Director: James T. McCracken, M.D.
Dr. McCracken is a child and adult psychiatrist who is widely recognized as a national leader in developing and testing medical treatments for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, and cognitive deficits in children and adults. He is the Joseph Campbell Professor of Child Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and directs the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Currently he directs the NIMH multi-site treatment research network, “New Experimental Medicine Studies: Fast-Fail Trials in Autism Spectrum Disorders”, which aims to identify new treatments for the core deficits of ASD and related disorders. Dr. McCracken provides diagnostic evaluations, psychiatric treatment, and directs the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team case reviews in the CAN Clinic.
Clinical Director: Amanda Gulsrud, Ph.D.
Dr. Gulsrud is an expert in social and behavioral treatments for young children with ASD or high risk for ASD, including developing and testing the Joint Attention Symbolic Play Emotion Regulation (JASPER) treatment, widely recognized as a major advance in the field Autism Speaks 2010 ). Currently Dr. Gulsrud directs the UCLA Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) “Baby JASPER” project, which aims to test the benefits of JASPER for children as young as 12 months at high risk for ASD and other developmental delays. Dr. Gulsrud is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine and oversees the CAN Clinic, where she provides diagnostic evaluations and brief treatment for very young children with neuro developmental disorders.
Tamar Apelian, Ph.D.
Dr. Apelian is a senior psychologist with over ten years of experience in comprehensive diagnostic assessments for individuals with suspected neurodevelopmental disorders including adults. She is research-reliable in administering the gold standard diagnostic measures for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) that includes the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and trains other clinicians at UCLA seeking testing experience for determining diagnosis, developmental level, and cognitive functioning. Dr. Apelian brings a wealth of information in the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for the treatment of individuals with ASD and intellectual disabilities from her earlier work with Dr. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA. Dr. Apelian provides diagnostic treatment services including evaluations that can be used to advocate for services from the Regional Centers, school districts, and other service providers.
Christie-Enjey Lin, Ph.D.
Dr. Lin is a child psychologist with broad training in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with a range of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders from young children to young adults. Dr. Lin was trained at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she acquired expertise in the use of Pivotal Response Training (PRT) ) at the Koegel Autism Center. She received additional training at Stanford and UCLA in the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy for treatment of anxiety and related emotion regulation problems in persons with neurodevelopmental disorders, and is certified in the use of PEERS Social Skills Treatment Program for Adolescents and Young Adults and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Dr. Lin provides comprehensive diagnostic assessments, is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team, as well as provides a variety of treatment services in both individual and group-based capacities.
Mina Park, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Park is a post-doctoral fellow and clinical instructor with training in the assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in youth and young adults. She gained extensive experience in Pivotal Response Training (PRT) and other empirically supported behavioral interventions during her training at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Koegel Autism Center. She subsequently expanded her training at UCLA in providing social skills treatment (PEERS) and cognitive and behavioral therapies to treat co-occurring psychiatric disorders for youth and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Park is also a post-doctoral fellow in the UCLA PEERS Clinic and a PEERS certified provider. She has broad training in applied behavior analysis and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Park provides comprehensive diagnostic assessments, is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team, and provides individual and group-based treatments.
Shafali Spurling Jeste, M.D.
Dr. Jeste is a board certified child neurologist and an Assistant Professor-In-Residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Jeste obtained her M.D. at Harvard Medical School, and went on to receive her training in child neurology at the Boston Children’s Hospital, before joining UCLA in 2010. Dr. Jeste’s research focuses on the use of neurophysiologic measures such as EEG to understand differences in brain function and development in children with a range of neurogenetic and developmental disorders, such as ASD, tuberous sclerosis, and 15q duplication syndrome. Dr. Jeste’s clinical focus is on the neurologic assessment and treatment of children with neurodevelopmental and genetic syndromes. She is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team and provides services in the CAN Clinic.
Sunil Mehta, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Mehta is a child and adult psychiatrist and basic scientist, and who is a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Mehta completed his M.D. and Ph.D. in Developmental Biology at the Baylor College of Medicine, and went on to complete a residency in general psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, before coming to UCLA for a combined child psychiatry clinical and research fellowship. Dr. Mehta’s research focuses on basic science investigations of the effects of genetic mutations on neural development and function. Dr. Mehta is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team, and provides expert psychiatric evaluation and treatment services.
Benjamin Schneider, M.D.
Dr. Schneider is a child and adult psychiatrist and Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Schneider completed his M.D. at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, and subsequently completed training in general and child psychiatry at UCLA. Dr. Schneider is the Medical Director of the Achievement Behavior Cognition (ABC) Day Treatment Program in the UCLA Resnick-Neuropsychiatric Hospital, a day treatment program for school-age children with a range of developmental, social, cognitive, and emotional disorders. Dr. Schneider is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team, and provides expert psychiatric evaluation and treatment in the CAN Clinic.
Lovella Gomez, B.A.
Ms. Gomez is a psychometrist in the CAN Clinic who provides developmental and diagnostic testing for clinical and research assessments. Ms. Gomez has deep experience in the assessment of infants and children at high risk for ASD, having worked in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Marian Sigman and Ted Hutman as a senior research assistant for the Baby Sibs longitudinal study.
Abbey Hye, M.A.
Ms. Hye is a psychometrist at the CAN clinic where she provides developmental and diagnostic testing for clinical and research cases. She is conversationally bilingual and has broad training in assessments and treatment for children with autism and other developmental delays. Ms. Hye was trained at the University of California, Los Angeles where she received her M.A. in Human Development and Psychology. At UCLA she acquired extensive experience in Joint Attention Symbolic Play and Emotion Regulation (JASPER), the use of augmentative communication devices (AAC), Remaking Recess, and parent training techniques in both Spanish and English. Ms. Hye received additional training at the University of California, San Diego and Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in Pivotal Response Training (PRT) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT). She is committed to teaching social communication skills to children with autism and helping their families.
Sarah Gross M.A. CCC-SLP
Ms. Gross is a licensed speech language pathologist at the Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program (ECPHP) at UCLA, a short-term integrated day program for young children who have been diagnosed with autism, developmental disabilities, and behavior disorders. She received a BA in psychology at UCLA, and an MA in communication disorders from CSULA. Ms. Gross has experience with assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with a variety of diagnoses and disorders, particularly those on the autism spectrum, and those with childhood apraxia of speech. She has worked with clients in determining effective alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) strategies, and has been trained in the Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) technique, as well as Oral Placement Therapy (OPT). Ms. Gross is a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Diagnostic Team, and provides speech and language assessments in the CAN Clinic.
Maya Lazar, B.A.
Ms. Lazar is the CAN clinic coordinator. Her main duties include registering and scheduling patients, and overall support for the clinic psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychometrists. Ms. Lazar received her B.A. in Psychology, with an emphasis on Child Development, from UC Berkeley where she completed her field work hours as a shadow and tutor for school-aged children with a range of emotional, social and cognitive disorders. Ms. Lazar would be happy to answer any questions you have about the services offered at the clinic and the related research projects taking place at the Center for Autism Research and Treatment.