Adjunct Bios V-Z
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Elena Vairo has worked for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) since 1998, where, for 15 years, she worked at Passages Academy, a multi-site education program for court-involved youth, as both a clinician and the Director of Counseling. During her years at Passages, Dr. Vairo contributed to policy and practice initiatives, and worked closely with Administration to expand and develop the counseling program. In 2013, Dr. Vairo transferred to the DOE Division of Early Childhood Education, where she currently coaches staff of both DOE and community-based prekindergarten programs on social-emotional teaching practices and family engagement. Her other professional work includes teaching and advising in university MSW programs, Early Intervention social work, Applied Behavior Analysis, and psychotherapy in community and private practice settings.
Dr. Vairo earned her MSW degree at Hunter College. She earned an Advanced Certificate in the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Abusing Clients and her PhD in Clinical Social Work at New York University.
Senreich, E. & Vairo, E. (2014). Assessment and treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients with substance use disorders. In S.L.A. Straussner (Ed.), Clinical work with substance-abusing clients (3rd ed.) pp. 466-494). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Vairo, E. (2010). Social worker attitudes toward court-mandated substance-abusing clients. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 10(1): 81-98.
Straussner, S.L.A. & Vairo, E. (2007). The impact of post- master’s substance abuse education on social work and other health professionals. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 27 (1/2): 105-123.
Dariela Vasquez, LCSW is a holistic psychotherapist who earned her MSW from NYU. Dariela is the founder of Planting Seeds of Healing, an integrative holistic movement, center for healing, and commitment one to makes to themselves. Planting one seed at a time, looking at healing through an anti-oppression lens supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) womxn and communities to radically love themselves, come home to themselves and rise up their authentic whole selves. Dariela is currently conducting research exploring the experience of Latinx childhood survivors of sexual abuse, is a writer and is creating an integrative model of healing.
Julissa Vásquez is a licensed clinical psychotherapist and consultant in private practice. She is committed to supporting, training and eliminating barriers to education for Latinx Social workers. She is an academic practicum instructor for various universities and a Clinical Supervision consultant. She serves on the board of the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund and is a contributing author on Latinx in Social Work Vol. II.
Julissa holds a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work. Her post graduate training focuses on a psychodynamic approach to the treatment of families and couples with a concentration in trauma. She is also trained as a Ketamine assisted psychotherapist and is interested in research regarding the use of Psychedelics in therapeutic practice.
Dr. Vermeulen is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) and an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department of SUNY New Paltz, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in disaster mental health, grief counseling, and lifespan developmental psychology among other topics. She holds a Masters in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz, a Doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham, and a Certificate in Mental Health in Complex Emergencies from the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation. In addition to teaching and research, she has coordinated the development and production of training curricula for the New York State Department of Health and Office of Mental Health, the American Red Cross, the United Nations, United States Agency for International Development West Bank/Gaza, and other organizations. She is co-author of Disaster Mental Health Interventions: Core Principles and Practices (2017) and co-editor of Disaster Mental Health Case Studies” Lessons Learned from Counseling in Chaos (2019), both published by Routledge.
Graduate Student Adjunct
Carmen Villavicencio-Hein, LCSW-R, MSW, MSEd, has served marginalized communities in educational and foster care settings for 15 years. Carmen is a Supervisor of School Social Workers at the New York City Public Schools. She co-founded a central-based social work initiative delivering multi-tiered crisis and preventive support to NYC Public Schools. Carmen supervises school social workers and is responsible for providing clinical supervision, advocacy, program development, and creating multi-tiered data-based interventions. Additionally, she has over a decade of psychotherapy experience, primarily servicing children and families in foster care and bilingual Spanish-speaking communities. As an immigrant and English Language Learner, she is committed to improving the delivery of accessible, equitable, and culturally responsive services to communities. Her dedication to improving her social work practice brought her to pursue a doctorate at NYU. She is excited to embark on her new role as a Graduate Student Adjunct offering students an experiential learning experience.
PhD Cand., Fordham University
Buddhist Chaplain, NYU Global Spiritual Life
Director and Head Priest, Monju-do Zen Fellowship
Focus: Multifaith Leadership, Religious Pluralism, Religious Studies and Theology.
