Boris Birmaher, M.D

Boris Birmaher, M.D

Boris Birmaher, M.D

Dr. Birmaher is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Birmaher is board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry, and has considerable expertise in open treatment and clinical trials of adolescents with mood disorders. He is an expert on child psychopharmacology and has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several clinical trials in early-onset mood and anxiety disorders. He has extensive clinical experience with this population

Rasim Somer Diler, M.D

Rasim Somer Diler, M.D

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Diler is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Child Psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and medical director of the inpatient Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services. Dr. Diler is board-certified in Psychiatry and has expertise in the assessment and treatment of pediatric-onset bipolar disorder. He has also participated in several research projects involving etiology, psychopharmacology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.

Dara Sakolsky

Dara Sakolsky

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Tina Goldstein, Ph.D.

Tina Goldstein, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Goldstein is a licensed psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh where she also serves as Director of Psychotherapy Training in Pediatric Mood Disorders and Co-Director of the Psychology Internship Training Program. Tina received her BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum (CABS) Clinical Research Group in 2006. She has committed her career to understanding and treating youth with, and at-risk for, mood disorders and suicide. In her role, she enjoys teaching, training, supervising, and conducting clinical research. Tina likes to run, play outside, and eat candy.

Danella Hafeman, M.D., Ph.D.

Danella Hafeman, M.D., Ph.D.

Child Psychiatry Fellow, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Hafeman is a Child Psychiatry Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She earned both her M.D. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Columbia University, where her dissertation focused on methodological issues surrounding causal inference in observational studies (under the mentorship of Dr. Sharon Schwartz). Upon graduation in May 2009, she began her clinical training in psychiatry at WPIC, as part of the Child Track and Research Track. While completing her clinical training, she has also gained experience in the analysis of functional neuroimaging data. Under the mentorship of Dr. Boris Birmaher and Dr. Mary Phillips, she has worked on the analysis of clinical and neuroimaging data from a multicenter cohort of youth selected for deficits in emotion regulation.

ASSOCIATED FACULTY

Julie Donohue, Ph.D.

Julie Donohue, Ph.D.

Professor of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Donohue is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Donohue has extensive experience examining cost effectiveness in mental health trials, including examination of the cost effectiveness of collaborative care for depression in bypass patients (R01HL070000, PI: Rollman). She is co-investigator on the WAVE Study, bringing her expertise on cost effectiveness analyses.

Peter L. Franzen, Ph.D.

Peter L. Franzen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Franzen is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and has ten years of experience conducting psychophysiological research on sleep and sleep disorders, as well as previous experience conducting fMRI studies in adolescents and young adults. Dr. Franzen leads the neuroimaging substudy of the WAVE study and served as co-PI on the BASS study.

Mary Phillips, M.D.

Mary Phillips, M.D.

Pittsburgh Foundation-Emmerling Endowed Chair in Psychotic Disorders and Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science

Dr. Phillips is an eminent contributor to brain imaging research in bipolar disorder. Her work focuses on understanding the nature of the specific abnormalities in neural systems underlying emotion processing which predispose individuals to mood disorders including bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. She has authored or co-authored over 230 publications, with a specific emphasis on the development of a comprehensive neurocognitive model of all components of emotion processing, to further understand the nature of the specific abnormalities in neural systems underlying emotion processing that predispose individuals to mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Philips collaborates on the neuroimaging substudy of WAVE, COBY, BIOS, and LAMS.

Melissa Saul, M.S.

Melissa Saul, M.S.

Director of Clinical Research Informatics Services, Department of Biomedical Informatics

Ms. Saul is Director of Clinical Research Informatics Services in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Saul has extensive experience with data extraction methods for clinical outcome indicators. She is co-investigator on the WAVE study, bringing her expertise to cost effectiveness analyses.

CLINICAL AND RESEARCH STAFF

Rachael Fersch-Podrat, L.C.S.W.

Rachael Fersch-Podrat, L.C.S.W.

Research Project Clinician

Rachael is a licensed social worker with thirteen years of experience working in the mental health field since obtaining a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. She has experience working on several psychosocial intervention studies for adolescents with bipolar disorder. She has also worked with children, adolescent and adult clients in a variety of settings including child advocacy, medical social work and various research studies related to children and families at the University of Pittsburgh. Rachael is currently working as a therapist and psychiatric evaluator for the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is trained in dialectical behavior therapy and motivational interviewing.

