Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

12 min Average

NewStart Team

NewStart's team provides patient-centered care with a strong focus on collaboration throughout our continuum of care. Our team consists of nurses, support staff, doctors, and therapists that remain in strong contact with each other to make sure we are providing consistent and comprehensive care to you.

Please note: NewStart only provides treatment to individuals with a substance use disorder. All patients must go through our usual screening and assessment process before we determine which provider(s) you will work with. Please call if you have questions (608)417-8144.

Lori Brattset, LCSW, CSAC, ICS

Behavioral Health and Addiction Therapist

Clinical Supervisor

Doing this Bio was hard for me, where to start, so I will start with the basics. I have been a practicing psychotherapist for over 36 years. I attained my undergrad degree with a double major in Psychology and Child/Adolescent Life from Edgewood College here in Madison then continued my education at UW Whitewater to attain a Master's degree in Counseling with emphasis in two areas: Marriage and Family Therapy & Alcohol and Other Drug therapy. I am licensed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor, and Independent Clinical Supervision. 

Over the years I have had varying roles starting as the family therapist for the NewStart Adolescent Intensive Outpatient program, working with affected family members and people who have struggled with their own use and/or mental health issues. Currently I have a dual role of therapist and clinical supervisor. 

I love my work. I enjoy getting to know people. I would love to work with you to get to know your story, your joy, your pain, and the struggles that are unique to you. I hope to join your journey, as there is no one size fits all approach to therapy. I am eclectic utilizing different modes of therapy. I have been fortunate to have many people share their journey over the years. I look forward to working with you.

Lisa Witkowski LPC, ICS

Behavioral Health and Addiction Therapist

Clinical Supervisor

My hope in providing therapy is to create a compassionate, non-judgmental space to help you feel supported. I see therapy as a collaborative process that finds strengths and resilience from past experiences and together, we use these qualities to help you have the life you want. I specialize in working with adults who experience mental health concerns as well as those trying to figure out how substance use fits in their lives. I utilize the perspectives of Internal Family Systems, Harm Reduction, Mindfulness, and understanding our body's stress and relaxation systems to help guide our time together. I have been a therapist since 2006 and I look forward to working with you.

Betsy Atwell LPC, CSAC, ICS (she/her/hers)

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

Clinical Supervisor

I graduated with my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialty in Substance Use Disorders from Antioch University New England. I started working at NewStart in 2014. 

I have specialized training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), MBRP (Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention), and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). These somatic therapies help my patients heal their suffering by carefully releasing the fears and traumas held in their bodies. 

While I work primarily with trauma survivors, I strive to bring a light-hearted approach to therapy. Within a session, a patient can expect to process core negative beliefs with both tears and laughter. 

As a white, cis-gendered, middle class, American woman, there are many life experiences I cannot relate to. I nonetheless strive to overcome this in my therapy relationships with an attitude of humility and curiosity. I am always open to feedback when my implicit bias shows. I strongly value making therapy accessible to people who have often felt out of place in therapy. 

My love for excellence in therapy and learning has led me into the role of Clinical Supervisor at NewStart, a new joy in my life. This allows me to facilitate the growth of my colleagues and have a broader impact in our community.

Bethany Woychik, CAPSW, SAC-IT (she/her/hers)

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

Bethany has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and a Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in Mental Health from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, though she will always be a Gryffindor at heart. 

Bethany considers herself privileged to work with people as they progress through the stages of change. She especially enjoys working with people experiencing ambivalence, and she finds value in normalizing that change can be scary. This mindset grows out of her favorite intervention, Motivational Interviewing, which she has advanced training in. She has a strong foundation in behavioral interventions, which she incorporates into her work with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She is also able to coach patients through the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills. Above all else, Bethany seeks to empower her patients to find their "why."

 "When you know your why, your what becomes more impactful." - Michael Jr., comedian

Bethany specializes in working with: Addiction (substances and behaviors), Trauma (with a specific interest in religious trauma), Domestic violence, Grief and bereavement, Ambivalence, People with marginalized identities, Severe and persistent mental illness, Suicidality and parasuicidality, Hoarding Disorder (objects and/or animals), people who are differently abled, loved ones of people who are differently abled, people exploring career or educational changes.

Christina Malone, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

My name is Christina Malone, and I am an Addiction/Behavioral Health Therapist here at UnityPoint Health Meriter- NewStart. I currently facilitate our Intensive Outpatient Program. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in training and a Substance Abuse Counselor in training. I received my bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I am very passionate in working with individuals to heal and grow so that they are able to live a healthier lifestyle free from pain, hurt, shame, guilt, trauma, etc. I want to help individuals to find their personal strength so that they can overcome their life stressors/challenges. 

