Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center — Meet the Team

Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center — Meet the Team

The Leadership Team

Louis J. Kraus, MD, DFAPA, FAACAPLouis J. Kraus, MD, DFAPA, FAACAP, is the founder of the AARTS Center at Rush. Kraus is also Woman's Board Professor and Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a federal court monitor in a consent decree with the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal attorney general’s office. In this role, he monitors and makes suggestions regarding mental health treatment at all juvenile justice facilities in Illinois.

 

Watch Video

Holly Lechniak, LCSWHolly Lechniak, LCSW, is the outreach director for the AARTS Center. She also serves as a clinician and coordinator for the SPARK study. Lechniak has spent the past decade providing services to children and adults with autism across school and clinic settings. She provides autism consultation for individual students and programs across the Chicagoland area and helps to coordinate social work training program at the AARTS Center.
Jennifer Moriuchi, PhDJennifer Moriuchi, PhD, is a clinical instructor and the associate clinical director of the AARTS Center. She specializes in diagnostic evaluations across the lifespan, with children, adolescents, and adults, and works with individuals with autism and their families in therapy and consultations. She also helps coordinate the psychology externship program at the AARTS Center. Moriuchi received her PhD in clinical psychology from Emory University, where she completed graduate clinical training at the Marcus Autism Center. She completed her pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in the Autism Clinic at Oregon Health and Science University. Informed by her clinical work, her research has explored behavioral mechanisms contributing to positive functional outcomes in autism with particular focus on populations generally underrepresented in autism research, including females, racial and ethnic minorities, and individuals with intellectual disability. Latha V. Soorya, PhD, BCBALatha V. Soorya, PhD, BCBA, is a clinical psychologist, behavior analyst and Director of the AARTS Center. Soorya has been providing clinical care to individuals with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions for over two decades. She brings expertise in clinical evaluations and is a trainer on gold standard autism diagnostic instruments (e.g., ADOS2, ADI-R). Soorya’s research seeks to develop and disseminate evidence-informed therapies for social and mental health needs of individuals with ASD across the lifespan. Her current research includes studies of novel social skills groups model and digital health tools to advance diagnostics and therapy monitoring (faculty page). She serves on the faculty at Rush, University of Illinois at Chicago's LEND program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai supporting training and research programs and serves on the board of Chicagoland Autism Speaks.
Allie Wainer, PhDAllie Wainer, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, assistant professor of psychiatry, and the research director of the AARTS Center. Wainer received her PhD from Michigan State University and completed her clinical internship at JFK Partners at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Wainer has extensive experience with assessment, behavioral intervention, and parent training for individuals with ASD. Her program of research focuses on ways to increase access to intervention for young children with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions. She has received funding from NIH (ITM KL2 Scholars Program), PCORI, Autism Speaks, the Fulbright Program, and the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation to support her research. She also provides training and consultation in ASD Early Intervention and Parent Coaching for community-based providers in the United States and Internationally.
 
Lisa Yeh, MDLisa Yeh, MD, is the medical director for the AARTS Center at Rush. She is board certified in both general adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. Yeh has been working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout her career. She is dedicated to working with the ASD population, their families and finding ways to improve treatment options and outreach. Yeh comes to us from the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate IL Masonic Hospital where her focus has predominately been the clinical treatment of children with developmental disabilities and ASD. In addition to her clinical work, she served as interim, site medical director. Yeh was also a founder and president of a medical management organization that helped clinicians start and maintain a private practice. She enjoys teaching and supervising developmental behavioral pediatric and child and adolescent psychiatry fellows as well as general adult psychiatry residents and medical students from a number of institutions. Yeh was the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award from Children’s Memorial Hospital Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Program. She endeavors to advocate for this population through direct patient care, teaching and outreach. She completed her training for general adult psychiatry as well as child and adolescent psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
 

 

The AARTS Team

Natalie Berger, PhDNatalie Berger, PhD, is a pediatric neuropsychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry. Berger specializes in neuropsychological assessment, with a focus on helping families to understand the neurodevelopmental sequelae associated with their child’s complex medical condition (e.g., genetic disorders, congenital heart disease, history of prematurity). Her program of research focuses on developing a more comprehensive understanding of the early emerging social cognitive abilities of young children with ASD and related neurodevelopmental conditions. Berger also has extensive experience with behavioral intervention and parent training for individuals with ASD, and provides training and consultation in ASD Early Intervention and Parent Coaching for community-based providers. Berger received her PhD from Michigan State University and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at AMITA Health Neurosciences Institute.
 
