Meet Our Staff:
Dr. Rita Anita Linger, PhD, CPC, CMBP, Executive Director
Dr. Rita Anita Linger, is a Human Scientist and the Executive Director of Recovery Communities of North Carolina (RCNC). She is a mind-body therapist, educator, trainer within addiction recovery communities across the country and has worked as an academic researcher, senior multi-million dollar grant reviewer, consultant and advocate within government/legislative and community systems both nationally and internationally advocating on behalf and working with those suffering from substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring disorders, their families, allies and other support systems. She is licensed and certified in a variety of mental health and wellness modalities.
Dr. Linger is an award-winning community health and wellness professional, having worked within healthcare and community systems both in the U.S. and internationally for over three decades to improve the quality of care for both healthcare consumers and those who work with them. For most of Dr. Linger’s career she has led organizations both in the non-profit and for-profit worlds and her expertise in assessing community and organizational needs and moving forward to create solutions for seemingly intractable conditions is noteworthy. Her name and picture sits on a quilt next to Dorothy Cotton (Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Aide and Confidante), in the DeWitt Historical Museum in NYS for her leadership in Social Justice and Community Advocacy work.
In addition to creating and leading innovative efforts around public and community health, Dr. Linger worked as Director of Patient-Centric and Analytic Services at Governeur Hospital in Manhattan, NY (one of the leading safety-net hospitals in NYC at the time) for almost a decade in the 1980s. She has and continues to create patient-centric programming/services and selfcare supportive therapies for those with chronic illness, SUDs, mental health disorders, their family members and allies.
Dr. Linger is an Integrative Health Practitioner with a background, training and practice in contemporary neuroscience, psycho-physiology, mind-body medicine, psychology, public health, community development, substance use and co-occurring disorders, holistic therapy and business. Her work focuses on the impact of individuals, families and communities who experience trauma, poverty, substance use disorders, chronic disease and mental illness.
She understands well the impact of addiction as she is a mother who has lost two children to a substance use disorder (one to an opioid overdose), as well as two nephews and her younger sister. She commits her life to service and increasing understanding and support for the recovery movement including but not limited to substance use disorder and brain function, stigma reduction and the importance of language, genetic predisposition to substance use disorder as well as the power of epi-genetics.
Dr. Linger is an internationally renowned community advocate, organizer, trainer, facilitator, holistic therapist and university professor having taught at Columbia University, Cornell University, Atlantic University, William Peace University, Meredith College and others. She is an appointed member of Shaw University’s Internal Review Board, a published author of academic and peer reviewed journal articles. She is also a Supervisor and Faculty member with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, since 2008 and a Mindfulness Instructor for UNC Integrative Medicine and Rehabilitation Dept. She has worked to promote addiction recovery, resiliency and reduce experiences of trauma both in the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years.
Dr. Linger is also a corporate systems efficiency expert and coach working with Fortune 500 corporations and non-profits to increase their efficiency, build effective teams and leaders, resolve conflict, enhance performance, create a culture of wellness and implement diversity initiatives. She is a family member of a person in long term recovery and a recovery ally. She works with emerging and recovery organizations teaching and coaching them around issues of sustainability and capacity building using an Appreciative Inquiry and Participatory Action process.
She graduated from the School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybrook University, with stacked PhDs in Integrative Health and Medicine/Mind-Body Medicine, Human Science and Organizational Systems.
Patricia Gix, Administrative Assistant/Peer Support Specialist
My name is Patricia Gix. I am currently the Administrative Assistant for Recovery Communities of North Carolina (RCNC) and also serve as a Peer Support Specialist. I am originally from Louisiana have 2 children, Brittany, age 29 and Kristen, age 30. I have one precious granddaughter, Kennedy, age 7 who is the apple of my eye.
Having worked in retail for 20 years including positions of management; I learned how important it is to be a positive example and how at the end of the day everyone wants to be appreciated and respected. I bring that knowledge to my position at RCNC. Everyone I have the opportunity to provide services to is important and of value and I am filled with gratitude to be able to support them.
Having been blessed with recovery, I have a strong desire to give back what has so freely being given to me throughout my recovery journey. Working with RCNC, has fueled that desire in me to share with others the hope ad tremendous possibilities of recovery. What I love most about my work is seeing people growing in their recovery.
Troy Manns, Statewide Manager of Advocacy and Education
Troy has over 16 years’ experience in working to galvanize people and systems toward supporting long term recovery initiatives. He has extensive experience in working as a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Substance Use Disorder Specialist, Recovery Advocate, a CSAC-I, Trainer, Facilitator, Program Developer, Public Speaker and Change Strategist. Troy is highly respected in the addiction and recovery fields and spends his life working to remove barriers to recovery for people with Substance Use Disorders. He supports their family members and works to educate those in high places to understand the impact of both addiction and recovery on individuals, families, communities, society and the workplace.
His brainchild, “Foundations for Hope (f4H)” facilitated at the Orange County Detention Center and partnering with “Josh’s Hope Foundation” speaks to Troy’s ability to convince state and local decision makers including the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Judges, Recovery Court personnel and other State officials that those with substance use disorders can and do recover.
Prior to coming to RCNC, Troy served as Co-Director of Paths to Recovery Community Center (a program of Freedom House Recovery Center in Chapel Hill, NC). His previous experience also included working in the areas of Outreach and Advocacy for Oxford House and as Coordinator of Healthcare at Freedom House. He also served as the Director of Recidivism Reduction Services that helped people re-entering from prison learn new life skills to keep them from returning to prison.
