Blake DeFoor


Blake DeFoor


Blake is a native of Chattanooga and graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has always had a heart for helping people in need, and upon graduation in 2005, his passion led him to a local organization doing child and adolescent mental health case management. In August 2006, Blake first joined the Focus Team as a member of our admissions department, and then quickly moved into a leadership role serving as the Director of Admission until 2010. During this time, Blake also worked with Dr. Anita Johnston to start the first Focus Intensive Outpatient program for Eating Disorders in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In late 2011, Blake shifted into a new role as the Executive Director at Focus in Chattanooga and shortly thereafter began working with Dr. Anita Johnston and Siri Khalsa-Zemel to open another Intensive Outpatient program in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2013, Susan Kerr moved into the Executive Director role as Blake moved into a role as CEO to work with all Focus programs.

Blake has a passion for both patients and staff, and works to promote the importance of healthy relationships in his personal and professional life.

Mark Peterson


Dr. Mark Peterson, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Peterson is a 1974 graduate of Northwestern University Medical School. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is Board Certified in both Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and has over 30 years of experience in the field of Psychiatry/Addiction and Eating Disorders.

Dr. Peterson served as the Chief of Psychiatric Services at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Yokosuka, Japan, and has held several Medical Director positions in the past. He has worked in the community mental health setting and in private practice and has gained a wealth of knowledge while doing this work. As a past recipient of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Physician’s Recognition Award, Dr. Peterson has presented many presentations and authored publications in Psychiatry and Pharmacotherapy. Dr. Peterson has served in this position since the opening of the Center for Eating Disorders. Dr. Peterson enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents. He is an avid reader, who enjoys time with his family and pets.

Tim Tatum


Tim Tatum, MBA, MA, LPC-MHSP

Executive Director

Tim is a Licensed Professional Counselor and recently obtained his Masters of Business Administration in Healthcare Management.   He has worked in the local mental health arena since 1995.  He is excited to join the team at Focus Healthcare, following years of working as the Director of Behavioral Health for an area hospital.  He has diverse experience in the group home, acute detox, inpatient and community based settings. As a clinician, Tim ascribes to a holistic and collaborative approach to helping people overcome challenges.  Holding a firm belief in influencing mental wellness, Tim is an active volunteer with suicide prevention, addiction support efforts, and mental health advocacy at the regional and state policy level.

In his free time, Tim is an avid runner and enjoys the natural resources that Chattanooga and the surrounding area offers. He and his wife Nikki, reside on the river with their dog, Izzy.

Gail Gnade


Dr. Gail Gnade, Ph.D.

Senior Clinical Consultant

Dr. Gail Gnade has been a Clinical Psychologist in the state of Tennessee since 1993. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Theology from the Fuller Theological Seminary, the largest multi-denominational Seminary in the world. Early in her Career Dr. Gnade was a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor in the Chicago area and in Pasadena, CA when she was pursuing her PhD.  Dr. Gnade has been with Focus treatment Center in various capacities for a total of 10 years and in her current role as Senior Clinical Consultant for the past 2.5 years.

 Dr. Gnade’s specialties include:  Addictions, Eating Disorders, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mood Disorders, Relationship Difficulties, Personality Disorders, and Recovery from Childhood and Adult Traumas (utilizing Somatic and Attachment Focused Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, S.A.F.E.).

Dr. Gnade’s passion resides in integrating evidenced based treatment modalities in treatment and the recovery process through the lens of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Poly-vagal Theory (Social Engagement Theory) and Spirituality, with a strong emphasis on the mind-body connection and integration.  In other words, she believes that we have been created to trust and connect with one another as human beings and when this goes awry for various reasons we may cope in a myriad of ways (including substance abuse, eating disorders and other addictions).  Dr. Gnade has found in her own healing process and in witnessing others, that it is indeed true; learning to safely connect with others, oneself and a power greater than oneself is foundational for recovery and living a purposeful and meaningful life.  

