HAVRE DE GRACE — Ashley Addiction Treatment (Ashley), one of the world’s most recognized and respected names in the substance use disorder treatment industry, announced today that Alex Denstman, senior vice president and chief growth officer, and Greg Hobelmann, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical and clinical officer, will assume the roles of joint CEO replacing Dave Nassef effective March 1.
The decision to transition Ashley to a dual-executive leadership model is the culmination of hundreds of hours of strategic planning over the last year with Ashley’s top decision-makers and advisors. With guidance from Nassef and Ashley’s board of directors, Denstman and Hobelmann will spend the next four months transitioning to their new positions. Ultimately, Nassef will take on the role of senior advisor and envoy for the organization.
“Dave has been instrumental within the Ashley organization for nearly two decades, and we would not be where we are today without his unwavering commitment and visionary leadership,” said Jim Denvir, chair, board of directors. “We’re incredibly grateful that he stepped into the role of president and CEO when he did and thank him for everything he has contributed that has helped countless patients and propelled Ashley forward. Dave and the board’s decision to expand Alex and Greg’s roles and transition them into our next generation of leaders came with significant preparation and planning, and we are confident that their enthusiasm and capabilities will take Ashley into its next phase of growth and innovation.”
Ashley’s powerful legacy of treating each patient with dignity and respect together with its innovative clinical advancements have placed it at the forefront of the addiction and substance use disorder treatment industry. Under Nassef’s leadership, Ashley has maintained its position among the world’s leading treatment facilities.
“Looking back on my time at Ashley, I am so proud of everything we have accomplished,” said Nassef. “Ashley was founded 38 years ago on a co-leadership structure with a mission to be the leader in patient care. With that in mind, our goal was to find a long-term solution without sacrificing both the necessary clinical and business expertise that’s required for this unique role or Ashley’s core values. We are fortunate to have two outstanding executives with complimentary skillsets and proven track records of success within the organization who embody Ashley’s legacy and timeless mission to save lives and impact our community. I can’t think of a better match to lead Ashley into the future and ensure its longevity as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations.”
Denstman and Hobelmann combined bring nearly two decades of experience in the addiction and substance use disorder treatment industry. As individuals who have fought their own personal battles with substance use disorder, and since, found long-term recovery, they remain dedicated to helping others through their life-long mission to destigmatize addiction and mental health disorders by shining a light on this debilitating disease.
“Both Greg and Alex have witnessed first-hand the process of recovery and remain devoted to their own personal journeys of recovery,” continued Nassef. “Their experiences have only bolstered their commitment to revolutionizing the treatment of substance use disorders and to destigmatizing this disease. Under their leadership, we are confident that they will continue to lead the industry in research and innovation in partnership with leading healthcare systems and universities.”
Denstman joined Ashley in 2009 as a case manager and quickly moved through the ranks advancing to an outward-facing role where he continued to enhance the organization’s mission to reach those in need. His drive and enthusiasm were quickly recognized among senior leadership, and soon after, he was promoted to a business development role where he more than doubled Ashley’s provider relationships and is credited with establishing partnerships with major commercial payers. With a demonstrated ability to spearhead and implement state-of-the-art programs, Denstman has been effective in improving Ashley’s approach to treatment—a major contributor to its success today.
When the initial outbreak of COVID-19 struck, Denstman was instrumental in the conception and implementation of Ashley’s Incident Command Center, an emergency protocol system to structure processes and provide guidance for managing threats, planned events and emergency incidents. The result was Ashley’s first-ever virtual counseling and telehealth services and five-day stabilization program to mitigate risk of exposure. Because of his swift action, Denstman was able to maintain a sense of safety and security among patients and staff in a way that fostered Ashley’s healing environment. In addition, he helped establish the organization’s Recovery Ready Workplace program to equip small and mid-sized businesses with education and resources to identify substance use disorder among employees and offer complimentary confidential assessments and treatment program referrals. With as many as one in 10 people thought to be struggling with substance use disorder, the program accelerates a much-needed solution to identify addiction among workers and help them find long-term healing and recovery.