I have experiences working with children, emerging adults, adults, and late adults from many different populations (severe mental health, substance abuse, college students, suicidal/self-harm clients, Department of Correction, etc) from different cultural backgrounds. I have experience utilizing different treatment modalities such as Adlerian Therapy, Person-Center, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems Theory. 

I am so excited that you are preparing to receive treatment and I am so grateful to be a part of your journey to heal and grow.

Sue Klein Kennedy CAPSW, CSAC

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

Sue attained her UW Madison undergrad for Recreational Therapy for Psychology in 1978 then went to UW Platteville for her MS in Counselor Education in 1994. Sue had hoped to be a college women's sports coach, but at that time, this was not a viable career for a woman. Instead, she pursued Recreational Therapy and started her lifelong career as a therapist. 

The coach part of her continues to shine through in her approach to therapy though: Sue speaks directly, does not give up no matter how challenging things get for her clients, and can easily rouse hope in those that work with her. She stands-out in the therapy world in that she has 40+ of experience, yet maintains energy, compassion, and skill in her work. Sue has special interest in working with people with PTSD and personality disorders, and loves helping them understand their origin stories and finding new ways to be in the world.

Samantha Moeller, CAPSW (she/her/hers)

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

I graduated with my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Upon graduation, I began working as a case manager and group facilitator at a residential substance use treatment center, which sparked my interest in working in the addiction and recovery field. I began working at NewStart in November of 2020. Since joining the NewStart team, I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and am always searching for opportunities to use this powerful tool to allow patients to live their fullest life. 

It is one of my most firmly held beliefs that all human beings have inherent worth and value, and I strive to help my patients recognize that in themselves. My general approach to therapy is to allow my patient to take the lead -- this is your session, your work to be done. I am here as a curious observer to reflect what I notice and ask questions to broaden both of our understandings of the issues at hand. That being said, I will also challenge my patients and push them to go deeper when we both believe they are ready. In addition to EMDR, I have experience with supporting patients in the following areas: identifying and expressing emotions, improving interpersonal communication skills, processing shame, healing from trauma, identifying healthy boundaries, and mindfulness practices. 

I am continuously amazed by the strength and resilience I see in my patients, and I am profoundly grateful to be part of their recovery journeys.

Devin Lanin, CAPSW (she/her/hers)

Addiction and Behavioral Health Therapist

I graduated with my Master's in Social work specializing in mental health from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. I decided to become a mental health and addiction therapist because I want to help people not necessarily "fix" their lives, but rather to find happiness in themselves. 

In my therapy sessions I enjoy using humor, but when times are hard, I strive to address that with acceptance and validation. I strive to enhance one's acceptance of self and their experienced emotions. Simply put, emotions just make sense to me. 

My practice is influenced by ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and person-centered therapy. 

I truly believe every person is capable of becoming the person that they want to be, and I hope I can guide those that I work with on their journeys to get there.

Eric Strother, LCSW

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

I received my bachelor's degree in Human Services from Prescott College, in the mountains of Northern Arizona, and later completed a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Denver. The focus of my master's level education was clinical social work with adults accompanied by a graduate certificate in Interpersonal Trauma Studies. After spending several years out west, I have returned to Madison, my hometown, with a desire to serve the community I was raised in. 

I have been so fortunate to witness the resilience, resourcefulness, and determination of so many courageous individuals over the years. It is the growth and change in those individuals who have faced countless barriers that inspires my work. I am honored and privileged to have had such opportunities to engage in the life experiences and the journeys of the people who I have served, and I am grateful to continue this work at NewStart. 

The work I do with my patients is trauma informed and strengths based. I truly enjoy the process of observing individuals discovering their unrealized strengths and identifying how they may find these strengths useful in their recovery process. My approach to therapy is person-centered and collaborative. I hope to support people with sorting out goals and helping to find the best routes for obtaining these goals. I also incorporate aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, Mindfulness-based practices, and Motivational Interviewing into my clinical practice. 

I believe that healing and recovery is not always a linear path, and my goal is to establish lasting collaborative relationships with my patients in order to become an ally and a consistent source of support and motivation to facilitate growth.

Dr. Ritu Bhatnagar

Addiction Psychiatrist

Co-Medical Director

Ritu graduated from the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at the UW in 2014. 

She enjoys integrating her work with community endeavors like Safe Communities, to develop novel ways to address the impact of substance use and mental health disorders. She prefers to treat the whole person and realizes that there are different pathways to recovery. 

Ritu is also a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Psychiatry. 

She is an active member of the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine (WISAM) and is serving on the Medicaid Advisory Committee. 

She is the WISAM representative to the Council of Legislation for the Wisconsin Medical Society.

