Wake STEP Community Clinic - Wake


 John Gilmore, MD, Medical Director

John H. Gilmore, MD
Medical Director, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health

Dr. Gilmore is the Thad and Alice Eure Distinguished Professor and vice chair for Research and Scientific Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Dr. Gilmore started the Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP) in 1992. He is director of the UNC Schizophrenia Research Center and serves as principal investigator of several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

He is also a past president of the North Carolina Psychiatric Association.


Erica Arrington, MDErica Arrington, MD
Interim Medical Director

Erica Arrington, MD, joined the Center March 1, 2015 as clinical associate professor and medical director for the Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP) at the Carr Mill Community Clinic and currently serves an interim medical director at Wake STEP.  Additionally, she serves as medical director for the Critical Time Intervention program and provides clinical support to various other programs at the Center including the Community Resource Court and Hospital Transition teams.

Arrington received her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University in Biochemistry in 1993 and her medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1999.  She completed a residency in general psychiatry in 2002 and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry in 2004 from UNC and is board certified in both.

She brings extensive leadership and management experience to the Center. Previously, she was associate medical director at Alliance Behavioral Healthcare MCO, and medical director at Easter Seals UCP of North Carolina and Virginia, Inc.  She has also worked in areas of academics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the state mental hospital system at John Umstead Hospital (currently known as Central Regional Hospital), and managed care with Value Options. 

“We’re very excited to have Erica Arrington join the Center,” says John Gilmore, MD, director of the Center. “Her broad experience in almost all facets of public mental health will provide a nice framework for our ongoing efforts to improve care to those we serve in our community and across the state.”

 Arrington served as chair of the North Carolina Psychiatric Clinical Committee Association.  She currently serves as a member on the clinical advisory committees for both Alliance Behavioral Healthcare and Cardinal Innovations Behavioral Healthcare managed care organizations (MCO).  She also serves on the advisory board of the Center’s  N.C. CommunityMedical Directors' Network and is a board member for the Wake County Medical Society Community Health Foundation.

“I am incredibly honored and enthusiastic to be here at the Center to lend opportunity to advance community mental health care in the UNC system through evidence- based practices, while utilizing a strong team model with goals to benefit the needs of the individuals in our community,” she says. “I am excited to be working closely with leadership teams in implementation and treatment innovation that will move the Center forward in the future.”



Deborah Lawson 

Deborah Lawson, LCSW,  MSW, LMFT
Director of Clinical Services

Ms. Lawson Is the director of Clinical Services and is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her responsibilities include, supervising the daily activities of the Wake STEP Clinic and providing individual, couple, and family therapy to clients with severe and persistent mental illness as well as those with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and/or developmental disabilities. Her clinical interests include treatment of SPMI and incorporating friends or family members into treatment to educate and establish supportive relationships for those who have mental illness so that they can achieve stable, enjoyable, and productive lives.

Dr. Zack FeldmanZack Feldman, MD

Dr. Feldman  joined the team at the UNC STEP Community Clinic, Wake in January 2015.  He graduated from Duke Medical School and completed a  general psychiatry residency as well as child and adolescent psychiatry at UNC Medical School.


Margaret Gowens

Margaret Gowens, RN

Ms. Gowans graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO in 1984 with an associate degree in nursing. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse for over 30 years in psychiatric settings. These include: inpatient work on adult admissions, geriatric/medical, chemical dependency, forensic and ECT units in various hospitals including acting as house supervisor as needed, as an outpatient psychiatric drug study monitor, doing PASSAR assessments as a private contractor and as a clinic nurse in outside rounds in Central Prison serving those in segregation (solitary confinement).  From 2002 to 2013 Ms. Gowans worked as a nurse for Wake County Human Services and provided individual therapy, case management and assistance with finding and keeping housing, food, transportation and medical services for an 80 caseload.  She provided initial competency assessments for Wake County Adult Protective Services. Ms. Gowans has been a psychiatric/mental health nurse (ANCC) for over 20 years.


Katy Harper, PhDKaty Harper, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Harper  joined the UNC STEP Community Clinic, Wake in 2015.  She specializes in the psychological treatment of severe and persistent mental illness.  Previously, Dr. Harper completed an internship at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Canada and her graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the advisement of David Penn, Ph.D.  In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Harper has also participated in several research projects concerning psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia spectrum illnesses, as well as a trial of an Internet based CBT program for individuals who experience auditory hallucinations.


Leslie Hocking, MD

Leslie B. Hocking, MD

Dr. Hocking is a clinical professor in the UNC Department of Psychiatry and works at the UNC STEP Community Clinic in Wake County.   Previously, she provided inpatient care at John Umstead Hospital and Dorothea Dix Hospital. Most recently she  spent  more than 12 years at Wake Behavioral Health Services, seeing severely and persistently mentally ill patients in a community setting.  She has extensive experience with dually diagnosed, homeless, and geriatric populations, and has provided care in a clinic setting, patients’ homes,  and  in assisted living and nursing home facilities.  She attended Tufts University Medical School and completed her internship and psychiatric residency at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.  After four years serving as a psychiatrist in the U.S. Navy, she moved to North Carolina to complete a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Duke University.  As a member of the NC Psychiatric Association, Dr. Hocking served on the Ethics Committee for six  years and was chair for three years.  

Debbie Sutter, RN

Debbie Sutter, RN, joined the staff at the UNC Wake STEP Clinic in 2015, after working in the UNC Department of Psychiatry at the Chapel Hill location. She graduated from RN training in 1976 and has worked in various fields, including general hospital, nursing home, industry, case management, working with the intellectually disabled and for the past nine years, in psychiatry.  Since entering the psychiatry field, Ms. Sutter has worked at Central Regional Hospital (CRH, formerly John Umstead Hospital), Holly Hill Hospital and for UNC at the Wakebrook Inpatient Unit.  She was one of the RNs who helped to open the new Wakebrook Inpatient Unit in 2013.




Shannon WallaceShannon W. Wallace, LCSW, LCAS
Clinical Social Worker and Addiction Specialist

Ms. Wallace is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addictions specialist at the Wake STEP Clinic on Falstaff as well as at regional clinics in West Raleigh and Zebulon. Her clinical responsibilities include individual therapy and case management for adults diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) and co-occurring substance abuse disorders. Her clinical interests include the treatment of SPMI and co-occurring substance abuse disorders (individual and group therapy), minimizing the impact of substance abuse/dependence on the individual and family system, and treatment of those with a criminal background.


Wanda GarrettWanda Garrett, AAS,BSHA





Karen PetersonKaren M.  Peterson. MS
Administrative Associate
Admin Support/Scheduling