Leadership team

Expertise in substance use and dual disorders


John Harden, LCSW, ICADC, MPH, Clinical Director of BoardPrep Recovery Center

  • Dual-diagnosis Treatment Expert
  • Recovery Advocate
  • Founding Executive Director of the UF Health Florida Recovery Center
  • Former UF College of Medicine faculty in Psychiatry
  • Founding Senior Resident Fellow of the University of Florida Drug Policy Institute at the McKnight Brain Institute

Transformed by personal recovery in 1983, John Harden began helping other young people in treatment at the age of 19. John became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in 1988 through the renowned Parkside Medical Services counselor training program. Completing his graduate studies at University of South Florida in 1996, John went on to specialize in co-occurring disorders, program development, health-professionals and early intervention.

BoardPrep Recovery Center represents the culmination of the professional training and hard-won experience over the 30-year careers of the founders. The founders continue to dedicate their lives and careers to helping others recover.

Liz Harden, LMHC, CAP, CCJAP, Executive Director

Since 1989, Liz Harden has dedicated all aspects of her career to addictions treatment – including in-depth work with recovering healthcare professionals and award-winning specialty programs for women and people with co-occurring psychiatric illnesses.  As the first female and clinically licensed Chief Operating Officer of DACCO (2007 – 2014), Liz’s leadership helped propel the $18M Tampa agency into modern healthcare integration, converting DACCO from a “community-based drug treatment center,” into an integral component of Tampa’s healthcare network. Liz’s passion and energy is born from her own family history of alcoholism and recovery. Having walked in the shoes of despair and hopelessness, watching loved ones suffering from the disease, unwilling to seek treatment, Liz became a trusted guide for those in similar circumstances, assisting loved-ones with court-involved involuntary treatment.


Jamie Fernandez, MD


Medical Director of Mental Health Services

Dr. Fernandez is the Medical Director of Psychiatric Services at HCA Memorial Hospital of Tampa. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the University Of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Well known for her innovative work in treating mood disorders with ECT, Dr. Fernandez is also now an approved provider of the Florida Department of Health for the evaluation and treatment of Florida licensed health practitioners.

Dr. Fernandez holds clinic onsite several times per week, as needed for BoardPrep patients.

Services include:

  • Detox
  • Vivitrol
  • Sleep management
  • Anxiety management
  • Mood disorders


Derek Robben, MD

General and Addiction Psychiatrist

Medical Director

Dr. Robben has dual board-certifications in addiction psychiatry and general psychiatry and completed his addiction fellowship at the University of South Florida. Dr. Robben has a DEA waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction. He heads the Addiction Psychiatry Residency Program at USF. Dr. Robben treats adolescent and adult patients.
Dr. Robben serves as a USF Courtesy Assistant Professor. He has been published in peer reviewed journals and earned the following awards: Faculty Clinical Teaching Award, Outstanding Resident Teacher, Outstanding Student in Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry, Award for Clinical Excellence in Neuropsychiatry Clerkship, Outstanding Radiology Instructor/Preceptor, U.S. Air Force.
Dr. Robben was voted by his peers as the Top Addiction Doctor in Tampa Bay two years running (published in Tampa Magazine, January 2016).

Peter Vagg, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Vagg has over 25 years of objective testing experience, specific to individuals with substance use and dual disorders.  Dr. Vagg completed his Honors and Masters degrees at the University of Melbourne, Australia, a Doctor in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and post-doctoral training at the University of South Florida. Additionally, Dr. Vagg worked as a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, at Long Island University and at the Center for Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology at the University of South Florida. He has edited two books and published over thirty articles in scientific journals and magazines as well as presenting papers on his work in the United States, Europe and Australia. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Personality Assessment, the International Association of Applied Psychology and a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic examiners.

John Lesko, JD, CAP, CCJAP

Director of Professional Programs

As BoardPrep’s Director of Professionals’ Programs, John Lesko “Johnny” is involved in treatment decisions throughout the entire care process. Mr. Lesko is a clinician first, but also a seasoned and powerful advocate. His unique training and experience have prepared him for this exciting position, representing BoardPrep’s expanding commitment of resources for Physicians, Health Professionals Programs, Lawyer Assistance Programs, Nurses and Pilots.

Mr. Lesko coordinates the clinical care, as well as legal and licensing concerns, for licensed medical and legal professionals receiving treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders.   Johnny is dually credentialed as a Certified Addiction Professional and a Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional, and has worked full-time in mental health and substance treatment since 2008.  He also served as Programs Coordinator for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Florida Chapter, and was active drafting proposed resolutions for submission to the Florida legislature. Johnny practiced litigation in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1994 to 2007, specializing in the pursuit of workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, and personal injury claims.

Mr. Lesko earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, 1994, and a B.A. in economics from UCLA, 1989. He is dually certified by the Florida Certification Board as a CAP and CCJAP.



Debra Mandt

Director of Business Development

With 15+ years of leadership and management experience in non-profits and digital marketing, Debra utilizes her passion and expertise to make recovery more accessible. Her networking efforts in the community improve understanding of substance uses and mental health disorders, lowering stigma and creating more opportunities for recovery.

As the former owner of Mascus America and Executive Director American Heart Association Tampa Bay, Debra is a career professional, proven innovator and entrepreneur. Debra has always been passionate about helping people but she has a special passion about helping people with substance use disorders and dual disorders find recovery.



Ian Rivera, MSW, RCSWI

Program Manager

Ian earned his Master’s Degree in Social Work with concentrations in Behavioral and Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Trauma Informed Care from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Ian also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Upper Iowa University.

For the Past 5 years, Ian has assisted adults with mental health, criminal justice involvement and substance use disorders to overcome barriers and live a fulfilling life. Ian takes a strength-based approached to empower his clients on the road to recovery.





Cory Albano, MA, MHI, Clinical Coordinator

Cory earned her Masters Degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health from the University of South Florida. She also holds a Bachelors Degree in Clinical Counseling and Applied Psychology from the University of South Florida. Cory has specialized in substance use disorders and dual disorders for her entire professional career. As Clinical Coordinator at BoardPrep Recovery Center, Cory works directly with individual clients and their families to help them achieve their best results from treatment. Cory’s possesses a rare combination of passion for recovery, creativity and clinical acumen, making her stand out as a special talent in the professional treatment field.



Archie Hayes, CAC, Senior Counselor

Archie became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the renowned Parkside Medical Services counselor training program in the 1980’s. After a successful career at Parkside, Mr. Hayes fulfilled various leadership roles in the field including clinical supervisor and client advocate manager. His skill and experience in working with difficult dual-diagnosis is unparalleled. Archie is also well respected for his knowledge of 12-step recovery, as well as his infectious sense of humor and ability to “carry the message.”