Meet Our Team

Townsend programs are led by our experienced, compassionate medical team and facility staff.
To help those struggling with the brain disease of addiction, we use innovations such as pharmacogenics.

Louisiana Drug Rehabilitation Natashia Cheatham

Natashia Cheatham, Chief Executive Officer
Townsend Treatment sites

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.

Louisiana Drug Rehabilitation Doctor Wetsman

Howard Wetsman, MD
Townsend Medical Consultant

Dr. Wetsman founded the Townsend outpatient addiction centers of South Louisiana and currently serves as a Medical Consultant. 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

Melissa Richardson

Melissa Richardson
Vice President, Human Resources

Melissa joined Townsend in 2015 and brought 16 years of hands-on experience including extensive knowledge of employee relations, performance management, strategic planning, and compliance with state and federal regulations, including DHH and Joint Commission requirements. Melissa has used HR best practices and employment law to create and implement policies and procedures for multiple companies. She previously served as the Regional HR Director for a behavioral healthcare company and managed the HR directors at the company’s 9 hospitals and multiple outpatient centers in Louisiana. 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.

Louisiana Addiction Doctor Guidry

Kristie Guidry
Manager, 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 named 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.