Executive Staff of High Watch
President & Chief Executive Officer
“I believe in The High Watch Way and our Core Set of Values and I see first-hand every day how we save lives and families here at High Watch. I am proud to ensure that our guests are treated respectfully and with integrity by our team of compassionate, talented staff.”
Jerry has over twenty years of experience as an executive with non-profit healthcare organizations. Prior to joining High Watch, Jerry was the Executive Director of a Connecticut-based emergency medical service provider. Jerry is a licensed paramedic and served for many years as the President and Chairman of a large non-profit paramedic service in Southern Connecticut. He also serves on the State of Connecticut Alcohol & Drug Policy Council.
Outside of his work with High Watch, Jerry is very active in charitable social service organizations. Domestically, Jerry has served as a municipal Ethics Commissioner, as a Board member of the Pomperaug Health District, and as a member of the Connecticut Department of Public Health EMS Advisory Board. Internationally, he is the Co-founder of Empowering Communities Worldwide, which sponsors and organizes free medical aid missions to traditionally under-served, sub-Saharan African nations.
Vice President of Admissions
“My role is to break down barriers to recovery. When someone battling addiction comes to us seeking help, the admissions staff and I do whatever it takes to get that person into High Watch. I know this is the best place with the best people and we in admissions are the gateway to the help guests need.”
Rob has been with High Watch since 2007 and ensures that individuals in need of assistance can be placed with us immediately.
He works directly with guests, their families and caregivers to navigate the insurance approval process and to make arrangements for self-paying individuals. Rob believes that it is essential that individuals seeking help with their addiction not be turned away. The fact that they have come to High Watch seeking help is so important and there may not be another opportunity to get that person on the road to recovery.
Vice President, Clinical Services
“Licensed clinicians are at the center of the care we provide our guests. We work with them to help them understand their addiction, develop coping mechanisms and achieve successful recovery.”
Amy Sedgwick holds a Master of Science in Counseling Education. She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, a Nationally and Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and a Certified Co-occurring Disorders Professional. She also holds a Specialty Certificate in Problem Gambling, focusing on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of gambling disorders.
At High Watch, Amy oversees all levels of clinical care, ensuring each client is provided with an individualized experience while creating a positive narrative to support long-term recovery. Following her completion of Yale’s leadership program, Amy was awarded as an Outstanding Woman in Behavioral Health Leadership. She now serves as the Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Certification Board.
A skilled presenter, she offers various trainings to staff, the community, and other addiction professionals and has also served as a faculty speaker at the Cape Cod Symposium of Addiction Disorders.
Jessica Colin-Greene, JD
Vice President of Programming
Jess serves High Watch as Vice President of Programming. In that role, she oversees all recovery programs and manages the guest experience. Jess also serves High Watch as Associate General Counsel.
Jess has spent much of her career with international non-government organizations. She has volunteered in African and Asian nations caring for and supporting displaced, vulnerable, and underserved populations.
Jess graduated summa cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a degree in International Social Justice. While completing her undergrad degree, Jess spent a semester in Uganda and Rwanda, where she focused her studies on extremely vulnerable individuals stranded in internally displaced persons camps. Jess later became the U.S. liaison, fundraiser, and project coordinator for Pader Support to Extremely Vulnerable Initiatives in northern Uganda. In that capacity, Jess co-organized a mobile medical clinic for the underserved population in rural Pader District.
Jess graduated with High Honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is a member of the Connecticut Bar. While at UConn Law, Jess served as a Notes and Comments Editor for the Connecticut Law Review, and published an article, Identity and Personhood: Advocating for the Abolishment of Closed Adoption Records Laws, in a 2017 edition of the law journal. Jess was the winner of the William R. Davis Mock Trial Competition and a finalist in the American Association for Justice Regional Student Trial Advocacy Competition. She also served as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Victor A. Bolden in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Before coming to High Watch, Jess worked as an attorney at Shipman & Goodwin LLP in the Land Use Litigation Department, where she supported public and private clients with a variety of issues, including affordable housing and tax exemption appeals.
