Staff Achievements

Staff Achievements

Staff Achievements and Milestones

At CODAC, we care about the personal and professional development of our staff.

We are proud to share about staff who have earned recent promotions, certifications, degrees and promotions to support their professional development and enhance the services they are able to provide to CODAC members.

These recent reasons to celebrate reflect February to May, 2023.

Please join us in celebrating as well.

Promotions and New Positions

Learn more about Rafael

Rafael Arechaga is now CODAC’s chief information officer. With more than 20 years leading health information and technology at CODAC, Rafael is responsible for keeping the organization current with respect to computing, electronic communications network and infrastructure, cyber-security and informatics. In his time at CODAC, he has led the implementation of two different Electronic Health Records (EHR) and has maintained CODAC at the forefront of automation, both clinically and operationally.

Prior to joining CODAC, Rafael worked in software and systems development with Electronic Data Systems (now a part of HP), a Fortune 500 company. He provided systems engineering and development to customers such as GM, Volkswagen, Phillips Petroleum, IBM, and others.

Rafael is currently a member of the Technical Advisory Committee and the Policy Advisory Council for Contexture (the Arizona- and Colorado-based Health Information Exchange), providing direction in the development of its data offerings to all healthcare providers in Arizona, Colorado and beyond.

Learn more about Dan

In the role of chief clinical officer, Dan Barden oversees three large outpatient clinics serving over 10,000 lives, in addition to a number of smaller transitional living and substance use Intensive Outpatient Programs. Dan also oversees CODAC’s 24/7 Center of Excellence for outpatient substance use and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

In addition to oversight of the programs, Dan is responsible for the development of community collaborations including work with the Tucson Police Department, the Tucson Fire Department and the Pima County Adult Detention Center as well as numerous community hospitals to address the overdose crisis through developing collaborative interventions.

Dan has a master’s degree in Counseling and over 35 years of experience in behavioral health. The majority of his career was spent in rural behavioral health with a wide variety of duties including administrative and clinical oversight of a 16-bed inpatient psychiatric facility, residential substance use treatment programs, day programs for persons with Serious Mental Illness and standard and intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment programs for adolescents and adults.

Learn more about Kristy

“Kristy has been pivotal in many of the process and system improvements made over the years, continually striving to make things better,” says Damien Bracamonte, director of membership. According to her team, Kristy is recognized for being supportive, empathetic and a “go-to” for colleagues with whom she has built a professional relationship.

Kristy joined CODAC in 2013 and has been with the organization for more than nine years. During her tenure, she has worked her way up from membership specialist, to lead to manager and now senior manager.

Customer service is always a priority for Kristy. “Connecting members to the care they need and when they need it, will always be my number one goal,” she says.

Learn more about Kristine

Formerly senior vice president of marketing and business development, Kristine is now chief operating officer. With 20 years of experience – and around 16 of those at CODAC – Kristine oversees marketing, communications, public relations, the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, strategic planning, facilities, Genoa pharmacy relations and business development. She will also soon be responsible for the agency’s central purchasing.

“CODAC has afforded me incredible opportunities for experience, growth, leadership and creativity. My colleagues throughout the organization have been a source of inspiration, strength, support and knowledge,” says Kristine.

Kristine began her career at CODAC in 2003, spent time at University Physicians Healthcare and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and returned to CODAC in 2009 where she has held progressively responsible roles. She has been on the boards of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Public Relations Society of American Southern Arizona Chapter.

Learn more about Keila

Keila joined CODAC in 2019 as a membership specialist. Since then, she has been promoted to membership technician and now lead membership specialist.

“Keila has been with CODAC for four years and during that time she completed training in all areas of Membership and 380. She was one of the original membership specialists qualified as a BHT and promoted to membership technician III as we started the process of having Membership identify and submit billable services,” says Damien Bracamonte, director of membership.

Keila shares that she is excited to continue learning and growing with CODAC.

Learn more about Shawnee

“We have been fortunate to have Shawnee leading our Speedway team for over 5 years. She has demonstrated strong clinical leadership as well as creative approaches to supporting and motivating staff to achieve their goals. She led the efforts to develop the site training and orientation process for new RCs and PSS as well as our integrated care new hire training. This is a well earned promotion,” says Dan Barden.

Shawnee obtained her Master’s in Social work from Arizona State University and possesses many years of experience in behavioral health as well as a passion for integrated care. She is also an avid practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.