During her free time, Dr. Gnade enjoys spending time with family/friends, daughter, two granddaughters, reading and learning, finding humor in everyday life, and spending time with her pet/friend, “Bo,” a Collie who is trained as a HABIT Volunteer (Human Animal Bonding in Tennessee). You can often find the two of them visiting local nursing and rehab facilities (including Focus!).

Chris Harris


Chris Harris, Ph.D. LPC-MHSP

MHSP, Director Of Operations And Clinical Services

Dr. Chris Harris has a PhD in clinical counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University.  He is a licensed professional counselor with the mental health service designation.  Dr. Harris has been in the field for over 10 years and has worked in all levels of care inpatient/residential, outpatient individual and intensive outpatient group therapy.  Dr. Harris’s research consisted of vicarious trauma in clinicians working with trauma victims.  He believes in treating the whole person and that mind, body and spirit are all connected.  He also has specialized training in treating trauma and PTSD. Dr. Harris, a native of Chattanooga, enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.

Jennifer Massengale


Jennifer Massengale, RN

Director Of Nursing

Jennifer Massengale serves as the Assistant Director of Nursing at Focus Healthcare of Tennessee. Jennifer began her 7 year career at Focus as an LPN working on Chemical Dependency Unit where she provided care and education to all of our patients. During this time, Jennifer sought her RN licensure. Upon successful completion of her courses and board testing, Jennifer assumed the role as Staffing Coordinator and Assistant to the Nurse Executive, a position she held for five years. She is a certified Red Cross CPR Instructor. In August 2013, Jennifer was promoted to Assistant Director of Nursing. Jennifer’s unique nursing exposure has made her an expert on all that is Focus! With a calm approach and unwavering compassion, she oversees the individual medical needs of each patient. She works closely and efficiently with all medical team members to ensure the highest quality of care. She loves the challenges that her work brings and outside of work, she enjoys time with her husband and two children.

Julie Munson-Jackson


Julie Munson-Jackson, M.D.

Addiction Medical Specialist

Dr. Munson- Jackson is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

She is graduate of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine and completed her residency in Family Medicine at UT Family Practice/ Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, TN. She has worked in private practice as a family physician for several years and is currently Medical Director for the City of Chattanooga’s Well Advantage Health Center. She joined the team at Focus in 2014 and has been able to utilize her broad medical experience to help manage patients with complex medical diagnoses as they are going through treatment.

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, hiking, kayaking, running and attending concerts.

Preston Goforth


Preston Goforth, LPC-MHSP

Director Of Admissions

Preston is a Licensed Professional Counselor with Mental Health Service Provider Designation and has worked in mental health since 2003.  He graduated with a BS Degree in Industrial Engineering and has a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Lee University.  He has worked in multiple settings including inpatient acute detox, inpatient mental health, and provided outpatient individual/group counseling services to children and adults.  Preston believes in people and their amazing ability to change seeing it over years of working with hurting clients.  Preston, a native of Atlanta Ga, enjoys spending time with his family, trail running, and the outdoors.

Laurie DeLong


Laurie DeLong, LPN

Intake Specialist

Laurie got her start in health care as a support specialist working with intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals, which led to a desire to get more involved in the mental health field.  During this time, Laurie was also providing hands-on care to her husband recovering from a severe injury, which led to a desire to become a nurse.  She put her desires into action and graduated from the Practical Nursing program at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in 2008. 
Laurie’s first nursing position was as a medication nurse for several residential and enhanced-support treatment homes serving adults with severe mental illnesses.  While in this role, Laurie developed a medication supervision training program for house staff.  This program was implemented at each of the company’s residential, supported housing, and enhanced supported housing locations throughout Middle Tennessee and improved awareness around, and reduced the amount of, medication errors facility-wide.