Lauren Bush, PhDLauren Bush, PhD, is completing her post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the AARTS Center at Rush University Medical Center. She completed her doctoral training at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2020 and her clinical internship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Lauren’s clinical and research goals focus on understanding neurocognitive and developmental factors associated with complex medical, genetic, and neurodevelopmental disorders. As a post-doctoral fellow at the AARTS Center, Lauren conducts comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations for children presenting with a range of medical, neurological, and neurodevelopmental concerns. She also contributes to ongoing research efforts in the AARTS Center, working on studies focused on delineating the unique cognitive profiles of individuals with ASD and related disorders and supporting the development of novel treatments and interventions for these populations.
Victoria Chavez, PhDVictoria Chavez, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow with the AARTS Center. Chavez received her graduate education at Ohio State University in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities psychology program. She also participated in the Leadership in Excellence in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program. During her graduate training, she focused on the assessment and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and co-occurring mental health disorders in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her research interests include fidelity and implementation of acceptable treatment in community-based settings for those with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Emily Dillon, PhDEmily Dillon, PhD, is a post doctorate psychology fellow at the AARTS Center. Dillon received her PhD from Trinity College in Dublin Ireland with focuses on a female profile of autism and social (pragmatic) language. Prior to coming to the AARTS Center in 2020 she completed a post-doc research fellowship at the Center for Autism and Related Disorder (CARD) at Johns Hopkins University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute where her duties included preforming standardized assessments, including autism diagnostics, for children and young adults for multiple research projects. She has extensive experience working with children and their families with a wide range of developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions.
Megan Donahue, LSWMegan Donahue, LSW, serves as a licensed social worker for the AARTS Building Early Connections Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Northampton, MA and her master’s in Social Work from The School of Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago. Megan has experience working with clients ranging in age from school-age to early adulthood in a variety of settings. Her area of clinical interests include family systems therapy and the impact of trauma on childhood development. Kathleen Edmier, MA, PsyD candidateKathleen Edmier, BS, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS center. She is a fourth year doctoral student specializing in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology at Adler University. She provides assessment and therapy within her role at Rush. Her clinical experiences include working with a variety of children and adolescents with developmental, learning, and social-emotional challenges, and she is passionate about continuing to provide collaborative care to individuals and families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Claire Friedhoff, MAClaire Friedhoff, MA, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center at Rush where she provides diagnostic assessments. Claire is a fourth year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Roosevelt University. Her clinical and research interests center on pediatric neuropsychology, including developmental disorders and complex medical conditions. Ariana Garagozzo, MAAriana Garagozzo, MA, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center at Rush where she provides assessments for autism spectrum disorder and creates personalized treatment recommendations. She is a fourth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Roosevelt University. Her clinical and research interests focus on working from a family systems perspective to provide quality care to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other related conditions.
 
