CARE is comprised of a talented staff, generous donors, committed volunteers, and a board of directors with a broad range of experience and expertise.
Kimia Ghassemy, Psy.D., CARE Co-founder
Dr. Ghassemy is a clinical psychologist licensed by the state of California. She works with the Los Angeles County’s Department of Mental Health Specialized Foster Care Program in the Antelope Valley. She serves as the clinical team leader for a crisis clinic working with children and adolescents in the foster care system. Dr. Ghassemy serves as an adjunct faculty member at Argosy University, Orange County. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology and her master’s in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University. She also received a master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from University of California, Irvine. She completed her predoctoral clinical internship at Children, Family, and Youth Services Consortium in Alhambra, CA and postdoctoral Internship at Monsour Counseling Center in Claremont, CA. Her clinical experience also includes work with: BHC Alhambra Psychiatric Hospital, Children’s Institute Inc. as a mental health therapist; Santa Anita Family Services as a domestic violence facilitator; and Abundant Life and Adolescent Growth working with adolescents in a residential group home setting. Dr. Ghassemy’s doctoral dissertation entitled Attachment Theory: Cultural Implications in the Persian American Community, focused on Attachment Theory and specific cultural considerations in collectivistic cultures. Contact Dr. Ghassemy at email@example.com.
Niaz Khani, Psy.D., CARE Co-founder
Dr. Khani is a clinical psychologist licensed by the state of California. She sees clients in private practice and at Los Angeles Pierce College. She also serves as an adjunct professor at California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), Pepperdine University, and Argosy University. She received both her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from CSPP at Alliant International University. She received two bachelor’s of art degrees in psychology and child development and a minor in biology from California State University, Northridge. Dr. Khani completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral internship at the Saturday Center for Psychotherapy. She also completed predoctoral training at Children, Family, and Youth Services Consortium in Alhambra, CA and at Hillview Mental Health Center in Pacoima, CA. Her diverse clinical background has provided her with knowledge and experience in working with various ethnic populations, age groups and mental health issues. She currently works with adolescents, individuals and couples. Her work with clients focuses on the relationship between the therapist and client and explores and treats symptoms and difficulties they may be experiencing to help strengthen their sense of self-confidence, self-acceptance and to create a greater capacity for intimacy. Dr. Khani’s doctoral project entitled Pressures & Expectations on First-Born Children in Collectivistic Cultures studied the role and experience of the first-born child in a family system and the impact of cultural values on his/her development. Contact Dr. Khani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erin Kuntze, Psy.D
Erin Kuntze, Psy.D. is a Cofounder of CARE and a clinical psychologist in private practice where she provides psychotherapy to adults, couples, and groups. Dr. Kuntze's interest in clinical work developed at the University of Michigan where she worked on a sexual assault crisis line and outreach team (SAPAC). After graduating from U of M with high honors with a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree in psychology, she received both a master's degree (M.A.) and a doctorate (Psy.D.) in clinical psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. Dr. Kuntze completed her pre and postdoctoral training at the Saturday Center for Psychotherapy in Santa Monica. She also completed predoctoral training at Mission Mental Health Services, Pacific Institute, and Zen Hospice in San Francisco. Dr. Kuntze's doctoral dissertation explored the impact of stigma at the intersection of gender, sexual orientation, class, race, religion, ethnicity, and ability in the lives of female exotic dancers.
Tommy Kuntze is the Creative Director of CARE. He has his Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Michigan; his thesis project, Qualia, worked to describe the relationship we have between our conscious and unconscious minds. Since then, he has lived in Boulder, CO, to snowboard and work as a Designer for a white-label design firm specializing in financial websites, tools, and applications. Most recently, he moved to San Francisco to refine his design skills and to specialize in User Experience. Tommy has been described as a data geek, he feels good design can save the world, and his favorite movie is National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
Lani Chin, Psy.D., Social Networking Coordinator
Dr. Chin is a clinical psychologist licensed by the state of California. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice. Dr. Chin earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Riverside, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from California State University, San Diego, and a master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Dr. Chin’s doctoral dissertation entitled The Role of Companion Animals in LGB Families sought to better understand the ways companion animals can serve as a protective factor for the mental health of members in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community. Dr. Chin completed her pre and postdoctoral internship at the Saturday Center for Psychotherapy. She completed additional predoctoral training at both the Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood and the United American Indian Involvementin downtown Los Angeles. Her diverse clinical background has served as a solid foundation to work with members of various multicultural backgrounds.
