Meet The Team

ORANGE COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT CENTER

D’Amore Healthcare’s Executive Management Team continues the advancement of private, quality, affordable dual diagnosis and mental health treatment.

Additionally, our Orange County Residential Psychiatric Treatment Facility has strengthened its executive management team.  This has shown early positive results with a significant success rate. These appointments and their staff play a key role in advancing D’Amore Healthcare’s mission of serving thousands suffering from mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse disorders.

Management

Gary Tucker

Gary has a personal history of long-term recovery from addiction and has experienced struggles with mental health issues with close family members.  These experiences inspired him to become involved in helping others who face issues with addiction and mental health.  However, he felt that he could not abandon his career as a businessman. In 2009 an opportunity arose that allowed Gary to return to school, which led him to become a licensed psychotherapist.

He has now worked in the field for approximately 10 years. Gary finds his work to be incredibly fulfilling: “I can say without hesitation that the last 10 years have been the most emotionally rewarding of my life. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say being a part of someone’s journey dealing with mental health and addiction issues brings a sense of fulfillment that is hard to put in words.”

Dr. Mohamed El-Gabalwy, MD

Dr. Mohamed El-Gabalawy, MD is an addiction psychiatry specialist and has been practicing for over 30 years. He graduated from the University Of Cairo, Faculty Of Medicine in 1978 and specializes in Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. El-Gabalawy did his Psychiatric Residency at Winnebago Mental Health Institute and Loyola University Medical Center, and his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in their Substance Abuse Treatment and Research Center. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry, and through American Society of Addiction Medicine in Addiction Medicine. With fluency in English, Arabic and Spanish, Dr. El has substantial affiliations with Hospitals and societies that fight addiction and help individuals face mental illness.

Dr. El-Gabalawy has four children, 2 of which are following his footsteps and pursuing careers in medicine. His favorite books are An Unquiet Mind and Feeling Good, movies Beautiful Mind and Sound of Music, favorite foods are seafood and French pastries.

J. John Emma

John has over 30+ years of financial experience working in both non-profit and for-profit businesses.  In the first 20 years of his career, John directed $18 million in growth and acquisitions. Today, John brings his wisdom, accounting expertise and operational transparency to ensure D’Amore’s ethical and fiduciary practices.

John has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from San Diego State University and a Chemical Dependency and Compulsive Disorder Certification.

In his spare time, John volunteers at his church and the recovery ministry, hangs out with his sons and enjoys crossing items off his bucket list which includes traveling to all 30 major league baseball stadiums.

Rick Cortese

Originally from Chicago, Rick fell in love with California while serving in the United States Marine Corps. After his service, he moved back to Chicago until 1978, when Rick relocated to Costa Mesa, California and eventually to Huntington Beach, California. Early in his career, Rick worked as a counselor at Phoenix House. Quickly, he enjoyed the rigor of social services. Although his success took him in different directions, Rick knew he would work in recovery services again for two reasons: one, he loved it and two, he was determined to give back. In 1986, Rick’s life took a dramatic turn for the good when his recovery began. His plan to pay it forward was underway.

In 1995, Rick married his lovely bride, Vicki. They are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Nicole who attends college in San Luis Obispo and Noelle, studying in Santa Barbara. After years of labor and success, Rick sold his company in 2012, beginning his new journey: looking for the perfect team. In Rick’s words, “It has taken me 3 years, but I have found the best 2 people to create the best in recovery.”

Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer serves as the Chief Operating Officer for D’Amore Healthcare, has 13+ years of experience working in the recovery field, and is a Certified Admissions and Marketing Specialist. Before landing at D’Amore Healthcare, Jennifer worked for a local nonprofit organization as the Financial Administrator before finding her true passion in Admissions. Jennifer’s own personal journey has led her to want to help others struggling with mental health and substance abuse and allows her to be the point of contact with individuals and their families looking to start their recovery.

Jennifer is responsible for making sure that clients are aware of the individual care they will receive while at D’Amore Healthcare, the screening and assessment prior to admission, and following through with the patient’s intake from start to finish to include discharge planning. Jennifer strongly believes that “your present circumstances don’t determine where you go, they merely determine where you start.”

Benjamin W. Smith

Ben comes to D’Amore from the mountains of Colorado. He earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2006 and began his life in recovery in Los Angeles in April of 2010. After starting that journey, Ben eventually relocated to Orange County to go to the Whittier College School of Law, completing his J.D. in 2016. As a person in recovery pursuing a legal education, Ben was intrigued by the role of the law in mental health and substance abuse treatment. He found that many nuances of that relationship are not discussed widely and feels strongly that people who live with those challenges should have access to all the tools available to them so they can be successful at rebuilding their lives. He has chosen to start that by helping to protect and nourish a place that provides loving care for those who are at their most vulnerable: D’Amore Healthcare.

Ben joined the D’Amore team in November of 2016 and has worn several different hats, including Behavioral Health Technician, BHT Supervisor, Advocacy and Compliance Manager, and now Chief Compliance Officer. He has been privileged to see the company grow and blossom in that time.