Education: MAR, theology, Yale Divinity School
I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who specializes in mental health counseling. I am Brooklyn born and Far Rockaway raised. I am writer, speaker, blogger, and podcaster. My goal is to use my personal and clinical experiences as tools for creating conversations around Black mental health, Black masculinity, and the impact systems have on our lives. I am the creator of the Black Maskulinity Podcast and hope to use this forum to help Black men see the power in vulnerability and healthy emotional expression.
Graduate Student Adjunct
Ortal is a PhD Candidate at New York University's Silver School of Social Work. She holds an MSW from the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her experience includes working as a clinical social worker in a mental health clinic as well as a counselor for teenagers, professionals, and parents on reproductive and sexual health issues. Today she is an advocate in All-Options, providing counseling and support for people in their experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption.
Ortal's research interests include reproductive health, rights, and justice, abortion policies, access to abortion and healthcare services, mixed-methods research, and policy analysis. In her Doctoral Dissertation, she focuses on the financial and emotional burden of accessing abortion care in the US. She was recently awarded the Emerging Scholar in Family Planning Grant for her dissertation research.
Ortal is currently teaching Social Work Research 1 & 2.
Tamieka Welsh received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from North Carolina A&T State University and her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University with a concentration in clinical mental health. Tamieka possesses strong leadership. She has over 5+ years of experience in the mental health field. Tamieka is committed to eradicating the stigma on mental health and raising awareness on the importance of mental health. Tamieka recognizes the importance of education in African American communities thus she is a part of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) K-12 Education Fellowship Alumni Council that serves as an advisory body to support alumni engagement through outreach, coordinating professional development programming, and cultivating networking opportunities.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Caroline L. Werner, JD, LCSW, SWC(c) is an adjunct assistant professor at New York University’s School of Social work where she teaches graduate courses in the field of Policy. Ms. Werner is an integrative psychotherapist and certified Stress & Wellness Consultant. She is the founder of a consulting firm specializing in burnout prevention, stress reduction, and improving satisfaction, retention, and engagement of employees. Ms. Werner incorporates Wellness, Mind/Body Medicine, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques in her work with clients, all of which are evidence-based practices. She is an extensive public speaker.
For nine years, Ms. Werner was on the faculty of Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Center for Health & Healing, then the largest integrative medicine practice in the United States. She has been actively involved in the field of education reform policy and advocacy and assisted in bringing several new public elementary schools to a historically low-performing neighborhood in New York City.
Ms. Werner is co-author of the chapter “Broker-Dealer Litigation and Arbitration” in Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts (2nd ed.) (Thomson West).
Ms. Werner is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University; Brooklyn Law School, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar, winner of the Leonard P. Moore Memorial Prize, and served as a member of the Journal of Law and Policy; and New York University School of Social Work. Ms. Werner also trained at the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School and the Canadian Institute of Stress/Hans Selye Foundation.
Graduate Student Adjunct
Cliff Whetung is a fourth-year doctoral student at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. He is a band member of Curve Lake First Nation, an Ojibwe reservation in Ontario, Canada. His research investigates inequities in cognitive health using longitudinal data with a focus on Indigenous populations.
Scott Whipple is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice. He received his MSW from New York University where he has been on the faculty for fifteen years. Scott is the former Director of Mental Health and Social Services at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Manhattan and the former Director of Intake and Assessment at Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Mr. Whipple is also a Lead Teaching Assistant for the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute where he is a certified senior consultant.
Scott A. Whipple worked extensively with people with HIV/AIDS during the pandemic. His areas of expertise including working with LGBTQ populations. For the past 15 years, Mr. Whipple has specialized in working with survivors of trauma including adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He has presented at the International Male Survivors Conference. He has also presented at the International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations - both in Grenada, Spain and Toronto, Canada.