Nina Hotkowski, L.C.S.W.

Nina Hotkowski, L.C.S.W.

Research Project Clinician

Nina is a licensed clinical social worker with fourteen years of experience working in the mental health field. Nina obtained a BA in Psychology from Penn State University and a MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. Nina has worked with children and adolescents with a variety of emotional and behavioral issues in outpatient and inpatient settings. She also has experience working as a medical social worker with patients requiring critical and end of life care. Nina is currently working as a research clinician and provides therapy and psychiatric assessments for patients at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Services clinic. She is trained in a variety of therapy techniques including social systems theory, dialectical behavior therapy, interpersonal and social rhythms therapy, and motivational interviewing. Nina is particularly interested in how family relationships and psychosocial stressors affect the course of illness in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. On a personal note, Nina is a mother of three young boys and enjoys cooking, listening to music, reading, and spending time with her family.

Mary Kay Gill, M.S.N.

Mary Kay Gill, M.S.N.

Research Program Coordinator

Sarah Gratzmiller, B.A.

Sarah Gratzmiller, B.A.

Research Specialist, Child & Adolescent Sleep Lab

Sarah assists with coordination, administration, and data processng across several studies involving adolescents and young adults (WAVE, SIRA, NCANDA, SISTERS).  She is currently coordinating the neuroimaging component of Dr. Goldstein’s “Ways for Adolescents to Validate Emotions (WAVE)” study.

Ben Gibbons, BA.

Ben Gibbons, BA.

Research Specialist

Ben graduated from The George Washington University in 2017 with a BA in psychology. As an undergraduate, he collaborated with a research team at the University of Pennsylvania to study populations with gastric disorders, assisting in the development of a questionnaire that measures maladaptive attitudes toward food and eating. After graduating, Ben spent time as a clinical research coordinator at the Penn Mood and Anxiety Treatment and Research Program, acting as the primary coordinator for a study examining the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy as a treatment for depression. On a personal note, Ben enjoys traveling, playing music, and drinking coffee, having also worked as a barista at a Philadelphia-area cafe.

Beth Hafer, M. Ed.

Beth Hafer, M. Ed.

Research Coordinator

Beth is a Research Coordinator for the Ways for Adolescents to Validate Emotions (WAVE) study at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Services (CABS) clinic with Dr. Goldstein.  She started her work at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic in the Child & Adolescent Sleep Lab with Dr. Franzen.  Beth has worked on a variety studies involving children and young adults.  She received her Master’s degree in Education from Duquesne University and her undergraduate degree from Penn State. Overall, she has 25 years of experience working with children and their families in a variety of settings. On a personal note, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Chris Hoover, M.S.N.

Chris Hoover, M.S.N.

CABS Nurse

Christine is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic’s Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services. Christine earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her Master’s Degree in Psychiatric- Mental Health Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh. She is board- certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Jessica Levenson, Ph.D.

Jessica Levenson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar, Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine Program

Jessica is a clinical psychologist who specializes in sleep, mood disorders, and adolescent health. Jessica obtained a B.A. in Psychology with Honors from Brandeis University in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. Currently, Jessica is working as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine T32 program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the role of sleep in the development of emotional and behavioral problems, as well as treatment approaches for minimizing the negative consequences of disturbed sleep. Currently, Jessica is preparing a Career Development Award submission which proposes to develop an intervention to reduce insufficient sleep among typically-developing adolescents. In her clinical endeavors, Jessica has worked in outpatient settings with adults and adolescents who have a variety of sleep and mood disorders. Personally, Jessica enjoys cooking, watching sports, traveling, and spending time with her husband and family.

Aaron Jennings

Aaron Jennings

Program Manager

Kelly Monk

Kelly Monk

Research Coordinator

Amy Schlonski, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.

Amy Schlonski, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.

