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Trauma and Addiction Project

Our Team

Denise Hien, Ph.D.

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Denise Hien, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor in Clinical Psychology at City University of New York and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Division on Substance Abuse. She and her group have conducted programmatic research on women's mental health and addictions, with continuous funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (18 grants total: 6 R01, 1 Multi-site) for nearly 20 years. This body of work has contributed to
the evidence base on the treatment of women with trauma-related psychiatric disorders and their comorbidity with addictions, through conducting single and multi-site clinical trials across the United States in community-based substance abuse treatment settings. She is board certified (ABPP) in clinical psychology and has served as a standing member on NIH NIDA-E's Treatment on NIH Institutional Review Groups and a health disparities advisory group to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse on Asian/Pacific Islander Issues. Considered a leader in the field of women's trauma and addiction treatment, she joined the CUNY doctoral subprogram in 2008 and teaches courses in both the assessment and evidence based treatment sequences, focusing on psychometrics and approaches for addressing addictions and trauma related disorders using cognitive behavioral techniques. She currently directs the City College APA accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology, as well as its New York State accredited CASAC training program.

Lesia Ruglass, Ph.D

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Lesia Ruglass, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the City College of New York and a Research Scientist at the Trauma and Addictions Project (TAP) where she oversees the implementation of several NIH and locally funded clinical trials and collaborates with the Principal Investigator on the development of new research projects for TAP.  She has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and presented her work at national and international conferences.  Dr. Ruglass also maintains a private practice based in New York City and has specialized training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.  She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the New York State Psychological Association.  She is currently Member-at-Large Elect for Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) of APA.Dr. Ruglass received her B.A. in Psychology from New York University, her M.A. in Psychology from Boston University, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York City.  She completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, an Academic Affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Research Interests
Assessment and Integrated Treatment of PTSD and Substance Use Disorders; Attentional Bias and Marijuana Use Disorders; Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health, Mental Health, and Academic Achievement; HIV/AIDS prevention in Racial/Ethnic Minority Communities.

Teresa Lopez-Castro, Ph.D

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Teresa Lopez-Castro, Ph.D., is a supervising clinical psychologist at The Trauma and Addictions Project. Her work and expertise center on treatment, research, and training in the areas of substance use and comorbid mental disorders.  She specializes in the intersection of traumatic stress and substance use and in particular, innovative approaches for the treatment of co-occurring trauma-related and substance use disorders. Dr. Lopez-Castro has presented nationally and internationally on integrative behavioral interventions and research related to trauma and addiction.

Santiago Papini, M.A

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Santiago Papini is project manager and clinical assessor at TAP. He is also a Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic of New York State Psychiatric Institute where he works on research utilizing MRI to examine biomarkers of PTSD and change in brain functioning after treatment. His main research interests are in Pavlovian fear conditioning models of PTSD, and language use as a mechanism of change in exposure therapies.

Soumia Cheref, B.A.

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Soumia Cheref, B.A., Senior Research Assistant, joined the Trauma and Addiction Project shortly after graduating from Hunter College-CUNY with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  Her research interests include risk and protective factors associated with suicidality (i.e., suicidal thoughts and behaviors) and PTSD, particularly among racial and ethnic minority individuals.  She is currently involved in projects examining differences in treatment outcomes among a racially/ethnically diverse sample with comorbid PTSD and alcohol related disorders. Soumia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Laura Eidlitz, EdM

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Laura Eidlitz, EdM, has been a clinical assessor and therapist at the Trauma and Addiction Project since 2010. She is a PhD student of clinical psychology at the Adelphi University Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. Her research and clinical interests include psychological trauma, social support, and eating disorders.

Melissa Wittnebert, B.A

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Melissa Wittnebert, B.A., studied Psychology at the New School, where she worked as a Research Assistant at the Trauma and Affective Psychophysiology lab under Principal Investigator Dr. Wendy D'Andrea. She currently works as a research assistant at the Trauma and Addiction Project lab at the City College of New York. She plans to attend graduate school in Fall 2014 to earn her Master's in Social Work.

Jillian Greenberg, M.A, M.F.A

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Jillian Greenberg, M.A, M.F.A, has studied psychology, art and education.  She is currently working at the Trauma and Addiction Project lab as a research assistant and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology after teaching for 10 years. Jillian's clinical and research interests include risk factors and treatment for psychopathology in children and trauma in childhood. 

Zachary Kahn

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Zachary Kahn is an extern and a clinical assessor at the Trauma and Addiction project lab.  He is a 4th year student in the child-track of CUNY's Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program.  Zachary graduated from Hamilton College, where he majored in Comparative Literature.  At the City College Psychological Center, Zachary sees adults, children, and groups for psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Zachary is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow with the City College Psychology Department. From 2010 to 2012, Zachary worked as a CUNY Clinical Psychology Fellow, treating students at the Bronx Community College Counseling Center.    

Voski Hovsepian, M.A.

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Voski Hovsepian, M.A., received her BA in psychology from Hofstra University and her MA in psychology in education for Teachers College-Columbia University. She has been a clinical assessor/research assistant at the Trauma and Addiction Project since 2011. She currently conducts baseline and follow up interviews where she assesses for the presence of current and past substance use disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. She conducts motivational interviews with eligible participants to assess participants' motivations and readiness for change. Voski also enters data into SPSS for future analyses.

Alyssa Damianakes, B.A.

Alyssa Damianakes, B.A., studied English Literature and American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She currently works as a research assistant at the Trauma and Addiction Project lab and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include spirituality and mindfulness based interventions, specifically for children and adolescents with childhood trauma, and the intersection of early childhood trauma, substance use and comorbid personality disorders.

Lab Alumni