Joe Buckley, a seasoned and accomplished executive, oversees the leadership and operations of The Ness NFP family of healthcare at Northlake Behavioral Health System. Under his expert guidance, a culture of collaboration and mutual support thrives throughout the organization.
Boasting an impressive 27-year track record, Joe has honed his expertise in business development to drive Northlake’s expansion and strategic positioning. His keen insight and strategic acumen have propelled the organization to new heights, ensuring its prominence in the healthcare industry.
Before joining Northlake, Joe acquired extensive experience in healthcare management, serving as an executive director and CEO of behavioral, surgical, and acute hospitals. In these esteemed positions, he spearheaded the development of innovative programs that extended the hospitals’ impact within the community and elevated the standard of patient care. Through successfully implementing growth strategies, Joe positioned the facility as a leading behavioral hospital in the region, resulting in exponential growth.
With a sharp focus on building strong relationships, Joe demonstrates unwavering support for his team, staff, patients, and their families. His upbeat attitude, steadfast dedication, and approachability make him an inspiring force that motivates others to perform at their best. His track record of impressive achievements serves as a testament to his exceptional leadership skills.
Meet Wayne Thompson, a highly accomplished executive who has played a significant role in the ongoing success and expansion of the Northlake Behavioral Health System for over four years. As the Chief Executive and Financial Officer, Wayne has demonstrated exceptional leadership and expertise, driving the organization forward in a highly competitive industry. Wayne has leveraged his extensive knowledge and skills to guide Northlake Behavioral Health System to new heights. Wayne earned his MBA at Wake Forest University and holds a CPA.
Wayne’s expertise in financial management and strategic planning has been crucial to the financial stability and profitability of Northlake Behavioral Health System. With his strong financial analysis, forecasting, and budgeting skills, he has navigated even the most complex financial structures, allowing the organization to enhance its healthcare services and provide patients with the best possible care.
Before his tenure at Northlake Behavioral Health System, Wayne held distinguished executive positions at various healthcare organizations, including a hospital system with multiple campuses.
Wayne Thompson’s impact in the healthcare industry extends far beyond his role as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Northlake Behavioral Health System. Recognizing the need for comprehensive healthcare reform in the United States, Wayne has dedicated his expertise to researching and proposing solutions to this pressing issue. In his published work titled “Healthcare Reform in the US: A Proposed Solution,” Wayne delves into the complexities of the healthcare system and presents innovative ideas for sustainable reform. His research is a testament to his unwavering dedication and commitment to finding practical and effective solutions to improve healthcare in the United States.
Diana Polyakov, CHBME, serves as the esteemed Chief Operating Officer at Northlake Behavioral Health, where she plays a pivotal role in developing and implementing the hospital’s strategic goals and objectives. With a sharp focus on collaboration, Diana ensures that these goals and objectives are closely aligned with the organization’s mission and vision, fostering a sense of purpose and direction throughout the hospital.
Diana’s impressive journey in healthcare began as a medical biller and continued as she served as the president of a medical billing and practice management firm for over 20 years. Her extensive experience in the industry has equipped her with a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in medical billing and revenue cycle management.
Diana Polyakov joined Northlake Behavioral Health System in 2016, initially starting as a manager in the business office. Recognized for her exceptional performance, she quickly rose through the ranks to become the Business Office Director and later COO.
In her current role, Diana skillfully manages the hospital’s financial performance. Leveraging her budget development and financial monitoring expertise, she diligently tracks key indicators to ensure optimal financial health. Additionally, Diana implements effective cost-control measures and proactively seeks out opportunities for revenue growth, bolstering Northlake Behavioral Health’s financial stability and long-term sustainability.
Dr. Suresh Bhatt
Dr. Suresh Bhatt is the Director of Psychiatry at Northlake Behavioral Health System. In his role, Dr. Bhatt leads and oversees the operations and clinical management of Northlake Behavior Hospital.
He commenced his medical journey at M.P. Shah Medical College, where he obtained his medical degree. Dr. Bhatt then pursued a residency program in Psychiatry at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine/Ochsner Clinic Foundation, further honing his skills and knowledge in psychiatry.
Before his current position, Dr. Bhatt was the Deputy Coroner at the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office and a Director/Staff Psychiatrist at several hospitals. He has also served as the Director of Psychiatry at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, providing vital psychiatric evaluation and treatment services to individuals in the criminal justice system.