“I’m humbled and grateful for the trust that Dave and the board have placed in me and Greg to continue carrying out Ashley’s long-standing message of recovery and hope,” said Denstman. “Addiction does not stand still. As patient needs change and new challenges surface, we are not only committed to adapting to the changing conditions but to anticipate them. Having a partner like Greg, who is an accomplished clinician and researcher with a depth of experience in treating substance abuse, gives me even more confidence that together we will reach and effectively treat more people in need for many years to come.”
Hobelmann, who first joined Ashley in 2009, is an award-winning clinician with 23 years of medical experience. He has dedicated his life’s work to improving patient outcomes and helping others find recovery through cutting-edge research and advanced methodologies. Prior to Ashley, Hobelmann was board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine and served as chief resident in both the anesthesia and psychiatric departments at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He currently maintains his certification in psychiatry and addiction medicine and holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We’re facing a healthcare industry that is continuing to grow more complex every day,” said Hobelmann. “Alex is an accomplished business leader with a shrewd understanding of the payer-provider relationship. He has delivered innovative care and cost models with numerous providers allowing Ashley’s services to become affordable and accessible to more people than ever before. I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve alongside him in this capacity and continue leading the distinguished clinical work that Ashley is known for.”
Throughout his time at Ashley, Hobelmann has implemented many ground-breaking programs and established an ongoing partnership with Johns Hopkins Hospital and its schools of medicine to address the opioid epidemic using the most up-to-date evidence-based treatments. His published studies address the complex problems that arise in early recovery, chronic pain management and ways to improve patient outcomes through removal of barriers to treatment. In 2019, he created Ashley’s Model of Care group to ensure patients receive the most up-to-date treatment. He also created a personal development program for staff, which provides continuing education on the latest findings in addiction treatment and harm reduction, so that the highest quality of care is available to everyone who walks through Ashley’s doors.
Denvir said, “Greg embodies Ashley’s driving principle, “everything for recovery,” and through his work, has enabled Ashley to be a powerful force in the recovery community. He consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to break new ground in the addiction treatment and recovery world and improve patient outcomes. We’re fortunate to have two extremely talented experts with a deep passion for treatment and a commitment to Ashley join each other at the helm of the organization. There is no better individual or pair of leaders equipped to lead Ashley and ensure that the organization will have consistent leadership for decades to come.”
Denstman and Hobelmann’s drive to help those in need has also translated to key roles outside the walls of Ashley. As a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Denstman provides training resources and participates in executive roundtables on complex issues facing the industry. As a board member of the D.C. Maryland Virginia Professional Liaison’s Association, he assists in promoting collaboration and ethics within the behavioral healthcare field. Additionally, he is an active member of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, among a group of executives at Ashley dedicated to fostering racial equality and inclusion and holds an MBA from the University of Maryland Global Campus.
In addition to his role at Ashley, Hobelmann serves as a part-time faculty member in Johns Hopkins’ Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department and is a board member of NAATP. Previously, he served on the advisory committee for the New Day Campaign, which aims to reduce the stigma of addiction and mental health disorders through art. He is also an active speaker and lecturer who educates peers on new findings and the importance of comprehensive pain management.
As a nonprofit addiction and substance use disorder treatment provider, Ashley’s bottom line is always the health and recovery of its patients. Over the last year, it has diversified its treatment portfolio by establishing several new clinical programs and strategic collaborations to better fit individual needs and expand the number of patients it serves. Some of the more notable programs implemented recently include: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), which bridges the gap between outpatient and inpatient services to provide better options for those transitioning between programs or unable to commit to a full-time inpatient schedule; Women’s Extended Care Program and Residence that focuses on long-term, gender-specialized treatment for women; and the relocation and expansion of its outpatient treatment center in Bel Air.
To learn more about Ashley or to view the extensive list of services it provides to those who suffer from a substance use disorder, please visit ashleytreatment.org.