Our Team

Meet Our Team

At Aspen Treatment Center, our team is composed of seasoned professionals dedicated to providing comprehensive, compassionate care for mental health and substance dependency. We understand that each individual’s journey is unique, and our diverse team collaborates to offer personalized, evidence-based solutions.


Meet our Administrative Assistant, Shannon Thompson. Shannon has been
working in the mental health and substance abuse industry for over two
years and enjoys helping others in our community. With a can-do
attitude, whatever the task may be or who needs help, Shannon is
willing to lend a helping hand any way she can. She is a wife and a
mother to two young boys who enjoys spending her free time doing
adventures with her family.

Rebecca- AMFT

Rebecca Santos is a bilingual Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Aspen
Treatment Center in Simi Valley, CA. Rebecca has been working with
people having mental health  and substance use challenges. Her
professional experiences in her career, and personal family
experiences with mental health growing up allowed and helped develop a
compassionate and new perspective towards others, and individuals that
are being confronted with mental health challenges. Rebecca
understands that mental health and substance use or co-occurring
disorders are complex issues with combined needs for ongoing support
from a treatment team, family, and friends.

Rebecca has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from National
University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Cal State
University Northridge. Rebecca provides services to adults,
adolescents, children, and families. She uses various evidence-based
practices (EBP) such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT),
dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), experiential therapy, and
trauma-informed therapies providing psychoeducation tailored to the
individuals needs. Rebecca has previous hands-on experience in
residential treatment centers, and outpatient programs.

For fun and self-care, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family,
being out in nature, day trips, traveling, traveling, listening to
music, and meditation.


Meet John Poleno, Program Manager at Aspen Treatment Center in Simi
Valley! John joined the Aspen team because he embraces the vision of
transforming the lives of individuals and families that have been
impacted by the devastating disease of addiction and mental health
challenges. John wants families to know that where there is a breath
there is hope, and that he is here to provide that hope. John has a
unique way of relating to addicted individuals and their families as
John has been in recovery for 10+ years and has been surrounded by the
addiction of loved ones his whole life.

John has firsthand knowledge of the progression of the disease of
addiction as well as the destruction it causes to loved ones. John
began using substances at the age of 12 and was able to get sober at
30 years old. After 18 years of continuous use of substances, John has
gained a tremendous passion for helping people recover. He works
relentlessly to help the addicted and their families. John’s work as a
counselor, program director, executive director, and as a founding
board member for Not One More is grounded in his community and in his
desire to be of benefit to communities across the country. John is
constantly working with families and loved ones to find hope and to
provide help.

John began his career in 2010 as an intern and progressed to directing
several chemical dependency programs. His commitment and dedication
has touched countless families. John graduated Addiction Studies with
honors in March of 2010 from ICDC college and since has become CADC II
certified through CCAPP, CATC through CAADE, and a CAODC through
CADTP. John is also a certified Anger Management Specialist.

Since 2010, John’s extensive experience as an addiction specialist
includes managing Chemical Dependency and Dual Diagnosis Intensive
Outpatient Services, Partial Hospitalization Services, and Residential
Treatment Services. John has a reputation for delivering top-notch
client care and his excitement and enthusiasm rubs off on his peers
and the populations that he is in service to. In his free time, John
enjoys spending time with his son whom he has raised as a single
father. Together they enjoy watching and attending Dodgers, Lakers,
and Raiders games. John enjoys regular drives to the beach where he
can reflect on life and connect to inner peace.

Andrea LaGarde - Counselor

Passionate drug counselor dedicated to supporting individuals on their journey to recovery. Armed with a deep understanding of addiction and its complexities, Andrea strives to create a safe and empathetic space for clients. Committed to providing personalized guidance, fostering resilience, and promoting lasting positive change in the lives of those affected by substance abuse.

Dr. Bruce M. Stark, MD

Bruce M. Stark, MD, is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal
Medicine and board-certified in internal and addiction medicine. He
currently treats patients at Premier Medical Center in the Toluca Lake
neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Stark attended the
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he received his
Bachelor of Science in biopsychology. He then furthered his education,
attending the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for
medical school. Dr. Stark completed his internship and residency in
internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the West Hollywood
neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Stark’s areas of
clinical interest include the treatment of chronic pain. Additionally,
he is certified to prescribe Suboxone and Vivitrol. Dr. Stark was born
and raised in Hollywood, California, and graduated from Fairfax High
School. When not working, he enjoys surfing, hiking, music, and
classic films. He is currently accepting both new and existing
patients at Premier Medical Center