THE CENTER FOR YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH

NewYork-Presbyterian

The Center for Youth Mental Health

formerly the Youth Anxiety Center

The Center for Youth Mental Health at NewYork-Presbyterian

Executive Committee

The Center for Youth Mental Health (formerly the Youth Anxiety Center) is a program whose mission is to advance our understanding of and treatments for youth with disabling anxiety and other mental health conditions. Supported by philanthropy, this program leverages the clinical and research faculty at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC)/New York State Psychiatric Institute, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and NewYork-Presbyterian, regularly disseminating relevant, fundamental, and innovative educational resources and information to patients and their families as well as fellow healthcare professionals and educators.

Our Team of Top Doctors

Founding & Senior Faculty


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Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP

Clinical Site Co-Director

Dr. Albano, the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD) Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry and Founder of CUCARD, was a principal investigator of the National Institute of Mental Health-landmark studies "Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Treatment Study" (CAMS) and the “Treatments for Adolescents with Depression Study” (TADS). In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Albano’s research is focused on the development and testing of psychosocial treatments for anxiety and mood disorders, and understanding the impact of these disorders on the developing youth. Dr. Albano devotes her practice to studying and treating anxiety and mood disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults. She is an expert diagnostician and cognitive behavioral therapist. She has also served in leadership positions in national professional organizations, as editor of scholarly journals, and volunteers for non-profit organizations focused on suicide prevention and improving youth’s mental health. She is active in teaching, supervision and is a frequent speaker for schools, professional organizations, and parent groups. Dr. Albano’s family and evidence-based approach is summarized in her 2020 TEDMED talk, “How to Raise Kids Who Can Overcome Anxiety” as well as in a guide for parents in her award-winning 2014 book with Leslie Pepper, “You and Your Anxious Child: Free Your Child from Fears and Worries and Create a Joyful Family Life.”

Shannon Bennett, PhD

Shannon Bennett, PhD

Clinical Site Co-Director

Dr. Bennett is the Director of Psychology in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and co-directs the Pediatric OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders Program at the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders, OCD, and tic disorders, in children, adolescents, and young adults. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College where she oversees clinical services in the Outpatient Department and Partial Hospitalization programs, working with adolescents and young adults with anxiety and related conditions in individual and group treatment modalities. Her primary research includes developing, evaluating, and disseminating cognitive-behavioral treatments for anxiety and related disorders. She also oversees multiple research studies, teaches, writes, and presents nationally and internationally on these topics, and has co-authored three books on the treatment of youth anxiety and OCD. Dr. Bennett was honored with a Career Development Leadership Award from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and serves on the Medical Advisory Board for the Tourette Syndrome Association.

Carrie B. Kreiswirth

Carrie B. Kreiswirth

Program Director

Carrie joins NewYork-Presbyterian as a seasoned communications leader and the Center’s first-ever Program Director where she oversees all marketing, communications, and business strategies, with a primary focus on building broader brand awareness and increasing visibility and presence nationally to consumers and the medical community through invaluable and unparalleled clinical research and educational resources, and a team of world-renowned physicians. She drives strategy, innovation, and overall positioning to maximize exposure for the Center’s mission, initiatives, and projects. Prior to joining NewYork-Presbyterian, Carrie helped raise brand profiles for clients in healthcare, sports, consumer, and lifestyle sectors at companies including ESPN, Remedy Health Media (now HealthCentral Corporation), Catalyst Public Relations, and Scholastic.

Cristiane Duarte, PhD, MPH

Cristiane Duarte, PhD, MPH

Clinical Site Co-Director
Washington Heights Clinic

Dr. Duarte is the Ruane Professor for the Implementation of Science for Child & Adolescent Mental Health in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) and Co-Director of the Center for Youth Mental Health Washington Heights Clinic. Dr. Duarte is an expert on the development of mental disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults with special emphasis on racially and ethnically minoritized youth. Through the use of state-of-the-art sampling, recruitment, and culturally appropriate assessment methodologies, she generates population-based knowledge of relevance to diverse, often underserved, and understudied populations. She leads the Boricua Youth Study, which studies how mental disorders develop from childhood to young adulthood in a Latinx (primarily Puerto Rican) subgroup. Dr. Duarte and the Washington Heights Clinic team adopt the highest quality and latest evidence available to treat multicultural young adults with anxiety disorders.

