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SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Health Center

STAR Health Center (SHC)

Behavioral Health

Michelle Melendez, MS, LCSW, CASAC

photo of Michelle Melendez

Ms. Melendez is the Behavioral Health Director of the STAR Program. She holds Master's degrees in Guidance and Counseling and Clinical Social Work. She has also been a NYS Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor since 1999. She has worked as a clinician and administrator in various out-patient programs for adults and their families. Her research and clinical interests is in the areas of PTSD/Trauma and substance abuse, particularly among women.


Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, DSc

photo of Ramaswamy Viswanathan

Dr. Viswanathan is a psychiatric consultant to the HIV Program. He is also the Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He is Board Certified in Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Psychosomatic Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. His research interests are in the areas of anxiety, coping skills, and medical ethics.



Stephanie English, PMHNP-BC, PhD

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Dr. English has provided mental health services since 1990 including individual counseling, group work, crisis intervention and medication management. She has worked with various populations including: geriatrics, substance abuse, forensics and college student health.  She is a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who also holds a PhD in psychology. Dr. English's focus is on wellness and assisting clients to envision and live their best life.

Morgan Gebhardt, LCSW, CASAC

photo of Morgan Gebhardt

Ms. Gebhardt has been working with children, adolescents, and adults exhibiting psychiatric disturbances and/or problematic substance use since 2005.  In 2011 she joined the STAR Program as a Senior Social Worker and was involved in the clinic’s buprenorphine program.  She currently provides mental health, substance abuse, and supportive counseling services at the STAR Health Center.  She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work and is a NYS licensed clinical social worker.

Christopher Jimenez, LMHC, CASAC

photo of Christopher Jimenez

Christopher Jimenez, LMHC, CASAC, directs the SAMHSA funded HIV/Substance Abuse Treatment for Minority Women Program, which targets Black and Latina women who have substance abuse and/or mental health disorders and are living with or at risk for HIV. He joined the STAR Program in 2011 as a support counselor for the Supportive Counseling and Family Stabilization Services (SCFS) Program. A native of New York City; Mr. Jimenez has worked in the field of mental health since 2002. He has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Manhattan College and a Master of Arts in clinical counseling from Fairleigh Dickinson University. His areas of expertise include family dynamics, substance abuse counseling, and support group facilitation.

Peggy Noël, LCSW

photo of Peggy Noel

Peggy Noel, LCSW, has provided social work services to individuals and families since 2001. She joined the STAR Health Center (SHC) in 2007 as the coordinator of STAR's Supportive Counseling and Family Stabilization project. She currently provides both individual and group counseling for patients receiving care in the SHC. Ms. Noël has a specific interest in substance abuse and the mental health needs of adolescents. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a NYS licensed master social worker.