Terri Conyers, Statewide Manager of Community Relations
Terri Conyers serves as RCNC’s Statewide Manager of Community Relations. As a woman in long-term recovery Terri strives to show everyone in both her professional and personal life that recovery is possible and life in recovery is better than we could ever imagine. Terri has worked in the recovery field for over 10 years and has a passion for helping others find and maintain a better quality of life. She is a Certified Peer Support Specialist and Certified Recovery Coach.
Empowering individuals to become their genuine self and continue a journey of productivity is what motivates her to continue the work in this field and build partnerships to assist those suffering with Substance Use Disorder and their families.
Terri has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector and has worked in a variety of capacities within organizations, both in direct service and in administration. Her strong relationship building skills are an asset to the recovery field.
Prior to working with RCNC Terri worked for Healing Transitions in Raleigh; a community organization that serves homeless and underserved individuals with alcoholism and other substance use disorders.
James Jackson, Access to Recovery Services Director
James Jackson is a long-time ally to the recovery community and was instrumental in launching the Access To Recovery program in North Carolina along with the State and RCNC colleagues. James started at RCNC as the IT and Business manager but quickly moved up to become ATR Services Director. "My work experience prior to ATR RCNC was in IT Project Management (Xerox Inc.), I took time off from working to care for my parents as a fulltime care giver and encouraged a sibling to seek recovery from alcohol. I’m proud to report he’s sober today. After 3 years of providing care to my parents, I accepted the opportunity to join the RCNC family. It’s been a blessing and a privilege to work alongside so many wonderful people in the recovery community (The State, RCNC Coworkers, ATR Providers, and most of all our Participants)." James is currently working on the latest ATR phase which focuses on servicing veterans and collegiate recovery communities. For more information on the ATR program, please contact RCNC at (919) 231-0248.
Laura Dearth, Finance Coordinator
I moved to Raleigh in 1998, when my husband was offered a job in the area. When my children were born shortly after we moved here, I quit working as a bookkeeper and became a stay-at-home mom. Soon after, I began looking for volunteer opportunities in the community to put my accounting skills to use and to support my community. I became a board member at a recovery house in Raleigh, and served as the treasurer for several years, as well as heading up the finance committee. Over the years, I met many people in recovery and their stories impacted me greatly. The more I learned about SUD, the more I realized the support needed to help people on the road to long-term success. It was fortunate that I had learned so much about SUD, as a family member’s struggle with alcohol and prescription drug issues came to light around several years later. It really became apparent to me how many people’s lives are touched by SUD, either themselves or a family member. My work at RCNC helps me continue to learn more about SUD, and I am glad to be able to support an organization that makes a difference in so many lives.
Brandon Swigunski, Lead Care Coordinator
I am a person who is passionate about helping others find and sustain recovery. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a BSW. I am a peer support specialist, certified recovery coach, and trainer for our organization. Prior to working at RCNC, I worked at Hospitality House in Boone, NC.
I am the Lead Care Coordinator here at RCNC, which means I connect individuals in all stages of recovery to services to help them move forward and grow on their recovery journey. I also facilitate 3 peer recovery groups weekly and am a person in long term recovery. I love my work and the team I work with.
Gerald A. Fishman, Ph.D., Recovery Services Consultant
Dr. Gerald Fishman has worked with clients across the developmental spectrum in mental health, chemical dependency, school, and private practice settings for over 25 years, and has taught at both graduate and undergraduate levels at colleges in the Albany, New York, Brattleboro, Vermont, and current Raleigh, North Carolina areas. Formerly, Dr. Fishman served as Eastern Region Director for RI International, an agency providing crisis stabilization, non-hospital medical detox, and outpatient services for adults across North Carolina.
Dr. Fishman has also developed and directed adolescent chemical dependency and adult outpatient co-occurring disorder programs in both upstate and metropolitan New York areas, and is the co-founder of the Human Services Consultation and Training Institute, offering statewide and national professional trainings in specific clinical, chemical dependency, behavioral health, school psychology, and education areas. He is licensed as a psychologist in several states and is certified as a school psychologist with additional training in public health, chemical dependency and specific therapy areas.
Dr. Fishman holds post-doctorate certifications in Public Health, Chemical Dependency, Hypnotherapy, and Neurolinguistic Programming, and has been trained in group therapy, marriage and family counseling, HIV Community Education, trauma competence and alternate evidence-based, clinical approaches to psychotherapy, and recovery coaching.
K. Reid Getty, (Pronouns: They/Them), Youth Recovery Coach, Advocate and LGBTQ Trainer
K. Reid Getty is an RCNC Youth Recovery Coach, Advocate and LGBTQ* Trainer. They were born and raised in small-town North Carolina, where it was an open secret that addiction ran throughout the community. Having lived experience, K. Reid is now in long-term recovery and seeks to spread awareness. Their passion for the field of recovery from substance use disorder and treatment extends in many directions. They have a deep love for advocacy and education, as well as the intersections of substance use disorder, mental health, and social issues. K. Reid loves learning and conducting research. They also love helping others gain a better understanding of addiction and recovery. K. Reid is finishing a degree in Substance Abuse Counseling.