Dante Armstrong, Website & Tech Coordinator
After completing his service in the Army, Dante began his civilian career working at Global Language Solutions, a company that provides translation services to organizations in the life sciences industry. In his work, he coordinated projects translating websites, software, promotional material, and legal documents. In 2012, Dante continued to grow into more technical positions through working at Google and American Language services, where he coordinated localization of Google mapping products and implemented productivity software. He currently works at SmartAction, where he develops interactive voice response systems. For CARE, Dante uses his skills to keep the CARE website updated and promotes growth within the organization.
Medhanie Habte, MPA, Nonprofit Coordinator
Medhanie comes to CARE with over five years of experience in nonprofit and small business development, providing strategic outreach, capacity building and communication consultation. After graduating from California State University, Northridge with a bachelor's degree in journalism, Medhanie embarked on a career of social impact, creating research, marketing and fundraising and volunteer management strategies with various nonprofits and startups in areas such as inner-city empowerment, global relief and nonprofit technology. Along the way, Medhanie graduated with a master's of public administration degree from California State University, Long Beach with a concentration in nonprofit development and urban policymaking. A native Los Angeleno and son of Eritrean immigrants, Medhanie enjoys volunteering with charities, traveling, sports and the occasional chili cook-off.
Cecile Bhang, Research Team
Cecile graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. Her interest in adolescent development began during her junior year of college when she enjoyed working with adolescents in an academic setting. Upon graduating, she began working with adolescents in variety of settings as behaviorist, afterschool teacher, tutor and 1-on-1 instructor. In 2010, she joined Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps member and served two years as a site coordinator at F.D. Roosevelt-Carson Elementary School in Lawndale. During her second year at Reading Partners, she made the decision to go back to school to attain her master’s degree in psychology. She is currently in her second year at Pepperdine Graduate School of Psychology with the hope of becoming a Child Psychologist. Her primary interest lies in adolescents and resiliency.
Sahar Dorani, M.A., Blogger
Sahar is a graduate student in clinical psychology currently working towards her Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree at The Wright Institute in Berkeley. She has been working clinically for several years with children, adolescents, adults, the elderly, and the incarcerated population. As the daughter of Iranian immigrants growing up in Southern California, she experienced conflict in her cultural identity development, which led her to realize that culture greatly impacts many facets of daily life -- including conflicts that arise when native cultural expectations differ from American societal expectations. As she works to finish her academic program, she continues to work with clients of various multicultural backgrounds. She has most recently been working within the San Francisco County Jail system, providing individual, couples’ and group therapy for recently incarcerated individuals reintegrating back into society after being released from custody. Upon earning her degree and becoming licensed as a Psychologist, she would ultimately like to work within the juvenile justice system with adolescents. She enjoys working with clients of various cultural backgrounds, as she finds it rewarding to provide support and services to populations that may not otherwise receive resources. She believes that the hope that can be instilled in incarcerated youth is not only incredibly rewarding to witness -- but can entirely change the trajectory of the youth’s life -- which is beneficial the young members of our community, as well as society as a whole. She is also continuing to complete dissertation research on the acculturation process of Iranian-Americans. Click here to read Sahar's blogs.
Brittany Estes-Garcia, Blogger
Brittany is an undergraduate student at Arizona State University. She is majoring in Religious Studies, minoring in Women’s Studies, and working on a Certificate in Religion and Conflict. She aspires to use her degree to focus on the intersection of religion and culture, specifically as it relates to identity, belonging, community, and meaning. Brittany's interest in multiculturalism and mental health stem from the struggle with her own cultural identity growing up, as she comes from two completely different family backgrounds. Beginning with an environmental illness that began in 2008 and left her mostly homebound, Brittany has been writing for various non-profit organizations and has run several of her own blogs. She enjoys using her unique experiences in her writing and to foster understanding, raise awareness, and start discussions. Click here to read Brittany's blogs.