Alicia White earned her MSW from New York University and continued post-graduate studies at Hunter School of Social Work, where she received additional clinical training. She obtained training at Ackerman Institute, Training Institute of Mental Health and Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies. She is a licensed clinical social worker who has dedicated two decades in the field. Prof. White's work experience includes child welfare, education and forensic social work. In her final years with the Legal Aid Society, Prof. White pioneered her role as the first mitigation specialist within New York’s public defender system to provide therapeutic intervention to human trafficking survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. She has established herself as a human trafficking expert and has conducted numerous trainings and presentations at national conferences. Prof. White received the Mid-Career Exemplary Social Work leader award from NASW-NYC chapter in 2015 and the Social Work Image Awards (with Brooklyn Defender Services) in 2016. She currently supervises a team of the most dedicated and hard-working social workers she has ever had the pleasure of working with, at Brooklyn Defender Services.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Christine Wilkins, Ph.D., LCSW is the Advance Care Planning Program Manager at NYU Langone Health where she oversees the enterprise-wide implementation of Advance Care Planning as an integral component of person centered care. Over the past two decades, Dr. Wilkins has intervened in direct practice with children and adults in acute care settings, palliative care, and intimate partner violence. She has conducted groups work in varying settings. Dr. Wilkins is a graduate of the University of Malta, University of Toronto, and NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has published and presented on advance care planning, palliative care, hospital social work, social group work, and intimate partner violence. She serves as symposium co-chair on the International Association for Social Work with Groups board, social work representative on the national Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) board, and member of the New York State Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) executive board. She is Faculty at NYU Silver School of Social Work, and NYU School of Medicine.
Deirdre Williams, LCSW obtained her MSW and is a Doctoral Candidate at NYU. She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience from Quinnipiac University. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and New York University, teaching the Advanced Integrated Practice with Organizations and Communities and the Social Welfare and Policy courses, respectively. She currently works advocating in and out of Brooklyn Family Court for youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems in New York City at the Legal Aid Society, specializing in delinquency matters. She simultaneously works as a Director at the Restorative Center, employing restorative justice circles for the community and trainings for attorneys, social workers, teachers, and community organizers and members. As a social worker, Ms. Williams is dedicated to building foundations and addressing gaps in systems as she encourages people to have a sense of ownership and empowerment of his/her own narrative.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Elisa C. Wong is Vice President at ICL, a behavioral health organization serving older adults, adults, families and children throughout the five boroughs. Elisa oversees implementation of evidence-based strategies or develops new strategies to work cross-functionally in diverse settings within the organization, to move these strategies from the abstract to the applied, and create the processes to ensure their effectiveness. She has worked in the social work field for over twenty-five years.
Elisa has an extensive background in program evaluation, community practice, and program development. Her professional areas of interest include integrated health, older adults, and social connectedness using an anti-oppression lens. Elisa has presented on these subjects both locally and nationally. She is also the co-author of “Social isolation: A solution-focused approach” as well as “How we learned to love and understand data”, both published in Behavioral Health News.
Elisa earned her PhD from NYU Silver and her MSW from Columbia University.
Nancy Xenakis has almost 35 years’ experience in clinical, leadership and academic positions in public service and health and human services.
She previously served as a faculty advisor at NYU Silver School of Social Work from 2007-2010 and rejoined in 2021 to teach/advise in the Integrated Practice/Practicum I and II courses. Dr. Xenakis also holds a faculty appointment at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and is a social work fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine. Currently, she is the Guest Support Coordinator at Toni’s Kitchen, a community-based organization that addresses food insecurity in Essex County, NJ and also provides telephonic crisis counseling for the National 988 Lifeline and a Contact Warmline. Her specialty areas include medical social work, interprofessional health care practice, social determinants of health, population health, disaster mental health, suicide prevention, homelessness, home care, supervision/leadership, and social work professional development in the work setting.
Dr. Xenakis received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Barnard College at Columbia University, dual master’s degrees in Social Work (Silver School of Social Work) and Health Policy and Management (Wagner School of Public Service) at New York University and earned a doctorate in Social Work from the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at University of Southern California. She has presented at many national and international conferences and authored numerous publications.
