Health

Jenny Jones-Medina, PhD

Rehabilitation Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Utah Healthcare

Jordan Kwamanakweenda, PsyD

Psychology Fellow, University of Utah Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Denise Lash, PhD

Director of Therapy, Intermountain Health

Mario Lintz, MD

Supported by Mountain Plains ATTC

Evelyn Loose, MD

Associate Professor & Director of the Transitional Pain Service, University of Utah School of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology

Larry Marx, MPA

Bureau Manager, Utah Division of Professional Licensing

Anthony May, PharmD, MBA, BCPS

Pharmacy Director, Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Erin McGlade, PhD

Associate Professor, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Department of Psychiatry, Diagnostic Neuroimaging Lab

Robert J. Mendenhall, DO

Associate Medical Director for Addiction, Intermountain Health

Eric Piacenza, MD

Assistant Professor 
Director of Regional Anesthesia & Acute Pain Medicine Service 
Co-Director of Transitional Pain Service 
University of Utah School of Medicine Department of Anesthesiology

Frank J. Powers, MD

Family Medicine Physician, Community Health Centers, Inc.

Steve Sugden, MD, MPH

Associate Professor, University of Utah

B. Todd Thatcher, DO

Vice President of Medical Services, Valley Behavioral Health

Mason Turner, MD

Associate Chief Medical Officer, Intermountain Health Behavioral Health Clinical Program

Craig J. Uthe, MD, FAAFP, ASAM

Supported by the Opioid Response Network

Sanford Family Physician, Chronic Pain & Addiction

USD SSOM Chief Wellbeing Officer

Gil Van Attenhoven

President, G. Van & Associates

Retired Senior Special Agent in Charge, Department of Justice Counterdrug Consultant & Trainer, Department of Defense

Catherine Van Tassell, LCSW, MSPAS, PA-C, CPT

Director of Mental Health, GBS

R. Corey Waller, MD, DFASAM

Chief Medical Officer, BrightView Health

Jonathan Watson, MD

Interim Medical Director, Orange County Jail

Headshot of Mindy Vincent, MSW, LCSW, MPA

Mindy Vincent, MSW, LCSW, MPA

Executive Director, Utah Harm Reduction Coalition 

Each of these individuals were asked to sign a disclosure noting any potential conflicts of interests related to financial relationships with any ineligible companies – defined as any entity producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. No such disclosures, within the last 24 months, have been reported by any of the listed faculty. (Providers of clinical services direct to patients are not considered ineligible companies unless the provider is owned or controlled by an ineligible company.)

Questions about the conference?

Call ESI Management Group at 801-501-9446 or


Department of Psychiatry and Huntsman Mental Health Institute

Visit HMHI's website


Utah Office of Substance Use and Mental Health (SUMH) 

Visit SUMH's website


Utah Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL)

Visit DOPL's website


ESI Management Group

Visit ESI's website