Governance of the Institute

The Institute for Addiction Recovery is an affiliate of the Center for Public Policy within the Rhode Island College Foundation.


Sandra Puerini Del Sesto, M.Ed, CPSS, advocate, educator and consultant in substance abuse and its prevention for more than 30 years, is the Institute's first Director. Ms. Del Sesto has trained throughout the United States and has served on numerous national and local committees dedicated to the advancement of addiction services and recovery issues, including the Governor's Council on Behavioral Healthcare, the Northeast Center for the Application of Prevention Technology and the IC&RC, the international board which certifies persons working in the addictions field. She is the co-founder of Initiatives for Human Development, a statewide substance abuse prevention agency; the Rhode Island Teen Institute, a prevention initiative that trains youth leaders; CODAC, a statewide substance abuse treatment agency; and the Rhode Island Prevention Alliance.

Julie Gilbert, a graduate of both the Psychology and Chemical Dependency and Addiction Studies Programs at Rhode Island College is the Institute's Administrative Assistant. She has been with the Institute for the past year and also works with autistic children through Bradley Hospital.

Steering Committee

Dorothy Bianco, PhD, is an Associate Professor Emerita in Psychology at Rhode Island College. Dr. Bianco earned her PhD from the University of Rhode Island in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Addiction Studies. She spent thirty-five years in research on family systems in addiction, program development and evaluation, and in the education, training and certification of drug and alcoholism professionals in New England. She is a National Institute on Drug Abuse and a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Certified Trainer. She is a founding member of the RI Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals and an author of the Chemical Dependency and Addiction Studies program at the College and its first Clinical Director. Dr. Bianco has trained both nationally and locally and has mentored many addiction and recovery professionals throughout her years in the field.

Stephen Gumbley, MA, LCDP, has specialized in substance abuse education, prevention and treatment since 1988 and has served as clinical supervisor and program director in a variety of treatment settings. He is presently the Associate Director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center of New England at Brown University. A person in long-term recovery, Mr. Gumbley is a nationally-recognized trainer, an adjunct faculty member in the Chemical Dependency and Addiction Studies program in the Department of Psychology at Rhode Island College, and has taught in the Graduate School at Assumption College and at the Community College of Rhode Island. He has published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and Addiction Professionals.

Ian Knowles, is the Director of RI Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts (RI CARES), an advocacy group. He previously worked for 38 years at the Department of Mental Health, Retardation & Hospitals in the Division of Substance Abuse and, most recently, as the Department's Administrator of Community Services. He has also worked as a substance abuse counselor at a community based agency. Ian has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from URI and is presently matriculated at URI with a double major in Journalism/Writing and Rhetoric.

Robin K. Montvilo, PhD, RN, is a professor of psychology at Rhode Island College and the current director of its Chemical Dependency and Addiction Studies Program. She has researched and published extensively on developmental issues across the lifespan. Dr. Montvilo is also a clinical nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence.

Susan A. Storti, PhD, RN, CARN-AP, is the former Director of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center of New England, and currently serves as the Project Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Blending Research and Practice initiative. Dr. Storti has lectured internationally and published extensively in addiction studies. She is adjunct faculty at Rhode Island College and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Page last updated: August 25, 2011