Helping Individuals Find a Path to Healthier Living

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Meet Our Clinical Team

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Aaron Albert, MD FAPA

Medical Director

Dr. Albert is a board certified psychiatrist and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and completed a psychiatry residency at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.  Dr. Albert is a general psychiatrist with a special interest in treating substance abuse disorders. 

Jessica Smith


Clinical Director

Jessica earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UNCW in 2009 and a Master's Degree in Counseling from Liberty University in 2013.  She is a  LCAS (Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist). She has extensive experience working in inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment programs in Wilmington, NC. Jessica has lived in Wilmington, NC for over 10 years and loves spending time with her husband, son, and golden retriever.

Eugene E. Kaplan


Certified Substance 

Abuse Counselor

Eugene grew up in Ohio, but moved to North Carolina in 1995.  He received his Associates degree from Central Piedmont Community College in 2008.  He worked as a substance abuse counselor at New Beginnings in Charlotte for 7 years, then moved to Oak Island in 2015, where he lives with his wife and our dog. Being a substance abuse counselor is my passion.

Sandra McKeever, RN

Registered Nurse

Sandra has been in Wilmington for more than 20 years.  She spent most of her career as a Surgical Trauma Nurse.  Sandra has watched the drug epidemic among young people and wanted to make a difference in our community.  She joined Launch Pad Wellness as a nurse, health educator and to act as the admissions coordinator for our program.  Sandra is one of the first contact individuals will make at Launch Pad Wellness.  She has a true passion for this work and loves that she is helping individuals with substance abuse issues.   

Patrice Ray, CSAC

Intake Coordinator & Financial Administrator

Patrice has experience working in outpatient substance use treatment programs in Wilmington NC for 9 years.  She also has experience with providing DUI services,  She has lived in the community for over 25 years.  Patrice lives spending time with her husband and two sons as well as gardening.

Travis Smeltzer, MA LPC, LCAS-A

Licensed Practical Counselor & Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist

Travis is originally from Charlotte, NC but came to Wilmington, NC to attend UNCW, finishing his BA in Psychology in 2008 with a Minor in Music. While working on his degree at UNCW, Travis studied Neuroscience and Neurogenesis in a research lab on campus which sparked his desire to understand the brain mechanisms behind addiction. Travis continues to acquire knowledge to help educate patients on this topic and has a year of experience lecturing on the subject. Travis completed his Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2015, graduating with High Distinction. Travis is a LCAS-A (Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist- Associate). In Travis’ free time he enjoys training for Triathlons and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has been in Wilmington for 14 years.

Launch Pad Wellness is an outpatient substance abuse treatment program located in Wilmington, North Carolina (NC).  We offer a continuum of care designed to help individuals begin their journey to long term recovery.  Please see out Treatment Services page for more information or contact us to answer any questions you may have.