Jess has spent considerable time visiting temples, backpacking, and engaging in spiritual exploration in India and Thailand.
View Jess’s webinar with Tian Dayton, PhD here.
Chief Financial Officer
“None of our truly talented clinicians can do their work if we do not have the financial resources to facilitate it. Central to our effort here is our ability to pay for the treatment we provide to our guests. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
Derek has an extensive background in non-profit, medical research and healthcare finance and administration having served as a Chief Financial Officer exhibiting strong organizational and leadership performance.
His role at High Watch is to ensure that we have the financial capacity to deliver the care and services our guests need day in and day out. His work and the work of his team is critical to our mission of seeing the disease of addiction go into remission for each individual who passes through our door.
He is directly responsible for overseeing our core mission of Fiscal Stewardship: “We shall manage responsibly the resources of the Farm and commit ourselves to be good and faithful stewards of all donations.”
Dr. Gregory Boris
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Board certified in Emergency Medicine and Addiction Medicine, Dr. Boris is an award-winning physician.
He has served most recently as the Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT since 2002. He is also an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Quinnipiac University School of Medicine where he lectures to medical students and teaches clinical medicine in the Emergency Department.
Dr. Boris believes that guests of High Watch should receive holistic care for more than just their mental health and addiction needs. He believes that their physical health is equally important in ensuring that guests are able to manage their addiction successfully.
Dr. Boris received his degree in medicine from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health center in Bronx, NY.
Vice President of Operations
“I believe in High Watch because I am a product of this amazing place. I can relate directly to what our guests face every day and I love watching them grow in their recovery. The clinicians and staff here do amazing things for our guests and I’m very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Vice President of Communications
“Our storied history demands that we remain stewards of Bill Wilson and the many trailblazers in recovery who have defined High Watch. As world leaders in alcohol and addiction treatment, we have an obligation to share our mission and our programs with colleagues, our alumni, and those seeking recovery.”
Jason is a communications strategist with many years of experience in healthcare and advocacy.
He focuses primarily on spreading the word about High Watch's 80 year history, its close ties to the Twelve Steps, and the tremendous work the High Watch family does every day. In his role, he oversees all external communications including Alumni Relations, Development, Outreach and Business Development, Outcomes Research, digital and social media, and community and public relations.
Jason is a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars, and webinars speaking primarily about public affairs, advocacy, and the ethics of marketing. He is proud of the work that his team does in maintaining close ties with alumni and in sharing High Watch’s expertise with colleagues both locally and around the world.
View Jason’s webinar here for the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.
View Jason's webinar here for the NCAD 2020 Virtual Conference, titled "Policy, Power and Politics: Advancing Your Agenda with Legislators and Regulators"
Highly Credentialed Clinical Staff
Sarah Williamson, MD
A Board Certified Psychiatrist, Dr. Williamson brings a special focus on emotional health and well-being to our guests.
Prior to joining the medical team at High Watch, she served as Attending Psychiatrist in the partial hospitalization program at Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT.
Dr. Williamson has spent her career working closely with clinicians, social workers, and other medical professionals to treat the whole individual on a collaborative manner. She most enjoys building connections with guests and helping them to comprehend the challenges they face in their lives and how best to feel empowered to work through them.
Dr. Williamson received her degree in medicine from Ross Medical School. She completed her residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Dana Pollack, MSW, LCSW
Coordinator of Trauma Services
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dana Pollack is recognized for her ability to develop individualized treatment for residents based upon their strengths using an eclectic approach. Ms. Pollack is a specialist in relapse prevention using cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. She is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Helping someone to better understand themselves or move through a difficult situation in their life, is what Dana finds the most rewarding part of her work.
Ms. Pollack received her MSW in Social Work with a specialization in addictions from Fordham University and her BS from Dominican College.
John Hoving, LMSW
John Hoving has engaged in a multifaceted career working in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. He is a seasoned veteran in the intricacies of forensic fundraising and creating and managing special events that raised millions of dollars for international relief, the environment and scholarships for treatment centers.
