Our Team
The Force behind Amethyst Azul
Ivana Mitic

Yugoslavian-born, Ivana Mitić created an opportunity for a new beginning. When she became a recipient of a basketball scholarship in the United States, she knew that this would open a door to an interesting and one-of-a-kind journey. A journey, in which her talents would become useful to many lives she would touch. A journey, in which she will make a difference. She was determined not to allow her childhood experiences define her - her parents’ divorce and growing up in a war-torn country. Possessing a compassionate and empathetic soul, Ivana has dedicated her life to helping others get relief, find their voice, and reach for the stars. After seven years of practicing anesthesia, Ivana left the operating room. Deep down, Ivana knew that she could contribute much more to our society outside the operating room doors. At that time, Amethyst Azul was born. Ivana was able to reach her dreams through her hard work, dedication, and vision, but more importantly, with the assistance of helping angels, who came into her life and gave her wings. There were times in Ivana’s life when ramen noodles were a luxury. As a successful small business owner today, Ivana’s mission is to help those who need a hand, because, let’s be realistic – at some point we all needed an angel!

Board Member
Laura Parry

Laura is a steadfast believer in helping others. Having lived in many states and having been actively involved in the military community since 2011, she has a varied background in volunteer work and advocacy, as well as the nonprofit world. Laura has participated in equine therapy programs in both North Carolina and Virginia. She has also worked for Safe Military Housing Initiative as an executive administrator from 2019 to - present. Her work has tied into mental health issues experienced by active-duty military families and veterans across the nation. Laura is very passionate about ketamine therapy, particularly with those who have PTSD and anxiety. She hopes to continue spreading awareness for this treatment.

Board Member
Carrie Brayden

Carrie was born and raised in Baltimore. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villa Julie in 2002. Carrie has cared for patients in various healthcare settings, including critical care, telemetry, recovery room, endoscopy, and now outpatient surgery settings. Carrie was introduced to the outpatient use of intravenous ketamine when Ivana and Carrie worked together at a surgery center. Carrie has been touched by Ivana’s work and her mission to heal the community. Carrie has visited the clinic and had an opportunity to meet staff and some of the patients. She believes that the work Ivana does has an amazing impact on patients’ lives and the lives of their loved ones. Carrie looks forward to being a part of our mission at Amethyst Azul!

Board member
Sherry McDonald

As a Senior Program Manager and Electrical Engineer, Sherry McDonald has over 20 years of experience in the management of contracts for the federal government. In her most recent role, she managed a $450M/year contract and was responsible for the development, management, and monitoring of program financials including forecasting, profitability, invoicing, and expense. She has led Program Management Offices in all aspects of contract execution including performance, risk, staffing and quality. Ms. McDonald has over 15 years of business development experience including the development of strategies for and authoring of Management, Technical, and Pricing Volume responses for Government Request for Proposals (RFP). As a sufferer of Complex PTSD and treatment-resistant depression, she believes that ALL who need ketamine should have the ability to access it as a treatment option.

Board member
Nebojsa Zimonjic - Zima, MS, LCPC

Zima is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Maryland with years of clinical experience providing evaluation and treatment for children, adults, and families. Zima earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Frostburg State University. He also holds two Master of Science program certifications in Substance Abuse and Addictions and Child and Family Counseling. The majority of his career has been spent working for an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Cumberland, MD, and Annapolis, MD where he also serves as a Program Director. Zima is a published author and has presented at national conferences. Zima has seen the need for bringing mental health care to a new level and is very passionate about supporting our cause.

Board Member
Sarah J. Wheelan, MD, PhD

Dr. Wheelan completed medical school and a postdoctoral fellowship at John Hopkins School of Medicine. She currently holds a position of an Associate Professor of Oncology, Molecular Biology, and Genetics at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health and is a co-director for experimental and computational Genomics Core at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Wheelan has written seventy-three publications and has extensive knowledge and experience in grant writing. Dr. Wheelan has presented at a number of professional conferences in the United States and internationally. The most recent award that Dr. Wheelan received was John Hopkins University Professor Award for Teaching Excellence in Biomedical Science. Dr. Wheelan is a strong believer in the benefits of Ketamine use and believes in our cause at Amethyst Azul.

Board Member
Jeffrey Lafferman, MD

Dr Lafferman grew up in Baltimore and had an early interest in Psychiatry. Dr Lafferman graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1983 and trained in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland/ Baltimore Veterans Hospital in Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr Lafferman started a private practice which later developed into Windrush Behavioral Health, and during the course of his practice development, started psychiatric services at a number of facilities, including Levindale, Stella Maris, Harbor Hospital, and multiple nursing homes. More recently Dr Lafferman has turned his attention toward community Psychiatry, starting a community mental health clinic in the Arbutus area, Aspen Day Treatment. Dr. Lafferman is passionate about our cause because he believes that increased patient access to a variety of treatments will help our community.

Board Member
Anne Shippen, RN

Anne Shippen has worked in the nursing profession for over ten years, providing compassionate and skilled care to ICU patients at University of Maryland Medical Center, outpatient surgical patients, and patients suffering from chronic physical and mental pain. Anne currently works as Nurse Administrator at an outpatient surgical center. Anne is very excited to participate on the board of Amethyst Azul to actively assist in making care more accessible and to bring relief to a larger population.