St. Charles inpatient team
Alumni Coordinator for St. Charles
My journey to RCA began as a patient at the Capital Region facility in May of 2020. During my suffering from substance use disorder, I felt hopeless and broken, and once I found recovery, I decided it would be my mission to help others begin to heal and recover. My first dream in life was to work for RCA and through that passion is where I found a purpose. I began working at our St. Charles facility as an RSS and it felt right – I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Today, life has come full circle for me. As an alumna of RCA, I now get to give back and be of service to our alumni community.
Why do you choose to work as an Alumni Coordinator for RCA?
I chose to work as an Alumni Coordinator because I love bringing people together. It is a calling of mine and I love watching people grow and change as they walk their path of recovery, and I am blessed to be a part of their journey.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
I enjoy watching people get their lives back. I enjoy watching others celebrate their milestones and start to believe in themselves again.
In your opinion, why do you believe an alumni program is so important for those who want to achieve long term recovery?
The Alumni program is a very important part of the journey into recovery because it provides a support system and a sense of belonging. Having connection with other like-minded individuals is one of the key factors in maintaining long term recovery and that is exactly what Alumni provides.
Karen Wolownik Albert
Chief Executive Officer, RCA at St. Charles
Karen Wolownik Albert, LCSW joins RCA with over 20 years of experience in progressive behavioral health leadership. As a frequent public speaker and advisor regarding local, state, and federal behavioral health issues and initiatives, she is also a subject matter expert on in substance use issues and treatment, juvenile justice and child welfare, therapeutic intervention, and case management.
Karen was the recipient of the 2018 Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award presented by the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health for her work in connecting patients to treatment and improving the system of care for persons struggling with Substance Use Disorder. Karen serves on the Board of Directors of the Lake County Opioid Initiative and Live4Lali. She worked on the core team of Task Force members in the development and launch of the nationally recognized A Way Out Program, a law enforcement deflection program for persons seeking Substance Use Disorder treatment.
She looks forward to expanding addiction treatment in Illinois and continuing RCA’s mission of saving one million lives, one neighborhood at a time.
Dr. Stephen Holtsford
Dr. Holtsford holds an MD from the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he also completed a residency in emergency and internal medicine (EM/IM). In addition to his EM/IM board certification, he has been board certified in addiction medicine since 2019.
As Medical Director at RCA, Dr. Holtsford oversees the medical care of patients, including withdrawal management, chronic medical conditions and any other medical issues that arise during their stay at RCA.
Dr. Holtsford’s interest in addiction treatment and advocacy comes from his time as an ER physician, witnessing the ravages of drugs and alcohol on people in the community. Since obtaining board certification in addiction medicine, he also trains other providers, advocates for better care of OUD patients in the ER and works toward getting care to patients in the criminal justice system.
Prior to RCA, Dr. Holtsford was a full-time ER Physician. He continues to hold positions as a part-time ER physician at Northwestern Delnor Hospital in Geneva; the Medical Director of Lighthouse Recovery, an outpatient SUD clinic in St. Charles; the Illinois Medical Director of Bright Heart Health, an OUD treatment provider via telemedicine; as well as a member of the Kane County Opioid Task Force.