Meet Our Leadership:
Warren Yamashita, MD, MPH
Warren is a double board certified Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine Physician. He is currently serving at an FQHC called Hurtt Family Health Clinic in Orange County, California. He is also a Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship Adjunct Instructor where he leads their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion didactics. He also serves on the CMDA Racism, Reconciliation, Equality and Diversity (R2ED) Committee to address ethnic and racial disparities with a Biblical worldview. Warren published the following Op-ed on the overlap between addiction and ethnic stigmas: Breaking Free from the Model Minority Myth: Lessons from the 1970s Japanese American Drug Epidemic - Rafu Shimpo.
Kurt Bravata, MD, FASAM
Kurt grew up in a Christian home where his parents were very involved in ministry outreaches to the poor, outcast, and downtrodden. From a young age he was impressed by the joy and fulfillment of seeing lives restored and hope given to the hopeless. He determined early on that he wanted to follow Christ and make a real and lasting difference in people's lives. Although Dr. Bravata did not initially set out to become an addictionologist, he soon felt called by God to share his grace by helping to lead people out of lives of deeply rooted hurt, dysfunction, and addiction. As a Family Physician Dr. Bravata simply responded to the need for effective, evidence-based treatment of Substance Use Disorders in his rural patient population. This growing passion led Dr. Bravata to seek education in addiction medicine, become DATA 2000 waivered to prescribe buprenorphine, and eventually obtain Addiction Medicine Board Certification through the practice pathway provided by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Along the way, Dr. Bravata has been involved in local and national Family and Addiction Medicine leadership, education, and publication.
Kelly Watson, FNP-BC
Kelly is a family nurse practitioner who has worked in addiction medicine for the past 3 years in southwest Missouri. She has realized her niche after many years as an RN and nurse practitioner. She obtained her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Research College of Nursing in Kansas City, MO. She has experience in pain management, orthopedics, and rehabilitation medicine. Kelly believes in treating holistically and believes that true recovery includes spiritual awakening, counseling and support of basic needs, as well as medication support.
Darren Caparaso, MD
Darren is a Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine physician. He is also Co-Director of Embrace Recovery Buffalo, a ministry affiliated with CMDA with the mission to help those struggling with addiction or life-controlling problems find compassion, hope, healing and lifelong recovery through a collaborative effort that includes a Biblical Faith-Based Approach. Embrace Recovery Buffalo offers current and future healthcare providers that are on the frontlines opportunities to identify and medically treat addictions and co-occurring mental health conditions. Equipping providers to become leaders of healthcare transformation and education. Mentoring and outreach to a variety of community connections including schools. CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery) Life Recovery Coach training for volunteers as part of the community care team serving at their church, local healthcare office, hospital, community center or their own family. Embrace Recovery Buffalo ministry offers free Life Recovery Bibles, Promise Books, and journals to healthcare providers, students, organizations, ministries, patients and families.
Pastor Al Robinson, CARC/CPTED
Al is Senior Pastor of Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry as well as President of The Rebecca Rose Recovery Centers of WNY (A biological women sober living facility and rehabilitation), and The JA Hauser Addiction Research Institute. He has pastored the Lovejoy community since 2010. They entered the battle against addiction in 2015 when they developed the East Lovejoy Community Task Force. This specializes in frustrating drug dealers in their distribution of illicit drugs. Al is a NYS Certified Trainer of Trainers for CARC as well as a City of Buffalo Certified CPTED Practitioner (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design).
Pastor Lawrence Moore
Lawrence is Pastor/Founder of Eastgate Community, a recovery church that has been involved in the recovery ministry for 10 years, working with Back to Basics and the Buffalo City Mission. We started Phase2 Residential Recovery which has a women’s location and a men’s location. I completed the CARC training, and I am currently completing my CASAC and will be certified through OASIS at the end of this year.
Debra Minotti has been walking with the Lord for over 35 years. She is an RN and an ordained minister. She is a proud mother and grandmother.
Debra has served overseas, providing humanitarian aid and sharing with the Church and the Jewish community that God is keeping His covenant to restore Israel. She has had the privilege to help thousands of Jews immigrate to Israel. She has shared on international TV and radio. She has experience in starting not for Profits
Debra is a lover of the Word and seeks to see the works of Jesus in her daily life. She has a heart for corporate intercession and has led and participated in many groups around the world where Spirit-led intercession has brought victory.
Debra now serves as the WNY Area Director of CMDA. She understands that working in the medical community is a sacred call. She believes God has a special plan, purpose, and need for CMDA, for such a time as this for bringing the hope and healing of Christ.
The Addiction Medicine Section of CMDA exists to prevent and treat addiction and transform lives, by God’s grace, love, and power. We strive to provide compassionate excellence in all aspects of addiction care, including whole-person prevention and treatment, education, advocacy, empowerment of others, research, church, and community partnerships, and interprofessional collaboration and support.
To RISE with Christ and, by His power, excel in these areas:
Research – Support, assist and network with those interested in doing faith-based study and research in addiction medicine.
Inspire – Encourage and support opportunities for interprofessional health professionals, pastors, theologians and the broader recovery care community to co-labor and network together to share ideas, concerns, successes, and prayer for one another.
Serve - Provide excellent, Christ-centered, evidence-based, clinical care to individuals struggling with addictions and their families using the biopsychosocial-spiritual model of whole-person healthcare.
Educate - Educate, equip, and mentor others about successful approaches to addiction - including students, health professionals, patients, families, churches, community groups, politicians, media and others.