Yunyu (Kathy) Xiao is a fourth-year PhD candidate from Silver School of Social Work, and a predoctoral research scientist from the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, NYU. Yunyu’s research focuses on addressing health disparities in suicidal behaviors, mental health and service utilization, and social policy. She has published in top journals, including Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of School Psychology, Psychiatry Research, Asian Journal of Psychiatry, and Health Behavior Research. She is awardees of the Kenneth Lutterman Award for Best Student Paper in 2018 American Public Health Association (APHA), and the Outstanding Student Poster in 2019 American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB) Annual Meeting. She gave several talks at international conferences, including Society for Social Work and Research, Council on Social Work Education, APHA, and AAHB. Yunyu was instructor for MSW courses and received excellent student teaching evaluation. Yunyu received M.Phil. from the University of Hong Kong.
Graduate Student Adjunct
Nari Yoo is a PhD student at New York University Silver School of Social Work. Nari's research interests are racial/ethnic minorities, immigrants, and refugees in both the United States and Asian contexts. Nari is specifically interested in community-level and technology-related factors in predicting mental health outcomes and mental health service utilization. Nari's methodological interests encompass the utilization of structural equation modeling, as well as computational social science techniques. Presently, she serves as a predoctoral fellow at NYU's Constance and Martin Silver Center on Data Science and Social Equity. Besides that, her work has been published in journals such as Digital Health, Journal of Affective Disorders, and Preventive Medicine Reports. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Social Welfare and a Master of Arts in Social Welfare (equivalent to MSW) from Ewha Womans University, South Korea.
Tiffany Younger is the founder of the Social Change Agents Institute, a project that brings scholars, professionals, and educators to developing countries to offer Free mental health services and social change workshops in developing countries of the African Diaspora such as South Africa, Brazil and Haiti. In addition, she is piloting the Social Changes Agents Institute (SCAI). Prior to running the institute, Tiffany worked as a Policy Fellow for United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand where she focused on issues of criminal justice, gender and race equity.
Tiffany obtained her Masters Degree in Social policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a Lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work where she teaches Political Advocacy. Currently, Tiffany is obtaining her doctoral degree in Social Welfare at the Silberman School of Social Work.
Graduate Student Adjunct
Yeqing Yuan is currently a PhD student at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Her research areas include mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness. Prior to joining the PhD program, Yeqing worked as a homeless outreach clinician in Boston, MA, serving homeless individuals with serious mental illnesses and substance abuse problems in shelters and on streets. Yeqing was awarded Excellence in Homeless Services and Research by NYU Silver. She has several journal publications around her substantive area, including the most recent article: Yuan, Y., & Manuel, J. I. (in press). The relationship between residential mobility and behavioral health service use in a national sample of adults with mental health and/or substance abuse problems. Journal of Dual Diagnosis. Yeqing obtained her MSW from Boston College and is expecting to complete her PhD in 2020.
Adjunct Associate Professor
Dr. Zakheim is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Her areas of expertise and interest include domestic violence, Healing Circles using restorative practices, cultural sensitivity training and working with criminal justice system to assist those dealing with domestic violence. In addition, Dr. Zakheim co-chairs the United Task Force Inc, a not-for-profit organization comprising over 50 agencies serving the NY/NJ area utilizing combined resources to address issues of child abuse and neglect (physical, emotional and sexual), issues of substance abuse and addictions and their impact on individuals and families.
Dr. Zakheim holds a PhD in Social Work from the NYU Silver School of Social Work, Post Master’s Degree from Hunter College, MSW from Yeshiva University and a BA in Psychology and Accounting from Brooklyn College.
Brian Zampella is currently employed as a social work supervisor by the New York State Office of Mental Health at Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, where he supervises the social work staff of that facility's 96 bed psychiatric inpatient unit. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Zampella served as a treatment team leader at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center. In this capacity, he supervised three multidisciplinary treatment teams, providing assessment and treatment to pretrial detainees admitted from Rikers Island that have been found unfit to proceed with their cases under CPL 730, as well as those found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity under CPL 330.20. Brian also previously created and managed the hospital’s alternative to incarceration referral program for patients with felony cases in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and served as principal investigator on a multidisciplinary study related to this program's impact on reducing psychiatric rehospitalization and criminal justice recidivism among pretrial detainees who were discharged following their restoration to fitness. Brian's research interests focus on the intersection between the mental health and criminal justice systems, and empirically based interventions to reduce reincarceration and rehospitalization among patients with severe mental illness. Dr. Zampella completed his MSW at Columbia University and his DSW at NYU Silver School of Social Work.