Francis S. Lee, MD, PhD

Francis S. Lee, MD, PhD

Research Co-Director

Dr. Lee joined Weill Cornell Medicine’s faculty in 2002 and in 2018 was named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and psychiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Lee is an accomplished neurobiologist and psychiatrist studying the molecular basis of mood and anxiety disorders, with the goal of understanding why many of them emerge during the transition from childhood to adolescence. By combining basic and translational approaches, Dr. Lee’s discoveries have led to the development of advanced biologically targeted psychiatric diagnostic tools and treatments. Dr. Lee has served on several boards at the National Institutes of Health and national mental health foundations and has received numerous honors including election to the National Academy of Medicine.

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Herbert Pardes, MD

Founding Director

After serving from January 2000 through September 2011 as President and Chief Executive Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, Dr. Pardes became Executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Under his leadership, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital escalated to one of the highest-ranked hospitals and comprehensive health care institutions in the United States. Dr. Pardes has been an outspoken proponent for academic medicine, medical research, children’s health education, mental health, access to care, humanism, empathy in care delivery, Information Technology, and medicine. He has chaired three different departments of psychiatry at Downstate Medical Center, the University of Colorado, and Columbia University. He served from 1989 to 2000 as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Vice President for Health Sciences. A noted psychiatrist, he served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and the United States Assistant Surgeon General during the Carter and Reagan Administrations. He was President of the American Psychiatric Association, is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and also received the United States Army Commendation Medal and the Sarnat International Prize for leadership in the field of mental health. In 2014 he was given the first Pardes Humanitarian Award in mental health sponsored in part by leaders of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF). He has served on commissions related to health policy appointed by Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, including the Presidential Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry and the Commission on Systemic Interoperability. He serves on the NYeC Board Executive Committee for Information Technology and is Vice Chairman of the New York Genome Center. He is the former Chairman of the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Hospital Association of New York (and contributes as a board member today), the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the New York Association of Medical Schools.

Rebecca Rendleman, MD

Rebecca Rendleman, MD, CM

Program Co-Director

Dr. Rendleman is the Vice Chair, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She is an expert in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and, as a longtime member of the faculty since 2004, she has served in a variety of clinical, administrative, and education roles including Director of the Adolescent Inpatient Service, Director of the Pediatric Consultation Liaison Service and Program Director of the NewYork-Presbyterian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program. She is an expert educator who has created innovative curricula in child and adolescent psychiatry education. She has held leadership positions within the hospital including Co-Chair of the Graduate Medical Education Resident Wellbeing Committee. For the past decade, Dr. Rendleman has been involved in a NewYork-Presbyterian initiative to enhance communications skills in medical providers. As a trained facilitator through the Academy of Communication in Healthcare, she co-leads monthly workshops on Relationship-Centered Communication for faculty. Her interests include psychiatric training and education, acute care psychiatry, and communication in healthcare.

Helen Blair Simpson, MD, PhD

Helen Blair Simpson, MD, PhD

Research Co-Director

Dr. Simpson is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical College (CUIMC) as well as Director of the Center for OCD and Related Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI)/CUIMC. Currently, Dr. Simpson leads an NIMH-funded grant to identify brain signatures of OCD in collaboration with OCD experts around the globe. She also partners with New York State to train front-line clinicians in the early detection and treatment of OCD. She serves as Associate Editor of JAMA-Psychiatry and is President-Elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Advisor to the World Health Organization on the classification of OCD and author of the American Psychiatric Association’s Practice Guidelines for OCD, Dr. Simpson works to transform care for people with anxiety and OCD. She joined the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s Anxiety Disorders Clinic in 1996 as a research fellow, developed an independent research career as a faculty member, and served as its Director from 2006 to 2016. While continuing her OCD research, she then served as the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Director of Psychiatric Research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute from 2016 until 2022. She has received numerous accolades including the George N. Thompson Award for Distinguished Service from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award, from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the distinction of Fellow, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD

Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, MD

Program Co-Director
Interim Chair Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele is the Suzanne Crosby Murphy Professor of Developmental Neuropsychiatry and the Division Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who uses molecular and translational neuroscience research tools in the pursuit of new treatments for autism spectrum disorder and pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prior to joining the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia in 2014, Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele was director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, where he was also an associate professor and medical director for the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder and received the Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for Research. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Blanche Ittelson Award for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Veenstra-VanderWeele is dedicated to helping train and develop the next generation of child psychiatrists and scientists who can generate an improved understanding of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders and deliver new treatments to the clinic.

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Warren Y.K. Ng, MD, MPH

Community Health Director

Dr. Ng is a Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Director for Outpatient Behavioral Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC); and Director of Clinical Services, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at CUIMC; Behavioral Health Service Line Clinical Innovation Officer, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ng oversees the comprehensive spectrum of clinical programs in child, adolescent, and adult outpatient and community behavioral health at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Division of Community and Population Health. He also oversees the psychiatric services at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital within the outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient services. He is the President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent (AACAP) and serves on the NYS Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council. At the American Psychiatric Association (APA), he served in the Council on Children, Adolescents, and their Families. He is an Aspen Institute Health Innovator Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Learning Network. He has been the recipient of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Martha Hooven Award for Excellence in Community Service.

Philip J. Wilnder, MD, MBA

Philip J. Wilner, MD, MBA

Executive Director

Dr. Wilner is Senior Vice President of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, leading behavioral health services across all NewYork-Presbyterian campuses. He is the Chief Operating Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health, a 250-bed psychiatric and addiction facility in White Plains, New York, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Gracie Square Hospital, a 140-bed psychiatric hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In these dual roles, Dr. Wilner’s work involves the provision of comprehensive and personalized behavioral health services across the entire diagnostic and socioeconomic spectrum at the highest levels of quality and patient experience. Dr. Wilner is also Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Wilner joined the former New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center as a House Officer in 1983 and was the recipient of a DeWitt Wallace Research Fellowship in 1988, conducting studies in the biological bases of psychiatric illness. He is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the New York Academy of Medicine and the New York Psychiatric Society.

Clinical Faculty


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Elizabeth Allen, PhD

Psychologist
Outpatient Department and Youth Inpatient Services

Dr. Elizabeth Allen received her PhD from Clark University where she studied with Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, the developmental psychologist who coined the term and developed the concept of “emerging adulthood.” She completed her post-doctoral fellowship training at Weill Cornell/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Westchester campus where she worked with children, adolescents, and young adults with anxiety and related disorders. Dr. Allen continues this work as a faculty member, expanding the reach of the Center for Youth Mental Health programming on the Westchester campus. In addition to increasing the number of patients who can be seen in the insurance-based and private practice outpatient clinics, she offers group dialectical behavior therapy for youth who are engaging in self-harm or suicidal behavior and consults on the inpatient units for youth who require the most acute level of care.

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Angela Chiu, PhD

Psychologist
Partial Hospitalization Program and at the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center

Dr. Chiu is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in evidence-based interventions for children, adolescents, and young adults suffering from anxiety and mood disorders. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy as well as modular approaches to treatment for a wide array of presenting problems including social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, specific phobias, trauma, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and oppositional defiant disorder. Dr. Chiu is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical Center and an Assistant Attending Psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She provides a variety of services including diagnostic assessments, therapy, and consultation for children, adolescents, and young adults.

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Jill Domanski, LCSW

Social Worker
Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center

Ms. Domanski is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, using evidence-based practices. She has received extensive training in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, behavior management interventions, family therapy, and group therapy. Ms. Domanski has expertise in treating children, adolescents, young adults, and families struggling with anxiety disorders (such as social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, health anxiety, specific phobias, and selective mutism) and mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder). She provides a variety of services including diagnostic assessments, consultation, and individual, group, and family therapy at the Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center.

