Meet Our Dedicated Care Team

Equipped with thorough experience and anchored by compassion. Our team at Palmer Lake is made up of medical professionals who know the road to recovery themselves and can assist at a variety of care levels.

Dr. Robert Ochsner

Medical Director

A native of Colorado, Dr. Robert Ochsner completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder and graduated Magna Cum Laude in erythropoietin (EPO) biology with a minor in biochemistry.

Dr. Ochsner received a Health Professions Scholarship through the United States Air Force and graduated medical school from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2007. He completed his family medicine residency at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. After completing residency, Dr. Oschner spent the next several years on tours to Yokota Air Base in Japan and Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, where he cared for active duty military members, their dependents and retirees. 

Dr. Ochsner worked traditional outpatient family medicine with Kaiser Permanente before joining Recovery Village at Palmer Lake in February 2016. He has worked exclusively in the addiction treatment field since.

Shannon Smithwick, RN, MSN

Nursing Director

Shannon Smithwick is The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake’s nursing director. She focuses her efforts on patient welfare as she leads the nursing staff and supports the executive team. She is dedicated to improving client care through risk management and positive leadership. Before leading the team at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, Shannon Smithwick graduated with a master’s degree, followed by being promoted as a health services administrator. Shannon works to strengthen her nursing and leadership abilities through additional training and skill development to offer the best service to her clients.  

Michael Hunter

Executive Director

Michael Hunter has been helping those struggling with addiction for over twenty years. In addition to providing direct client care, he has worked in executive roles across a variety of health care settings. He has helped integrate behavioral health care into primary medical care facilities, served as C.O.O. for an electronic health records company, and collaborated with medical clinics to improve quality-based reimbursement models.

Michael is also a member of MINT, the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and advocates for effective, evidence-based approaches to substance use treatment. He has trained hundreds of therapists in utilizing Motivational Interviewing skills in medical settings.

Stephen Perme

Clinical Director

Stephen Perme is the clinical director at The Recovery Village Palmer Lake. With more than 18 years of experience in treating mental health and substance use disorders, he has incorporated evidence-based techniques, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, in helping individuals of all age groups better manage their co-occurring disorders.

While working as a case manager, he earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, in 1999. Afterward, Stephen worked as a licensed psychotherapist in Denver until 2005, when he became the clinical director and clinical supervisor at various treatment centers. From 2005 to 2010, he taught and facilitated meditation classes as the volunteer director of the Palm Beach Shambhala Meditation Group. He’s also volunteered as a caregiver in hospice and nursing homes.