Laurie joined Focus in 2011 working as a nurse on both the Substance Use and Eating Disorder units.  Laurie gained experience working on all shifts with both populations before primarily becoming a bridge nurse on the Substance Use Disorder unit being responsible for admitting patients onto the unit.  In 2013, Laurie brought her nursing background to the Admissions Department.  She now does intake assessments for both units and helps evaluate potential patients for medical stability prior to admission to the facility.  Laurie is also involved in outreach by operating the chat function on the Focus website.

Laurie lives in Warren County with her husband Billy, with two grown children, Ashley and Tim, nearby.  In her free time, Laurie enjoys fishing, 4-wheeling, and going on other various outdoor adventures with her husband.

Meg Jarman


Meg Jarman

Eating Disorder Alumni Coordinator & Medical Records

Originally from Iowa, Meg moved to Cleveland, TN in 2001 to begin a new life free from substance use and eating disorder behaviors. Her journey of recovery led her to pursue a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Lee University and graduated in 2006. From this point on, her desire and passion to see others find their purpose in life and recover from addiction only grew. In 2010, Meg and her husband moved to Victoria, Mexico to do mission work which included medical missions, a prison ministry, supporting an orphanage and a drug and alcohol rehab facility. After becoming pregnant with their first child, they moved back to Cleveland, TN to start another chapter in their life. Meg decided to seek employment at Focus Treatment Centers in Chattanooga and started as an ED program technician in September 2010. In July 2011, Meg transitioned into a role in the Medical Records Department. In 2014, she was honored to accept the offer as the new ED Alumni Coordinator. 

Meg is a believer in Focus’s commitment to provide whole person care as well as to encourage others to build meaningful and safe relationships. She is thrilled to be able to stay connected to our Alumni and support them in their process after treatment. Her hope is to inspire and encourage them through their ups and downs as well as be an ear to listen when needed. 

In her free time, Meg enjoys being in the outdoors hiking, backpacking, gardening, learning, sewing and being creative with art, writing and cooking. Most of all she is passionate about God, people and loves being with friends and family, especially her two wonderful children, Asher and Corinne, her dog Daphne and cat Milo. 

Mitch Cox


Mitch Cox

Substance Abuse Alumni Coordinator

Prior to returning to Focus as our Alumni Coordinator, Mitch spent many years in the non-profit arena, in both A&D treatment and feeding those in need. Mitch brings his own personal 12 step experience and insight onto the unit and into several groups to demystify and eliminate confusion about the 12 step process. In addition to planning alumni events, Mitch also helps our Discharge Planning team in helping our residents have a solid plan as they return home to begin their journey into recovery. Away from Focus, Mitch also oversees a 10 bed recovery house for men called Community House. His belief in the recovery process is clear when he says, “I wear the shoes I’m selling. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t do it.”

Margie Hayduk


Margie Hayduk, LPC, M.Ed, NCC

Director Of Family Programming & Primary Therapist - Substance Use Disorder

Margie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is a licensed professional counselor and is certified in Trauma Therapy, ARISE Interventions and Youth Ministry. Her career at Focus began in 2009 in the outpatient program. She later moved to a primary counselor position, was appointed the Director of Family Services, and co-facilitates the Families in Focus program once a month.

Margie left her roots in Michigan in 1977 after her first child was born. Husband’s job included relocating every 1-3 years to various places around the country. This was until they started enjoying the comfort of family life thus settling down in Cleveland Tennessee in 1992. Margie enjoyed staying home with 5 children while completing her college degrees. After completing an undergraduate degree, she accepted a job teaching at a Christian High School in Chattanooga and moved on to graduate school. During her ten years of teaching, she completed her graduate degree, obtained her counseling license, and began counseling individuals and families at Focus. Margie brings life experience, insight, and intention to meeting the needs of struggling individuals and their families. Her goal is to offer genuine loving regard and compassion and help build trusting relationships among the individuals and families she helps.

