Meet the Cohen Clinic at Penn Team
Dr. Leah Blain serves as the Clinic Director for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Penn, where she oversees all clinical, administrative, and outreach operations. Dr. Blain earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where she conducted research in the effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She completed internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Maryland Healthcare System, where she trained in Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety and panic disorder, and chronic pain, and mindfulness-based interventions. She previously served as Director of Behavioral Health at Chase Brexton Health Care’s Columbia Center where she continued to serve veterans and military family members. Her clinical work focuses on trauma-recovery, working with survivors of assault, abuse, and combat, on issues including depression, guilt and shame, anger, dissociation, and PTSD.
Dr. Ashleigh Adams is a psychologist; she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia and has worked with veterans at both the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, where she completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship. She completed specialized training in the assessment and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders, chronic pain, and aging issues. She can provide Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD and has a special interest in concerns related to moral injury, combat exposure and sexual assault, including Military Sexual Trauma. Dr. Adams also has extensive experience in couples therapy, as well as treatment for mood, anger, and aggression-related concerns. Dr. Adams serves as an individual and couples therapist at the Cohen Military Family Clinic.
Mr. Pete Freudenberger is an Army Veteran and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He received his Masters of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the first graduate of the PEARLS program (now the Cohen Veterans Network Scholars) which provides master's level clinicians with specialized training in mental health practice with veterans and their families. He has spent his career working with private, non-profit, and government-run social service organizations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, completing graduate training at the Bucks County Vet Center and working at the Corporal Michael Crescenz VA Medical Center where he played an integral role in the HUD/VASH team's efforts to end Veteran homelessness in the city of Philadelphia. In addition to serving as Outreach Manager and a staff clinician at the clinic, he teaches Advanced Mental Health Practice with Veterans as an Adjunct Professor for Penn's School of Social Policy and Practice.
Ms. Joanna Goldstein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience providing a broad range of clinical services to adults, children and families, who has worked in a variety of settings including community mental health, outpatient psychiatry, and schools providing biopsychosocial assessments, individual, group and family therapy, and case management. She received her Master's degree in Social Work from Simmons College and completed post graduate training in Cognitive Therapy and Diagnostic Interviewing at the University of Pennsylvania as well as training in Couples and Family Therapy at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. Ms. Goldstein provides assessment and evidence-based psychotherapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to children, adolescents, adults, and families. She is bilingual in Spanish.
Ms. Mattea LeWitt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. She is trained in evidence-based practices including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). At the Cohen Military Family Clinic, Ms. LeWitt provides therapy and assessment for children, adolescents, adults, and families. She specializes in helping veterans and military family members with trauma, depression, anxiety, family and relationship difficulties, stress, adjustment issues, and other mental health challenges. Ms. LeWitt practices from a strengths-based, holistic approach focused on health, mindfulness, and resilience.
Mr. Jon Riley serves as a Case Manager. He earned his Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and was selected for the Cohen Veterans Network Scholars Program, a competitive program to prepare graduates for the field of military family mental health, as well as the Ann Nolan Reese Penn Aging Certificate, following specialized training in gerontological social work. He completed his graduate placements at the Corporal Michael Crescenz VA Medical Center, and PHMC Mary Howard Health Center, and interned with the Hall Mercer's Bridging the Gaps Community Health Program. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Lebanon Valley College, he also completed a student internship with the Lebanon VA Medical Center Inpatient Unit.
Dr. Richard Ross is a Psychiatrist at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic and a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ross joined the Cohen Clinic team with extensive experience serving veterans at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, where his clinical practice and research focused on posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) and sleep disorders. He completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University, before going on to complete his M.D. and Ph.D. in Physiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Steven Sayers is a Psychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sayers received his clinical and research training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC. He has trained couple and family therapists for almost 30 years and has worked with Veterans and their partners for the last 18 years. He is also the Director of Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Health Research and Treatment at the Corporal Michael Crescenz VA Medical Center and directs the national VA call center for family members concerned about the Veteran in their lives called Coaching Into Care.
Dr. Jonathan Smith is a psychologist, who earned his M.A. and Psy.D. from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA. He provides assessment, individual therapy, and couples therapy at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. Dr. Smith has worked with Veterans during his postdoctoral fellowship at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System in Little Rock, AR. He also has experience working with diverse populations in community mental health settings, where his responsibilities included clinical care and oversight of a graduate student field placement program. Dr. Smith has received training in cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy to promote recovery from depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, sleep difficulties, and psychosis. He also has a special interest in decreasing the impact of stigma on recovery
Dr. Michael Thase is a Professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania with a dual appointment at the Corporal Michael Crescenz VA Medical Center. A 1979 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Dr. Thase is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, President-elect of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, and a member of the American College of Psychiatrists and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Dr. Thase's research focuses on the assessment and treatment of mood disorders, including studies of the differential therapeutics of both depression and bipolar affective disorder. Dr. Thase is Medical Director and treating psychiatrist at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic.
