Clinical Faculty

Founder and Director

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Laugeson is the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, which is an outpatient program providing evidence-based social skills training for individuals from preschool to adulthood. Dr. Laugeson is also the Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center, which is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Program Director for the Predoctoral Psychology Internship Program in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at UCLA. Dedicated to supporting those with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, she has also held positions as Founding Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance (2007 – 2017), Training Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center (2014 – 2021), Director of the UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program (2007 – 2010), and Associate Director for the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Training Program (2007 – 2010).

Dr. Laugeson received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and completed her pre-doctoral psychology internship in developmental disabilities at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was a two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2004 and 2006, the recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. Dr. Laugeson has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of nationally funded studies investigating social skills training for youth with social difficulties from preschool to early adulthood and has authored four books related to social skills including the critically acclaimed, The Science of Making Friends.

As the developer of PEERS, Dr. Laugeson has trained tens of thousands of mental health professionals, educators, and families worldwide, and is dedicated to developing, testing, and disseminating evidence-based treatments to improve social skills for individuals across the lifespan and across the globe. As one of the only empirically supported and internationally recognized social skills programs for neurodivergent youth, her programs are currently used in over 150 countries and have been translated into over a dozen languages. Her work has been featured is numerous media outlets, including People Magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, LA Times, New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the Netflix series, Love on the Spectrum.

Associate Director/Clinical Instructor/AttendingPsychologist/Certified PEERS®Trainer

Shannon Bates, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Bates facilitates our parent/social coach groups across our preschool, teen, and young adult programs. She also leads PEERS® Training Seminars for the adolescent, school-based, and young adult curricula. Dr. Bates was the UCLA PEERS® Clinic Coordinator from 2010 to 2012, during which time she led teen, young adult, and parent/caregiver groups. She also co-led domestic and international PEERS® Training Seminars alongside Dr. Laugeson. Dr. Bates obtained her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She completed her internship training at the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, where she specialized in the treatment of young adults and adults with severe mental illness, including trauma, chronic depression, addiction, suicidality, and self-harm.

Director of Research

Christine Moody, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of Research at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. In her role, Dr. Moody facilitates many of our research efforts on the efficacy and implementation of the various PEERS® social skills programs. She also coordinates a large team of research assistants and contributes to the professional development of these aspiring clinicians and researchers in the field through various forms of mentorship. Dr. Moody is also a licensed clinical psychologist and serves as a group leader in our programs. Dr. Moody first joined the UCLA PEERS® team in 2018 and has experience in all of our groups, including the newer PEERS® for Careers and PEERS® for Dating research interventions. Outside of PEERS®, Dr. Moody leads the postsecondary education and employment initiatives at the UCLA Tarjan Center. Specifically, she is involved with multiple partnerships with the California Community College Chancellor's Office and California Department of Rehabilitation to support those serving young adults with developmental disabilities in these systems. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from UCLA and has been working with youth and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families for over ten years. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship at St. John's Child and Family Development Center and her postdoctoral fellowship here at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in a split appointment between the PEERS® Clinic and UCLA TIES for Families, which provides mental health services for youth in foster care or who have been adopted from foster care. She is especially passionate about the importance of mental health, positive relationships, and bolstering systemic supports and awareness at all levels (e.g., families, schools, society) to promote positive outcomes.

Director of Clinical Services/Certified PEERS® Trainer

Dr. Elina Veytsman is a licensed clinical psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist. She is an attending psychologist at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic and facilitates youth and parent/social coaching groups across our preschool, adolescent, and young adult programs. She also facilitates groups for the PEERS® for Dating and PEERS® for Careers research programs. In addition, Dr. Veytsman leads PEERS® Certified Training Seminars for mental health professionals and educators and PEERS® Boot Camps for families and professionals. Dr. Veytsman obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology at UCLA and her PhD in School Psychology at UC Riverside, where she studied the experience of youth with developmental disabilities and their parents during their transition into adulthood. She completed her doctoral internship at The Help Group, where she specialized in providing therapy and parent training, and conducting diagnostic assessments for neurodiverse youth in school and outpatient settings. Dr. Veytsman began working with the UCLA PEERS® Clinic in 2014 as a clinic coordinator and has since conducted the PEERS® program in group and individual formats across clinical and school settings. She conducts individual PEERS® with a limited number of clients through the Center for Pediatric Neuropsychology, a private practice in Los Angeles.

