Coastal Carolina Neuropsychiatric Center

200 Tarpon Trail

Jacksonville, NC 28546


Our Medical Team


Mr. James received his Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. He completed intensive training through 3 years of clinical study and practicum with a concentration of psychiatric/mental health issues in preparation for the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner board certification.

Mr. James worked in the area of mental health as a registered nurse for almost 13 years prior to finishing the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program. He has experience in both outpatient and inpatient psychiatric settings. As a family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, Mr. James works with people of all ages.


Dr. Ash Mikhail graduated from medical school at Alexandria University. He completed his Adult Psychiatry Residency at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center and Columbia University, and then continued on to Dartmouth Medical School to complete a residency in Child Psychiatry. Board certified in Adult and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Mikhail has published several articles in peer reviewed professional journals, and participated in a number of research studies. He currently serves as the Medical Director of Duplin General Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit and Brynn Marr Hospital.

Dr. Mikhail has concentrated his efforts on improving the availability and delivery of mental health services in Onslow and surrounding counties. His focus is providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based psychiatric treatments and reducing the stigma of mental health and its impact on our community.

Ash Mikhail, MD

CEO / Medical Director

Ms. Belanger comes to us with a diverse background with cumulative of 30 years as a LPN, RN and advanced practice RN/FNP with board certification in family medicine rewarded through the American nurses credentialing center. Ms. Belanger received her Master of Science in nursing from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina in 2000. She completed intensive training of clinical study and practicum to prepare her for the family nurse practitioner board certification. Her program placed special emphasis on serving those populations who face barriers to access to care. In keeping with her commitment to our patients and our community, Ms. Belanger has been awarded a post-masters certification in Family Mental Health Psychiatry from the University of South Alabama in Mobile Alabama in December of 2010 and earned Board Certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Board Certifying ANCC.

Prior to her joining the staff at CCNC, Ms. Belanger has worked as a FNP in the urgent care/emergency room setting, clinical oncology, family medicine, and outpatient/inpatient psychiatric settings. She has contributed to educating nursing students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as an associate clinical professor in women’s health care.

Ms. Belanger is affiliated with Sigma Theta Tau-Beta Nu and Zeta Gamma chapters of the National Nurse’s Honor Society, the American Nurses Association, and North Carolina Nurses Association, American College of Clinicians, Eastern Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Council, and Phi Kappa Phi of East Carolina University.

Melvin W James II, PHMNP-BC

Marie Belanger, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC

Ms. Hardin received her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2005. She also received a Masters degree in Adult Education with a focus in Healthcare Delivery Systems and Gerontology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2003. She is a Board Certified Physician Assistant in the State of North Carolina and maintains her certification through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Jessica is affiliated with the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants. She is also a lifelong member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Fraternity.

She joined the medical staff of Coastal Carolina Neuropsychiatric Center under the supervision of Dr. Ash Mikhail in May 2008.

Jessica has a particular interest in the geriatric population and the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, however, she is knowledgeable in the diagnosis and treatment of patients of all age ranges—pediatric, adolescent, adult and older adult—all of whom she has treated since 2005.

Dr. Veeragandham graduated from Siddhartha Medical College and Research Institute affiliate of University of Health Sciences in India. He completed his Adult Psychiatry residency at the Nassau University Medical Center and Child Psychiatry fellowship at Elmhurst Hospital Center, NY. He is the chief resident in child psychiatry fellowship and board certified in adult psychiatry through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Following completion of his residency and fellowship training, he moved to NC and worked for more than eight years with South Eastern Regional Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, LME, Lumberton, NC. He carried hospital privileges at South Eastern Regional Medical Center. He had several years experience in treating chronic treatment resistance conditions including mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders in both children and adults.

Jessica Hardin, PA-C

Ajay Veeragandham, MD

Ms. Dew received her Master’s of Science Degree and post-graduate family nurse practitioner certification from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She has worked in primary care for more than 10 years serving patients from newborns to older age adults with health care screenings and prenatal care to acute and chronic illnesses. Her primary care experiences have included public health with the goal of increasing access and providing healthcare in the most cost effective manner. Prior to her role as a family nurse practitioner, Ms. Dew was a nursing instructor at Sampson Community College in Clinton, North Carolina for 11 years. Ms. Dew has worked with Coastal Carolina Neuropsychiatric Center since 2007 in primarily inpatient psychiatric care settings. She maintains National Certification by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Ms.Dew is currently pursuing a Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate with the University of South Alabama.


Andrew received his Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC in 2012.  Previously, he studied Recreational Therapy at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at East Carolina University, where his accomplishments included leading a 2,000 participant research study providing substance abuse related counseling services under the supervision of a psychologist, as well as teaching college courses on group counseling techniques.  Andrew served for one year as the Co-Coordinator of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association National Mental Health Treatment Network before going on to work as a recreational therapist leading group counseling sessions at the inpatient behavioral health until at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC for two years before entering the Physician's Assistant Master's program.  He also served as assistant coordinator of a day treatment program for at-risk youth.


Andrew has a particular interest in depression and substance abuse related disorders but is knowledgeable in the treatment of a broad range of diagnoses in a variety of age groups.  He is a Board Certified Physician Assistant in the State of North Carolina and maintains his certification through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.  Andrew joind the medical staff of Coastal Carolina Neuropsychiatric Center, PA, under the supervision of Dr. Ash Mikhail in March 2013.


