Meet Our Clinicians

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. Leena Kizilbash, M.D.

Dr. Leena Kizilbash, M.D.


Dr. Kizilbash attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate education and Ross Medical School. She trained in general psychiatry at the University of Connecticut and Michigan State University. She was a research associate at Harvard University and has published papers ranging from Augmentation Strategies in Refractory Depression to the Genetics of Substance Abuse in Teenagers. At CARES, Dr. Kizilbash works with children, adolescents, and adults.

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.

Yitzi Patchen

Yitzi Patchen, LCSW – CFTSS Clinical Supervisor

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Education: Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Mr. Patchen is a dedicated and experienced licensed clinical social worker, holding a degree from Yeshiva University. With a strong foundation in clinical practice, he has extensively worked with children and families within both clinic and school environments. He draws upon his educational journey and work history to guide and mentor fellow professionals, ensuring the delivery of high-quality and compassionate care to those in need.

Sholomo Brecher

Shlomo Brecher, LMHC

CFTSS CPST/PSR Services Director

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Education: Bellevue University
Mr Brecher is a Licensed Clinical Counselor with years of experience treating children and adults with a range of mental health issues. Mr Brecher has a background in implementing behavioral health programs across New York State both OMH and DOH and in the private sector.

Mary Joe (MJ) Rossi, LCSW

Mary Joe (MJ) Rossi, LCSW

Clinical Supervisor

Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut
Education: NYU Silver School of Social Work, MSW

Ms. Rossi has experience working in a variety of settings including outpatient, residential and clinic based practices. Ms. Rossi applies her clinical and leadership experience to identify client and family needs while ensuring efficiency and effectiveness of evidence based therapeutic interventions. Ms. Rossi has extensive experience working with clients who have significant trauma history. She supervises a clinical team consisting of social workers, mental health counselors, and master’s level students.

Changxuetong (Sophie) Sun

Changxuetong (Sophie) Sun, LCSW

Clinical Supervisor

Birthplace: Jingzhou, China
Education: NYU Silver School of Social Work, MSW

Language: English, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese (intermediate)
Ms. Sun has experience working with children and families from multicultural backgrounds, and with trauma. She delivers care to individuals who seek therapeutic services through evidence-based practice in English and multiple Chinese dialects. She is also passionate about helping the growth of clinicians. She provides supervision to social workers, mental health counselors and social work students.

Hailee Perez, BCBA

Hailee Perez, BCBA

Behavioral Supervisor

Birthplace: Freehold, NJ
Education: Rider University – Applied Psychology

Ms. Perez uses her experience to help the clinical team best integrate behavior analysis into their therapeutic practice. She believes that all therapy is strengthened by an analytic and data-driven approach. Her experience includes working with high-risk individuals, using ABA to functionally assess and decrease challenging behaviors, and supporting individuals to function better within their communities.

Synthia Chen, MHC

Synthia Chen, MHC-LP

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Education: NYU – Mental Health Counseling

Ms. Chen is passionate about providing therapy through a holistic and multicultural lens to provide a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate space. She has experience providing therapeutic services for individuals with anxiety and depression. Her practice includes the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, exploring cultural identity, vocational development, and behavioral challenges. Synthia provides psychotherapy in fluent English and has conversational fluency in Cantonese.

Aubrey [Suhang] Duan, LMSW

Aubrey (Suhang) Duan, LMSW

Birthplace: China
Education Columbia University School of Social Work
Language: English, Mandarin

Ms. Duan works with children/youth with autism spectrum disorder as well as individuals with mental health diagnoses. She uses a CBT-focused and strength-based approach, equipping her clients with problem solving skills while eliciting their inner strength to bring positive change to their lives.

Yunzi Yu, MSW

Yunzi Yu, LMSW

Birthplace: Tianjin, China
Education: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – Social Work
Language: English, Mandarin

Ms. Yu believes everyone deserves a better life and every child should thrive. She incorporates lenses from multiple therapeutic approaches based on her client’s needs and cultural backgrounds, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Play Therapy, Attachment Theory, Trauma-informed Practice, and Mindfulness. Ms. Yu trusts clients as experts in their own experiences. She equips them for success in their environment based on their strengths and unique needs.

Chunying Liu, LMSW

Chunying Liu, LMSW

Birthplace: Changchun, China
Education: New York University- Clinical Social Work Concentration
Language: English, Mandarin

Ms. Liu believes that everyone possesses the power to grow and reach their full potential.  She works with children who have emotional and behavioral challenges. Her therapeutic approach is integrative, trauma-informed, strength-based, and centers on the needs of every client.

Zitong Qiu

Zitong (Zeno) Qiu, MSW

Birthplace: Jiangsu, China
Education: Columbia School of Social Work – Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice
Language: English, Mandarin

Ms. Qiu’s areas of practice include International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees. She uses her role and voice as a social worker to advocate for those who are underrepresented and marginalized in the community.

Philip Kaplan

Philip Kaplan, Psy.D.

Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Education: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Philadelphia, PA
Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
Language: English, Russian

Dr. Kaplan specializes in the utilization of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in order to help provide individualized, high quality behavioral health services for children, adolescents, and adults that struggle with developmental/cognitive disabilities as well as additional mental health diagnoses.

Ashley Zanghi

Ashley Zanghi, Psy.D., NCSP

Education: William James College – School Psychology

Dr. Zanghi applies her clinical experience and training in school psychology and applied behavior analysis to provide individualized services to children, adolescents, and adults presenting with developmental and other disabilities.

Suzanne Brier

Suzanne Brier, M.S.Ed.

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

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

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.

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.

Siumei Tse

Siumei Tse, MSW

Birthplace: Hong Kong, China
Education: Binghamton University, Fordham University MSW Program
Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin

Ms. Tse has developed a wealth of experience in medical coordinating and interpreting throughout her professional journey. She is passionate about improving positive communication and development among individuals and families. Her primary focus is to demonstrate empathy, resilience, and dedication to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and teenagers.