Behavioral Health Team

Director of Behavioral Health

Alyssa Thaxton, LCSW is originally from Lawrenceville, NJ where she attended Rutgers University and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After becoming a teacher for 5 years, she felt a higher calling to serve the community and attended The University of Georgia where she obtained her Master of Social Work in 2009. Shortly after she began working in community mental health serving many with substance misuse disorders in a women’s-only residential unit. During this time, Alyssa discovered a passion for leadership and employee development and went on to manage a for-profit, inpatient dually diagnosed hospitalization unit. After fine-tuning her leadership skills, Alyssa was recruited back to her original agency where she became an Associate Regional Director.  Ultimately, Alyssa and her husband decided to move from rural Georgia to Florida where there were more opportunities for both her and her family. Prior to starting at Metro Inclusive Health in 2019, Alyssa was the Director of a medication-assisted treatment facility for opioid addiction in St Augustine, FL for two years. Alyssa’s hobbies include going to the beach, swimming, ordering clothes online, watching GoT, and anything that features the cast of Jersey Shore on MTV.

Behavioral Health Program Manager

Ashley Hancock, LMHC completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University and acquired her Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling from Webster University. After joining the METRO family in 2011 as an intern, her excellent service garnered her an official position as a Behavioral Health Therapist in 2012 and was promoted to the Behavioral Health Program Manager in 2018. In addition to being a Board-Certified Transgender Care Therapist, Ashley also specializes in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing– A type of therapy that facilitates resolving symptoms of trauma and other disturbing life experiences. Prior to joining METRO, Ashley was an elementary school art teacher and is a classically trained singer having participated in multiple musicals and operas throughout undergraduate school. Ashley is vegetarian of 25 years and on her days off she enjoys gardening, meditating, and spending time with her two cats and two dogs.

Psychiatric ARNP

Chicky Desmarais is a proud U.S. Navy Veteran who served our country for 11 years. Between the years of 1997 to 2007 she received her A.A., B.S., and M.S. in Nursing from the University of South Florida. Chicky has had experience working as a Psychiatric RN and later as a Nurse Practitioner in a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder program. Throughout her lifetime, Chicky has been given various awards such as the Florida Humanist Heroine of the Year Award in 1995 and the Cambridge “Who’s Who” Lifetime Member Award in 2009. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her wife and their two black cats. She is also a diehard Tampa Bay Rays fan with season tickets and loves spending her time cycling, including getting ready for The SMART Ride. 

Psychiatric Physician Assistant

Susan Lewis graduated with a Bachelor of Science and completed a Physician Assistant program with Drexel University. She also attended specialized training in Psychiatry with the Veterans Administration and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Susan is Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants and obtains 100 continuing medical education hours every two years. Her career has spanned over 30 years with all areas of practice addressing mental health needs including psychiatric inpatient, emergency and outpatient care, correctional medicine, women’s health, family medicine, internal medicine settings, and EMT experience. Her desire to work with METRO originates with the loss of her brother and many friends in the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the observation of medical and mental health discrimination towards diverse communities. Susan enjoys motherhood and has lived in numerous areas of the country, exploring, having new experiences, and making new friends along the way. She is very proud to be part of the METRO family.

Cassandra Jordan, LCSW received most of her clinical experience working in and managing an opioid treatment center for methadone and suboxone. She developed and managed a substance misuse program into a well-established mental health outpatient clinic and trained clinical staff on substance misuse issues. Cassandra has been a part of the METRO family since 2015, serving the community as a Behavioral Health Therapist and is a Board-Certified Gender Therapist. She loves spending her free time with family, reading books, painting rocks and hiding them in the community as part of the Kindness Project.

Behavioral Health Therapist

Jennifer Gallagher, LMHC has been working in the mental health field for over 20 years. She completed her undergraduate studies at Eastern Illinois University majoring in psychology and received a Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. Having joined the METRO family in March of 2017, she has experience working with adults, adolescents, children, couples and families and uses a combination of Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to help those she works with reach their goals. Jennifer also has experience working with people who have experienced trauma and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing trauma resolution therapy.

Behavioral Health Therapist

Rhamah Norris joined the METRO family in December 2018 where she started as a student counselor intern while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. She is currently a Registered Marriage & Family Therapist and a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern. Rhamah is passionate about the community she is a part of and has served as an officer of the USF P.R.I.D.E Alliance, as a member of the USF committee regarding issues of gender identity and sexual orientation, and also served as part of the Board of Directors for Florida Collegiate Pride Coalition. On her days off she loves to spend the day with her partner and two cats, Biscuits and Blackberry Jam.

Behavioral Health Therapist

Carolyn Redmond, LCSW graduated from the University of Buffalo with a Master in Social Work and has been working as a bilingual Behavioral Health Therapist since 2012. She has experience working with individuals in the criminal justice system, including drug, mental health, and veterans courts. Carolyn has worked with individuals from ages 4 to 70 years old and joined METRO in December of 2018. When she not at work, she enjoys spending time with her three children, who are her pride and joy, and also likes to meditate, work out, paint, and relax after a nice long walk on the beach as much as time allows it. She is currently working on completing her Ph.D.

Behavioral Health Therapist

Toli Gintoli completed her Bachelor of Science from Appalachian State University; has a Master of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University; and a Master in Social Work from Florida State University. Prior to working at METRO, Toli served as a Lead Advocate at CASA’s shelter where she was able to provide services and support to adults and families fleeing domestic violence situations. This opened the doors for her to start CASA’s first LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors Support Group. Toli joined the METRO family in 2015 and serves the community as a Behavioral Health Therapist. Even though she is a lover of all animals, her three cats, two dogs, and her pig mean the absolute world to her. On her time off she enjoys exploring eclectic options Tampa Bay has to offer.

Behavioral Health Therapist

Iesha Rodriguez received her Bachelor of Social Work from Florida State University before continuing her studies to receive a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California. While at USC, Iesha focused on Mental Health and has worked with at-risk youth, children in foster care, and adults who struggle with mental health and substance misuse. She now works with METRO as a Behavioral Health Therapist and continues to work towards full licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is a proud sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority and a lover of all things Disney, especially Nightmare Before Christmas and Stitch. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, which includes annual Halloween photoshoots with her family. Iesha is beyond thrilled to be with METRO and is looking forward to seeing her career progress while working here.

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