Ric McAllister
Ric McAllister
Chief Executive Officer

Ric McAllister joins Creekside Behavioral Health Center as CEO from Northeast Ohio.  Prior to joining Strategic Behavioral Health, Ric was the CEO of a 160-bed Psychiatric and SUD hospital in Willoughby, Ohio. 

Ric is a seasoned executive that comes to us with over 35 years of behavioral health management experience.  He began his career as a psychiatric technician while pursuing his MSW at Western Michigan University.  Upon completing his graduate studies and obtaining a specialist degree in substance use disorder treatment, he moved into a therapist role.  Five years postgraduate, Ric began managing behavioral and substance use disorder programs, and has served as program manager of inpatient units, director of residential treatment programs, including multisite facility management, and CEO of free-standing psychiatric/SUD hospitals. He brings a passion for servant leadership and service excellence while providing quality patient care. 

While in Ohio, Ric was active in his community, both on a state and local level.  He was a member of the Ohio Hospital Association Behavioral Health Work Group, advocating for effective policy and the expansion of treatment accessibility for those seeking behavioral health services.  He also served on the Lake County Family & Children’s First Council and is a board member of Current Family. 

Ric and his wife, Debii, have 5 children and 6 grandchildren. They enjoy a wide array of outdoor activities and are actively involved in their church and community

Rakesh Patel, MD
Rakesh Patel, MD
Medical Director

Rakesh Patel, MD earned his medical degree from the Medical University of Lublin in Poland, and continued his medical training at East Tennessee State University. There, he completed residencies both in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry.  He also earned his MBA from Milligan College in Milligan, Tennessee.  He has his Board Certifications in Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine, and Brain Injury Medicine. 

He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the American Psychiatry Association, and a Member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.

Pat Hale
Pat Hale
Chief Financial Officer
Cynthia Baker, MSN, RN
Cynthia Baker, MSN, RN
Chief Nursing Officer

Cynthia is a seasoned nurse executive that comes to us with 30 years of behavioral health management experience.  She began her career as a psychiatric mental health tech at Indian Path Pavilion, Kingsport , TN  While pursuing her graduate degree from East Tennessee State University, she continued to work for Indian Path, Woodridge Hospital and Ridgeview Pavilion.  After graduation, Cynthia has held various contract management roles in the South.  Most recently, Cynthia was Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Services (OBOT) for Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, Virginia.  

 Cynthia has an Associate Degree, Bachelor Degree and Masters Degree in Nursing.  She also has a Post Graduate Certification in Health Care Management.

 Cynthia resides in Kingsport.  She has 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Travis Cavazos, NCC
Travis Cavazos, NCC
Director of Business Development

Travis serves as the Director of Business Development, focusing on building, strengthening, and maintaining strategic relationships in the community. He is a Kentucky native who has a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling & Psychology as well as a clinical license to practice counseling in Kentucky. Travis has worked in the Behavioral Health field for 15 years and recently moved from Colorado to the Tri-Cities area with his wife and two daughters. 

Patsy Owens, PhD
Patsy Owens, PhD
Director of Clinical Services

Patsy is from southwest Virginia with family ties in upper East Tennessee. Her thirty-year work history includes treating substance use and mental health issues with the adult and adolescent population.

Will Covington
Will Covington
Director of Quality, Risk & Compliance

Will is a native of Chattanooga, TN and graduated from the University of Tennessee. He has worked in health care for 5 years and lived in Glenwood Springs, CO before moving home to Tennessee. 

Joanna Nowak
Joanna Nowak
Health Information Management Manager/Privacy Officer

Joanna has been a medical coder and auditor, data analyst, and data integrity supervisor for Ballad Health and IonHealthcare LLC. Prior to entering HIM field, Joanna provided accounting and business management services. Joanna currently teaches Health Information Management at Walters State Community College. She is involved in professional associations, her local community of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and church projects.

Joanna graduated with a BS in Health Informatics from Western Governors University where she is currently pursuing her MBA in Healthcare Management.

Breana Nease, LMFT
Breana Nease, LMFT
Director of Assessment & Referral

Breana is a native of East Tennessee & 2011 graduate of ETSU with a Master’s in Counseling. She has worked in behavioral health professionally since 2012 in a variety of roles including Crisis Response & Stabilization, intensive in-home, and outpatient adolescent services. 

Jessica Jones, RN
Jessica Jones, RN
Director of Utilization Review

Jessica has been an RN for 6 years. She graduated from King University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. Jessica worked 6 years in the ER at Holston Valley, 2 years as a PCT, 4 years as an ER nurse with a transition out of the ER into Utilization Review where she worked for 2 years prior to coming on board at Creekside BH. Jessica also has a 4-year-old daughter & she loves the outdoors.

Amy Sanders
Amy Sanders
Business Office Director

Amy has worked in health care for over 26 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Creekside in the business office management realm.

Tami Hobbs
Tami Hobbs
Human Resources Director

Human Resources Director

Tami is a Human Resources Professional with over 30 years of experience.  She has held senior HR leadership roles in both the acute hospital setting and for a physician practice group within a large healthcare system, and she served as a senior HR Consultant for a local consulting firm prior to coming to Creekside Behavioral Health.  In addition to healthcare, she has held senior HR leadership roles in the telecom industry and education field.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Leadership from Virginia Intermont College where she graduated summa cum laude.  She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification (SPHR) from the HR Certification Institute and is a Senior SHRM-Certified Professional   (SHRM-SCP).  She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources (ASHHRA), and the Tennessee Hospital Association.

James Cate
James Cate
Environment of Care Director

James graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BS in Exercise Science. He has over 7 years of professional experience with Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization working primarily as an Expressive Therapist. James is married with a son and enjoys spending time engaging in outdoor activities during his down time.

Carol Painter
Carol Painter
Milieu Manager

Carol was born and raised in Northeast Tennessee and is happily married and with 4 beautiful children. She has over 6 years of experience working in the behavioral health field. Her passion is helping others understand and overcome the challenges they face in a productive way. Carol loves the Tri Cities region and is committed to continue helping it grow and flourish.