Dr. Antonio Cusi, MD is a board certified psychiatrist for Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He trained at Michigan State University for his Adult Psychiatry and MSU/Fairlawn Center for his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship.  He was also the chief resident and a clinical instructor at the same institution.  He also worked at St.Joseph's Mercy Hospital in New Baltimore, Mi and was in a group practice in Square Lake Psychiatric and Counselling Center in Bloomfield, MI. He later moved to Fayetteville,NC  and was the Medical Director of the Child and Adolescent Units at Cumberland Hospital in Fayetteville,NC.  He was later named the Medical Director of Cumberland Hospital.  He also was the medical director for the Adult Partial Program for Cumberland Hospital.  While holding these positions, Dr. Cusi maintained a private practice.  He later devoted his full time of clinical work in an outpatient private practice setting before joining fulltime with Coastal Carolina.  He has a long list of patients that he has developed a clinical relationship with through the years that he hopes to follow him in this transition.  He also held a clinical instructor position for the Physicians Assistant's program at Methodist University in Fayetteville. Dr. Cusi enjoys sharing his clinical experience with his colleagues and other clinicians through  lectures and promotional speaking engagements.  His particular interest in Psychiatry is broad ranged but always welcomes a challenging case.

Antonio Cusi, MD

Delores Brown MD is fellowship trained in Adult and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  She is adept at developing team based approaches to difficulties in home, school, work and social life areas where the individual has had problems, often before being diagnosed with a mental illness. Involvement of the family and community is instrumental in ensuring continued mental health.


Dr. Brown was a National Merit Semifinalist and has an undergraduate degree in psychology, magna cum laude, from Texas Christian University. After working for several years in corporate management and human resources, she attended medical school at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  Dr. Brown completed her internship and residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University of New Mexico. She has worked primarily in acute and residential treatment, with some outpatient practice as well. Her particular interest is working with children and adolescents, especially since research has shown that many mental illnesses have an onset much earlier than was previously thought. Early treatment can prevent further difficulties in academic, social, and family life, improving prognosis dramatically.  Addressing the multiple domains of family/marital, substance abuse, and employment/school difficulties requires that mental health providers work collaboratively to identify problems as well as the best approach to solving these problems. Furthermore, it is important to teach an individual to understand his or her mental illness, so that future exacerbations can be treated early, thereby preventing relapse.

Dorinda Dew, PMHNP-BC

Lourdes Illa-Sanchez, MD

Dr. Illa-Sanchez is Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She received her medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. She completed her Adult Psychiatry Residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship training at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami. Upon completing her training, Dr. Illa-Sanchez joined the Faculty at the University of Miami, where she held various leadership positions in residency training and clinical psychiatry.  She has also participated in clinical research and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. The focus of her clinical work has been on providing psychiatric assessment and treating children, adolescents and young adults diagnosed with psychiatric disorders as well as those living with co-occurring medical disorders, including HIV.  Relocating to North Carolina for family reasons, Dr. Illa-Sanchez is pleased to provide psychiatric care to military families and members of the local community.


Delores Brown, MD

Andrew Lytton, PA-C

Dr. Kahler is board-certified in Adult Psychiatry and fellowship trained in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She received her M.D. from New York Medical College, and received her adult psychiatry training at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Kahler completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at New York University, working at both NYU Hospitals and Bellevue Hospital.  She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Kahler has experience in a wide variety of clinical settings and loves working with children. She treats patients of all ages and is dedicated to providing comprehensive, evidence-based, and compassionate care to all of her patients.


Sharon Kahler, MD

Robert Andy Ayers, PA-C

Robert Andy Ayers received his Masters degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA in 2011. He was selected to serve as student representative on the Phoenix Committee which was responsible for assisting students and staff with substance abuse  or other mental health issues.  Prior to this he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel for undergraduate studies majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.  While at UNC he was a Stanley Scholar Fellow and participated in Neuroscience research leading to the publication of two peer reviewed journal articles. He was also a member of Psi Chi national honor society in Psychology.  Upon graduation he worked as a counselor technician at a state training school for adjudicated youth offenders.  He then received a Masters degree in School Psychology from Western Carolina University and worked as a School Psychologist for Cumberland County Schools for 7 years providing psychological, educational and behavioral evaluations for at risk and disabled students.  Prior to joining CCNC he worked as a Physician Assistant primarily in Psychiatry in both inpatient hospital settings as well as an outpatient office setting.

He joined CCNC in February 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Cusi.  He is a Board Certified Physician Assistant in the State of North Carolina and maintains his Certification through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.  He is also pursuing a Certificate of Advanced Qualification in Psychiatry also maintained through the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.



Mario Sanchez-Martinez, MD, FASAM, ABDA, AAEP

Dr. Sanchez-Martinez is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Neurology as well as Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. He received his medical degree from Universidad Central del Este. He completed his Adult Psychiatry Residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami, where he subsequently further trained in Geriatric, Addiction and Emergency Psychiatry. After completing his training, he joined the faculty at the University of Miami, where he worked as an Attending Psychiatrist in one of the busiest psychiatric emergency rooms in the nation as well as served as the Psychiatry/Addiction Attending on the UM multi-organ Transplant Team.  Dr. Sanchez-Martinez was active in training residents and medical students and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. After several years, he transitioned to private practice, while remaining active in academic medicine, serving as the Initial Program

Director for a Psychiatry Residency Program at Nova Southeastern University School of Osteopathic Medicine.  Motivated by personal and family reasons, Dr. Sanchez-Martinezs search for a change in lifestyle led him to Eastern North Carolina, where he is delighted to be providing psychiatric care to both the military and local communities.