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Our Staff/Team

Our Staff/Team

Leadership and Medical Staff

Our Leadership Team

Larry Kirkland, LMHC, CEO
Larry provides oversight for the facility and its leadership team and staff. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in communications. He received his Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Troy State University and his Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University. Larry has worked for over 21 years in the mental health field.

Holly Hernandez, CFO
Holly holds a M.S. in Management and a B.A. in Accounting, both from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining Newport News Behavioral Health Center, she held financial oversight positions in Oklahoma and Alaska.

Damian T. Tucker, LPC, Director of Clinical Services
Damian joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center in 2016.  He initially served in the role of primary therapist, and lead therapist, prior to his promotion to Director of Clinical Services.  Damian holds a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Leo University, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Damian has received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Aggression Replacement Training, Trauma Focused-CBT, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

Darius Robinson, Program Director of Residential Services
Darius graduated from Virginia State University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Between 2004 and 2008 he worked in a mental health group home, where he became a supervisor; then transitioned to intensive in-home counseling and therapeutic day treatment in 2008. He joined the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice as a juvenile correctional officer, and was promoted to residential community coordinator. Darius transferred to the 11th court service unit as a juvenile probation officer, where he offered probation, intake, post dispositional and diversion supervision. He joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center in September 2019.

Michael Rogers, Director of Education
Michael has been employed at Newport News Behavioral Health Center since August 2013 as the Director of Education. Prior to working at NNBHC he was the Education Director at Childhelp in Lignum, VA. Michael is a licensed, special education teacher and published author who taught school for eight years in Orange, VA at the middle school level; designed an alternative education high school program for Orange County Public Schools, and offered instruction to inmates at Central Virginia Regional Jail. He holds a Master’s in Special Education from George Mason University and B.A. from New College at the University of Alabama.

Brian Kates, Director of Risk Management and Performance Improvement
Brian joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center November 2019, as Director of Risk Management and Performance Improvement. He previously served as a policy consultant to congressmen in Louisiana and Mississippi at the state and federal level. Brian worked as a Director of Performance Improvement at a residential facility in Mississippi, and as a Director of Risk Management/PI & EOC in Texas at acute hospitals serving adolescents and adults. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Belinda Hampton, Director of Utilization Review
Belinda joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center in 2004, and has held several positions that include Utilization Review Coordinator, Director of Admissions and Director of Utilization Review. Prior to joining NNBHC, she worked as a Behavioral Counselor at Cumberland Hospital. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Strayer University; B.A. in Social Work from Christopher Newport University; and AAS in Public Administration from Thomas Nelson Community College.

Kristine Pierce, Director of Human Resources
Kristine joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center in 2019. Prior to joining NNBHC, she was a 20-year veteran with the United States Air Force working in the health care field and personnel management. Kristine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration, and a Master of Business Administration and Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University.

Terry Rethamel, Director of Support Services
Terry has been employed at Newport News Behavioral Health Center since May 2015 as Director of Support Services. Prior to working at NNBHC, Terry was a 30-year veteran with the United States Air Force. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Eugene Yemofio, MBA, Director of Business Development
Eugene joined Newport News Behavioral Health in July 2020. Prior to that, he enjoyed over a decade working with and advocating for at-risk children, adolescents and family in need of community mental health and counseling. He later because a trainer and subsequently and regional training supervisor for new mental health clinicians in the Evidenced Based Family Centered Treatment Model. He later became a Community Liaison for another UHS facility advocating for youth needing Foster Care Services. Eugene holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kurt Taskey, Director of Information Systems
Kurt joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center June of 2020, as Director of Information Technology. He previously served as a Network and Security Engineer at local and regional Financial Institutions. Kurt has been working in the Information Technology field since 2000 and holds an Associates Degree in Information Technology from ECPI in Newport News, Virginia. Kurt also hold various Information Technology Certifications. In just his first year here at Newport News Behavioral Health, Kurt has introduced and Implemented managed Chromebooks and Google Classroom into our residential population for Classroom studies. And IPads used for Therapeutic treatment. Kurt continues to look for ways to better serve our patients through the use of technology.

Darryl Richardson, Health Information Management Manager
Darryl Joined Newport News Behavioral Health Center March 2021, as Health Information Management (HIM) Clerk. He was later offered and accepted the HIM Manager position. He previously was a Behavior Detection Officer for the Transportation Security Administration. Darryl is a retired Air Force Veteran. Darryl holds a A.A.S. In Health Information Management from ECPI University located in Newport News, VA.

Physicians at Newport News Behavioral Health Center

Alan H. Ali, M.D., F.A.P.A.
Dr. Ali has been a full-time attending psychiatrist for Newport News Behavioral Health Center since 2006. He is board-certified in adolescent psychiatry and in general psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Ali has published several articles in the American Journal of Psychiatry about Borderline Personality in adolescents and in the Jefferson Journal about Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. Dr. Ali has given presentations to the staff on issues relating to adolescents’ mental health and treatment.

Avtar Dhillon, M.D., D.F.A.P.A., F.A.S.A.M.
Dr. Dhillon has served as Medical Director for Newport News Behavioral Health Center since 2003. He is board-certified in psychiatry, addiction, forensic psychiatry, pain management and psychosomatic medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. In addition, Dr. Dhillon is board-certified in adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry and in addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Dhillon has served as the President of the Peninsula Psychiatric Society. He is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Brad Z. Berger, M.D.
Dr. Berger is Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry. He received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL. He completed his Psychiatry Internship and Residency at the University of California San Francisco, and his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the Washington University of St. Louis. Dr. Berger most recently worked as a psychiatrist at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL, with prior employment at the Gulfport Behavioral Health Center, as Chief and Medical Director of Psychiatry. He is a member of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

John G. Phocas, III, M.D.
Dr. Phocas is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He received his medical degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He completed his psychiatry training at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Phocas previously served as the inpatient medical director and vice chairman of psychiatry for Shore Health Services and worked as a psychiatrist for Dorchester County Public Schools’ Mental Health Services program. He also worked at Atlantic Psychiatric Services, Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center and the Pines at Kempsville. Dr. Phocas is a full-time attending psychiatrist for the Acute Inpatient Care facility at Newport News Behavioral Health Center.

Dr. Norriece L. Gibson, Staff Psychiatrist
Dr. Gibson graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine (Detroit, MI) and went on to complete residency and fellowship from VCUHS (Richmond, Virginia) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN) respectively. In 2016 she was featured in Richmond Magazine and chosen as a Top Doctor (as chosen by their peers).
She is a member of APA as well as AAGP; has 2 Board Certifications by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has been with NNBHC since July 2021.

Help and Hope are Here

Newport News Behavioral Health Center provides quality mental health treatment services to children and adolescents in a therapeutic environment. If your child is struggling with behavioral health issues, please call us at 757-888-0400. We offer no-cost assessments 24/7.