He holds a Masters Degree from Fordham University in Clinical Social Work specializing in addiction treatment and is licensed in several states, Now with over 20 years’ experience working with Daytop Village; Arms Acres; The Caron Foundation; The Gavin Foundation; The Realization Center and Treatment Perspectives he has become a dynamic and gifted group counselor who utilizes a combination of cognitive behavioral techniques and basic 12 step recovery tools focusing specifically on relapse prevention. He works with his therapy dog “Starbuck“ and is a dedicated and a tireless speaker and advocate for the entire treatment and recovery community.
John Connelly, LMSW
John’s journey to become a substance use disorder clinician started like many with his own recovery from this disease. His first ride up the Hill of Hope was in 1990 to share his story at the Saturday night meeting. He experienced first-hand the unique power of HighWatch that night. He would make numerous trips to that meeting over the years, never dreaming that one day he would have the opportunity to help people get and stay sober as a member of this amazing clinical team.
John employs motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and a body-centered Gestalt approach to help people recognize that substances are both a cause and a symptom of their pain. John’s experience as a recovering person also informs the work he does as he emphasizez the healing power of connection.
John received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at Lehigh University and after working in the broadcasting and mortgage businesses, he found his true calling and got his MSW from Springfield College
Michelle McDowell, LMSW
Michelle McDowell believes in the mission of High Watch because she has benefited from treatment on the Hill of Hope. During her stay at High Watch, Michelle began to rewrite the script of her life, beginning to believe that she was capable of change instead of destined to live a life of addiction. As a clinician, Michelle strives to pay this gift forward to her own guests as it was given to her, helping them to envision new outcomes for themselves.
She utilizes aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Narrative Therapy to help guests recognize that substance use is an unhealthy way of dealing with trauma and life stressors. She works with guests to identify their strengths, nurturing the beginnings of hope as they learn healthier coping skills and emotion regulation.
Michelle received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. Michelle is an LMSW who works in our Residential department.
Lauren Woods, LMSW
Lauren is an experienced therapist having treated individuals struggling with substance use disorder in both residential and outpatient settings prior to her arrival at High Watch..
She focuses on providing person-centered, individualized care from a trauma informed perspective. Lauren runs High Watch's women’s relapse prevention groups and creates strong bonds within the group, modeling healthy relationships.
Lauren received her BS and MS in social work from Southern Connecticut State University.
Donna Hoskins, APRN
Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
A Board Certified Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Specialist. Donna brings extensive management and nursing experience to the High Watch clinical team.
As a clinician, Donna’s approach is holistic. Her education in psychotherapy was Interpersonal, but as her style has developed, it has become more eclectic, including more CBT and mindfulness techniques.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing, and is a member of the American College of Nurse Practitioners, AANP, and the American Nursing Association, ANA. She is Board Certified in Adult Psychiatric Nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Ms. Hoskins is credited with being one of the founders of Women’s Support Services in Sharon, CT, as well as, one of the developers of the Cornwall Child Center in Cornwall, CT.
Ms. Hoskins holds a BA from George Washington University and a Masters degree in Psychiatric Nursing from St. Joseph’s College, in West Hartford.
Victoria Wendland, LCSW
Victoria has worked with mental health and addiction clients in both residential and outpatient settings.
She believes that meeting High Watch guests where they are at and providing a safe space for them to express themselves is tremendously beneficial to help them embark on their journey to recovery.
Victoria received her BA from the University of New Haven where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.
Alison Rosa, LCSW
Alison has an extensive history working with adults and adolescents who struggle with substance abuse, eating disorders, and co-occurring disorders, including: bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Alison employs the most effective therapeutic modalities for her client’s specific needs.
Alison has also developed a skill for creating a safe, nonjudgmental environment. She helps individuals explore and navigate discomfort through both traditional and holistic therapies. Alison teaches skill-building while facilitating self-discovery, helping clients find meaning and purpose. Alison received her BA from Pace University in Applied Psychology and Human Relations, and she graduated Magna cum laude from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, with a Masters in Social Work.
