Our Team

John Piacentini, PhD

Dr. Piacentini is a board-certified clinical child and adolescent psychologist whose works focuses on the development and testing of effective treatments for childhood anxiety and related disorders. Dr. Piacentini has played a lead role in several major treatment studies for these disorders and has published over 240 research papers, many in leading medical journals, chapters and books.

In addition to his role as the Director of the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Piacentini is Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the UCLA Child OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders. He has a long history of child and family advocacy and serves on Boards for several organizations, including, nationally, the Anxiety Depression Association of America, the International OCD Foundation, the Tourette Syndrome Association Behavioral Sciences Consortium (Chair), the Trichotillomania Learning Center, the American Board of Professional Psychology, and, locally, the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation (Vice-President). In addition, he is also current President of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.



Patricia Lester, MD

A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Lester is dedicated to the development, evaluation, and implementation of family centered prevention and treatment for families facing the impact of military deployments, traumatic events, and parental illness. She co-developed the family-centered preventive intervention FOCUS which was designed to promote resilience and mitigate stress in families facing adversities such as natural disasters, medical illness, and military wartime deployments.

In addition to her role as the Co-Director of the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Lester is the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and Medical Director of the Child and Family Trauma Service. Dr. Lester also serves as the Director of the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health.



R. Lindsey Bergman, PhD

Dr. Bergman received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA and joined the Department of Psychiatry soon after earning her degree. She is a researcher and clinician who specializes in the cognitive behavioral treatment for children and adolescents with OCD, selective mutism, and related disorders. Her work seeks to further understand, develop, and test interventions for anxious children, and is particularly interested in the use of mindfulness techniques in the treatment of anxiety. Dr. Bergman has received several research grants from the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies to study the treatment of childhood anxiety and has written extensively on this topic.

In addition to her role at the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Bergman is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the Pediatric OCD Intensive Outpatient Program at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.



Lee Klosinski, PhD

Dr. Klosinski is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received his doctoral degree in religion from Claremont Graduate University. His extensive administrative and research experience includes serving as Director of Programs for AIDS Project Los Angeles, Co-Investigator for the adaptation of two evidence-based prevention interventions for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Co-Director of the Development Core of the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services, and Project Director of two randomized control trials of behavioral interventions in South Africa.

In addition to his work with the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Klosinski is the Senior Associate Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center and the Division of Population Behavioral Health.



Catherine Mogil, PsyD

Dr. Mogil has spent her career working with children of all developmental stages. She has been involved in several intervention development and translational research projects examining the efficacy of parent-assisted interventions for infants and toddlers in foster care, school-aged children with developmental disabilities, and adolescents with Autism Spectrum and other disorders.

Dr. Mogil is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in the David Geffen School of Medicine. In addition to her work at the UCLA CARES Center, Dr. Mogil serves as the Director of Training and Intervention Development for the Nathanson Family Resilience Center and the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health. She is also the Director of the Family Development Project and the Co-Director of the Child and Family Trauma Service. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.



Kate Sheehan, LCSW

Ms. Sheehan is a licensed clinical social worker and the Managing Director for the CARES Center. She previously worked at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA with children, adolescents, and their families, and she led crisis intervention and prevention education efforts at the Santa Monica UCLA Rape Treatment Center. Her areas of expertise include attachment difficulties, trauma, depression, and eating disorders in addition to anxiety. She earned an MSW from Columbia University. She also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. She graduated with highest honors from the Sorbonne, and she is fluent in French though less fluent in Spanish. A practitioner of meditation, she has also had a yoga practice since toddlerhood when she was taught by her grandmother.



Allison Clement, MPH

Ms. Clement is the Project Manager for the UCLA CARES Center. She has extensive experience in training and material development, particularly in HIV prevention and family planning. She earned her M.P.H. from UCLA, where she co-developed a program proposal to improve mental health and quality of life for women veterans. She has also received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in English from UCLA. Ms. Clement is also provides support as a Project Manager for the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center and the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health.



Ashley Jupin, MS

Ms. Jupin is the Director of Communications for the UCLA CARES Center, UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center, and the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health.



Esmeralda Melgoza, MPH, CHES

Esmeralda Melgoza is the Outreach Coordinator for the UCLA Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES). She works closely with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that help parents, school staff, and clinicians recognize the early signs of childhood anxiety. Esmeralda has a Masters of Public Health, a specialization in health education and a certificate in emergency public health, all from UCLA. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

In the past, Esmeralda has worked for the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, the Chicago Workers Collaborative, and UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program. Overall, Esmeralda is determined to use her professional, academic, and personal experiences to address existing health disparities in underserved and under-resourced communities.


Victoria Ponce, BA

Mrs. Ponce provides administrative support for the UCLA CARES Center and is the Clinical Training Coordinator for the UCLA Family STAR Clinic. For the past 22 years, she has also conducted home observations and provided administrative support for the UCLA Family Development Project.


Special Thanks To
  • Michelle Rozenman
  • James Piacentini
  • Meghan Moran
  • Shellie West-Postal
  • Jon Finck