Meet Our Team
Townsend Treatment Centers provides addiction treatment programs that are led by a medical staff that represents the highest level of professional expertise and personal dedication. With innovative approaches to treating the brain disease of addiction including pharmacogenetics, they work with our treatment center staff to deliver exceptional care every day to our patients struggling with the brain disease of addiction.
Howard Wetsman, MD Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Wetsman founded the Townsend outpatient addiction centers of South Louisiana and currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer. At Townsend, Dr. Wetsman has been developing a pharmacogenetic sequencing algorithm to increase scientific accuracy, provide better individualization, and yield better outcomes in the treatment of addiction.
The author of three books, including QAA: Questions and Answers on Addiction, Dr. Wetsman began his career as a Naval Medical Officer. He rose to the role of Medical Director for the Naval Medical Center’s Crisis Intervention Unit in Portsmouth, Virginia where his exemplary service earned him a Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Wetsman is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Certified in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He maintains duties as a Clinical Assistant Professor at LSU School of Medicine and lectures frequently on topics related to the Neurobiology of Addiction, including the latest developments in Genetics and Addiction.
You can read his leading edge discussions about addiction treatment and genetic testing at addictiondoctor.org
Michael Handley Chief Executive Officer
Michael Handley is an elected member of the American College of Addiction Treatment Administrators. Previously, he was an executive in the software and technology industry before his own personal battles with alcoholism lead to his career in addiction treatment. He serves as the head of Townsend Press, a publishing company specializing in literature about the disease of addiction. Mr. Handley has given keynote addresses to organizations including The Economist, Alabama Council of Community Mental Health Providers, and the Louisiana Association of Substance Abuse Counselors and Trainers. He actively advocates for making addiction treatment more accessible and affordable in the United States.
J.J. (John) Fletcher Vice President of Outpatient Operations & Shared Services
J.J. brings a unique blend of Addiction Treatment Management and Legal experience to Townsend Treatment Centers. Prior to joining Townsend, he practiced law, working for Liskow & Lewis and Fisher & Phillips where he practiced in the areas of Employment Law, Business Law, and Commercial Litigation. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Prior to attending law school, J.J. was the Operations Manager for an addiction treatment facility.
Jeb Bird Vice President of Clinical Services
As Vice President of Clinical Services for Townsend Treatment Centers, Jeb brings over 35 years of experience working in the addiction treatment field. He has served in numerous capacities, from Executive Director and Quality Management Director to counselor. Jeb completed his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University and Post-Graduate training at The Gestalt Therapy Institute of Philadelphia.
Melissa Richardson Vice President of Human Resources
Melissa brings 15 years of hands-on Human Resources experience to Townsend including extensive knowledge in Benefits Administration, Employee Relations, Performance Management, Strategic Planning, and Compliance with State and Federal regulations. During her professional career, Melissa has used her extensive knowledge of HR best practices and Employment Law to create and implement policies and procedures for multiple companies. She has earned three national Human Resources certifications including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), and Physician Recruiting Consultant (PRC). Melissa is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications, where she focused on Organizational and Human Resources Management.
Natashia Cheatham Director of Operations
Natashia joined Townsend as our Director of Operations with several years of experience in the healthcare industry. She has served in a multitude of operational roles and capacities throughout her career, specializing in Logistics and Operations Management, Industrial and Organizational Behavior, Patient Relations, and Strategic and Organizational Planning. She is also trained in Conflict Management, Team Building, and Personnel Development.
Natashia received her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Mississippi College.
Kristie Guidry Manager of New Site Development
Kristie began her career with Townsend Treatment Centers in 2007 and has worked in several different capacities including Provider Relations, Insurance Verification, Utilization Review, Intake & Admissions, and Finance. In 2011, she was names to the Manager of Decision Support Team role. Kristie and her team are responsible for removing barriers that would otherwise limit an individual’s ability to access treatment. Kristie has a background in Nursing but it wasn’t until she was introduced to the field of addiction treatment that she found her calling. She is passionate about being of service to our patients and their families and making a difference.