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Board of Directors


Shelly Jo Spinden Wahlstrom,  CHT, CRNC

Board Chairwoman


“The Amino Acid Lady" & Hypnotherapist”


Shelly Jo is the mother of a daughter who was diagnosed with anxiety at age 6, turned to drugs and alcohol at age 15, and eventually spiraled into meth. Motivated by the daily fear for daughter’s life, Shelly Jo set out on a journey to learn everything she could about the brain and addiction; and why some turned to drugs and alcohol for answers.  


That journey led to Shelly Jo becoming a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist in 2016; and a Certified Addiction Recovery & Mental Health Nutrition Coach / Amino Acid Specialist through the Academy for Addiction & Mental Health Nutrition 2017.


Shelly feels that had she known this information when her daughter was struggling with anxiety at age 6, she may not have turned to drugs and alcohol at age 15.


Shelly’s mission is to spread this information throughout the world to help that child who struggles with anxiety, depression, focus; the teenager who struggles with social anxiety, fear, and panic; and adults struggling with OCD, stress, lack of energy, sleep, and weight gain. And those who find their relief through addictive substances such as: sugar, food, drugs, alcohol as well as addictive behaviors.

Shelly Jo is the author of Feed Your Brain Change Your Life, the founder of Shelly Jo  Hypno Aminos Nutrition, and a public speaker.


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Joan Priestley, MD

Member at Large

Dr. Joan Priestly attended medical school at the University of Michigan.  Her holistic medical practice focused on natural treatments for HIV and other infectious diseases. 


Dr. Priestley was the Executive Director of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions in 2013-2014, and co-authored Essential Supplements for Women: What Every Woman Should Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes and Amino Acids ((Perigee, 1988 and Thorsons, 1991) with Carolyn Reuben, L.Ac.


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Salvatore Di Liello

Board Chairman



Salvatore Di Liello is a Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor with a concentration in Homeopathic Medicine and Board-Certified American Association of Drugless Practitioners.   He is the founder of Naturale Solutions a holistic center providing health consultations, lectures, Biomagnetism, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Reiki sessions.


Salvatore is a Certified Addiction Recovery Nutrition Coach Level 2 from the Academy for Addiction & Mental Health Nutrition working with a non-profit organization in North Eastern Ohio offering Nutrition Assisted Treatment (N.A.T.) emphasizing proper nutrition, amino acids therapy and other natural supplements for clients in recovery. 


"As a naturopathic doctor my focus is the preventive care and wellness of the individual. My goal is to educate and empower clients so they can make better and healthier decisions to ultimately achieve their optimized state of health." 


Salvatore is also a member of American Botanical Council, the National Center  for Homeopathy, the International Association of Reiki Practitioners and the American Association of Integrative Medicine.


Valsa Madhava, MD

Board Secretary


Dr Madhava is a  board certified internist and addiction medicine specialist. She is also certified in functional medicine.


Besides her private practices, she continues to work in an adult substance use detox and rehabilitation treatment program in New York. She has worked in the area of addictions and use disorders since the 1990's. She has worked in primary care settings, in different opioid treatment facilities, and in the jail system treating addictions and dependencies. 


While working with patients with addictions in various capacities, the near universal theme was that patients wanted to be cured and almost no one wanted to remain on medication-assisted-treatments such as methadone or Bupenorphine, in spite of their usefulness in preventing death. It was disheartening to see so many patients relapse quickly after a short recovery period, even though many tried very hard to achieve abstinence with standard treatment.


Over the past several years Dr. Madhava has dedicated herself to focusing on the physiology of the brain and body as the foundation in the assessment and treatment of addictions and recovery. She uses evidence-based approaches, published literature and her experiences to treat dependencies using a brain focused model to help patients achieve lasting recovery.


The framework  involves functional medicine principles,  testing and management of the root causes and promoters of addiction, such as nutrient deficiencies, hormonal and gut microbiome imbalances among many other foundational etiologies. She got her MD at Albany Medical College, Master of Public Health at John Hopkins, and a Masters in Clinical Research Methods at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  She is certified in Functional Medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine. On the personal side, Dr. Madhava has two kids, spends much of her free time reading, exercising and exploring spirituality. Among her favorite books is the Bhagavad Gita, which she uses as a guide for living.

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Mitchell J. Pearce, 
D.C., M.S., L.Ac., D.A.C.B.N.

Board Treasurer and Correspondence Secretary

Dr. Mitchell Pearce practiced and taught chiropractic since 1982 and acupuncture since 1992. Dr. Pearce earned his Diplomate from the American Board of Clinical Nutrition in 1983.


Dr. Pearce was certified in alcohol and drug studies by UC Santa Cruz in 1996, and as a NADA treatment provider in 2006. He is also a paralegal.


Dr. Pearce has previously served as a Board of Directors member for Parents Helping Parents, a George W Bush Star of Life awarded non-profit dedicated to helping parents with handicapped, disabled, or otherwise challenged children.


In 2017, Dr. Pearce co-founded and is the CEO for USgeocoder LLC, a successful Geographic Information Systems competitor to Google and Bing specializing in political advocacy management, sales tax management, FINTECH, and business asset management.  


Carla Bate, MSCN

Functional Nutritionist &

Holistic Mood Repair Expert

Carla helps high-functioning women trapped on antidepresants get off the merry-go-round of medications without their brain or bodies bottoming out using the From Pharma to Freedom™ Brain Recovery  Method, a proven drug-free path to healing that restores the brain, body, and being into beautiful balance.

As founder of The Liberated Life Free Facebook™ Group, Carla provides weekly content for women who want to reclaim their health, energy, sanity, and clarity - and living a symptom-free life without drugs...

"This work holds a very special place in my heart because it has given my loved one a fighting chance to reclaim their life and their freedom. It was watching that transformation firsthand and seeing what was possible that has led me to dedicate my life to this work."

Carla received her Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from the Sonoran University of Health Sciences and is a Certified Nutrition Recovery Coach.

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