Ms. Naomi Ehrenkranz is a Cohen Veteran's Network Scholar completing her second year as a social work intern at the University of Pennsylvania MSW program. She completed her foundational year as an inpatient case manager at the Belmont Behavioral Hospital, working with adolescents and adults. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and English at the University of Maryland and has completed training in cognitive behavioral therapy, military cultural competence and suicide prevention. Naomi has volunteered at both Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and at Veteran's Upward Bound.
Ms. Mina Ratkalkar is a Clinical Psychology Extern at the Cohen Military Family Clinic. Ms. Ratkalkar is a 4th year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Drexel University. Her clinical interests include telehealth and working with veterans and families coping with PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, and couples concerns. Her research interests include forensic psychology and the experiences of youth dually-involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and certified sex therapist. She earned a BS in Clinical Psychology and Community Health from Tufts University in 2009, a MSW in clinical social work from Columbia University in 2012, and a MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University in 2016.
Mr. Mark Knepley, is a Clinical Psychology Extern at the Cohen Military Family Clinic. Mark is a 5th year Clinical Psychology PhD student at Temple University. His research and clinical practice has focused on childhood anxiety diagnosis and treatment, though he has practiced in a range of settings with children, adolescents, and adults. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Temple University.
Ms. Jen Weidner is a Clinical Social Work Intern completing her advanced graduate placement within the MSW program at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her foundational graduate placement at Penn’s Outpatient Psychiatry Center. Ms. Weidner earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied protective factors associated with childhood trauma. She has worked in clinical research since August 2014, as a Diagnostic Clinical Interviewer, Smoking Cessation Counselor, and Clinical Research Coordinator. Ms. Weidner has completed training in grief, loss, bereavement, and trauma, and is passionate about working with those who are impacted by these experiences.
Ms. Olivia Bruno is the intake coordinator for the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. She is responsible for completing psychiatric screenings with prospective clients and coordinating intake assessments with clinicians. Ms. Bruno earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from West Chester University, where she served as a Research Assistant focusing on memory and cognition. She has since worked as a Residential Counselor at The Renfrew Center, working to support the recovery of individuals with eating disorders and related sequela.
Mr. Kirk Erwin supports many facets of the Cohen Clinic's operations. From overseeing financial and administrative functions, to managing clinical data, IT, HR, and everything in between, he serves in numerous capacities to ensure our clinical team can be entirely focused on client-centered care. He studied at LaSalle University and the American Institute of Banking in Philadelphia, PA, and has a long professional history in Healthcare, Finance, Academia and Government, including the Corporal Michael Crescenz VA Medical Center.
Ms. Taylor Flowers is kickstarting the clinic's new Computerized Neuropsychological Testing research program. She completed her Master's degree in Counseling and Mental Health Services at the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor's in Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University. Her previous research experiences have focused on forensic deception, stress in middle school-aged girls, behaviors in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and relational boundaries experienced by Mental Health Counselors. She previously worked at a special education school for children with neurodevelopmental disorders and has particular interests in couples' functioning and military psychology.
Ms. Khamera Manders supports the Cohen Clinic’s outreach initiatives, follows up with clients to ensure our clients are still doing well, and connects clients with any additional resources. Ms. Manders earned her Bachelors of Science in Public Health from Temple in May and pursued opportunities to work in the field supporting health initiatives during her academic study, including doing outreach and follow up, with Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, and the Philadelphia Women's Center.
Mrs. Maira Peralta has served as both a Certified Medical Assistant and Administrative Assistant in patient care for over ten years. Peralta is bi-lingual in Spanish and English and in addition to being passionate about providing quality care to clients by day, she is also working toward her Bachelors in Psychology by night.
Ms. Nicole Meek leads marketing and communication strategy and supports outreach initiatives at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Arizona and completed a Communications Design Certificate at University of the Arts. As the granddaughter of a Sailor, daughter of a Marine, and spouse to an active duty Airman, she has a deep-rooted passion for serving veterans, military spouses, and their families. She has worked with several veteran-focused organizations and published research in the area of military family wellness during deployment.
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