 Rachel Gordon, BSRachel Gordon, BS, is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the AARTS Center. She coordinates various types of research including clinical trials, genetic studies, as well as behavioral and medical intervention research. She provides support by facilitating study visits, assisting with patient evaluations, and submitting to regulatory boards. Elizabeth Harari, MDElizabeth Harari, MD, is a second-year Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow at Rush University Medical Center. She completed her Adult Psychiatry training at the University of Connecticut. Her capacity at the AARTS center includes collaboration on ongoing research projects. Her clinical interests include working with younger children as well as those with developmental disabilities.
Anna Hirshman, BA ​Anna Hirshman, BA, is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She coordinates community-based behavioral and early intervention research. She provides support by assisting with patient evaluations, facilitating study visits and submitting to regulatory boards. Mariyah Hussain, MDMariyah Hussain, MD, is a second year Child & Adolescent Psychiatry fellow at Rush and currently is also serving as the chief fellow. She comes to us from Southern Illinois University where she completed her Adult Psychiatry Residency and served as a chief resident along with being awarded the Resident of The Year. Hussain has a special interest in raising awareness regarding various psychopathologies, school psychiatry, and has a growing interest in children and adolescents with Autism. Her capacity at the AARTS Center includes seeing children and adolescents in the Autism Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Yeh, the medical director for the AARTS Center. Moving forward, Hussain would like to work towards improving the mental health of Muslims and refugees in USA.
 Maria Izabel Lockwood, BSMaria Izabel Lockwood, BS, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center where she conducts diagnostic evaluations with children, adolescents, and adults. Lockwood is a third-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her clinical experience includes providing early intensive behavior intervention at home and at school. Lockwood is interested in better understanding the presentation and evolution of ASD symptomatology across the lifespan. Celeste Jones, BSCeleste Jones, BS, is the administrative assistant for the AARTS Center at Rush. She leads in this role with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an extensive case management background in mental health. She manages provider’s schedules as well as assists and supports the AARTS team and office visitors. Celeste helps to ensuring the functionality of the AARTS Center.
Daniel Lakemacher, BADaniel Lakemacher, BA, is a graduate trainee for the AARTS Center and will earn a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2021. From past work in wilderness therapy and residential treatment settings, Lakemacher has experience supporting activities of daily living and doing therapeutic work with adolescents and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Through individual and group therapy, he seeks to patiently accompany people on a journey of social and emotional learning that leads to greater self-awareness and improved relationships. Caroline Leonczyk, PhDCaroline Leonczyk, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at the AARTS Center. She provides assessment and therapy for individuals at the AARTS center. She is certified provider of the PEERS® social skills program and the Early Start Denver Model. She also supports a variety of ongoing research efforts at the AARTS center, with specific interests in social skills intervention, early intervention, and genetic syndromes.
Sarely Licona, BSSarely Licona, BS, is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She coordinates various research including analyzing behavioral and early interventions and medication studies. She provides support by assisting with patient evaluations, facilitating study visits and submitting to regulatory boards. Meagan Maas, MDMeagan Maas, MD, is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellow in her final year of training at Rush University Medical Center. She completed her Adult Psychiatry training at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and has a Master of Public Health in International Health from Boston University. Her involvement with AARTS center includes collaboration on ongoing research projects. Her clinical interests lie at the intersection between neurodevelopmental and genetic conditions, as well as substance abuse in adolescents.
Sophia MartinezSophia Martinez is the operations manager for the AARTS Center at Rush. She has been with the center for three years, and has taken the administrative lead for the program. Prior to beginning with the AARTS Center, Martinez was a paralegal at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP. She graduated from the University of Illinois with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice. Lisette Martinez, LCSWLisette Martinez, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker at the AARTS Center. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois’ Jane Addams College of Social Work, with a specialty in mental health and evidence based practices with children. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with autism across the school, community, and hospital settings. She conducts individual and group therapy services and provides clinical services in English and Spanish at AARTS.
 Edith Ocampo, MSEdith Ocampo, MS, is a program coordinator at the AARTS center and provides data management oversight for research and outreach operations. She has extensive data management experience having managed data for over 10 grants in the Departments of Psychiatry and Nursing over the past 15 years. Caitlin Otwell, MA, LCPCCaitlin Otwell, MA, LCPC, is a licensed clinical professional Counselor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. Caitlin is the program director of the Building Early Connections Program in the Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services (AARTS) Center, and a research clinician in the Section of Population Behavioral Health. Caitlin brings clinical expertise to academic research, utilizing extensive experience providing evidence-based interventions to underserved children and families in community settings. Her area of clinical and research interests includes how developmental trauma and disorders of attachment impact behavioral health outcomes in adolescence and early adulthood. Caitlin seeks in develop systems of care for children and families to assess for, identify and provide access to effective interventions leading to meaning change for children who have experienced complex trauma.
