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Faith Nichols Peterson, CASAC

A pioneer, visionary, and innovator in the addictions treatment field, Faith Peterson, Beacon Center’s founder and president, has been on the cutting edge of substance-abuse prevention and treatment since 1983.  A graduate of the State University College of New York at Fredonia and of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership through the University at Buffalo, Ms. Peterson has been a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) since 1985, she also has a Gambling Specialty Designation for the treatment of compulsive gamblingShe began her career in the addictions treatment field as a prevention educator and a counselor, but rapidly rose to a supervisory position and was subsequently sought out to lead progressively larger agencies.  Throughout these experiences, recognizing the uniqueness of each person served, Ms. Peterson longed to offer patients treatment that was especially designed to meet their needs.  With that vision, the idea of Beacon Center was born, and Ms. Peterson opened the first agency location in suburban Buffalo in June of 1990.  Since that time, Ms. Peterson has expanded Beacon Center to encompass seven outpatient substance-abuse treatment facilities.  In 2006, after extensive renovations, her vision of opening the Albert O. Nichols house, a supportive living home, came to fruition.  Over the years, Faith Peterson's vision and responsiveness to the community have been instrumental in making Beacon Center one of the premier providers of substance-abuse services in New York State.

Nathaniel Webster, M.D.

Beacon Center is truly fortunate to have a Medical Director with Dr. Nathaniel Webster’s storied history on our treatment team since 1995.  A graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Webster also worked on obtaining a Master of Science degree in Embryology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. prior to entering the Army.  He holds licenses in New York, California, and Georgia, in addition to licensure from the Drug Enforcement Administration.  He has had a private family practice in Buffalo, New York since 1963 and, prior to assuming the Medical Directorship of Beacon Center, he served as Medical Director for several substance-abuse treatment units in the Greater Buffalo area at various levels of care.  The author and co-author of, and contributor to, several publications, he is also certified as a Suboxone® provider and specializes in the use of laser therapy in pain management.  Some of his contributions have been to the publication Desk Reference on Drug Abuse (Second Edition) and to the film What Did You Take (The Drug Abuse Emergency).

Jacqueline West, MBA, RN, CASAC

Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline West has been widely recognized by her peers for her intelligence and her vast working knowledge of all aspects of the substance use disorder field for many years. From personnel matters to treatment services, Ms. West is well versed in all facets of operating a successful patient centered treatment program. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Science from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. She subsequently obtained her Master of Business Administration degree from St. Bonaventure University. As Chief Executive Officer, she oversees all of Beacon Center's clinical, financial, and personnel matters. Ms. West brings to Beacon Center a unique blend of clinical as well as administrative experience and, in addition to holding a CASAC credential, she is a Registered Nurse. Actively involved in the community, she has served on the Niagara County Community Services Board and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium.


Carolyn Grisko, LMHC, CASAC-G,SAP

As Director of Clinical Services for Beacon Center, Carolyn Grisko has been a consummate professional as both a counselor and a clinical supervisor for years. Ms. Grisko began her career at Beacon Center in 1992 as a chemical dependency counselor, subsequently receiving a promotion to Clinical Supervisor in 1994. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Buffalo and received Master of Science degrees in Counseling Education as well Mental Health Counseling from Canisius College. In addition to her CASAC credential, she has a Gambling Specialty Designation for the treatment of compulsive gambling and is a Substance Abuse Professional with the United States Department of Transportation.

Widely recognized in the community for her expertise and commitment to the chemical dependency field, Ms. Grisko continually presents to organizations throughout Western New York. She also acts as Drug Court Coordinator for the Town of Clarence Drug Court.


Michael DeJesus, Jr., M.D.

Michael DeJesus, Jr., M.D., is the Medical Director for Beacon Center’s Central New York locations. He began with Beacon Center in 2009 and has continued to work to provide oversight in the development of procedures to ensure quality care for all of those receiving services at our outpatient locations. He is also responsible for prescribing buprenorphine as well as naltrexone (Vivitrol ®). Licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York, he brings with him over 30 years of experience as a family physician and holds certification from the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. DeJesus has special expertise in diabetes, diabetes complications, heart diseases, heart failure, and stroke. He has also achieved recognition in the NCQA Heart/Stroke Recognition Program as well as the NCQA Physician Practice Connections-Patient Centered Medical Home. A graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert W. Johnson Medical School, he received his residency training at Somerset Medical Center and has extensive experience in treating a vast spectrum of medical conditions found in every age group.


Richard L. O’Brien, D.O.

Dr. O’Brien has been providing expert and compassionate care to Beacon Center patients for over five years. As a full time Clinic Physician, he is responsible for providing medication supported recovery to our patients. This includes prescribing buprenorphine, naltrexone (Vivitrol ®) and methadone at our newly certified Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) in Rome, NY. He is licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York and is Board Certified in both Family Practice Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulation. He earned his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, New York. He completed his residency in Family Practice at Millcreek Community Hospital in Lake Erie, Pennsylvania. He is the author of two medical school reference guides and was an instructor at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. He worked in private practice in Utica, New York until 2010 when he joined Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, New York to practice at one of their primary care clinics. He resigned that position in 2015 and began working full time at various Beacon Center locations throughout Central New York.


Helen Burdick, CASAC

Joining Beacon Center in 2011 as a Chemical Dependency Counselor in the Utica office, Helen Burdick took on a role of counseling women in the area of addiction. Her empathy and comprehensive knowledge of the addiction field moved her in facilitating women's recovery groups that included promoting women's preventative healthcare, empowering women to take care of themselves using a holistic approach, which is a fervor of Ms. Burdick's. Ms. Burdick came to Beacon Center with more than 20 years’ experience in women's healthcare, insurance reimbursement, billing and coding, as well as several years as an Office Manager. In 2013, Ms. Burdick was promoted to Clinical Supervisor of the Herkimer outpatient clinic and in 2015 she was promoted again to Director of Program Operations. Due to her dedication and commitment to patient care and her consistent approach in directing the staff she is responsible for overseeing the outpatient clinic as well as the Albert O. Nichols House, our 15 bed men’s supportive living facility in Herkimer. A Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor through the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Ms. Burdick is a liaison of Herkimer County Drug Treatment Court, DSRIP and the Herkimer County Prevention Council through Catholic Charities of Herkimer County.


Admira Spahic, LMSW, CASAC

She started her career at Beacon Center as the Clinical Supervisor in the Utica, NY office. As the Clinical Supervisor she implemented a wide range of programs and treatment options to meet the diverse needs of Beacon Center’s clients. Mrs. Spahic’s expertise, along with a vast knowledge base of clinical and administrative procedures quickly earned her a promotion to Director of Program Operations. In this role, she has been successful in expanding Beacon Center’s services by opening the latest outpatient clinic in Rome, NY.

Mrs. Spahic received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Buffalo. She then went on to obtain her Master’s Degree of Social Work from University at Albany. In addition to being a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), she also possesses a Certified Alcohol Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) credential. Mrs. Spahic is very committed to quality service delivery and treatment. She is currently working toward her requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

Mrs. Spahic possesses strong leadership skills coupled with a wealth of knowledge, compassion and empathy which she displays daily in her interactions with service providers, Beacon Center staff and clients. As a result, she is highly regarded and respected by Beacon Center staff and in the field of addictions.