Adjunct Faculty

Karen Bagnini MA, MSW, LCAT, LCSW |
Adjunct Lecturer

Ms. Bagnini is a licensed creative arts therapist and clinical social worker who has practiced in schools and out-patient mental health clinics in Boston + NYC for 19 years. She completed her Master of Arts Degree in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University, and obtained her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She has presented nationally on community-building, anti-oppressive practice, and social and emotional learning in school communities and has held positions in direct service, clinical supervision, and program management. Ms. Bagnini's style of engagement attempts to foster individual strengths and collective understanding of identified problems as well as barriers to continued growth and learning. She embraces a firm commitment to ongoing professional development that includes how self-awareness impacts professional competence. Ms. Bagnini is also a practicing musician (piano, guitar, and voice) and has published scholarly writing about creativity, culture, and the practice of psychotherapy.

Meaghan Baier MSW, LMSW (NY) |
Adjunct Lecturer

As the Assistant Director of Strategic Operations at McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, Meg is an integral part of the team that manages the ongoing work of the Managed Care Technical Assistant Center (MCTAC) as well as a variety of other projects. As part of the team, Meg helps to oversee the daily operations of MCTAC as well as numerous on-going partnerships and the development of trainings, tools, and resources to support ongoing healthcare transformation work. 

Meg is a graduate of Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work’s Community Organizing, Planning and Development and has been invited to be a guest speaker at various Hunter, NYU, and Columbia's master social work classes. Meg is interested in supporting individuals and communities in implementing sustainable and effective interventions and programs. Prior to her graduate studies, Meg lived in Alaska working as an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence and as a program coordinator for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Ms. Baier is passionate about social justice and trauma informed practices and has a background in the development and implementation of community violence presentation plans and working within child welfare reform.

Wendy Bassett MSW, LCSW-R |
Adjunct Lecturer

Gwendolyn (Wendy) Bassett, MSW, LCSW-R, is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Midtown Manhattan. She specializes in working with men and women who seek recovery from the aftereffects of trauma. Wendy’s expertise is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); brief, evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapies for PTSD with individuals, groups, and couples; and veteran postdeployment mental health.

In addition to her clinical work, Wendy is a Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD trainer and consultant. For more than a decade, she worked with veterans with PTSD at VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, CT.  A graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU Silver School for Social Work.

Besa Bauta PhD, MPH, MSW |
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Besa H. Bauta is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University’s - Silver School of Social Work, where she teaches clinical and research courses. She is also the Chief Data Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for MercyFirst, a social service agency providing health and mental health services to children and adolescents in New York City, with a concentration of programming in Brooklyn and eastern Long Island. In that capacity she oversees the Research, Evaluation, Analytics, and Compliance for Health (REACH) department including policy and program development. Previously she served as the Research Director for a USAID community-based education project in Afghanistan, and as the Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Evidence-Based Implementation and Research (CEBIR) at Catholic Guardian Services, where she oversaw the implementation of thirteen evidence-based models. She has received extramural funding from both city, state, federal agencies, and foundations for program development and research projects. Besa has extensive expertise in health services, data systems, monitoring and evaluation, including child maltreatment, trauma, and refugee mental health. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Rutgers University with training in Evolutionary Anthropology. Her credentials also include an MSW in Clinical Social Work from NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, an MPH in Global Public Health from the College of Global Public Health at NYU, training in psychoanalysis from the Institute of Psychoanalytic Education, affiliated with NYU’s Medical School division of Psychiatry, and a PhD with training in implementation science, health services research from NYU. Her current research interests focus on health systems, global mental health, and integrating maternal and child health services into primary care, with a special focus on children living in low resource settings and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Janet Becker PhD, LCSW |
Adjunct Lecturer

Dr. Becker has a private psychotherapy practice in New York City. She has had extensive training and experience as a psychotherapist in individual and group therapy. Her areas of expertise include living with chronic illness, caregiving, and end-of-life issues.

Dr. Becker's publications include articles in The Journal of Health and Social Work, The Journal of Social Work with Groups, and in The Allegro (monthly newspaper for local chapter of American Federation of Musicians).

She earned her MSW from Hunter College (CUNY) in 1979, and her PhD in Clinical Social Work from New York University in 1999.


