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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.

Sanford Herman, MD

Dr. Herman has provided psychiatry services in the SHC since 1997. He is board certified in both psychiatry and neurology and has specialty training in substance abuse. From 1999 he completed a fellowship in substance abuse and neuro-psychiatric aspects of AIDS at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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.

John Barbiero, LCSW

photo of John Barbiero

Mr. Barbiero, Senior Social Worker at the SHC, has been involved in the provision of mental health services since 2001, including individual counseling, family therapy, group work, trauma counseling and crisis intervention. Mr. Barbiero worked with the SHC from 2003-2007 in the role of psychiatric social worker. After a year working in both cardiac care and oncology at Bellevue Hospital, John returned to the SHC in 2008 in the new role of Senior Counselor. Mr. Barbiero holds a Master's degree in social work and is a NYS licensed clinical social worker.

Stephanie English, PMHNP-BC, PhD

photo of Stephanie English

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

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Christopher Jimenez, LMHC, CASAC, 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.

Debra Robinson, MS

photo of Debra Robinson

Debra Robinson, MS is a Behavioral Health Case Manager. Her duties include providing case management and appointment scheduling for patients needing psychiatric services and/or supportive counseling within the STAR Health Center. She makes referrals to substance abuse programs and to community-based organizations. She earned a Master of Science in Education from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from New York City Technical College. Prior to joining STAR, Ms. Robinson worked at Beth Israel Medical Center as a Care Coordinator, and with families and children in the Department of Homeless Services' shelter system.