Brittany Barber


Brittany Barber, LCSW

Eating Disorder Program Director

Brittany utilizes a strengths perspective with a goal of empowering clients to draw upon their own gifts and resources to facilitate healing and cultivate a life worth living.  Brittany is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her B.S. in Psychology and Master of Social Work degrees from Kennesaw State University.  Brittany facilitates weekly process and DBT skills groups in addition to providing support and oversight to the eating disorder programming.  Brittany utilizes her EMDR training to support our clients in the journey towards healing from trauma.  While not spending time furthering her clinical knowledge, Brittany practices intentional self-care through painting, spending time with her family, enjoying the outdoors, and reading fiction.

Lauren Higgins


Lauren Higgins, M.S., R-DMT

Primary Therapist, Dance Therapist

Lauren Higgins is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist and a registered yoga instructor from Chattanooga. Lauren holds a Master of Science in Dance/Movement Therapy from Pratt Institute (NY) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bard College (NY). Lauren is completing her supervision to become the first local Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist under the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) in 2019. Lauren is the secretary and a founding member of the Southern Chapter of the ADTA. Lauren began her affiliation with Focus in 2011 as a counselor intern and then continued as a yoga instructor and dance/movement therapist. In 2015, Lauren became the Weekend Counselor and a PRN therapist. From 2016-2018 Lauren was a primary therapist on the residential Eating Disorder unit. Lauren now works as the Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program therapist and Director of Embodied Therapies. Lauren hosts an annual art show/performance called The Road: Exploring Healing and Recovery through the Arts. Lauren holds several movement teacher and practitioner certifications and remains dedicated to her own movement practice and arts engagement through regular trainings around the country. In September 2018 Lauren is completing basic training in Somatic and Attachment Focused EMDR through the Personal Transformation Institute. Lauren completed Level 1 of Embodied Recovery training through the Embodied Recovery Institute in 2017.

Bonnie Watson


Bonnie Watson, M.Ed

Director Of Admissions

Bonnie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga with her Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and Masters of Education is Community Counseling. Bonnie is continuing her education by currently pursuing clinical supervision hours to obtain her Licensure in Professional Counseling. As the Director of Admissions for Focus Healthcare, Bonnie is responsible for guiding patient and families through the admissions process. Having previously worked as an individual therapist, group facilitator, and for a large insurance company, Bonnie brings a diverse background to the role. She feels very passionately about advocating for patients and their families to maximize their insurance benefits. From her clinical experience, she is able to speak to patients and families about the therapeutic component of treatment. Her goal as the leader of the Admission Team, is to ensure that all prospective patients and their family members feels supported, informed, and safe as they begin the process of recovery. Bonnie has been married to her husband, Jeff, for six years, and together they have a son, Britton. Bonnie enjoys reading, seeing live music, and spending time with her family and friends.

Lance Pritchard


Lance Pritchard, MS

PRN Therapist

Lance was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but has called Chattanooga home for 11 years now.  Lance received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology as well as a Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern Adventist University, where he currently adjunct teaches in his spare time.  Lance has previous experience working with adolescents who are struggling with both addiction and mental health issues as well as counseling their families on how to create a home environment that is more conducive to recovery.  While working at the residential center for adolescents, he conducted a regular psycho-educational group for patients struggling with trauma issues.  Lance endeavors to bring a very down to earth approach to his counseling and strongly believes in meeting the patient where they are at, especially early in the recovery process.  Lance is an avid reader and is continually involved in research projects and continuing education.  Lance also enjoys playing guitar, going to the local arcade, and keeping up with the local music scene.

Darla Cavitt


Darla Cavitt, RN

Director Of Utilization Review

Darla has 30 years of nursing experience. She obtained her RN from Erlanger Nursing School and began her career in behavioral health care. Her focus was primarily psychiatric and chemical dependency nursing. In the 90’s she began working in the managed care industry. She worked at Provident Insurance Company as well as Options Mental Health. She has also worked at CADAS as a Utilization Review Nurse. Darla began with Focus Healthcare in 2005. She is the Utilization Review Nurse and works with Discharge Planning. She is married and has two children. Her son is a Lieutenant aviator in the Navy, and a daughter is currently pursing her doctorate degree in Audiology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.