Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center

The Leadership Team

Eileen T. Crehan, PhD, is the associate clinical director and clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow with the AARTS Center. A graduate of the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Vermont, she completed her predoctoral internship at the Civitan International Research Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center.

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Louis J. Kraus, MD, DFAPA, FAACAP, is the director and 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.

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Holly Lechniak, LCSW, is the outreach director for the AARTS Center. She also serves as a clinician and coordinator for the SPARK study. Prior to joining the AARTS team, Lechniak spent seven years providing services to children ages 5-18 with autism and other comorbid diagnoses at Giant Steps, a therapeutic day school in Lisle, Illinois.

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Latha V. Soorya, PhD, is the research director for the AARTS Center. She is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Soorya brings expertise in diagnosis and intervention development to the research program. She has served as the lead psychologist on federally funded, multi-site ASD research programs to guide measurement strategies for clinical trials and genetic studies.

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Allie Wainer, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, assistant professor of psychiatry, and the associate research director of the AARTS Center. She also serves as the training director and helps coordinate the AARTS Center research and clinical training program.

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The AARTS Team

Zachary Arnold, BS, BA, is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. He coordinates research analyzing behavioral interventions and medications. Arnold provides support by assisting with patient evaluations and their interventions, facilitating study visits, and submitting to regulatory boards.

Laura Hedrick, MS, is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology and an extern at the AARTS Center. She provides therapy to individuals, families and groups, and completes diagnostic evaluations. She has previous experience as an extern in several Chicago-area clinics serving families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

Katy Heerwagen, EdS, is a consultant for the SPARK study at the AARTS Center at Rush. Before moving to Boston, she served as a clinician and study coordinator at AARTS. Heerwagen has an education specialist degree in clinical mental health counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago.

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Jane Lee, MSW, is a research assistant at the AARTS Center at Rush. She coordinates and provides data management support for clinical trials. She has an interest in outreach, where she assists in building up the AARTS Center’s Autism Resource Directory, as well as being involved with Autism Speaks.

Soo Lee, MD, is an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the AARTS Center at Rush. Lee’s interests are in clinical work, clinical drug trials and access to care for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Lee has been involved with clinical research as an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, with psychotropic drug trials in various pediatric psychiatric disorders at the University of Chicago, and drug trials in autism during her child psychiatry fellowship at Rush.

Caroline Leonczyk, PhD, is a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow at the AARTS Center. She completed her doctorate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellow. She completed her predoctoral internship at Duke University with a specialization in autism.

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Rachel Loftin, PhD, is on faculty in the psychiatry departments at both Rush University Medical Center and the Yale School of Medicine. Loftin specializes in evaluations, consultation and interventions for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder and other social challenges.

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Sophia 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.

Christina Montes is the clinic coordinator for the AARTS Center. She is the initial point of contact for anyone calling in to or entering the center. She assists individuals and families in getting access to appropriate services and scheduling evaluations within the AARTS Center. She also assists the AARTS team by providing assistance and collaborating with Child Psychiatry within the Medical Center.

Micarme “Mica” Noel, BS, is the administrative assistant for the AARTS Center at Rush. As a member of the operations team, her work spans the research, clinical and outreach platforms. In addition to assisting with projects, Noel is responsible for several administrative tasks, from ordering assessments to coordinating schedules. She also answers the AARTS Center phone line.

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Edith Ocampo, MS, is a senior research 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 Nursing and Psychiatry over the past 13 years. Her research experience includes studies on digital parent training programs, African-American adolescent mother/daughter dyads, chronic grief management intervention, and quality assessment in psychiatric inpatient units.

Cynthia Pierre, PhD, is a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow 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.

Mallory Pratt, BA, is a master's-level practicum student at the AARTS Center. She has been working with individuals diagnosed on the autism spectrum and with other disabilities since 2008. Her prior experience includes serving as the outreach development specialist for the P.A.C.E. program at National Louis University, as an autism resource coordinator for the Autism Program of Illinois at Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago, and as a special education teacher at a therapeutic school on the East Coast.

Madison Printen, BS, is a clinical research coordinator with the AARTS Center. She coordinates various types of research including clinical trials, medication studies and behavioral intervention research. Printen provides support by assisting with IRB submissions, video coding, patient evaluations and facilitating study visits.

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Stacy Stewart, MA, is a current PhD student working towards her degree in clinical psychology at DePaul University. She serves as a clinical psychology extern and provides therapy (individual and group), as well as diagnostic assessments for AARTS clients. She is interested in deepening her knowledge about ASD, as well as becoming an advocate for the autism community.