Clinical Psychology Internship

CARES is proud to offer a comprehensive internship training program to prepare interns for careers as psychologists who are proficient in working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and/or mental health diagnoses, including anxiety, depression, disruptive behaviors, ADHD, and PTSD.

The CARES psychology internship program offers a unique experience treating underserved populations of Chinese and Hispanic immigrant families along with the broad range of NYS residents. Interns provide therapy using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), CBT, motivational interviewing, and other modalities to children, adolescents, and adults. They offer individual and group therapy, parent training, and social skills programs. They develop competence in the administration of comprehensive diagnostic evaluations. Interns work in multidisciplinary teams of psychologists, social workers, BCBA, and psychiatric professionals. This approach affords a rich opportunity for collaborative learning and leads to a more holistic understanding of the individual from various facets. Interns are provided with intensive supervision and robust didactics that are targeted to enhance knowledge and skills in the areas of mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities, treatment, and assessment.

Additional information about our program and how to apply is included in the program handbook. You can also contact our Training Director, Dr. Sharon Shkedi at internship@caresnys.org or 212-420-1970 ext 142

Our internship program code is 2472.

The CARES Clinical Psychology Doctoral Internship Program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). The CARES Clinical Psychology Doctoral Internship Program has been granted a ten-year accreditation from the American Psychological Association with the date of initial accreditation as February 28, 2023.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 Phone: (202) 336-5979. E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Our Faculty

DR. LEAH ESTHER LAX, PH.D (1)

DR. LEAH ESTHER LAX, PH.D.

CEO

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York
Education: Psychology PhD, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Masters of Science, Special Education, Touro College.

Dr. Lax leads agency initiatives and directs CARES services and programs. Under her tenure, CARES has provided OPWDD and Mental Health clinical services as well as HCBS program for children, adolescents, and adults with Intellectual/ Developmental disabilities, emotional issues, short term and/or chronic mental health conditions. She has developed programs to train parents and community members to support families of children with significant issues living with their families and communities.

Dr. Sharon Shkedi, Psy.D.

Dr. Sharon Shkedi, Psy.D.

Clinic Director and Clinical Supervisor

Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Education: Long Island University – Clinical Psychology
Language: English, Hebrew

Dr. Shkedi is the Clinic and Training Director of CARES. She oversees the operations of two NYS-licensed outpatient clinics for children and adults, one for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities, the other for individuals with mental health issues. She has extensive training working with families and individuals with developmental disabilities, such as ASD, ID, learning disabilities, ADHD, and mental health comorbidities of depression and anxiety across the lifespan. She provides individual and group supervision to clinicians, fellows, and interns, presents didactic seminars, and oversees the implementation of evidence-based practices and interventions. Dr. Shkedi is involved in program development and grant writing.

Dr. Jacqueline DeGroat,

Dr. Jacqueline DeGroat, M.S.Ed., Psy.D.

Senior Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Education: Pace University—School and Clinical Child Psychology

Dr. DeGroat is a senior psychologist and clinical supervisor. She has worked extensively with children and adolescents living with disabilities and developmental challenges, and their families. She uses aspects of play and narrative therapy, and strength-based approaches that help individuals and families identify their own skills and resources for facing challenges. Dr. DeGroat is an adjunct professor at at the Pace University Psy.D. program. Within CARES, she supervises clinicians in training, presents didactic seminars, and is involved in program development.

Patty Carambot

Dr. Patty Carambot, Ph.D.

Senior Psychologist and Clinical Supervisor

Birthplace: Long Island, New York
Education: CUNY Graduate Center-Clinical Psychology with Forensic Specialty
Languages: English & Spanish

Dr. Carambot is a psychologist and clinical supervisor with extensive experience working with children/adolescents, adults, couples and families. Her clinical passion is working with underserved populations with complex trauma, behavioral health diagnoses, and social-cognition deficits. She is adept at crisis intervention and risk assessment. Dr. Carambot strives to create an environment that helps clients feel safe, understood and accepted to openly explore the challenges that face them. She uses numerous evidence-based practices, particularly CBT and DBT-informed, Person-Centered, Interpersonal approaches, mindfulness and strengths-based strategies. She also enjoys incorporating neuroscience, psycho-education & the connections between mind & body when useful/age-appropriate in therapy.

Meet our Current and Past Interns

Suzanne Brier

Suzanne Brier, M.S.Ed.

2023/2024 Clinical Psychological Internship

Birthplace: NYC, New York
Education: Fordham University, School Psychology

Ms. Brier has received DBT training and is experienced in providing therapy to adults, adolescents, and children who experience trauma, mental health challenges, and developmental disabilities.

Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson, M.S.Ed., NCSP

2023/2024 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Long Island, New York
Education: Pace University- Combined School, Clinical, Child Psychology Program

Ms. Johnson worked as a school psychologist in NYC from 2016-2020. She is trained in conducting assessments and providing therapy to children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing a range of challenges and conditions.

