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Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Meet the Team at Cedar Hills

Our leadership team is comprised of a wide variety of professionals with unique backgrounds who all share a dedication to helping patients heal and learn to overcome obstacles.

David Melear, MS, M.ED.

David Melear, MS, M.ED.
Chief Executive Officer

David Melear brings more than 30-years of experience in the mental health and substance use treatment field, with 19 of those serving in executive leadership. David entered the field as direct-care staff and discovered a passion for caring for those in need. Through this passion he advanced to the positions of Executive Director, COO and CEO over the course of his career.

David is recognized for his commitment to successful outcomes that result from collaboration, an inspired culture, and a relentless determination for growth and development. “I believe in the power of team and setting of high standards that all of us work together to accomplish,” said Melear. “Every member of the team is important and vital to our patient-first mindset.”

“I am excited to return to Oregon as a professional working in this field” said Melear. “Cedar Hills Hospital & Outpatient Services excels at providing services to Oregonians and those within our region. I feel it an honor to work together with other community and state partners to elevate access and provision of care for the growing population needing care.” Melear believes that it will take all providers within the state to unite for us to support the needs of those who struggle. “Our work cannot be accomplished alone – we must combine our strengths and talents to help connect treatment to those who are in need. Serving people must be our utmost priority and cause.”

David holds master’s degrees in education and human resource management. He is highly grateful for the amazing, talented people that have influenced his professional development and feels indebted to our work because of their example. David grew up in Oregon and always knew he would one day return home. David is supported unconditionally by his brilliant and beautiful wife of 32 years. They were married in Oregon and feel their return to this amazing state as a full-circle moment.

Alex Drilling
Director of Outpatient Services

Alex Drilling, MHA has worked at Cedar Hills Hospital since 2011, having served in both coordinator and management roles with the Cedar Hills Hospital Outpatient Department prior to becoming the Director of Outpatient Services in 2018. Alex received bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Portland State University, and his Master of Healthcare Administration from Walden University. As a native Oregonian and Portlander, Alex has a passion for the outdoors, spending time with his family, and rooting for the Blazers.

Joan Marie Onnagan
Director of Performance Improvement

Joan Marie currently serves as the Performance Improvement Director at Cedar Hills Hospital. She started her career in healthcare as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2010 and soon pursed her interest in medical records when the opportunity arose. With a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, she applied her strong clinical background and practical knowledge and has earned this Director role. Joan Marie has served as HIM manager elsewhere, managing busy long term and subacute skilled nursing facilities Health Information Departments. She is new to Oregon having relocated from California. She spends her days off travelling, staying physically active exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Karen Phifer, LCSW
Director of Clinical Services

Karen Phifer, LCSW joins the leadership team at Cedar Hills Hospital as the new Director of Clinical Services. Phifer is in charge of ensuring successful day-to-day clinical operations, discharge processes, and delivery of clinical services in the hospital.

Prior to joining Cedar Hills Hospital, Phifer was the program manager at Legacy Health’s CARES Northwest, a unified, community-based medical program founded in 1987 whose efforts focus on the assessment, treatment and prevention of child abuse. During her 16 years at CARES, Phifer led the day-to-day of the multi-million dollar program and was responsible for the development and implementation of new programs. She is an alum of Portland State University School of Social Work.

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, substance abuse or psychiatric distress, please call us at 503-944-5000 for a no-cost, confidential assessment. We cannot offer diagnosis, counseling or recommendations online, but professionals are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are currently experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.