Our Team

Hawaii Island Recovery is comprised of licensed professionals who practice evidence-based therapies to treat addiction, co-occurring disorders, and chronic pain. These include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

Executive Team


James Kayihura

Managing Director

Jimmy’s journey to HIR has been forged from experience, both personal and professional.  Combine this with his contagious enthusiasm and expansive vision, Jimmy has been instrumental in shaping HIR into the exceptional program we have become. As Managing Director, Jimmy inspires others with his passion for recovery and exudes the joy and freedom that come with this life-changing decision. Jimmy is a gifted musician and enjoys being active and exploring the natural beauty of the Big Island with his 3 legged dog “ Lucky”.

Stephen Denzer | Medical Director, Board Certified in Addiction and Internal Medicine

Stephen H. Denzer, M.D., FACP

Medical Director, Board Certified in Addiction and Internal Medicine

As a Board Certified Addictionologist, Dr. Denzer is on the cutting edge of addiction medicine. Under Dr. Denzer’s direction, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is provided to patients who require medication to ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification. Dr. Denzer is a brilliant physician who is generous with his knowledge and his time and is a dedicated ally to our patients as they heal from their addictions. Dr. Denzer has a great many talents and interests and is a passionate bow hunter and a collector of axolotl.


Eliza Wille, MS

Clinical Coordinator & Primary Therapist

Eliza is a listener. She creates safe spaces for people to feel heard, seen and valued.  Eliza conveys respect, empathy and acceptance in her therapeutic approach, and in her capacity as Clinical Coordinator, is committed to providing effective, trauma-informed care to our patients.  Eliza holds a Master’s degree in psychology and she continually seeks to expand her knowledge base in an effort to better support those who we serve. Eliza finds nourishment in the ocean, in the forest, and in the yoga studio and relishes the company of her children and animals.


Gudrun Baumgaertl, PH.D

Finance Director

Gudrun has resided on a Big Island for over 20 years, originally hailing from Germany. Gudrun is a highly accomplished academic and earned a PhD in the Natural Sciences, penning a book on evolutionary theories predating Darwin. In her capacity as Finance Director, Gudrun applies her exacting attention to detail and her outstanding organizational abilities to ensure the smooth operation of HIR. Gudrun has traveled the world and is endlessly curious, and has recently enrolled in a CSAC certification to deepen her understanding of addiction. Gudrun loves to cook and enjoys going to the beach with her beloved canine sidekick “Yani”.

Clinical Team

Fernando Manon | Therapist at Hawaii Island Recovery

Fernando Manon, MSED., CSAC


Fernando is a founding member of our clinical team and has been with HIR for over a decade. Fernando holds a master’s degree in counseling (MSEd) and is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC). Fernando has extensive training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is a Certified EMDR therapist and consultant. Fernando is passionate about recovery and believes every addict and alcoholic can heal and join him on the road to “peace, love, and happiness”.

David Molletti | Operations Coordinator and Family Therapist at Hawaii Island Recovery

David Molletti, BS, NCACI, CFTP

Operations Coordinator and Family Therapist

David is a lifetime Alaskan who heeded the call of the Big Island to join the Hawaii Island Recovery team in 2018. David’s professional background is as interesting and diverse as he is, with stints in the music industry,  film production and IT management. Embracing his own life in recovery, David was led to his eventual calling as a therapist specializing in addiction. David holds state and national certifications and has extensive training in several treatment modalities, including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). As a lifelong mind/ body practitioner, his approach to therapy integrates Trauma-Informed Person-Centered Therapy and Mindfulness- based Cognitive Therapy. David enjoys Qi Gong, composing music and screenwriting as personal past times and he toils in the dirt whenever possible, lovingly tending to his fruit trees.

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Krista Walker, MSW, LCSW


Bio Coming Soon

Damien Young | Therapist in Hawaii

Damien Young, MA, LMFT


Damien brings with him years of diverse clinical experience and a deep passion for healing work. His personal path that called him into the field was at the intersection of psychology, spirituality, and a close relationship with the natural world. He is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and specializes in the treatment of trauma, systemic therapies, attachment theory, addiction and codependency, transpersonal psychology, nature-based therapy, and men’s issues

Daniel Caputo | Naturopath and Acupuncturist at Hawaii Island Recovery

Daniel Caputo, N.D., L.AC

Naturopath and Acupuncturist

“Dr. Dan” is a beloved member of our holistic health team and provides our patients with acupuncture that is targeted to the needs of those in early recovery. Dr. Dan utilizes modalities including Acupuncture to help activate the healing process of the body and support the return to health and balance. Dr. Dan is an athlete and enthusiastic pickle ball player and enjoys spending time with his family exploring the natural beauty of the Big Island.

