As always, when a new month starts, we like to feature one of our star staff members. These are the essential players in our organization that make everything work. Whether they have everyday contact with clients and parents or they’re strictly behind the scenes, these are the people that make Ascend what it is!
If you’re wondering who runs our admissions team, you’ll be excited to meet Alicia ? the Director of Admissions. Discover her role at Ascend and how she works to make a difference for so many every day.
Everyday Life for the Director of Admissions
As Director of Admissions, Alicia is in charge of assessing prospective clients and coordinating the collection of their medical records for our residential treatment team. She also helps schedule admission times and connects Ascend clinical staff with external doctors and primary care providers.
A day in her life means she might be speaking with mom and dad, on the phone with medical providers, or talking to therapists about clients. Even when she’s not on the phone, Alicia is deep in the clinical world, reading and writing about testing, applications, and medical records. She’s also in charge of writing clinical summaries for client charts or insurance billing.
Sounds like a lot, right? Alicia’s job is so tough because she’s part of the team that chooses who we can actually help. There are so many teens who need help, but we can’t accept everyone into our program. Alicia needs as much information as possible about the clients, their home life, and previous medical history in order to make a determination about whether or not this particular teen would benefit from treatment with us.
Where Does Alicia Come From?
Alicia’s start in mental health wasn’t exactly what you might think. She began with a career in film and television. She was even a Communications Major in university. But once she took a psych course, her whole life changed. She realized that this was what she was meant to do! So while she still graduated with a degree in Communications, after six months at a media job, she decided to go back to school and finish all the psychology prerequisites she needed to get a BS in Psychology.
Hours of studying for the GRE and many months of volunteering in the psych department, and she was ready to apply in the fall. She’d found her calling! However, the media world wasn’t done with Alicia quite yet… She got a call from her cousin about her former dream job and spent 10 years immersed in what many would consider an amazing career in music, film, and celebrity talent management. Alicia didn’t even know how unfulfilled she was until she was forced out of Hollywood by love.
Where to Next?
After marrying an Australian, Alicia moved overseas and took on jobs teaching music and entertainment business at an Australian college. She eventually started running the program and helped many students find their path through counseling. Throughout her time helping these kids, she found that so many of them were struggling with mental health issues and substance use, which would get in the way of their graduation dreams and careers. All she wanted to do was help them achieve their dreams!
When she finally moved back to Los Angeles, a career in mental health was at the top of Alicia’s list ? she just didn’t know where to start! Luckily, she was connected with Effie Goldberg through a mutual friend who begged him to consider her for a position at Ascend. After proving her skills as a counselor, we couldn’t wait to offer Alicia a job.
Finally Feeling Fulfilled
Because of her job with Ascend, Alicia finally feels as if she’s achieving her own dreams. Being able to help people every day is all about living her purpose. There may not be the flashiness and glory of the media industry, but Alicia knows that she’s really changing lives.
At every step during the admissions process, Alicia is there to help prospective clients feel supported and heard. For many, this is a scary time, and they need someone to lean on that’s always on their side. She sees how much Ascend helps families that may otherwise feel hopeless. Even with the challenges of waiting lists, clinical denials, and endless referrals, Alicia is ready to take the world head-on to help clients get the treatment they need.
It’s Time to Give Back
Helping people and giving back to the community is exactly what Ascend is all about. Every one of our team members feels the same way, including Alicia. If you’re ready to learn more about some of the other essential people who operate behind the scenes at Ascend, check out our spotlights about Dr. Acosta, Latisha, and Seamus!