Learn more about Ashley

Ashley James is a marketing and communications professional with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. She is a results-driven individual with expertise in multi-channel campaign management, strategy, storytelling and community relations. Ashley is committed to promoting awareness and collaboratively nurturing the growth of the community impact organizations she serves.

Ashley began her career at CODAC in 2012 and then spent time working in the healthcare marketing space and, most recently, at the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona.

Learn more about Jonathan

“As our director of CODAC’s therapy department, Jonathan has played an integral role within and throughout our various departments. Year after year, his department continues to meet or exceed all agency-wide expectations,” says Eddie Ornelas, PhD, chief integrated health and wellness officer. “He’s firm, fair, knowledgeable and respected. It continues to be my privilege and honor to work with a colleague who is honest and humble. Well-deserved!”

Jonathan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, earning a master’s in social work and a master’s in philosophy, with advanced training and certificates in Dissociation & Trauma, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance Commitment Therapy.

His career path has evolved from therapist into management and director-level roles. As an administrator, Jonathan takes pride in developing efficient processes that allow his staff to focus their attention on customer service and clinical effectiveness. 

Learn more about Eddie

Since joining CODAC in 2005, Dr. Ornelas has held supervisory roles in various departments at CODAC including the developmental disability team, forensic services team and as the senior director of outpatient services. Dr. Ornelas became a licensed psychologist in June of 2013 and a licensed substance abuse counselor in 2004. In his current role, Dr. Ornelas maintains oversight of integrated health and wellness services at CODAC.

“I’m truly blessed to be in a role which allows us (CODAC) to not only grow our wellness, employment and therapy team services, but to address health matters which will positively impact – and even save – lives! At the same time, I’m privileged to play a small role in the preventative and whole health outcomes of our members, their families/families of choice as well as our colleagues,” he says.

Learn more about Bill

“In his second tour of duty with CODAC, Bill has continued to grow professionally and personally…” says Eddie Ornelas, PhD, chief integrated health and wellness officer.

“His solid clinical presence and licensure ethic is second to none. And, he’s truly been an integrated health champion within our various departments and teams,” he adds.

Bill shares that he is honored to continue expanding in his career at CODAC. “This achievement will provide the opportunity to grow as a professional, clinician, supervisor and leader to make larger-scale impacts among fellow colleagues, members and the community as a whole. I am proud to continue my adventure within CODAC and amongst the greats!” he says.

Learn more about Estella

Estella R. Searcy is CODAC’s Chief Human Resources Officer and has been with CODAC since 2004. She is a key participant in internal strategic planning, career development and procedural development for the agency. She maintains oversight of the recruitment and hiring process for all agency positions and monitors the evaluation processes for over 300 staff.

“This role continues to be a commitment to the meaningful mission at CODAC and the incredible impact this organization has on the community. I get so much fulfillment from the collaboration with other professionals and complex problem-solving in this field dedicated to thriving communities and workplace excellence,” says Estella.

Estella is dedicated to maintaining an environment that promotes positive employee relations and successful business practices. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration and completed her coursework for her master’s in organizational management in 2000 from the University of Phoenix; she is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Estella attained her certification as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt in September 2020.

Professional Development Achievements

Learn more about Nikki

Nikki Keele is a therapist with CODAC and recently obtained associate’s level licensure. She also received her Master’s in clinical mental health counseling from Northern Arizona University in 2022. She graduated with distinction in her cohort.

“I have longed worked to become licensed and it feels surreal…To have achieved the level in my career is both an incredible achievement and a new wonderful opportunity. I can’t wait to jump into various roles as an individual, couples, and group counselor here at CODAC.”

Learn more about Claudia

Claudia is the Director of Informatics and has worked at CODAC for more than 16 years. During her career, she has explored multiple roles with growing responsibility. Claudia recently obtained her Master’s in Health Administration/ Informatics at the University of Phoenix.

Claudia shares that this achievement brings the knowledge and skills necessary to manage and improve healthcare systems, policies, and operations, ultimately contributing to better patient outcomes.

“I am committed and dedicated to the work I do and hope to make a positive impact at CODAC and to the community we serve… I am thankful to CODAC and its leaders for giving me the opportunity to grow within the organization and take on various roles for the last 16 years,” she says.

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