Linda Lee Bederman MSW, LMSWR (NY) |
Adjunct Lecturer

After obtaining my MSW from Fordham University, most of my career has focused in the field of Mental Health. I have worked in inpatient psychiatry, community based mental health clinics, and forensic mental health clinics in NYC at Rikers Isalnd and with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Within these settings, I have practiced as a clinician, clinical supervisor, field instructor, Unit Chief, Clinic Director, and Mental Health Director. Currently, I am in private practice and for the past eleven years, I have been at NYU as both a Faculty Advisor and Adjunct Professor. My approach to treatment is eclectic, that is using different approaches based on the needs of the client. Some of these approaches include psychodynamic psychotherapy, strengths perspective, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness with children, adolescents, individuals, families and couples.

Erin Patricia Beischer |
Adjunct Lecturer
Jennifer Benetato MSW, R-DMT, LCSW (NY) & (HI), LMT (NY) & (HI) |
Adjunct Lecturer

Jennifer Benetato is an educator, integrative psychotherapist, trauma specialist, and the founder of The AMBIKA Method, an embodied psycho-spiritual approach for enhancing emotional wellbeing.   

Jennifer received her MSW from NYU, where she was the recipient of the Constance McCatherin-Silver Fellowship. Jennifer is also a registered dance/movement therapist, licensed massage therapist, certified yoga therapist, and trained practitioner of EMDR, gestalt therapy, Reiki, meditation, herbal medicine, and CranioSacral therapy. 

Jennifer was a presenter in NYU's first conference on Creative Arts and Social Work in 2015. She has also presented at NASW’s Social Work in the City Conference and NASW’s Addictions Institute Conference. She is a regular lecturer on mind-body-spirit approaches to mental health. 

Jennifer is licensed in New York and Hawaii, and works with individuals, couples, and groups. She is currently in private practice. 

Dr. Lawrence K.W. Berg |
Adjunct Professor



Dr. Robert S. Berger PhD, MSSW, LCSW |
Adjunct Associate Professor

Robert S. Berger is in full-time private practice. His area of expertise is outpatient psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults.
Dr. Berger earned his MS in social work from Columbia University in 1978 and his PhD in clinical social work from the NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2000. His dissertation explored self-perceptions in latency age children with Familial Dysautonomia.


Karen Bernstein |
Adjunct Lecturer


Ellen Blaufox LCSW-R (NY) |
Adjunct Lecturer

Ellen Blaufox, LCSW-R is Director of Clinical Services at The Mann Center (The Jewish Board), the largest psychiatric, residential treatment facility for adolescents in New York State. Ellen has been working with adolescents, adults and families, survivors of chronic stress, trauma and mental illness for twenty years. During her time at The Mann Center, Ellen has had the opportunity to participate as a Core Team Member (for JBFCS) in the National Child Traumatic Study Network Learning Collaborative with the founders of TF-CBT. She has been practicing TF-CBT for nearly ten years and has provided consultation and supervision for TF-CBT clinicians. Additionally, Ellen was a Core Team Member of the implementation of the Sanctuary Model on the Westchester Campus of JBFCS. She participated in the adaptation and implementation of the Sanctuary Model from an adult modality to the adolescent population. She is an expert in the field of Trauma and CSEC (youth who are survivors of Commercial, Sexual Exploitation). 

Ms. Blaufox has been an Adjunct Professor at New York University Silver Graduate School of Social Work for six years, where she teaches Diversity, Racism, Oppression and Privilege. She has also taught Trauma and Resilience at Iona College. Ellen is the Founder of True Edge Workshop whose mission is to empower girls and women by challenging their cognitive distortions and increasing their practice of self-compassion. She is a well-respected authority and has been presenting workshops on such topics as white privilege, feminism, self-abuse, trauma and depression for more than ten years. In addition, she is a contributor to Mary Pender Greene’s chapter “Family and Children’s’ Services” in the publication Encyclopedia of Social Work with Groups. Ms. Blaufox is in private practice in Westchester County. She is a graduate of Skidmore College, NYU Silver School of Social Work, Circle in the Square Theater Summer School and NYSSA (Julliard).

Mitchell C. Borgida LCSW, QCSW, BCD |
Adjunct Lecturer

Mitchell Borgida earned his MSW from Adelphi University in 1984 and a post-master’s certificate in advanced clinical social work in 1994.

Dr. Lindsay Bornheimer PhD, LCSW |
Adjunct Lecturer

Dr. Bornheimer is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Washington University in St. Louis Brown School of Social Work and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow Affiliate at the New York University McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and her program of research focuses on understanding and preventing suicidal death among adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. Dr. Bornheimer is contributing to several NIMH funded mental health focused R01 studies at McSilver and is also a data analyst for NYU Langone Medical Center and Planned Parenthood. 
Dr. Bornheimer obtained her PhD from New York University and holds a Master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University. She completed clinical training at New York Presbyterian Hospital to obtain her license (LCSW) in New York State and has practiced psychotherapy for over 7 years with individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Bornheimer has also studied at the Beck Institute, which is globally considered the gold-standard for training in CBT, and largely utilizes cognitive and behavioral approaches in practice.

