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Leadership Team

Healing Bridges’ leadership team combines dynamic expertise levels and diverse backgrounds with a unified commitment to guide and connect the individuals and families that we serve to successful opportunities and wholesome lifestyles.

Natalie Ross, M.A.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

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Natalie Ross is the Chief Executive Officer for Healing Bridges. She has been with the nonprofit since early 2016, but has over 26 years of experience in the human services industry, including three years as an Executive Director at another larger behavioral health and developmental delay service organization in Western Pennsylvania.

Prior to her executive director roles, she had various leadership roles within the behavioral health and criminal justice field in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Forensics Services Division. Ross supervised the treatment component for the Allegheny County Drug Court for eight years until she was promoted to the Specialty Court Supervisor role over the Allegheny County Drug Court, Mental Health Court and DUI Court. She holds a Master’s of Arts degree in Criminology Pre Law from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has devoted her professional life to helping others by advocating for those who struggle with addictions, mental illness and/or developmental delays. She truly enjoys leading the dedicated management team at Healing Bridges and would like to someday revisit her love for teaching criminal justice and psychology courses.

Ross loves spending time with her wonderful husband John and their two beautiful children, as she believes that family time balance is extremely important and valuable for any successful working professional. In addition to leading the Healing Bridges organization, Ross still finds time to attend boot camp training regularly with her daughter, date nights with her husband and rarely misses one of her kids' soccer and basketball games.

Rica Rush, M. Ed.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

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Rica Rush is the Chief Operating Officer for Healing Bridges. As the COO, Rush provides vision and direction for the organization, as well as guides other staff members through the implementation of workflow changes to maintain operations. While being in the social work field for over 30 years and in senior and executive management for 20 years, Rush has served in many different roles including the VP of Programs and Services at a local ID/A agency, the Devereux-TCV Director of MH Residential and Partial Hospitalization Services, the Chartiers Center Director of Diversion Acute Stabilization, the Director of Community Based Familiar Supports at MHA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Clinical Director of Allegheny Psychological Services, the MH Director of Families United Network and a Therapist at Auberle in addition to a program for female offenders.

Rush obtained her Masters of Education in Counseling at Penn State University and her bachelor’s degree in Governmental Administration at Christopher Newport University. While not in the workplace, Rush likes to watch her son play college football and cheer on her granddaughter’s competitive cheer competitions. She has been married to her supportive husband Keilly for 20 years, and they have two adult children and two handsome cats together. While being a supportive mother and active sports enthusiast, she also likes to travel, cook, watch television, spend quality time with close friends and get involved in local politics.

George Miles, B.A.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

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George Miles is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Healing Bridges, a position in which he previously held from December 2000 through May 2005, and then was rehired in May 2015. Miles is responsible for all the finance aspects of the organization. During his time away from the agency, he continued to gain experience in finance and worked as the CFO for Washington County Children and Youth, a social services agency located in Washington County, from 2009 to 2015. He graduated from California University of Pennsylvania, now known as PennWest California University, with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Administration and Business.

Miles is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins fan. His favorite TV series is "Yellowstone." He has been with his wife Crystal for 12 years and has one daughter, who has given him two wonderful granddaughters and one stepdaughter that is in his eyes, his daughter. His faith is a very important part of his and Crystal’s life.

Dawn Walls, B.A.

Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance

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Dawn Walls is the Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance for Healing Bridges, a position in which she has been in since 2016. Ms. Walls provides compliance oversight to all of the internal departments as well as establishes credentialing for all licensed providers. She has been with the agency since February 1993. Before attaining her current role, she held many different positions within the agency. She was an Intensive Case Manager from 1993 to 1996 and a Resource Coordination Supervisor & Targeted Case Management Supervisor from 1996 to 2016. Walls graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

James M. Ponce, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, C-CTP, C-DBT

Outpatient Clinical Director

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James Ponce is the Outpatient Clinical Director for Healing Bridges. Ponce oversees the clinical operations of the counseling department and ensures best practices are being followed for high-quality service delivery. As an experienced behavioral health professional, he loves to work with diverse individuals and utilizes evidenced-based therapeutic interventions to help his clients. He strives to provide influential leadership at Healing Bridges, while maintaining a caseload to further hone his clinical skills.

