Our Team

DIRECTORS

 

Dr. Claudia L. Kernan, Ph.D. bio
Dr. Oren Boxer, Ph.D. bio

directors

UCLA Clinical Faculty
Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine

 

PNC PRACTITIONERS

Jim Varga, M.D.,F.A.A.P.
Behavioral Pediatrician bio

Ani Dillon, Psy.D. bio
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Meredith Moersch, Psy.D. bio
Clinical Psychologist

Mindy Patterson, Psy.D. bio 
Clinical Psychologist

Doug Polster, Ph.D. bio 
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Noelle Orsini, M.A. bio
Educational Specialist

Sara Daoud, M.A. bio
Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Jamie Stern, M.A. bio
Neurofeedback Clinician

Dana Entin, M.N., R.N., P.N.P. bio
Parenting Educator & Consultant


BIOS

Oren R. Boxer, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Boxer is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist and specializes in the assessment of children and young adults in order to evaluate intelligence, learning and recall, attention skills, perception, motor skills, processing speed, problem solving, and coping skills and styles. Dr. Boxer utilizes an “evidence-based” assessment and treatment approach that employs the best scientific evidence to facilitate recommendations for patient care. This scientifically-based neuropsychological approach provides each client with a customized comprehensive evaluation grounded in research with the goal of uncovering neurocognitive challenges associated with school, work, or social environments, as well as empirically supported treatment options. Dr. Boxer received a Master's degree in psychology from the University of Chicago before completing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology (APA Approved). He completed an APA-approved clinical internship in clinical neuropsychology at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. He remained at UCLA for his postdoctoral studies in pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. Boxer is a licensed psychologist in the state of California (PSY 24357). Dr. Boxer also serves as a clinical faculty member at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior within the David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Boxer's published work has focused on evidence-based medicine in neuropsychology, and he leads ongoing research encompassing evidence-based therapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). <top>

Claudia L. Kernan, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Dr. Kernan is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment of children, adolescents, and young adults. She uses a comprehensive team approach in working with families and allied professionals to identify her clients’ strengths and overcome areas of difficulty. Her integrative assessments utilize evidence-based techniques to evaluate the “whole” child, providing a roadmap of cognitive, academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning. Referral concerns that she frequently addresses include learning difficulties and a wide range of medical and developmental disorders. She also has extensive experience assessing cognitive abilities for placement in gifted or enriched educational programs. Dr. Kernan received her B.A. in anthropology from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA, where she minored in developmental psychology. She completed her predoctoral internship in pediatric neuropsychology at New York University and her postdoctoral residency in clinical neuropsychology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior within the David Geffen School of Medicine, where she is a member of the clinical faculty. At UCLA, she serves as the director of the pediatric postdoctoral fellowship program within the medical school, which partners with The Help Group, a non-profit organization serving mental health and educational needs of children throughout the Los Angeles community.  She is also active as a research scientist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. Topics on which she has published and presented at scientific conferences include traumatic brain injury and concussions, epilepsy, hormones and cognition, childhood schizophrenia, and ethnic identity and multiculturalism in school settings. <top>

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Jim Varga, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Behavioral Pediatrician

Jim Varga, M.D., F.A.A.P, is a board-certified physician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of children and teens with learning issues and developmental pediatrics. His primary interest and expertise is in the assessment of Attention Deficit Disorder. Over his three decades in practice, Dr. Varga has followed and treated over 2,000 individuals with ADD, some for as long as 15 years. In addition to his pediatric training, Dr. Varga completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Neuropsychiatric Institute (now the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA), where he trained with the leading child psychiatrist in the field, Dr. Deny Cantwell. Prior to his fellowship, he had the opportunity to spend time in Toronto with Marcel Kinsbourne and James Swanson, both well-known figures in the field of ADD management. He has an extensive career working closely with families, schools, and allied professionals, and has supervised medical trainees in the learning disorder clinics at UCLA and at Cedar Sinai Hospital. Due to his blended background as both a pediatrician and a mental health professional, Dr. Varga brings a unique and dynamic perspective to the field of ADD assessment and management, placing an increased emphasis on appropriate monitoring of psychotropic medications. He is well versed in a range of medical and nonmedical interventions for children with attentional challenges.  He recognizes the profound benefit that medications can provide for those with ADD, but also encourages families to explore other interventions such as mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral training, and counseling where indicated. Dr. Varga is a long-time resident of Pacific Palisades, where he and his wife raised their two daughters. <top>

