Sara Bridge, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker


Sarah Bridge has over 30 years of experience working in the mental health field with trauma surviors. In addition to running a private practice in Scottsdale, AZ., Bridge has lectured and co-facilitated over 100 PIT trainings with Pia Mellody for mental health professionals sponsored by The Meadows Treatment Center for the past 10 years. Bridge continues to work with Mellody teaching and training staff at The Meadows. Previously, Bridge worked in both outpatient and inpatient hospital settings including UCLA and Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as in outpatient community mental health clinics in Ithaca, N.Y., and Phoenix. Additionally, she provides case consultation to other clinicians nationwide and internationally and has conducted PIT trainings in Europe as well.

Yvonne Fortier, MA, LPC, LISAC

Yvonne Foriter is a consultant, counselor, leader, cultural trainer, teacher, author and mentor/advisor to learners. Over the last 15 years, she served as VP of Diversity for a corporate healthcare organization, and as director of clinical services for Native American Connections. Fortier serves on the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, Substance Abuse Academic Review Committee, and is the president of AzAADAC, the Arizona affiliate to NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals. She has mentored in cultural and indigenous healing practices, cross-cultural helping, and professional development, for more than 20 years. Fortier is committed to projects and activities that build programs and leaders in diverse communities. She frequently trains and educates in treatment issues related to mental health and substance use disorders, and in historical and collective trauma. Fortier is dedicated to community service work, locally, regionally and nationally, and serves on workgroups and boards to advance minority and indigenous clinical care standards and practices, health equity, inclusion, and collective frameworks that support social issues and social justice.

Emeran A. Mayer, MD

Emeran A Mayer is a gastroenterologist, neuroscientist and professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is the executive director of the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress & Resilience and the co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center at UCLA. As one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of mind-brain-gut interactions in health and chronic disease, he has made major scientific contributions to the area of basic and translational enteric neurobiology with wide-ranging applications in clinical GI diseases and disorders. Mayer is the recipient of the 2016 Paul D. McLean award from the American Psychosomatic Society and of the Ismar Boas Medal of the German Society for Gastroenterology and Metabolism.

In addition to his ongoing research on stress and chronic visceral pain, his most recent work in the area of brain-gut interactions has focused on the role of the gut microbiota in the bidirectional interactions between the brain and the gut with relation to food addiction in obesity, cognitive decline and autism spectrum disorders, and gastrointestinal symptoms in functional and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Mayer’s book, The Mind Gut Connection, was published by Harper & Collins in July 2016 and has been translated into 12 languages.

Cardwell C. Nuckols, PhD
President, Cardwell C. Nuckols & Assoc

Cardwell C. Nuckols, PhD, is described as “one of the most influential clinical and spiritual trainers in North America.” He has served the behavioral medicine field for over 40 years and for the last 25 years is considered one of the leading experts in the world on addiction and recovery.

Nuckols’ background includes advanced work in such areas as medical research, pharmacology, neurobiology and psychology. He is widely published, having authored more than 65 journal articles, 30 books and workbooks, 50 DVDs, CDs and videos, and 25 audiotape series.

Kyle J. Penniman, MSW, LISAC, CADAC
CEO of Stonewell Institute Treatment Center

With over 20 years of clinical and leadership experience in the behavioral health field, Kyle has spent nearly a decade providing training and consultation to behavioral health professionals who serve LGBTQ individuals and families. He has been an active leader with various state and local initiatives, and in 2009, created Stonewall Institute Outpatient Treatment Center in Phoenix. Penniman is an independently licensed counselor through the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. In 2016, he was presented with Sierra Tucson’s annual Spirit Award for his outstanding contribution to the LGBTQ community.

Shauna Shapiro, PhD
PhD, Professor

Shauna Shapiro, PhD, is a professor, author and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and compassion. Shapiro has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters, and co-authored the critically acclaimed texts The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline, translated into nine languages. Her 2017 TEDx talk is rated one of the top 10 TED talks on mindfulness. Shapiro has been invited to present her work to Fortune 100 Companies including Google, Cisco Systems, Genentech and Proctor & Gamble, as well as to the King of Thailand, the Danish government, Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Executive Committee, and the World Council for Psychotherapy in Beijing, China. Her work has been featured in Wall Street Journal, BBC, Mashable, Wired magazine, USA Today, Dr. Oz, Shape, the Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, and the American Psychologist.

Charrisa Riggs, FNP-C
Medical Provider, Community Medical Services
Charrisa Riggs, FNP-C, earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Northern Arizona University in 2015, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Arizona State University in 2008. Charrisa joined the Community Medical Services team in 2017 and found her passion. Charrisa has presented at MAT symposiums in Safford, Ariz., Lake Havasu, Ariz., and at the Southwest Regional NP Conference in Mesa, Ariz.
Michael C. White, MCJ
Director, Community Medical Services
Michael White has worked in the field of substance abuse for over eight years along with two years in family services. White graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s in Criminal Justice. Michael specializes in program development between community agencies and judicial systems and has developed, implemented and supported the integration of medication-assisted treatment into county and state correctional facilities located in Alaska, Arizona, Montana and North Dakota. White has been successful at developing a collective impact model to support system partners who historically did not coordinate with MAT. His experience includes working within family courts and the state Department of Child Safety, and obtaining resources for pregnant women who are struggling with substance use disorders. Michael is a national presenter in the areas of collective impact as an effective tool for the continuum of care, pregnancy and opioid dependence, along with utilizing medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated offenders.
Please check back for more expert speakers in the coming weeks.