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Clinical Faculty

Faculty with Private Practices
The following psychiatrists and psychologists have private practices through their offices at Beth Israel. They are in-network providers for a few select private insurance companies. Many other families can also seek reimbursement if their insurance plans include out-of-network benefits. Please call them directly to schedule an appointment and to inquire about insurance coverage.

Manuella P. Zisu, MD
Physician-in-charge
(212) 420-2488

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai;
Program Director - Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt/ BI Child and adolescent psychiatry Fellowship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel

Board certification- double board certified
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Zisu is a member of the Bipolar family center consulting for adolescents with bipolar disorders and their families who are involved in the program. She is the Mount Sinai St. Luke's Roosevelt/BI Program Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. She provides teaching and supervision for psychiatry residents and child and adolescent psychiatry fellows, and coordinates the child fellowship at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel site. She maintains a private practice providing psychopharmacology and psychotherapy for adults, children and adolescents.

Anca D. Paunica, MD Attending Psychiatrist
(212) 420-4311

Jacob J. Ham, PhD Supervising Psychologist
Co-Coordinator, Child and Family Psychology Externship Program
(212) 420-4114

Dr. Ham supervises trainees from all disciplines in all therapy modalities, including psychological testing. He specializes in individual and family psychotherapy using attachment theory and relational approaches and cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression, anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders and traumatic stress. He also specializes in psychological testing and psycho-educational evaluations. Dr. Ham is leading the development of Beth Israelís Child Traumatic Stress Program.

Dr. Ham received his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in 2003, with an emphasis on Development and Community Mental Health/Ethnic Minority Mental Health. He completed his pre-doctoral internship in Child/Adult psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He then trained in the Developmental Medicine Center at Childrenís Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School, providing psychological evaluations for school age children and treatment in the Parent Infant Mental Health Clinic.

Dr. Ham also actively participates in clinical research. His primary interest is in understanding how relationships (both adult-adult and parent-child) help shape a personís ability to regulate emotion on a physiologic level. He began these studies at Massachusetts General Hospital in a study demonstrating that synchronous fluctuations in electrodermal activity between adult patients and their psychotherapists reflected greater experiences of therapist empathy by patients.

He then entered a two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School and found evidence to suggest that a similar phenomenon occurred between mothers and their infants. This research was funded by the NIMH, the Livingston Award through Harvard Medical School, and the Sackler Scholarship in Psychobiology at Harvard University.

Dr. Ham continues to remain involved in mother-infant research at Childrenís Hospital Boston and serves as a co-investigator on a federally-funded project examining similar lines of investigation in the context of studying physiologic markers of infant memory. He also continues to examine patient-therapist relationships as a member of the Brief Psychotherapy Research Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (http://www.wehealny.org/services/psychiatry/research.asp#brief). He is also the site investigator for a federally-funded clinical outcome study at Columbia University examining effective approaches to prevention in adolescent mental health (http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/AboutCASA.aspx?articleid=201&zoneid=26).

Maria Klara, PsyD
Supervising Psychologist – Psychiatric Outpatient Services for Children (POSC)
212-420-4428
mklara@chpnet.org
                                         
Dr. Maria Klara is a graduate of New York’s Pace University, where she received her Psy.D. in School-Clinical Child Psychology in 2009. Dr. Klara undertook part of her doctoral training at the Child and Family Institute of St. Luke's Roosevelt, and completed her APA-approved internship at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. She has many years of experience treating both children and adults in a variety of clinical settings, including residential treatment programs, schools, hospitals and community-based clinics. Dr. Klara has also taught graduate-level courses on psychological assessment.

As a supervising psychologist at Beth Israel’s child outpatient psychiatry department, Dr. Klara works with psychology trainees, overseeing them both in individual/group-therapy modalities, and with psychological testing. She also conducts a full-service private practice that includes children, teenagers and adults. Dr. Klara’s services also include psychological testing to diagnose learning disabilities, ADHD or to simply help determine and guide accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

Dr. Klara utilizes an integrative approach to therapy, but one primarily based on a psychodynamic/interpersonal framework. She tailors her approach to each patient, factoring in individual variances such as age and gender, family history, and cultural background. Dr. Klara’s areas of particular interest include parent training and empowerment, ADHD, behaviorally challenged children, patients who have experienced trauma, and ones with affective disorders including anxiety and depression. Dr. Klara also has considerable experience working with teens and adults on issues related to relationships and self-esteem.
Dr. Klara is a member of the American Psychological Association, the New York State Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment. 

Faculty in Family Therapy and Social Work
Chaya Mermerstein, LCSW
Family Therapy Instructor
(212) 420-4442

Part-Time Clinical Staff
Carole Sands, PhD
Staff Psychologist, part-time
(212) 420-2987

Carole Sands has worked part time in Beth Israelís child and adolescent outpatient psychiatry department since 1984 after completing her internship at Beth Israel. She obtained her PhD from Columbia University (Teachers College). While at Teachers College she did a year of child externship at Mount Sinai Westís outpatient department. Previously, she had obtained a masters degree in art therapy. With this degree she worked at a residential treatment facility and then at an outpatient mental health facility, in the child and adolescent department, doing individual therapy. During this time she worked in a therapeutic nursery.

Dr. Sandstraining at Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University) included training for 6 months in London at Anna Freudís Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic, when Anna Freud was still working at the clinic. Dr. Sandís first work at Beth Israel was with Stanley Turecki, MD, who was head of the Difficult Child Program which focused on doing parent guidance with parents who had young children who were difficult to raise because of their temperament. She did a year of post-internship in psychoanalysis at the Postgraduate Center. Some of the many courses she has taken over the years focus on trauma, family therapy, ADHD, EMDR and cognitive-behavior therapy, including a course for trauma and for depression. Having trained in many different models of therapy, Dr. Sands tries to fit the appropriate treatment for each particular case. She has been in private practice since 1988, where she sees children, adolescents and adults. Her office is located on the upper west side.

Esther Goldman, LCSW
Staff Clinical Social Worker, part-time
(212) 420-4487

Esther Goldman is a Senior Social Worker in Child and Family Behavioral Health Service since 1991. She previously worked in a variety of settings at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, including the inpatient psychiatric service and Psychiatric Day Treatment Program. Ms. Goldman provides individual, family and group psychotherapy and clinical supervision. She has extensive training in a variety of therapy techniques and uses an individualized approach, tailoring the therapy to the client.

Ms. Goldman received her undergraduate degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and her Masters Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work. She also completed training at the Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy. As an active member in the Beth Israel Psychotherapy Research Program, Ms. Goldman participated in the supportive therapy and cognitive behavior research seminars.

She has a particular interest in working with families and in improving parenting skills. She introduced multiple family groups to the Dept. of Psychiatry when she worked at the Day Treatment Program and she leads parenting groups for mothers and caretakers of children at this time. Ms. Goldman continues to participate in courses and seminars on a variety of topics such as ADHD, couple and family therapy, parent training, cognitive behavior therapy including treatment of trauma, depression, and disruptive disorders. Ms. Goldman is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Academy of Certified Social Workers, and is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. When not working at Beth Israel, she is an active member of her NJ community and conducts parent training.

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Manhattan: First Avenue at 16th Street, New York, NY 10003
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