The professionals at the Texas Child Study Center work as a team to evaluate, diagnose, and intervene on emotional, behavioral, and developmental problems of youth. Members of our team include child psychiatrists, child psychologists, social workers, and trainees.
Kevin Stark, PhD, Clinical Director of Psychology, Texas Child Study Center
Psychologist Kevin Stark, PhD, is a full professor at The University of Texas at Austin and co-founder of the Texas Child Study Center. He completed his undergraduate training in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, his Masters degree in experimental psychology at the University of Richmond, and his Ph.D. in school psychology at the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Stark teaches graduate level courses on child and adolescent therapy. He is recognized internationally as an expert in the treatment of youth depression and has completed more than 100 articles, chapters and presentations on the subject. In the aftermath of both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Stark was asked to help develop an intervention program for the child victims and to train the mental health workers in New York City and New Orleans, respectively. Dr. Stark maintained a part-time private practice from 1989 until 2008, when he and Dr. Streusand founded the Texas Child Study Center.
Jane Ripperger-Suhler, MD
Dr. Ripperger-Suhler is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She completed her undergraduate training in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Colorado and earned a master’s degree in nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her medical degree at Texas Tech University and both general psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Ripperger-Suhler worked for nearly ten years evaluating and treating children in the Mental Health clinics at Scott and White in Temple and Round Rock and was the Co-Director of the Central Texas Autism Spectrum Disorders clinic. She was also active in providing training for young doctors in general and child and adolescent psychiatry. In the Seton Family of Hospitals, Dr. Ripperger-Suhler now continues her educational work as Associate Training Director in psychiatry. In addition she has an outpatient clinical practice at the Texas Child Study Center where she provides assessment and treatment of children with a variety of behavioral, emotional, thought, or social problems especially children with autism spectrum disorders. She is committed to providing help to families affected by autism spectrum disorders through assessment, treatment, education, research, and advocacy.
Janie Black, PhD
Janie Black, PhD is a licensed child and adolescent clinical psychologist at the Texas Child Study Center. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Educational Psychology Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to earning her BA from the University of Texas with a double major in Psychology and Spanish, she received her AD in Nursing from Austin Community College and worked as a registered surgical/obstetrical nurse at Seton Medical Center for 10 years. She earned her PhD from Fielding Graduate University with a clinical specialization in Health Psychology and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship in child psychology and pediatric behavioral medicine at The Texas Child Study Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center. She is the co-director of the Behavioral Medicine Service at Dell Children’s where she provides inpatient consultation and liaison services to patients and their families to assist with diagnosis and treatment of anxiety reduction, mood management, pain management, adjustment to new diagnoses, trauma intervention and prevention, risk assessment, and end-of-life support. She also serves as Director of Psychological Services of the Eating Disorder Program and assists in medical management of children and adolescents admitted for medical complications of anorexia nervosa.
In our outpatient clinic, Dr. Black specializes in providing family-based therapeutic intervention for eating disorders and is currently in consultation at Stanford University to become a certified Maudsely provider. She also works with children and adolescents who are struggling with gender dysphoria by providing cognitive behavioral interventions and consultation with their physicians to support them through the diagnostic and transitioning process. Dr. Black’s academic responsibilities include didactics and clinical supervision of doctoral-level graduate students, residents, interns, and fellows who are interested in working in a pediatric medical setting.
Emily Greenspahn, PhD
Psychologist Emily Greenspahn received her B.S. in psychology from Tulane University and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in school psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. She completed a one-year internship at Virginia Beach City Public Schools on the pediatric neuropsychology track. She then completed a two-year APPCN neuropsychology postdoctoral fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The major rotation of her fellowship was at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) where she provided neuropsychological assessment and intervention services to individuals with acquired brain injury, while also providing support to their families. Additional rotations in neuropsychology were completed at various hospitals in the Texas Medical Center including MD Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Greenspahn specializes in providing neuropsychological assessment and intervention services to children and adolescents with acquired and congenital neurological problems, chronic illnesses, and learning difficulties. Her specific areas of interest involve the treatment of individuals with medical issues that affect neurological functioning including traumatic brain injury, brain tumors and other forms of cancer, stroke, epilepsy, CNS infections, and cerebral palsy. Her training in school psychology has enhanced her delivery of neuropsychological services by providing her with a fundamental understanding of the special education process and laws specific to the state of Texas. This increases her ability to make sound recommendations that are practical for the school environment.