Vicki Breitbart MS, MSW, EdD, LCSW |
Adjunct Associate Professor

An accomplished public-health leader, Dr. Breitbart has dedicated her career, spanning 40 years, to improving health services. Many of the programs, partnerships, and policies that she helped initiate serve as models for other urban centers across the country. She recently served as Director of the Health Advocacy graduate program at Sarah Lawrence. College, Vice President of the Department of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, which she created at Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), and served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Clinician Training Initiative at PPNYC, as well. She has held positions as Project Director at the Columbia School of Public Health for a national study, funded by the Ford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served as Deputy Director of the Office of Women’s Health at the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. Prior to that, she served as Program Management Officer at the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the New York City Department of Health, where she managed the 300-staff initiative to reduce infant mortality in the city. Working with community and government partners, her accomplishments include founding the first Bereavement Program in New York City for families experiencing perinatal loss, establishing the Brooklyn Perinatal Network. In recognition of her work and leadership abilities, she was elected President of the Public Health Association of New York City in 2010 and has served as Chair of the Board of the National Abortion Federation. Dr. Breitbart is presently on the Board of Directors of the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Advisory Board of the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College. Dr. Breitbart has taught at CUNY School of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and New York University. Her publications include books on education and articles on reproductive health and intimate partner violence for peer-reviewed journals.

Eric Brettschneider MA, JD |
Adjunct Associate Professor

Eric Brettschneid erentered human services in 1967. After 10 years directing QSPCC and pioneering preventive strategies, he joined NYS Social Services and oversaw the Child Welfare Reform Act. As Deputy Commissioner at NYC’s HRA, Eric promoted preventive services, created The Child Protective Training Academy, and emphasized avoidance of sibling separation in foster care. He developed decentralized social services at HRA and at Agenda for ChildrenTomorrow. He then was United Way of NYC’s Senior Vice President. He was Chief of Staff at OCFS and in 2014 ACS’s First Deputy Commissioner. 

Eric has B.A. and M.A. degrees in Psychology from Colgate University and New School University and JD from Hofstra University. He teaches in NYU’s SCA, Gallatin and Silver schools where he was “Outstanding Teacher” in 2004. 

He is President of NYFC and VWB Foundation and a Doris Duke Foundation advisory board member. He is co-chair of the NYS OCA Committee on Court Interpreting. Eric was a 2005 Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School and was awarded the Public Justice Award from Hofstra University in 2015.

Douglas Brooks MS, LCSW-R |
Adjunct Lecturer

Mr. Brooks is an Executive Manager with Community Counseling & Mediation and serves as the Director of Ruby's Place. Ruby's Place provides supportive permanent housing to formerly homeless adults with disabilities. He also consults with other social service agencies to implement new initiatives or to assess program functioning.

Mr. Brooks has 25 years of social service experience working in the fields of child welfare, early childhood education and mental health. As an agency executive, he has managed multi-million dollar programs and services to help strengthen families, to help young people reach their full potential, and to help adults with disabilities leading meaning productive lives. 
Mr. Brooks has extensive experience working in the private non-profit, government and academic sectors. He also has experience with the provision of social services at the direct practice, policy and executive level and is able to develop and integrate programs, services and systems to serve our most vulnerable populations.

Mr. Brooks earned his MS of Social Work from Columbia University in 1994. Mr. Brooks also completed Columbia University's Non-Profit Management Program and Harvard University's Executive Leadership Program.

Dr. David S. Byers PhD, MSW, LICSW (MA) |
Adjunct Lecturer

David S. Byers, Ph.D., MSW, LICSW is a researcher and clinician focused on clinical social work with adolescents and young adults. He studies the role of peer relations to promote resiliency in the face of bullying, cyberbullying, and other forms of peer aggression and social oppression. He has expertise in clinical theory and practice with individuals and groups, especially related to diagnosis and assessment, development, trauma, and LGBTQ topics. Dr. Byers has published theory and research articles in academic journals, and recently a chapter on DSM-5 for the fourth edition of Inside Out and Outside In. He has also published essays for popular audiences in Time and Slate. Dr. Byers is on the Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (CSOGIE) for the Council on Social Work Education. He completed his MSW at NYU in 2006, and his PhD at Smith College School for Social Work in 2016.