J. Ewing, MD

Board Certified Addictionologist

Co-Medical Director

I originally hail from New Mexico and went into medicine to reduce pain and suffering.  Initially, I went into Family Medicine to become a well-rounded Physician. I taught at a Family Medicine Residency program with an emphasis on Behavioral Medicine, then worked full time in Emergency Medicine to make progress on Student Loans. I came to Wisconsin in 2005 to practice Family and Holistic Medicine and started to include Pain Management in my services. 
In doing pain management, I recognized that many patients had substance use disorders. I started treating substance use disorders with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Training, Bio-feedback, relationship management skill building, and Medication Assisted Treatment. I greatly enjoyed seeing patients improve. Now I do Addiction Medicine full time at NewStart. 
As children we learn about the world and build an ever-better map. Sometimes we explore to expand our options. 
Substance use often starts out as fun exploration, a way to have adventure and feel connected with others. With repetition, the fun goes out of it and people feel an increasing need to use substances to escape from dysphoric after effects. They often end up feeling isolated and alone. Some people have difficult backgrounds and circumstances and use substances to deal with difficult feelings. To be sad is to be full of thoughts about limitations and barriers and loss. This can cause a gripping and gut twisting anguish and angst. People sometimes get into the habit of covering their emotional wounds by using substances. There is a better way. 
Watching people come back into themselves and get back on track brings me joy. 
I like to help people update and expand their map so they can get more of what they want out of life. 
Hap is an old word for fate. It so happens that when people are making progress toward making their hopes happen they tend to feel.happy. Joy arises when puzzles are solved and obstacles overcome.

Dr. Bill Bucknam


Dr. Bucknam is a dual boarded Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine physician who has been passionately caring for individuals with addiction illnesses for many years. 

He trained at the Universities of Nebraska and Michigan and was in private practice for 27 years while also serving as the Medical Director for Addiction Services at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He then transitioned to Medical Director of Addiction Services at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin for 7 years before coming to UPH-Meriter Hospital in 2017. 

He considers it an honor and a privilege to play a role in individuals' recovery and personal growth.

Jackie, Jane, Jenna, and Calie

Front Desk Support Staff

We hope to provide a welcoming and compassionate presence for patients on their recovery journey as they enter the front doors of NewStart. Our intention is to see each patient as a unique individual and work as a team with patients as they access care at Newstart clinic. 

Our team calls us "the face of NewStart" as we are the first ones you will meet when you call or come in to NewStart. In addition to taking your phone calls, we are also responsible for scheduling appointments, completing registration paperwork/ questionnaires, insurance questions and prior authorizations, and helping you connect with other community resources.

Jenna Walstead, SAC-IT

Addiction Care Coordinator

As an Addiction Care Coordinator, I am dedicated to helping patients in the hospital find resources and treatment options that can help with treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. An individual's mental health and substance use can be influenced in a number of ways, which I work to provide resource options in hopes to improve the patient's situation to be able to live a more positive and self-sufficient life. I have been a part of the UnityPoint Health Meriter's organization for 10 years and started in the hospitals Emergency Room. After 5 years I made the transition to the NewStart Clinic where I have learned so much about our patients who are struggling with the disease of addiction that I wanted to do better and help clients in a different way. After returning to school, I was able to obtain my Substance Abuse Counselor-In Training (SAC-IT) license and I am continuing to further my education as well as continue to learn from our patients.

Suzanne Sweetnam, SAC-IT

Inpatient Care Coordinator

Suzanne is an Inpatient Care Coordinator with UnityPoint Health Meriter - NewStart. Her role is to provide referrals and connections for patients at Meriter Hospital who are seeking substance abuse treatment options for after their inpatient hospital stay. Suzanne has a Substance Abuse Counselor – In Training (SAC-IT) license and is currently completing her bachelor's degree in Social Welfare at UW Madison with a projected graduation of May 2022. Suzanne has plans to continue her education with a master's degree in social work so that she can eventually provide services as a dual diagnosis counselor. 

Suzanne has a wide range of professional experience including as an addiction counselor in methadone clinics, a peer specialist, an administrative assistant, and a caregiver and support person in a variety of roles. Suzanne has past training in trauma-informed care and strives to consistently work from a place of cultural humility. Suzanne was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and is dedicated to assisting Wisconsin community members in their recovery paths from substance abuse. As an Inpatient Care Coordinator, Suzanne attempts to support patients in their recovery process by understanding their unique life situation, and by assisting patients in overcoming barriers which hold them back from achieving recovery.

Calie Hauswirth

Support Staff/ Community Resource Specialist

As a PSR/Community Resource Specialist, I am dedicated to providing the best patient care as well as helping clients on their road to recovery. 

The Community Resource Specialist part of my job allows me to work with patients on completing applications and communicating with other agencies to help get clients set up with additional resources to help meet their daily needs. 

I enjoy working in the Addiction field as I have been able to help a number of clients achieve their goals. I started working in healthcare three years ago and plan to continue with my journey working with clients who struggle with the disease of Addiction.