Jane Simpson Gray, PhD
Psychologist Jane Gray is the director of the psychology training program at the Texas Child Study Center. Dr. Gray received her masters and doctoral degrees in school psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. She completed an internship in pediatric and child clinical psychology at the Children’s Hospital Boston and a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical research at Judge Baker Children’s Center, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gray is an adjunct assistant professor in the Educational Psychology department at The University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy with youth presenting with anxiety, depression, and pediatric obesity, and behavioral approaches to children with disruptive behavior. As a training director, she also teaches future clinicians learning a cognitive behavioral approach to treating children and adolescents.
Dr. Gray’s research interests have focused on the effectiveness for evidence-based interventions in clinical settings, and more recently on programs for overweight youth to improve self-esteem, nutrition, and physical activity. She is the director of psychology for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Rosario DeLeon, PhD
Rosario DeLeon. Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist with a specialization in neuropsychology and an extensive background in neurocognitive disorders and neuropsychological evaluation of preschool-age children through adults. Dr. DeLeon completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston, which included practicum experiences at various hospitals in the Texas Medical Center including Hermann Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR, and the Methodist Hospital. She completed a clinical psychology internship through the Children’s Assessment Center, and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Department of Pediatrics, Center for Clinical Neurosciences where she evaluated patients on an epilepsy monitoring unit and completed outpatient neuropsychological evaluations for a variety of neurological disorders.
Dr. DeLeon’s experience includes the neuropsychological, psychological, and educational evaluation of children and adolescents with epilepsy, brain tumors, stroke, genetic disorders, traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders, attentional disorders, learning disabilities, affective disorders, behavioral disorders, adjustment issues, and other disorders affecting development and/or cognitive functioning. Dr. DeLeon worked in private practice for three years in Houston, before joining the Texas Child Study Center.
Puja Patel, PhD
Puja Patel, PhD, is a pediatric psychologist who practices at Texas Child Study Center Embedded Behavioral Clinic in the Children’s Blood and Cancer Center. She received her B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, her M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from UT Southwestern Medical Center, and her doctorate in school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her clinical internship in pediatric and child psychology at the Children’s Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Texas Child Study Center.
Dr. Patel specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy with youth presenting with anxiety and depression as well as in medical coping of adjustment to chronic illness, pain management and adherence to ongoing medical regimes. She is a consultant to the Dell Children’s Concussion Center. As part of the clinical faculty at TCSC, Dr. Patel is also involved in the training program which includes teaching and supervising future clinicians.
Lynn Monnat, PhD
Lynn Monnat, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology. Dr. Monnat completed her undergraduate work at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. She obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her clinical psychology internship at the CAARE Center of the Department of Pediatrics at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, California. She then completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Texas Child Study Center. Dr. Monnat specializes in providing evidence-based treatments for youth and their caregivers suffering trauma-symptoms related to child maltreatment including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
Another area of her specialization is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidenced-based treatment for children ages 2 to 7 and their parents who are struggling with disruptive behaviors. She also provides evidence-based therapies for youth and their families who are experiencing difficulties related to adjustment, learning disorders, depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism-spectrum disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, and psychosis. Dr. Monnat’s focus also includes early intervention for children and families at risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
David Heckler, PhD
David Heckler is a licensed psychologist at the Texas Child Study Center (TCSC). Along with TCSC, Dr. Heckler provides clinical services within the Collaborative Abdominal Pain Program (CAP Program) and Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity (TCPTCO). Dr. Heckler received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University. He completed his doctoral psychology internship at Texas Children’s Hospital-Psychology Section, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Texas Child Study Center/Dell Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Heckler specializes in evidence-based practice in psychology for children and adolescents with anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior (oppositional and AD/HD related behaviors), and chronic pain. Dr. Heckler is currently the lead clinician for the Internalizing Clinic at TCSC and provides training and supervision to varying levels of psychology trainees.