Kevin Deeds | Admission Director at Hawaii Island Recovery

Kevin E. Deeds

Clinical Coordinator & Utilization Management

Kevin’s genuine care and compassion for patients struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues are manifest in his tireless dedication to serving the patients at Hawaii Island Recovery. Kevin conveys eternal hope to our patients and their loved ones that change IS possible as he is a living testament to the power of recovery to transform lives. Kevin is a Substance Abuse Counselor with three years of clinical supervision and experience and will be taking the CSAC and ICDAC exams this year. His clinical training and education in the psychology and treatment of substance use and co-occurring disorders have prepared him for his role as Clinical Coordinator, overseeing patient care and case management while providing effective and comprehensive assessment and counseling services. Kevin also oversees Utilization Management at HIR and is passionate about clinical compliance, documentation, and patient advocation. He is a skilled UR dedicated to ensuring patients are served at the appropriate level of care for the necessary amount of time to ensure healthy outcomes for our patients. Kevin is an avid learner; once finished with his CSAC will be working towards a degree in Clinical Social Work. He has called the Big Island home since 2012 and is a humble student of Hawaiian cultural practices, most notably Hula, and is a devoted “dog dad” to his beloved dachshund mix Maté.

“I enjoy counseling patients, helping them navigate the road to recovery early on in their journey is a blessing. I also have a deep passion for patient advocation and clinical compliance in Utilization Management; it’s my job to ensure our patients are afforded the care they deserve and an appropriate amount of time in treatment needed to maximize their success.” 

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Nicole Yempuku

Residential Operations & Patient Care Coordinator

Nicole has proven herself to be an invaluable member of our Patient Care team since joining HIR in 2018. Nicole studied anthropology in college and spent several years running a busy law practice before immersing herself in the field of addiction treatment. Nicole has a warm and welcoming presence that instantly puts our patients at ease. Her patience, humor, and attention to detail ensure our patients feel heard and their needs are always met. Nicole is pursuing a CSAC certification and is a beloved sister, auntie, and daughter to her extended ohana.

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Elfriede Nordlohne, LMT

Massage Therapist

Elfriede began working with HIR patients in 2019 soon after obtaining her Massage Therapy license. Elfriede strives to provide our patients with a personalized massage experience that addresses their specific needs. Whether a patient opts for a soothing massage or deep tissue, Elfriede is committed to helping people to feel better through the application of therapeutic massage techniques.

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Derek Nakamura, LMT

Massage Therapist

Through the practice of massage, Derek endeavors to restore “mind, body, spirit” balance to our patients as they begin their healing journey. Derek has over 20 years of experience as a Licensed Massage. Therapist and is fluent in a multitude of therapeutic massage modalities.

Alyssa Kratz | Yoga Therapist and Intake Specialist at Hawaii Island Recovery

Alyssa Kratz

Trauma-Informed Therapist

Alyssa is an accomplished yoga teacher who has extensive training in the application of yoga to support the restoration health. Specializing in the provision of trauma-sensitive instruction, Alyssa generously shares her knowledge of the therapeutic benefits of yoga and meets our patients exactly where they are with respect, non-judgment and encouragement. In addition to her credentials as a yoga instructor, Alyssa has a BA degree in Holistic Health and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. Whether answering the intake line or teaching yoga, Alyssa conveys her passion for helping others in everything she does and credits yoga as the agent of transformation in her own life and recovery.


Hannah Murphy

Primary Massage Therapist

Hannah is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Hawaii. Her journey started at Aloha Student Massage Academy on the Island of Hawaii. Throughout her education, Hannah studied Swedish, Sports Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Myofascia Release, and Lomi Lomi. Hannah also studies Thai Yoga. “I felt a calling my first year while living on Big Island which is known as the “healing island” to pursue massage, although I have never received a message my entire life.“ Hannah is enthusiastic about sharing the healing of massage therapy with you.

Medical Team

Stephen Denzer | Medical Director, Board Certified in Addiction and Internal Medicine

Stephen H. Denzer, M.D., FACP

Medical Director, Board Certified in Addiction and Internal Medicine

As a Board Certified Addictionologist, Dr. Denzer is on the cutting edge of addiction medicine. Under Dr. Denzer’s direction, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is provided to patients who require medication to ensure a safe and comfortable detoxification. Dr. Denzer is a brilliant physician who is generous with his knowledge and his time and is a dedicated ally to our patients as they heal from their addictions. Dr. Denzer has a great many talents and interests and is a passionate bow hunter and a collector of axolotl.

