Meet the Team


Noah Levine is a Buddhist teacher, author, counselor and recognized keynote speaker. He has been teaching meditation internationally for over a decade and is one of the key teachers responsible for delivering Buddhism and mindfulness to the West. Applying Buddhist practices in his own recovery since 1988, Noah has become an expert in the field of addiction treatment, recovery and mindfulness-based therapies. He holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from CIIS and was trained as a Buddhist teacher by Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society–with active centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and more than 20 affiliated groups across North America. He serves the Board of Directors for the Mind Body Awareness Project. A non-profit that teaches meditation to incarcerated youth.

Published works: Refuge Recovery, Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, and Heart of the Revolution

  • Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFT
    Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFTClinical Director

    Dr. Steve holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. He has served at every level of clinical service to several top treatment facilities. He is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Certified EMDR Therapist, and has trained all of the clinicians at Refuge Recovery Centers in EMDR therapy since becoming Training Faculty for the Institute of Creative Mindfulness. He presents locally and nationally on the Refuge Recovery treatment model, EMDR and Mindfulness, Clinical Dharma (his self-care program for clinicians), and other topics related to Buddhism, recovery, and trauma treatment. In his small private practice, he specializes in substance and behavioral addictions and Complex PTSD. Now practicing and teaching in the Insight tradition, he has been a practicing Zen Buddhist for over 25 years, including a year-long residency at a Zen monastery. He has led meditation groups for over 20 years for a wide array of populations, particularly in schools and treatment centers, and currently teaches regularly at Against the Stream.

    • Dr. Alix Nassiri, D.O.
      Dr. Alix Nassiri, D.O.Medical Director

      Dr. Nassiri is a licensed and board certified Addiction Medicine specialist and has practiced both in Addiction Medicine and Anesthesiology. He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the California Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Osteopathic College of Anesthesiologists, California Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Osteopathic Association. For the past several years, he has cultivated a cutting-edge approach toward treatment of substance abuse disorders that is collaborative, holistic and comprehensive in style.

      Dr. Nassiri has been touched first hand by the loss of friends and colleagues to addiction and is dedicated to providing quality care for patients suffering from addiction.

      • Loesha Zeviar, MA, CATC IV, MFTi
        Loesha Zeviar, MA, CATC IV, MFTiDirector of Clincal Services

        Loesha Zeviar is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family therapy. Loesha has over a decade of direct hands-on experience working in the fields of substance abuse and mental health, both as a clinician providing one on one counseling and facilitating groups, and as a program manager, director and administrator.

        Loesha maintains a private counseling practice and facilitates family support groups, in addition to her role outside of being the Director of Clinical Services at Refuge Recovery Center.

        • Shannon Fowler
          Shannon FowlerDirector of Admissions and Business Development

          With over two decades of continuous sobriety, Shannon works directly with Noah as our Program Director. In her role, she works closely with the clients and their families to create individualized programs, routines and goals, she oversees all functions of the treatment program and the sober livings.  In addition to her active recovery resume from the 12-step tradition, she began formal study of Buddhism and Meditation with Noah Levine in 2005 and since then she has completed several courses and practice periods. She is currently completing teacher training with Against the Stream. She has led meditation groups in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Shannon brings a first-hand understanding of the benefits of combining a meditation practice to traditional recovery methods.

          • Rev. Joseph Rogers, MDiv.
            Rev. Joseph Rogers, MDiv.Director of Spiritual Care and Community

            Rev. Joseph Rogers, MDiv., our Director of Spiritual Care and Community, is a founding member of the Refuge Recovery community program and an Against the Stream meditation teacher trained under Noah Levine. Joseph received his MDiv. in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the University of the West, where he now teaches process methodology and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.  He worked as a professional health care chaplain for a Los Angeles area hospice prior to coming to work at Refuge Recovery Centers. Previously Joseph also worked for a decade with Visions Adolescent Treatment Center as the Director of Education and facilitated their weekly teen mindfulness meditation group.  Joseph facilitates meditation and process groups for the Refuge Recovery Centers IOP, provides real-time counseling and patient advocacy for our transitional living residents, training for the Refuge Recovery Centers staff, community orientation to new clients, and provides a key communication link between the clinical and line staffs.


            • Mike Zittel
              Mike ZittelTherapist

              Michael Zittel is a Therapist at Refuge Recovery Center and a Master’s Degree Candidate at Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program.  With three decades of study and practice in a range of Buddhist meditation schools, and fifteen years of experience as a meditation facilitator, Michael now brings his expertise in meditation to the field of mental health.  Michael has comprehensive experience cultivating individualized meditation-based strategies for individuals and couples. He has previously taught meditation in clinical settings to both psychiatric outpatients and clinical staff.  For the past eight years, Michael has trained with Noah Levine, Founder and Executive Director of Refuge Recovery Center, teaching meditation classes and leading intensive workshops under Noah’s supervision.  At Refuge Recovery Center, Michael facilitates mindfulness groups and provides individual counseling

              • Jim Goodwin
                Jim GoodwinTech Supervisor

                Jim Goodwin is responsible for the operation of Refuge Recovery Centers detox and residential facilities. Jim has 10 years of sobriety and has worked in recovery since 2009 as a residential tech, a medication tech, and as a sober companion. Prior to working in treatment, he spent 20 years in the music industry as an Audio Engineer and Producer.


