Sierra Tucson Appoints New Director of Nursing

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Leader in behavioral and mental health care promotes nursing staff from within

Sierra Tucson, an internationally renowned leader in behavioral and mental health care, has promoted Karla Synkelma, RN, to director of nursing. Synkelma served as assistant director of nursing at Sierra Tucson since July 2011.

In her new role, Synkelma is responsible for developing and introducing new clinical and educational programs in an effort to uphold the high level of professional proficiency and care at Sierra Tucson. She also oversees a team of 60 registered nurses.

“Those who have worked with Karla know her to be a dedicated, compassionate and thoughtful nurse,” said Michael Genovese, MD, JD, chief medical officer at Sierra Tucson. “I am impressed by the creativity and vision she has for the future of Sierra Tucson and will continue to rely on her wonderful insight.”

After serving as a nurse for more than 10 years at Sierra Tucson, Synkelma took on the role of interim director of nursing and was promoted to assistant director of nursing shortly thereafter. She was instrumental in developing the role of resource nurse and training the nursing staff on medication management, as well as served on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and the Performance Improvement Team.

Synkelma received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Montana State University and became a registered nurse through the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona.

About Sierra Tucson

For 32 years, Sierra Tucson’s longstanding legacy of clinical excellence and compassionate care has resulted in recovery for those struggling with substance use disorders, trauma-related issues, eating disorders, chronic pain, and mood and anxiety disorders. A multidisciplinary team of professionals utilizes a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to ensure accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment. Sierra Tucson combines integrative and experiential therapies with evidence-based practices to provide a full range of treatment modalities. Patients receive the resources, support, and tools necessary for long-term change, including one full year of continuing care and a lifetime of alumni services. For more information, call 800-842-4487 or visit


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Jessica Pridonoff
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