Ponce is fluent in three languages and utilizes bi-modal hearing devices for his day-to-day life. His niche for helping others stems from his previous work experience at a community behavioral health center, where he functioned as a case manager for high-risk clients and worked with adults diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other dual diagnoses at an outpatient facility. In his most recent role at the Holy Family Institute, he assisted in overseeing the daily clinical functions for the organization as the Manager of Clinical Services.

Ponce obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Brownsville and a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lamar University. To strengthen his clinical background, he earned his LPC licensure, along with certifications in trauma and dialectical behavior therapy soon after.

Outside of work, Ponce enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and three dogs. His passions include cooking, working with his hands and indulging in docuseries. He also enjoys fly fishing on different Pennsylvania wilderness streams, and you can sometimes find him crafting smoked barbecue on hot days, as he finds the smell of wood-fired barbecue to be therapeutic.

Sarah Kerr, M. Ed.

Intellectual Disabilities Supports Coordination Supervisor

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Sarah Kerr is one of the Intellectual Disabilities Supports Coordination Supervisor’s for Healing Bridges. Kerr co-leads the supports coordination department at Healing Bridges with the purpose of assisting her team with managing caseloads and adhering to state regulations. With an extensive background in autism, special education and behavioral health services, she quickly became familiar with all the ins and outs the service has to offer. Before working for Healing Bridges, she was a Special Education Teacher for the Watson Institute, a Blended Service Coordination Mentor for Mon Yough Community Services, where she worked for a little over 14 years, and a therapeutic staff support.

Kerr graduated from Seton Hill University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services and a Master's degree in Special Education with a specialization in Autism. She is also currently pursuing her behavioral specialist license to enhance her expertise further. As a big outdoors lover, Kerr spends a lot of her time hiking, biking or kayaking out in the beauty of nature. She also likes to care for her one crazy Corgi dog and two cats that always keep her busy.

Dabney Lineberry, B.A.

Intellectual Disabilities Supports Coordination Supervisor

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Dabney Lineberry is one of the Intellectual Disabilities Supports Coordination Supervisors for Healing Bridges. In her current role, she is responsible for hiring, supervising, training and overseeing her team of Supports Coordinators (SCs), as well as participating in meetings with County Administrators regarding IDD/A individuals being served. Before her time at Healing Bridges, she had five years of experience working with individuals with IDD/A, with three of those years serving as an SC. She held positions such as a Residential Program Specialist, a Residential House Manager and an SC in Erie County.

Lineberry graduated from Edinboro University, now known as PennWest Edinboro University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Individualized Studies, a concentration in Biology and a minor in Psychology. As a person who likes to stay active, Lineberry enjoys going to the gym and spending time with friends and family. She also has a pet pug named Wilbur who she adores dearly.

Riley Bitonti, B.S.

Marketing and Development Specialist

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Riley Bitonti is the Marketing and Development Specialist for Healing Bridges, a position that was created by a grant awarded to the nonprofit in 2021. Bitonti is responsible for implementing the rebranding initiative as well as all the internal and external marketing endeavors the nonprofit pursues. Before joining the nonprofit in 2021, Bitonti worked as a PR Intern for WordWrite Communications, a marketing and public relations agency headquartered in Pittsburgh. Before her position with WordWrite, she was employed as a Rebranding Intern for The White Orchid, a prom and bridal shop located in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania.

Bitonti graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication with a specialization in Integrated Marketing. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves going to concerts. Bitonti grew up in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania with her three sisters and is always excited to meet new people in and around the Greater Pittsburgh area.

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