Samantha Miller, PhD
Dr. Samantha Miller serves as the Director of Behavioral Medicine at Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Chronic Disease Program, and as Clinical Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Texas Austin. Dr. Miller specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents. She also provides behavioral parent training and family therapy. Dr. Miller has expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), including: Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT; Certified L1 Trainer), Teacher Child Interaction Training (TCIT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT; Intensively Trained), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT; NCTSN certification), Rational Emotive Therapy (REBT; AEI advanced certificate), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Exposure plus Response Prevention (E/RP). Dr. Miller consults with outpatient mental health programs, day treatment hospitals, and therapeutic school settings on implementing evidence-based treatments and behavior management strategies. Dr. Miller provides academic instruction and clinical supervision to graduate and undergraduate students.
Prior to moving to Austin, Texas, Dr. Miller served as the Director of Training at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. Previous to this, she served as the Director of Behavior Management at the League Treatment Center, a day-treatment hospital in New York. As a clinical supervisor, Dr. Miller oversaw a multidisciplinary staff, developed treatment plans, oversaw the organization of research data sets, and provided evaluations and treatment to children and adolescents with chronic and severe mental illness. Dr. Miller earned her doctorate in clinical forensic psychology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Her educational background also includes a master’s in criminology from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Miller is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the States of Texas and in New York. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, authored book chapters, and presented at professional conferences nationwide. She is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Alexandra Fisher, PhD
Dr. Alexandra Fisher serves as the Director of Psychology Services for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School. As a licensed child and adolescent clinical psychologist, she specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children, adolescents and families. Dr. Fisher has been trained in evidence based interventions including CBT, TF-CBT, PCIT, exposure therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Dr. Fisher also has extensive experience in family therapy using structural, strategic and solution focused approaches. Dr. Fisher provides academic instruction and clinical supervision to graduate students and psychology interns.
Dr. Fisher received her Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. As a graduate student, she was a recipient of a HRSA funded Graduate Psychology Education Program (GPEP) fellowship, and has therefore received extensive training in Integrated Behavioral Healthcare. That experience was integral in providing her with the skills, and theoretical background, required to work within an interdisciplinary medical team. Dr. Fisher completed an internship in pediatric and child clinical psychology at Texas Child Study Center and a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology and research in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Dr. Fisher’s research interests have focused on using a risk and resiliency paradigm to identify risk factors which may put patients and families are at risk for developing mental health outcomes secondary to medical events, as well as protective factors that may mitigate the negative effects.
Amanda Winter, PhD
Amanda Winter is a licensed psychologist with a specialization in pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. Winter received her Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin School Psychology program with a specialization in neuropsychology. She went on to complete an Internship in Pediatric Neuropsychology at the University of Miami Medical School/Mailman Center for Child Development followed by a two year Fellowship in Pediatric Neuropsychology at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Winter has experience in performing neuropsychological assessment of children and adolescents with a variety of medical disorders that affect neurological functioning and development including prematurity/low birth weight, genetic disorders, epilepsy, stroke, brain injury, hematological disorders, leukemia, brain tumors, demyelinating diseases, encephalitis, congenital heart defects, chronic renal failure, craniofacial abnormalities, histiocytosis, metabolic storage disorders, and perinatally acquired HIV. She also has experience assessing for developmental difficulties including autism, developmental delay, intellectual disability, attention problems, and learning disorders. Dr. Winter sees patients for outpatient neuropsychological assessment at the Texas Child Study Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Children’s Comprehensive Care Clinic (medical home for children with complex medical needs). Dr. Winter is also involved in the training of doctoral students at the Texas Child Study Center.