Vice President and Director of Mental Health and Military ServicesNew York"We look at treatment from all angles. That’s what makes it work for the client. We’re not just looking at how to make this program successful; we want to make sure we’re going to provide quality services that work.”
Julia Floyd-Ventura has been working with Phoenix House since 2000, starting as a counselor and now serving as the vice president and director of mental health services and military services.
Almost a decade earlier, Julia went through treatment at Phoenix House for her own addiction. After finishing treatment and starting a new life in recovery, Julia worked in the health care field as a medical assistant for nine years when one day, she checked in a new patient who just happened to be one of her counselors from Phoenix House. “At that moment when I saw him I realized this was life in full circle: I am now helping him during his final years, and he helped me begin my years in recovery. I decided that I wanted to pursue my career in recovery because I was a graduate of treatment, and I believed that it worked.”
Julia is now a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor and has extensive experience working with dual-diagnosed populations and managing effective substance abuse treatment and mental health programs. From 2000 to 2005, Julia worked as a Phoenix House counselor before becoming the supervisor and then director of the Brentwood Mental Health Community Residence. “It was a new endeavor for me but I decided this was the place that I wanted to be,” she says. “I realized that this was my true calling.”
In 2009 she was appointed director of mental health services of Phoenix House facilities on Long Island and then became vice president and director of mental health and military services in 2012. As director, she is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the curricula for all Long Island and Queens mental health programs that are licensed by the New York State Office of the Mental Health. She has oversight for quality assurance and ensuring greater access to substance abuse services.
Julia is proud of the work she’s done to expand Phoenix House’s services for military personnel. When she was asked to assist in the development of a military services program, she was delighted to assist since both her mother and father served in the military. “Helping our military is a big passion,” Julia says, and in three years the program has expanded two locations with seven staff members meeting service members’ needs. Julia also supervised and led in the opening of an outpatient mental health program for individuals with severe mental illness, called Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS)/ Foundation for Integrated Recovery Services and Treatment (FIRST).
Julia says that Phoenix House’s strength is its vast array of services and its interdisciplinary team. Most military services are residential, but Phoenix House can provide a continuum of care from residential to outpatient to community residence: “‘We can really individualize treatment for these soldiers, so that’s unique.”
And if one facility, program, or staff isn’t conducive to the client’s individualized treatment needs, Julia says, we can reach out to another facility that can better meet the client’s needs: “We have staff in other states we can reach out to and say, ‘Do you think you can help this client?’” When Julia began the PROS/FIRST program, she got support from experts in finance and compliance who could help make the program a success: “We look at it from all angles. That’s what makes it work for the client. We’re not just looking at how to make this program successful; we want to make sure we’re going to provide quality services that work.”