About Us

Susan B. Drelick, MA: Psychologist

Susan obtained her BA in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and her MA in Counseling Psychology from Slippery Rock University. She has worked in community mental health in both Venango and Clarion counties as well as Philadelphia since 1974. She worked six years at what is now UPMC Northwest on the inpatient psychiatric unit, doing psychological evaluations as well as conducting individual, group, and family therapy. Susan joined Rural Mental Health Associates, Inc in 1995, where she works with clients of all ages and varying diagnostic categories, including eating disorders and ADHD. She particularly enjoys doing family therapy, having been trained through the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center rural outreach program. She also serves on the Venango County Mental Health Disaster Response Team. Susan is married and has two daughters.

Ronald I. Palmer, MA: Psychologist

Ron graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1983 where he obtained his Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. He previously served in the Air Force. He worked for 10 years at the Franklin Regional Medical Center (now UPMC Northwest), Family Practice Center as a faculty member to the Family Practice Program and in the Behavioral Health Department. Ron joined Donald Hazlett, M.D. Psychiatrist in 1993 when Rural Mental Health Associates, Inc was originated. He treats adults and older adolescents with a wide variety of psychological issues. Ron has a special interest in marital/relationship therapy, anger management issues, and problems with codependence. Ron is involved with Easter Seals both on a regional and national level. He and his wife are the parents of three children.

Kay Gordon-Brewster, LCSW: Social Worker

Kay earned her BA from Penn State and her MSW from the University of Denver in 1985. She has a wide range of social work experience in the field of mental health. Her other areas of interest include chronic pain, chronic illness, grief and loss. Kay is also sensitive to cross-cultural issues. Kay joined Rural Mental Health Associates, Inc in 1994 and continues her clinical work with persons from ages three to 92. She particularly enjoys working with senior citizens as well as children and their families. Kay specializes in the area of grief and loss and also serves as mental health consultant for Twin Creeks Head Start.

John Rila, LCSW: Social Worker

John earned his BS in Psychology at the University of South Dakota in 1977 and his Masters of Social Work from Ohio State University in 1986. John has worked in various mental health facilities over the years. He joined Rural Mental Health Associates, Inc in February 2009 and works at both of our locations, Oil City and Shippenville. He sees client of all ages and various presenting problems, including depression, anxiety, and OCD with a special interest in chronic mental illness. John is married and resides in the Franklin area.

Sallie Richards, PsyD:

Sallie graduated summa cum laude with her BA in psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College. She completed both her MA in Psychology and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) at Marshall University. She completed an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship at Berea Children's Home and Family Services near Cleveland, OH where she conducted psychological evaluations and provided office-based, in-home, and school-based outpatient therapy to children, adolescents, adults, and families. Sallie has also worked at a juvenile correctional facility and an inpatient psychiatric hospital serving adults with chronic and severe mental illness and/or substance dependence issues. Sallie works with clients of all ages with various presenting problems and diagnoses, including but not limited to affective disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. She is a member of the APA and the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA). She and her husband are the proud "parents" of two rescue puppies.

Melissa Whitling-Wise, LPC

Melissa obtained her BS in Psychology from Clarion University of PA and her MA in Community Counseling from Slippery Rock University of PA. She has worked in community mental health in both Venango and Clarion Counties over the past twenty years. Melissa treats clients of all ages and various problems including: depression, anxiety, blended family issues, trauma, abuse and problems with co-dependency. She is presently in training through Penn State University to become a registered play therapist. She and her husband reside in Oil City, PA.