Katie Fitzgerald, M.A., Ed.M.

Katie Fitzgerald, M.A., Ed.M., NCSP

2023/2024 Clinical Psychology Internship

Education: Teachers College, Columbia University

Ms. Fitzgerald has myriad experience in neuropsychological and psycho-educational assessment across different clinical and research settings, including OPWDD clinics, medical centers (including Level 4 Epilepsy centers), outpatient clinics, and schools. She is well-versed in working with families and individuals with neurodevelopment disabilities, such as ADHD, learning disorders, ASD, and ID in children and young adults. She uses CBT-focused approaches in therapies addressing mental health conditions, as well as cognitive remediation in treatment of executive dysfunction.

Christina Lagomarsino, M.A.

Christina Lagomarsino, M.A.

2023/2024 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: New Jersey
Education: William Paterson University – Clinical Psychology

Ms. Lagomarsino is trained and experienced in providing neuropsychological evaluations and therapeutic services to children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities and other psychological conditions.

Meghan Murray

Meghan A. Murray, PH.D.

2022/2023 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Sandusky, Ohio
Education: Cleveland State University – Urban Education, Counseling Psychology Specialization

Ms. Murray is especially interested in working with children and adolescents, supporting improved sibling relationships, parentification, treating individuals with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, genetic disorders, intellectual disabilities, seizure disorders, and traumatic brain injuries.

Henry Daheng Zhang

Henry Daheng Zhang, Psy.D. M.S.Ed.

2022/2023 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Liuzhou, Guangxi, China
Education: Rutgers University – School Psychology
Language: English, Mandarin, Cantonese.

Dr. Zhang serves the community by providing comprehensive, culturally appropriate, meaningful assessment and therapeutic services. He provides therapeutic services in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

Aigner J. Allen

Aigner J. Allen, Psy. D

2022/2023 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – School Psychology.

Dr. Allen’s aim is to deliver comprehensive therapeutic services to underserved communities to reduce mental health stigma with a particular focus on the African American family as a unit.

Nicole Sampedro Mendoza

Nicole Sampedro Mendoza, Psy.D.

2021/2022 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Manta, Ecuador
Education: William James College – Latino Mental Health Concentration
Language: English, Spanish

Dr. Mendoza serves the Latinx community by providing culturally considerate, specialized, and validating therapeutic services in Spanish.

Paulette Didia

Paulette Didia, Psy.D.

2021/2022 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Education: Pace University- Combined School, Clinical, Child Psychology Program

“I approach each client as an individual with their own unique history and experiences and draw from multiple schools of thought to create a treatment plan that matches the client and their goals.”

Alexander Pinto

Alexander Pinto, M.A., LPC

2021/2022 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Queens, New York
Education: Felician University – Family and Child Therapy
Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese

I aim to create a warm, compassionate therapeutic setting for children, young adults, and their families in a culturally diverse community.

Maura Francis

Maura Francis, Ph.D.

2021/2022 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: St. John’s University, Clinical Psychology – Child Track

Dr. Francis is passionate about working with individuals and families from a diverse array of communities and backgrounds through a multi-systemic approach, providing advocacy and treatment. She is a client-centered clinician, who meets children and families at their level in treatment to help build self-efficacy over time.

Yanan Guo

Yanan Guo, Psy.D, BCBA

2020-2021 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: China
Education: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – San Diego Campus
Language: Mandarin, English

Dr. Guo currently works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Developmental Evaluation Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, the largest children’s hospital on the West Coast. Through her clinic, she provides comprehensive and trauma-informed diagnostic evaluations to children from birth to 5 years old. She conducts RBT training for current clinicians at CARES.

César Amiel Medina Díaz

César Amiel Medina Díaz, Psy.D., M.A.

2020-2021 Clinical Psychology Internship

Country: Puerto Rico
Education: Carlos Albizu University, Puerto Rico
Languages: Spanish, English

Dr. Medina currently provides services to students at the Counseling and Psychological Services Department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). He specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and possesses Biofeedback (BCIA) and Cognitive Rehabilitation (ACRM) certifications. He also completed a master’s in Kinesiology (sports training) from the UPRM and offered courses as a kinesiology and psychology professor.

Cinthia Suzzette Pérez

Cinthia Suzzette Pérez, Psy.D.

2019-2020 Clinical Psychology Internship

Birthplace: Puerto Rico
Education: Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Language: Spanish, English

Dr. Pérez provides private consultations as a Holistic and Transpersonal Psychotherapist in the private sector, as well as working for the Mental Health and Addiction Services Administration (ASSMCA). Her passion in the field is integrating complementary and alternative approaches through Neuropsychological and Contextual Therapies’ EBT perspectives.