Tami-Jo Lind, LCSW
Tami-Jo has worked in the behavioral health field and with individuals in crisis in residential and outpatient settings.
At High Watch she utilizes Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help guests work through their addiction. She believes in the importance of evidence-based practice in preventing relapse, which is a central focus of her work.
She is very active as a volunteer and leader in the non-profit behavioral health community and serves on the Board of Directors of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health in Torrington, CT.
Tami-Jo received her BA in Social Work from Central Connecticut State University. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University. She is certified in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Suicide Prevention, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate.
Janet Prindle, LCSW
Janet is a seasoned social work professional with over 30 years’ experience working with clients spanning all age groups. She has held both clinical and administrative roles and has received four awards for outstanding performance in the social work field in the past six years.
Janet has expertise in treating individuals with co-occurring disorders. She has a strength-based approach to treatment and believes strongly in empowering individuals to take charge of their recovery. She utilizes evidence-based treatment including Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.
Janet believes that the greatest calling in life is to be of service to others.
Janet received her BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University and her MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Steve Douglass, LCSW
Steven is a skilled social work professional who has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including outpatient, detox, and in residential rehabs. Steve specializes in mental health and substance abuse and has made endeavoring to reduce the human cost of addiction a life focus since receiving his MSW from the UCONN School of Social Work.
Steven has a strong, present-centered approach to clinical interventions, rooted in evidence-based practices drawn from a number of clinically proven therapeutic modalities such as CBT, DBT, ACT, and Mindfulness-based relapse prevention.
Steven has a special interest in identifying the ways in which the principles of modern psychology and the latest research in that field often reveal pathways to healing that are closely aligned with directional guidance available through active engagement in 12-step recovery through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Jeanne Bielawa, MA, LPC, M.S. ED
Danielle Oullette, MS, LPC
Danielle is a talented therapist with a specific expertise and interest in Art Therapy. She is licensed as a registered art therapist working towards her board certification.
Danielle has many years of experience in both outpatient and residential recovery settings. In addressing the needs of High Watch guests, Danielle utilizes a number of treatment modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Seeking Safety protocols, and Trauma-focused Interventions.
Danielle received her Bachelors Degree from Assumption College and her Master of Science Degree in Art Therapy/Counseling from Springfield College.
Melissa Jacobs, LPC
Melissa has extensive experience working closely with individuals struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. She has worked in residential settings as well as with individuals in intensive outpatient programs.
Melissa combines traditional counseling methodologies with alternative therapies such as yoga to help guests work through their addiction. She employs evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in her treatment approach.
Melissa received her B.S. and her M.S. in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Western Connecticut State University.
Kimberly Cognato, LPC, LADC
Kimberly has been working with individuals struggling with addiction and mental health for over a decade. She has worked in both private and non-profit settings and has helped individuals through residential and detox recovery.
Working directly with High Watch guests and seeing them progress is the most rewarding part of Kimberly’s work and she works directly with our guests do develop individualized treatment based on their unique needs and strengths.
Kimberly holds a certification in Co-occurring Disorders and Addiction. She is a Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Kimberly received her MS in Community Counseling from Western Connecticut State University.
Kevin M. Chandon, PA-C
Certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, Mr. Chandon brings to High Watch Recovery Center over a decade of clinical experience in emergency medicine and urgent care practice. He received his formal training at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
Focusing on the medical aspect of each guest’s care plan, he helps manage chronic health problems, monitors and attenuates withdrawal symptoms, and promotes the wellbeing for our guests as they heal. He believes that physical exercise, proper nutrition, and excellent sleep hygiene are essentials for recovery and good health, minimizing our dependence on pharmacotherapy. He works closely with his supervising physician, Dr. Boris, and the team of psychiatrists to develop an integrated approach to recovery.
He shares his own recovery journey to guests through programming. He facilitates nature hikes in nearby nature preserves and on the Appalachian Trail as well as leading the Pride Forum, a recovery-focused peer group of LGBTQ guests and allies. Breaking stigma, living authentically, and taking care of oneself are the essence of his practice.