Research Supervisor

Dr. Yasamin Bolourian, Ph.D., is the Research Supervisor at the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. She received her doctorate in Education from the University of California, Riverside. Outside of PEERS®, Dr. Bolourian is the Director of Outreach and Dissemination at the UCLA Tarjan Center. Her research focuses on neurodiversity, including postsecondary outcomes for neurodivergent students and service pathways for autistic youth and their families in community and school settings. She has led a number of initiatives aimed at reducing disparities and service inequities for families of youth with developmental disabilities in Inland Southern California that have been supported by the California Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS), the UC Riverside Center for Health Disparities Research (HDR), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Dr. Bolourian serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research and is the Co-Chair of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Special Interest Research Group for the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD). 

Attending Psychotherapist

Dr. Rebecca Kammes is a licensed marriage and family therapist and completed her doctoral degree in Couple and Family Therapy as well as postdoctoral research training at the Center for Research in Autism, Intellectual, and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities both at Michigan State University. Rebecca has 10 years of experience working as a couple and family therapist for individuals with Autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families. Rebecca’s research and clinical area of expertise is on the systemic risks and challenges of developing positive sexual identities and romantic relationships for older adolescents and adults with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her work is based in the principles of community-based participatory research, with an emphasis on program evaluation to inform wider policy and practice issues. She has significant experience working in developing and delivering social skills trainings for individuals and families with disabilities across the lifespan. Rebecca is currently a clinical attending in the PEERS® clinic and primarily works with the parents and social coaches in the teen and young adult programs, as well as running the PEERS® for Dating program.

Attending Psychologist

Dr. Lucy Vo, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner of a private practice in Newport Beach, CA. Her practice specializes in providing comprehensive outpatient therapy for adolescents and adults facing challenges related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and mood concerns. She obtained her undergraduate degree from UCLA and earned her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University. Dr. Vo's professional journey includes roles at the UCLA Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program and the Kasari Lab. Her early involvement with the UCLA PEERS® team as a research assistant in 2009 marked the beginning of her enduring passion for social skills training, a theme that has remained central throughout her career. Dr. Vo is PEERS® certified and is bilingual in Vietnamese and English. Throughout her training, Dr. Vo demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusivity in mental health care. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Western Youth Services, a community mental health clinic that specializes in trauma-informed care for children, youth, and families. During this period, Dr. Vo developed expertise in various evidence-based treatments, including Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Functional Family Therapy (FFT). Her passion is motivated by her interest in helping individuals learn how to navigate the social world in areas such as making friends, dating, career and stress-management.  

Attending Psychologist

Sarah Bruce, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and serves as a clinical attending in the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. Dr. Bruce also works in private practice at Spectrum Psych LA, where she provides individual therapy, family therapy, and diagnostic assessment to neurodivergent individuals across the lifespan and their families. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise include the intersection of autistic and LGBTQIA+ identities, complex clinical presentations, and family systems. Dr. Bruce earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium, where she received advanced training in the treatment and assessment of autistic individuals. Dr. Bruce completed her postdoctoral fellowship at The Help Group and UCLA’s Semel Institute, where she provided clinical services to autistic individuals and their families and contributed to autism research. Currently, Dr. Bruce facilitates the PEERS® for Young Adults clinical groups.

Attending Psychologist/Clinical Neuropsychologist  

Leila Glass, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist specializing in comprehensive, evidence-based assessment in private practice as well as serving as a clinical attending in the UCLA PEERS® Clinic. Dr. Glass is PEERS® certified and has experience working across preschool, adolescent, and young adult programs. Dr. Glass received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and previously worked at the NIH as a trainee. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in San Diego and completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the UCLA Semel Institute. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Glass has been the recipient of several NIH grants and her research has focused on understanding the academic, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and other developmental disabilities. Her primary interests lie in understanding individual neurobehavioral profiles to guide treatment planning for best outcomes.

Attending Psychologist

Deanna Dow, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who facilitates the UCLA PEERS for Preschoolers Program. She is also the Founder and Clinical Director of Spectrum Psych LA, a private practice that specializes in working with children through adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and mood concerns through outpatient therapy, medication management, and assessment services. Dr. Dow has trained with the leading experts in ASD across the country, contributing to research in the field related to early detection and diagnosis of autism, parent-implemented treatment strategies, and co-occurring disorders including anxiety and depression. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, completed post-baccalaureate training at the University of North Carolina, and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University. Dr. Dow completed her internship training and postdoctoral fellowship at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she worked in the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental (CAN) Clinic, Parent Training Program, JASPER Baby Bears intervention study, Family STAR (Stress Trauma and Resilience) Clinic, ABC Child Partial Hospitalization Program, Adolescent Partial Hospitalization Program, and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Inpatient Service.