CABS Psychiatric Social Worker

Amy Schlonski is a licensed clinical social worker with 25 years of experience working in the mental health field. Amy obtained a BS in Child and Family Studies from Penn State University, a MSW from New Mexico State University, completed a one year post graduate course in cognitive behavioral therapy at the Cleveland Center for Cognitive Therapy and underwent 2 years of training in Structural Family Therapy at The Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. Amy has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, school-based, and family-based mental health programs. Amy has been working as a Child and Family Therapist in the CABS clinic since the clinic opened in 1996 and over the years has been involved in the implementation of research protocols utilizing manual based treatments for bipolar teens and their families. She is trained in a variety of therapy techniques including Family Focused Therapy (FFT), Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

 Sue Wassick

Sue Wassick

CABS Psychiatric Nurse

Tim Winbush, L.C.S.W.

Tim Winbush, L.C.S.W.

CABS Psychiatric Social Worker

Tim is a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania and is currently a Psychiatric Social Worker at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic’s Child and Adolescent Bipolar Clinic. He has been working with kids and adolescents in the mental health field for the past 27 years. He has worked in various mental health settings and programs, including residential treatment facilities, intensive outpatient partial clinics, school-based mental health program and served as a mental health consultant with a Student Assistance Program. His current responsibilities at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Clinic include serving as the lead intake coordinator, assessing children and adolescents, field supervisor for graduate students at University of Pittsburgh, Carlow University and Chatham University, maintaining an outpatient therapy caseload, and co-facilitated a monthly parent support group. Tim has two daughters and a son. He enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, taking the family dog on walks, doing garden work and going to baseball games

Raeanne Sylvester

Raeanne Sylvester

Research Project Assistant

Raeanne is a licensed social worker who currently works as a research project assistant for the COBY, WAVE, and KSADS-Computer studies.  She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and her master’s in social work also from the University of Pittsburgh.  Raeanne has past experience working with adults struggling with addiction and dual diagnoses in outpatient settings.  She also previously worked in an inpatient setting with adults primarily suffering from mood disorders.  She currently conducts research assessments for the COBY and KSADS-Computer studies and is a coordinator for the WAVE study.  She hopes to help promote mental health awareness and acceptance and reduce stigma.  In her free time, Raeanne enjoys binge-watching Netflix and HBO, and spending time with family and friends.

Fangzi Liao

Fangzi Liao

Database Manager

Fangzi has more than 9 years of service at UPMC and in 2009 she started at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Service Research Program under Dr. Birmaher and Dr. Axelson. She has over 20 years of experience managing data and developing software. She has earned Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from University of Minnesota and Master of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Donna Barnham

Donna Barnham

CABS Administrative Assistant

PAST CLINICAL AND RESEARCH STAFF

Matt Garcia, B.A.

Matt Garcia, B.A.

Data Analyst/Coordinator

Matthew has a total of 10 years of service at UPMC and in 2011 he started at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Service Research Program under Dr. Axelson and Dr. Goldstein until 2018. He has over 15 years of experience managing data using various technologies such as SQL server, Microsoft Access, SAS, SPSS, Redcap, Qualtrics and Excel. He also manages and designs multiple Share-Point sites for various studies and also designs websites using HTML/CSS and WordPress. He has earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh Oakland Campus. Matt enjoys strength exercise, volleyball, watching action / Scifi movies with family and learning new technology.

Megan Krantz

Megan Krantz

Research Project Coordinator

Megan has been working as the study coordinator for several of Dr. Goldstein’s studies since obtaining a BA in Neuroscience and French at Franklin and Marshall College. Her past experience as an undergraduate intern with the CABS research team fostered her interest in adolescent mental health, particularly in psychotherapy approaches for adolescents with mood disorders. Megan is especially interested in how family and social relationships contribute to the development and course of illness in children and adolescents. Megan enjoys singing, watching sports, reading, cooking, yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.

Johana Rosas, Ph.D.

Johana Rosas, Ph.D.

Research Project Assistant

Johana M. Rosas is a post-doctoral associate in the department of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and was the Research Coordinator for the Ways for Adolescents to Validate Emotions (WAVE) study at the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Spectrum Services (CABS) clinic with Dr. Goldstein. Dr. Rosas’ research interests include the role of early experience on children’s development, caregiver-child relationship in infancy, and interventions that promote positive parenting and school readiness.