Brain Injury Specialists was established in 2004 to meet the needs for a Home and Community program in the Ventura County area. Our focus is on increasing functional independence in the Home and Community, and return to gainful employment where indicated. The founding members together have over 35 years of experience in the treatment and management of neurologically impaired clients. Additionally we have extensive experience treating individuals with a catastrophic physical injury.
Meet our Staff
Nancy Porcella, MA, SLP
Clinical Director, Bilingual Speech/Cognitive Specialist
Nancy is a Speech Pathologist specializing in brain injury rehabilitation with over 30 years of experience working in a variety of settings. Nancy co-founded BIS in 2004 and has been the Clinical Director for the past 11 years, providing Home and Community services throughout the greater Ventura County area. Prior to this she was a senior speech-cognitive specialist for Head Injury Rehabilitation Services for 17 years, where she founded the Spanish Services Program, providing Home and Community and work re-integration to both Spanish and English speaking clients throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Early on in her career, Nancy had extensive experience in neurorehabilitation at Northridge Hospital, where, as a member of the brain injury treatment team, she worked with patients from coma to community and participated in the development of the TGI Care Day Treatment Program for persons with brain injuries.
Lisa Jones, MS, OTR/L
Director of Occupational Therapy
Lisa Jones has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years in a variety of settings. She has worked in an inpatient setting in both acute care and rehabilitation with a large range of experiences including establishing a cardiac rehabilitation program, a work capacity and work hardening program for Chronic Pain and back injuries, establishing a high quadriplegia program in a rehabilitation hospital, performing video swallow studies at Cedars Sinai Hospital, as well as being a Clinical Specialist in Brain Injury at Cedars. She has been providing Home and Community rehabilitation services to both English and Spanish speaking clients for over 25 years, first as the Director of Occupational Therapy for Head Injury Rehabilitation Services and then with Brain Injury Specialists for the last 10 years. She has many years of experience helping clients with both return to driving and return to work.
Lisa Vincelette, MPT
Director of Physical Therapy and Bilingual Physical Therapist
Lisa Vincelette, Physical Therapist, has twenty years of experience in assisting individuals with physical and neurological injuries to regain their independence through physical therapy modalities. Lisa co-founded Brain Injury in 2004 with a mission to provide an individually tailored and comprehensive treatment program for clients in their homes, community and work environments. In addition to her many years working in Home and Community, Lisa has also worked in several clinical settings, including outpatient orthopedics. Lisa also has experience in conducting ergonomic evaluations and recommending and implementing strategies for both individuals and corporations. Lisa is fluent in Spanish. She received her Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences.
Celeste Racicot, M.Ed, CRC, CVE
Director of Case Management and Marketing
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Vocational Evaluator
Celeste Racicot is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with over thirty years’ experience working with the Home and Community reintegration model. Celeste has been case manager and marketing director with Brain Injury Specialists for the past decade. Early on in her career she worked in various settings, including Dingleton Hospital in Scotland, Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont, and St. Charles Hospital in New York. She has worked as a social therapist, counselor, case manager, cognitive therapist and manager. Since arriving in California in 2001, Celeste worked as lead case manager at Head Injury Rehabilitation Services, Operations Director and Vocational Counselor at The Canyon at Peace Park, Rehabilitation Counselor/ Executive Manager at Milestones Ranch Malibu, Rehabilitation Counselor at The Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Center, and Group Facilitator and Consultant/Advisor for the Brain Injury Center in Ventura County. Celeste is the 2011 recipient of the Stork Award, an award from Ventura County Brain Injury Center and the 2010 recipient of the California Brain Injury Association’s award for professionalism in the field of brain injury.
Cheri Fitzgerald, MPT
Cheri is a physical therapist with over 15 years of working with individuals with orthopedic and neurological conditions. For the past seven years Cheri has been providing Home and Community neurorehabilitation services with Brain Injury Specialists. Currently, Cheri is also overseeing program development, implementation of care plans, and treatment protocols for brain injured clients at an adult day health care center in Ventura County. Prior to her orthopedic work, Cheri worked as a physical therapist in both the inpatient and outpatient therapy settings at various facilities in Ventura County.
Richard Gonzales, MS, OTR/L
Richard Gonzales has been an Occupational Therapist specializing in brain injury neurorehabilitation for over 30 years. He has been working with Brain Injury Specialists since its inception in 2004. Richard began his career at Northridge Hospital Medical Center (NHMC) working in the rehabilitation unit, becoming Senior Therapist of the Brain Injury Team, and eventually moving into the clinical supervisor role of the OT Department. He developed their multi-disciplinary swallowing program and assisted in the development of NHMC’s brain injury day treatment program, TGICare. Richard left NHMC to help open a sub-acute facility that specialized in treating head injured patients who were slow to recover and required specialized care. For the past 25 years, Richard has been working in the Home and Community model, having worked with Head Injury Rehabilitation Services for several years, as well as home health agencies.
Xuan Ly, MA, SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Xuan is a Speech Language Pathologist who recently joined Brain Injury Specialists. Prior to coming to BIS, she had experience at Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS) providing inpatient and outpatient post-acute speech-language diagnostic and therapy services to adults and children with neurological injuries including TBI and stroke. Before that, she worked as a therapist and later as a Supervisor in pediatrics providing various methodologies including DIR/Floortime, Behavioral Intervention, Social Skills Group Therapy and community programs such as parent education programs and sibling workshops. She is bilingual, speaking both English and Vietnamese.
Irene Jarett, MA, SLP, CCC
Speech and Language Pathologist
Irene Jarett, M.A. is a speech and language pathologist with over 30 years of experience in neurorehabilitation. For the past 10 years, she has worked with Brain Injury Specialists providing Home and Community services to adults with neurological disorders. Irene is a former associate professor for the Communication Disorders and Sciences department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Prior to that, she was the Director of the Communication Disorders department at Northridge Hospital Medical Center managing staff and working with inpatients in the acute rehabilitation unit .