Layla Jillood, Psy.D., Blogger
Dr. Jillood is a clinical psychologist licensed by the state of California with a passion for psychotherapy. She maintains a private practice in Santa Monica and teaches at Argosy and Pepperdine Universities. Layla earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Calgary in Canada and Doctorate from Argosy University San Francisco. She believes that there are many paths that can lead to personal growth and has chosen to focus on psychotherapy as a path toward healing. She practices from a psychodynamic perspective with an emphasis on the intersubjective or relational element of the therapeutic relationship. She has a particular interest in stigmatized and marginalized populations and strives towards re-examining diagnosis to prevent discrimination. She specializes in depression, anxiety, life transitions, sexuality and spiritual/existential struggles. Click here to read Layla's blogs.
Maureen Leung, M.S., Research Team
Maureen Leung is a research team member at CARE. She graduated with a bachelor degree in anthropology from University of Arkansas and a master degree in psychology from Walden University. She has an extensive work history that includes work in advertising, retail, and with the Boys and Girls' Club as a tutor for AmeriCorps. She has also enjoyed working with elders through her work as a volunteer at assisted living facilities. Maureen works with CARE because she is sensitive to the multitude of ways that multiculturalism has an impact on our daily lives, tasks, and especially ways we interact with others. It also reflects how we think, behave, and respond to every situations and events that happen in our lives, such as political and economic issues.
Lia Mandelbaum, Blogger
Lia Mandelbaum has had a varied and interesting career in community building. Starting in 2008, Lia worked in the development department for a non-profit Jewish residential treatment center for addiction in Los Angeles called Beit T’Shuvah. She also coordinated national tours for their original musical called Freedom Song, which is a therapeutic workshop staring the residents of their center. Lia volunteers her time for JQ International, which is a Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender (GLBT) Jewish movement. Since 2010, she has worked on community building events for a production company based in the arts called Craig ‘N Co., and has helped to produce various Jewish and multi-faith celebrations. She is a part of the 2012-2013 cohort of the Los Angeles Jeremiah Fellowship with Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, where she gains the tools to engage in and help lead local community organizing campaigns, and take part in community service and advocacy. Her favorite aspect of being a Jeremiah Fellow is working collaboratively across lines of race and faith with people and communities throughout the United States to create economic opportunity and secure basic rights. Lia is earning a bachelor’s degree in social work at Cal State Los Angeles, and is in the process of applying to grad schools. She is presently interning for Barbour and Floyd Medical Associates, which provides mental health care services for clients in South Los Angeles. In addition to community building, Lia is a hospice volunteer with Kaiser Permanente and a blogger for the Jewish Journal. Click here to access all of Lia’s blogs. Click here to read Lia's blogs.
Slobodan Nesovic, Psy.D., Blogger
Dr. Slobodan is a founder and a therapist at the B-Awake Network, an emerging platform that connects mental health professionals with the public. He is a pre-licensed psychologist that works and lives in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, as a doctor of clinical psychology. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA (University of California Los Angeles). His dissertation entitled The Effects of Contemplative Sound and Movement of Depression and Anxiety in Elderly Population explored the energetic influence of contemplative sound that was created on special musical instruments made by a sculptor Vladimir Labat. He completed his pre-doctorate internship at Access Institute for Psychological Services in San Francisco with a focus on psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy. For the past five years he has been working as a pre and post doc psychotherapist in various settings with diverse populations. Along his psychological studies Dr. Slobodan has been deeply immersed in studying energy health arts with several European energy workers. As a master of energy arts he is skilled at facilitating natural healing process. Click here to read Slobodan's blogs.
Vanessa Ravel, M.P.H., Research Team
Vanessa received a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and a master of public health degree from UCLA. Vanessa then spent a year as a research associate of clinical epidemiology. Through this work she examined the effect of psychosocial factors on diet, malnutrition, and racial disparities in patients with chronic kidney disease. It was through this work that Vanessa found that patients experience disease and illness differently according to their respective cultures, and came to understand that psychosocial and cultural factors are important in the development of culturally appropriate interventions. Bridging the disciplines of anthropology and public health, Vanessa now focuses her work on medical and psychological anthropology in an effort to provide a holistic continuum of care to a wider demographic of individuals.