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Rebecca Erban, PsyD

Psychologist
Washington Heights Clinic

Dr. Erban is a bilingual English-Spanish clinical psychologist who specializes in evidence-based cognitive behavioral treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, health psychology, working with underserved populations, and treatment of adolescents and young adults. She previously worked at UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services and is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center and a clinical psychologist in the Washington Heights Center for Youth Mental Health. She provides diagnostic assessments, individual and group psychotherapy, parent training, consultation, and community outreach services.

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Avital Falk, PhD

Psychologist
Partial Hospitalization Program and Hospital Outpatient Department & Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center

Dr. Falk is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in evidence-based interventions for children, adolescents, and young adults suffering from anxiety and mood disorders. She is an Instructor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine and an Assistant Attending Psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She is engaged in treatment and research on anxiety and related disorders, specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention for OCD and anxiety disorders, and provides a variety of clinical services including diagnostic assessments, therapy, and consultation. This summer, she will be launching groups as part of an intensive treatment program for OCD and Anxiety Disorders. She provides diagnostic assessments, individual and group psychotherapy, parent training, consultation, and community outreach services.

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Heather Makover, PhD

Psychologist
Washington Heights Clinic

Dr. Makover is a clinical psychologist at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (NYP/CUIMC) the Center for Youth Mental Health in Washington Heights. She is an Instructor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) within the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division of CUIMC. Dr. Makover obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Temple University. She completed her clinical internship at the University of Washington School of Medicine/Seattle Children's Hospital and her postdoctoral fellowship in child and adolescent psychology at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NYP/CUIMC. She specializes in evidence-based treatments for anxiety and mood disorders. She is also a member of the Mental Health Disparities Workgroup, which focuses on increasing access and equity within mental health services.

Michelle Pelcovitz, PhD

Michelle Pelcovitz, PhD

Psychologist / Partial Hospitalization Program and Hospital Outpatient Program
Weill Cornell Psychiatry Specialty Center

Dr. Pelcovitz is a psychology postdoctoral fellow with experience in the treatment of anxiety, mood, and behavioral disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults. She specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based interventions for a wide array of presenting problems, including anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Pelcovitz provides a variety of services including diagnostic assessments, therapy, and consultation for children, adolescents, and young adults, at the NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Manhattan Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs.

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Anthony Puliafico, PhD

Psychologist and Westchester Site Director
Columbia University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD)

Anthony Puliafico, PhD is an associate professor of medical psychology in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University. He serves as Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD)—Westchester, which specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and related disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. He also directs CUCARD Westchester's Anxiety Day Program, which provides daily treatment programming for adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and school refusal. Dr. Puliafico is an expert in the assessment and cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety, mood, and externalizing disorders. His clinical work and research have focused on the treatment of pediatric OCD, school refusal, and adapting treatments for young children with anxiety. Dr. Puliafico received his PhD in clinical psychology from Temple University. He completed his clinical psychology internship at Bellevue Hospital Center/NYU Medical Center. Dr. Puliafico has published his work in numerous peer-reviewed journals and regularly lectures on the treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders. He is the co-author of "The OCD Workbook for Kids" and is a co-developer of the CALM Program for young children with anxiety.

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M. Carolina Zerrate, MD, MHS

Psychiatrist and Progam Medical Director
Youth Community Behavioral Health and the Washington Heights Clinic

Dr. Zerrate is a bilingual English-Spanish board-certified adult, child, and adolescent Psychiatrist. She is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the program medical director of the Washington Heights Youth Anxiety and Youth Community Behavioral Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Medical School in Bogota, Columbia, was a postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and completed a Masters of Health Science in Mental Health at JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health. She trained in adult psychiatry at Georgetown University Hospital, at the NYPH Columbia and Cornell Universities Program for her child and adolescent fellowship, and later completed the Columbia University Public Psychiatry Fellowship before joining the Center for Youth Mental Health Washington Heights Clinic. She provides individual, group, and family therapy, medication management, parent training, and school consultations.