                • Dave Smith
                  Dave SmithOutreach and Refuge Facilitator

                  Dave Smith is a Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, experienced speaker, and published author. He is empowered to teach by Noah Levine of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and received training in Buddhist psychology from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). As a long-time Buddhist practitioner and recovering addict, Dave has been working closely with recovering addicts for over eight years. During this time he has operated intensive programs and trainings for the Nashville office of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA). Dave has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. He is the guiding teacher and program director of the Against the Stream Nashville Meditation Center and teaches over 300 meditation classes and workshops a year. He provides direct services for mental health agencies, the public library, and speaks nationally at Addiction and Behavioral Health conferences. Dave recently relocated to Los Angeles to work full time at Refuge Recovery Centers.

                  • Anadel Baughn Barbour, PhD, MFTI 79455
                    Anadel Baughn Barbour, PhD, MFTI 79455Therapist

                    Anadel has been sober since 2001, and working in the recovery field since 2004. She earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Los Angeles and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Sexuality from The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Sobriety put her on a journey that included finding ways to end self-imposed suffering and to enjoy life without needing mind-altering substances. The spiritual aspect of recovery was deepened when she discovered the Dharma. Finding solace through mindfulness, meditation and yoga, she decided to share it with others. After years of working with teens on probation and women in recovery, she decided to expand her practice. By integrating mindfulness practices into therapy, she finds there to be an important spiritual healing that can occur for individuals, couples and families. Her studies in Human Sexuality have expanded her practice to help sober individuals through specific challenges that sobriety may bring, integrating the Buddhist philosophy with Western therapies to help end the suffering that intimacy and sex can bring.

                    • Zack Oldenburg
                      Zack OldenburgTherapist

                      Zack Oldenburg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly a decade of experience working with high-risk youth and young adults with histories of substance abuse and trauma. He is a trained EMDR therapist. Zack brings an interest in attachment theory, neurobiology, and meditative practices to his work with clients. He is deeply fascinated by the intersection of trauma and addiction and the many different ways to bring healing to suffering.

                      • Lauren Emmel
                        Lauren EmmelTherapist

                        Lauren Emmel is a trained EMDR Therapist, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and a Master’s Degree Graduate from Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program in the Spiritual and Depth Specialization. Lauren has dedicated herself to the practice and study of yoga and meditation for the past 12 years and has been a certified yoga teacher for four years. Lauren has brought her transformative experience with yoga, meditation and personal recovery to the mental health field. At Refuge Recovery, Lauren facilitates meditation, yoga, process groups, and provides individual counseling. Much of her work includes trauma informed care through EMDR therapy, Buddhist psychology modalities, attachment theory and object relations approaches. Lauren’s compassionate and empathetic approach to therapy provides a safe space for clients to explore the underlining causes of addiction, release toxic shame, develop adaptive behaviors, and cultivate self-mastery.

                        • Bianca Fisher
                          Bianca FisherCase Manager

                          Bianca Fisher is a Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist, Counselor and Certified Life Coach. Having worked in the field of addiction treatment for nearly 10-years, Bianca has worked both as a clinician, lead case manager, assistant program director, clinical assistant and sober companion for many of the top treatment centers in Southern California. She has chosen to work at Refuge Recovery due to their holistic approach and extreme care for clients.

                          • Kate Spina
                            Kate SpinaGroup Facilitator

                            Kate Spina has her MSW from Simmons School of Social Work in Boston, MA. She has completed 2 years of facilitator training with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Kate’s passion is applying the teachings of early Buddhism to 21st century life.

                            • Mau Raynor
                              Mau RaynorFood Services

                              California native chef and member of the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Mau Raynor blends her experience as a designer, gardener, artist and her Buddhist practice to prepare nourishing and balanced comfort foods to the clients at Refuge Recovery Centers. Inspired by market produce, Mau creates seasonal dishes in the Refuge Kitchen that boost health and healing while placing emphasis on the human need to build community through the practice of sitting down to break bread together.

                              • Haley Pollock
                                Haley PollockChief Financial Officer

                                Haley has spent the last 10 years managing the financial and human resources departments of various companies. She grew up in Southern California and has been abstinent from drugs and alcohol for the last four years. When she’s not at work, you can find her cruising the coast on one of her motorcycles, at a punk rock show, or hanging out with her favorite furry friend, Vin Scully the dog.

                                • Tom Hietter
                                  Tom HietterUtilization Review

                                  Tom Hietter left a high profile career in Reality Television to dedicate his life to helping others. As a Certified Addiction Counselor, Tom seeks to utilize his creative talents and passion for the complexities of the human condition to guide clients toward effective, simple and lasting solutions to their substance abuse behavior. Deeply involved in the LGTBQI community, Tom was drawn to Refuge Recovery’s visionary, inclusive and self-empowering alternative to the traditional 12-step model. Tom works with Refuge clients developing treatment plans and acting as liaison with client, families, programs, and outside service providers.