Gerald PerryGerald Perry, is the clinic coordinator and an integral part of the administrative team at AARTS. He joined the AARTS team in February 2019. Gerald supports scheduling for physicians and clinicians, check-ins and check-outs for patients, as well as the experience patients receive when you call into our office. As a coordinator, he enjoys watching our patients' progress as they come in for treatment. Diamond Phillips, BSDiamond Phillips, BS, is a clinical research assistant for AARTS Building Early Connections program. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has experience working with diverse populations specializing in community outreach, services and clinical care for children and families. She provides support by working closely with the BEC staff to assist in coordinating screening, referral and interventions within the Rush Pediatric Clinics and West Side community.
Cynthia Pierre, PhDCynthia Pierre, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at the AARTS Center. Pierre is a graduate of the clinical psychology doctoral program at Loyola University Chicago. She comes to the AARTS Center from Indianapolis, where she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Riley Children’s Hospital with an emphasis on treating children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. She also has extensive experience with behavioral intervention for individuals with anxiety, ADHD and disruptive behaviors. Pierre provides clinical services in English and Spanish. Madison Printen, BSMadison Printen, BS, is a Clinical Research Coordinator within the AARTS Center. She coordinates various types of research including clinical trials, medication studies, as well as behavioral intervention research. Printen provides support by assisting with IRB submissions, patient evaluations and facilitating study visits.
Elizabeth Rea, BAElizabeth Rea, BA, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center, where she supports diagnostic assessments. She is a third year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Her clinical and research interests center on health behaviors (e.g., sleep, physical activity) and their relation to mental well-being. Rachelle Reynozo, RMA/RPTRachelle Reynozo, RMA/RPT, is the medical assistant to the AARTS Center. She is certified in both medical assisting as well as phlebotomy. She comes to us from the Pediatric Development Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, where she worked alongside Dr. Yeh for four years with an emphasis on Autism and medication management. Additionally, Rachelle helps with the child and adolescent fellows ASD clinic, where she provides support to the fellows. In addition to her clinical work, she is also a member to the Rush Medical Assistant Committee.
Karamjit Singh, MDKaramjit Singh, MD, is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist fellow at Rush University Medical Center. He completed his Adult Psychiatry training at the LSU Health Science Center and currently doing fellowship training at Rush University Medical Center. His capacity at the AARTS center includes collaboration on ongoing research projects. His clinical interests are working with children and families in need. Ashlee Taylor, BA, MSW, LSWAshlee Taylor, BA, MSW, LSW, is a clinician with the Building Early Connections (BEC) program and AARTs Center. Taylor received a master’s degree in Social Work and completed mental health specialization training at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. Taylor has a range of professional experience in crisis intervention, group therapy, and trauma informed care. Taylor worked for eight years as a Mental Health Counselor at Rush University Medical Center’s therapeutic Day School and inpatient adult and pediatric psychiatry units providing care for clients with neurodivergent, emotional, and behavioral diagnoses. Taylor has also served as a Social Work Intern at RUMC’s Emergency Department and Girlforward, a Chicago based non-profit organization for asylee and refugee teens.
Valerie Tobin, APN, PMHCNS-BCValerie Tobin, APN, PMHCNS-BC is a clinical nurse specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the AARTS Center and Section on Population Behavioral Health. She is also a PhD student in the College of Nursing. She provides psychiatric evaluation, medication management, and psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and their families. Her area of specialization for practice and research is transgender adolescents about whom she evaluates mental health, social structural impediments and supports to wellbeing. Marisa Wakely, BA, MA, MSWMarisa Wakely, BA, MA, serves as a social work intern for the AARTS Center. She is currently a second-year clinical MSW student at University of Chicago’s Social Service Administration. She provides individual and group therapy, as well as assists with outreach. She is interested in expanding her knowledge and experience with ASD, with specific interests in adolescents and young adults. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from George Mason University, and a Master’s of Arts in the Social Sciences with a concentration in psychology from the University of Chicago.
Kaleigh Wilkins, BSKaleigh Wilkins, BS, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center at Rush where she provides diagnostic assessments to AARTS center clients. She is a third year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Her clinical and research interests center around understanding the effects of life stressors and coping strategies on mental health in racial/ethnic minority communities. Emily Wolodiger, PhDEmily Wolodiger, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Chicago and her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from St. John’s University. She specializes in providing evidence-based behavioral health interventions to children and their families. Wolodiger has worked with infants, toddlers, school-age children, adolescents, young adults and parents in community, outpatient, psychiatric inpatient and medical inpatient settings.
Peter Zammuto, MAPeter Zammuto, MA, is a clinical psychology extern at the AARTS Center at Rush where he provides individual and group therapy, in addition to aiding diagnostic evaluations. He is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Midwestern University, where he is enrolled in the child and adolescent emphasis. His clinical and research interests pertain to the assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders such as childhood onset schizophrenia.