With this breadth of experience, Dr. Bhatt brings a comprehensive understanding of psychiatric disorders, diagnosis, and treatment to his role as the Director of Psychiatry at Northlake.
He continues to be recognized for his commitment to the highest standard of care, employing evidence-based practices and innovative treatment modalities to support the well-being and recovery of his patients.
Director of Nursing
Jonell King is the Director of Nursing (DON) at Northlake Behavioral Health System. Under Jonell’s supervision and direction, the Northlake Behavioral Health System team has thrived, consistently delivering excellence in care. Her leadership has fostered an environment of collaboration, trust, and compassion, ensuring that every patient receives the highest quality of care possible.
Jonell began her academic journey at Pearl River Community College, obtaining an associate’s degree in nursing and a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Loyola University New Orleans. Recognizing the importance of staying at the forefront of the rapidly evolving healthcare field, she pursued a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2002. This advanced degree further enhanced her leadership capabilities and deepened her expertise in nursing administration, preparing her to oversee nursing operations at Northlake Behavioral Health System effectively. With her diverse educational background, Jonell brings a well-rounded perspective to her role, leveraging her knowledge and skills to drive excellence, promote patient-centered care, and contribute to the ongoing advancement of the nursing profession.
Throughout her illustrious career, Jonell King has received numerous prestigious awards, underscoring her commitment to excellence in nursing. In 2013, the Northshore District Nurses Association honored her with the Outstanding Registered Nurse Recognition Award. This accolade is a testament to Jonell’s exceptional clinical skills, compassionate patient care, and unwavering dedication to her profession. Additionally, in 1996, Jonell was recognized by the New Orleans District Nurses Association as one of the Great 100 Nurses in the state of Louisiana. This esteemed recognition celebrates the top nursing professionals who exemplify outstanding leadership, innovation, and healthcare contributions. These awards highlight Jonell’s exceptional nursing abilities and her impactful contributions to the nursing community. Her commitment to providing high-quality care and making a positive difference in the lives of her patients and colleagues has solidified her as a trusted and respected figure in the nursing profession.
Assistant Director of Nursing
Michael Zeringue is the Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON) at Northlake Healthcare Center. In this position, Michael is pivotal in overseeing and managing the nursing department, ensuring the highest standards of care, and supporting the nursing staff in delivering exceptional patient outcomes.
Michael’s journey in healthcare began after graduating from Our Lady of the Lake College in 2005, where he earned his nursing degree. After graduation, Michael gained invaluable experience working in various healthcare settings. He started his career in Long-Term Acute Care (LTAC), where he honed his skills in managing complex patient cases and providing specialized care. He then transitioned to a position in Med/Surg, further expanding his general medical and surgical nursing expertise.
In 2019, Michael joined the Northlake Behavioral Health System team as a charge nurse. His exceptional clinical skills, leadership qualities, and dedication to patient care quickly propelled him into the Assistant Director of Nursing role in January 2023. With over a decade of experience in nursing leadership roles, his expertise lies in developing and implementing effective nursing strategies, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, and fostering a positive and efficient work environment. Michael is known for his compassionate and empathetic approach toward patient care. He strongly emphasizes building trust and rapport with patients and their families, ensuring their needs and concerns are met.
In recognition of his exceptional contributions to the nursing field, Michael was honored with the prestigious 2022 Northshore District Nursing Association Nursing Excellence Award. This accolade is a testament to Michael’s outstanding dedication to patient care, leadership skills, and commitment to professional excellence. The Nursing Excellence Award highlights his significant impact on the nursing profession and his ongoing efforts to provide exceptional patient care.
Director of Integrative Therapy
Sean Richardson is the Director of Integrative Therapies. In his current role, Sean oversees the Integrative Therapies Department, utilizing the transformative power of music therapy and other modalities to enhance the well-being and healing of patients.
Sean earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Sociology from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. Sean completed the Music Therapy Equivalency Program at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia, followed by an MT-BC (Music Therapist- Board Certified) certification.
Before joining Northlake, Sean worked as the Creative Arts Coordinator in Georgia, providing support and enrichment to adults with developmental disabilities. Sean’s career at Northlake began in 2015, initially serving as a dedicated Music Therapist. Sean was promoted to Director of Integrative Therapies in 2019, demonstrating exceptional proficiency and expertise.
Through effective leadership and a deep understanding of the therapeutic potential of the arts, Sean continues to drive the development and implementation of innovative programs that positively impact the lives of those in his care.