Kelly Lippert | Registered Nurse at Hawaii Island Recovery


Registered Nurse

Kelly is an accomplished RN and a wonderful addition to our medical team. Kelly has experience providing total patient care for complex substance abuse and is a vital collaborator with patients and the treatment team, ensuring a safe and comfortable recovery. Kelly creates rapport easily with our patients and feels called to provide quality care and support to those struggling with addiction.

Jemimah Kayihura | Case Manager at Hawaii Island Recovery

Jemimah Kayihura, AMAA

Medical Assistant

“Jem” joined the HIR team in 2020 and hails from Washington state. Jem is a Certified Medical Assistant and applies her attention to detail to her work as a Case Manager. Jem provides the interface between patients, their families, and the care team and is dedicated to ensuring there is a continuity of care that supports each patient’s unique needs.

Resident Managers

Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet

Lead Resident Manager

Nick joined the HIR team in 2021 and hails from Utah. His honest and profound compassion for those struggling with addiction helps him provide impassioned assistance to anyone looking for their next step. His personal experience with the transformative power of recovery shines through in everything that he does. He lives his life in a constant effort to make each day more enjoyable than the last, and uses that outlook to meet our patients with an eye of non-judgment and respect.

Toby Broido | Resident Manager at Hawaii Island Recovery

Toby Broido

RM & Outpatient Care Coordinator

Hailing from Philadelphia, Toby is a seasoned Resident Manager who made Hawaii his home in 2016. Toby has worked in the field of addiction treatment for several years and brings both enthusiasm and compassion to his job. Toby is a gifted writer and avid reader and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in social work. Toby and his canine companion Page enjoy exploring hard-to-reach places in our diverse island habitat and Toby aspires to play tennis well and recently took up running.

Michael Park | Lead Resident Manager at Hawaii Island Recovery

Michael Park

Resident Manager

Micheal leads by example and works quietly and diligently to ensure all Resident Managers provide consistent, compassionate care to our patients. Michael joined the HIR team in 2019 and has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction treatment. Michael is a source of wisdom and comfort for our patients and has a natural ability to connect with people in a meaningful way.

Tyler Alcos

Tyler Alcos

Resident Manager

Tyler is a self-described “night owl” whose talents are well realized as a Resident Manager on the overnight shift. Tyler is a veteran who joined our team in 2020. Patients appreciate his humor and availability for support (and a strong cup of coffee) in the wee hours.


Sophie Higgins | Quality Assurance Specialist at Hawaii Island Recovery

Sophie Higgins

Quality Assurance Specialist

“Quality is never an accident… it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”. This quote succinctly encapsulates Sophie’s approach to her position as Quality Assurance Specialist. Sophie has obtained several advanced degrees, including an MBA, and has many years of work experience in management and leadership. Sophie is a team builder and believes in harnessing the collective intelligence of our staff to accomplish excellence. Sophie has published several books in her native Danish and was drawn to the United States by her passion for American Kenpo Karate. Sophie enjoys exploring the natural beauty of the Big Island and has an affinity for family-centered recovery.

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Kirk Henry

CrossFit Coach

Beginning as a hobby, Kirk’s Cross Fit journey began at age 48 when he endeavored to improve his personal fitness and health. Feeling the positive effects compelled Kirk to involve his family and gradually led to coaching Cross Fit and establishing a Cross Fit facility for our community. Kirk provides a safe, fun, and encouraging environment for our patients to regain their strength and “loves watching our patients get stronger, deal with adversity, push through hard workouts and accomplish their goals”.

”Captain Kirk” https://www.crossfitkona.com/

Craig Hawkins | Boat Captain at Hawaii Island Recovery

Craig Hawkins

Boat Captain

Craig is a licensed Boat Captain who facilitates some of the most memorable experiences our patients have while in treatment with HIR. Craig prefers the term “discovery” to “recovery” and infuses our ocean-based experiential therapies with his hard-earned wisdom about life in sobriety. Craig is both knowledgeable and intuitive in his understanding of the ocean and its creatures and generously shares this with everyone he meets.

Jan Seifert | Marketing Director at Hawaii Island Recovery

Jan Seifert

Marketing Director

Jan received his degree in Economics in the Czech Republic. He has worked for Hawaii Island Recovery since 2014.  An ever-increasing sense of life purpose to help others has evolved for Jan as he has worked in addiction treatment. He is proud to work for Hawaii Island Recovery because it is a “life-changing program” and in many cases “a life-saving program”. His stated goal is to help as many people as possible with recovery from addiction.