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Ani Dillon, Psy.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Dr. Dillon has extensive background in child psychology and development, as well as clinical training and experience with individual, group and family therapy. Her assessment background includes considerable experience with: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Tic Disorders and other behavioral disorders. Well versed in both neuropsychological and psychological assessment with children, adolescents, young adults and adults, she also has expertise in ADHD and psychodiagnostic assessment in adults. Dr. Dillon has dual undergraduate degrees in English and Education (teaching degree) from Lake Forest College and a Masters in school counseling from Illinois State University. After finishing her Masters degree, she was the sole proprietor of an Educational Consulting Office in Grand Rapids, Michigan serving more than 500 clients.  Dr. Dillon attended Pepperdine University and completed a doctorate in clinical psychology with specialization in child assessment and pediatric neuropsychology. From 2006 to 2009, she was lead clinician on the UCLA ADHD Genetic Study at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience. In May 2011, she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship as a research scholar at UCLA's Semel Institute. Her duties there included both clinical neuropsychological assessment at UCLA's Medical Psychological Assessment Center and continued research with the UCLA ADHD Brain Imaging study and ADHD Brain Laterality Study. Dr. Dillon currently serves as a Health Sciences Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Degrees in education and school counseling, as well as experience as an educational consultant allow Dr. Dillon unique insights into the process of educational planning. Her background in teaching and school counseling also help to facilitate working relationships with schools and teachers. Dr. Dillon truly loves her work and brings that optimism and passion to each client. <top>

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Meredith Moersch, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Meredith Moersch received her PsyD in clinical psychology from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA (APA accredited). She then completed an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship program in clinical psychology at The Help Group, a nationally renowned non-profit organization dedicated to providing assessment and treatment services to children and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Moersch remained at The Help Group for her postdoctoral studies, where she specialized in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She then completed an additional two-year postdoctoral fellowship program in pediatric neuropsychology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior within the David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Moersch has expertise in the assessment of children, adolescents, and young adults with a range of neurodevelopmental, neurological, and psychiatric conditions. She is passionate about utilizing neuropsychological assessments with children and young adults to determine ways to capitalize on areas of strength and accommodate areas of difficulty. She is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist in the state of California (PSY 29302) and has published work on building social emotional intelligence in school-aged children. <top>

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Mindy Patterson, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Patterson is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in neuropsychological evaluation across the lifespan. Dr. Patterson received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Georgetown University before completing her Psy.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology at University of La Verne (an APA-accredited program). She completed year-long placements at Loma Linda Health Care, where she focused on pediatric neuropsychological assessment, and the County of Santa Barbara Juvenile Justice Mental Health Services, where she conducted court-mandated evaluations of adolescents. Dr. Patterson has also provided school-based counseling for grades 7-12, and she worked for the California Department of Developmental Services transitioning adults with developmental disabilities from institutions to community-based homes. Her post-doctoral training focused on assessment of dementias and other brain-related diagnoses related to aging. Dr. Patterson utilizes a systems approach in all of her work, and values the input of family members, teachers, caretakers, and others in the assessment process. <top>

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Doug Polster, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuopsychologist
Dr. Polster is licensed clinical neuropsychologist specializing in evaluating cognitive functioning in order to help his patients develop and implement a personalized plan to reach their fullest potential. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults who experience difficulty with one or many aspects of cognitive functioning, including: attention/concentration (AD/HD), learning (e.g., math, reading, writing), decision making/problem solving, ‘brain fog,’ memory, as well as many other areas. Dr. Polster also specializes in the assessment of individuals who have a history of concussion(s), including assessing post-concussion syndrome. His evaluations are customized to the individual and include a thorough interview with the patient and/or the family, followed by neurocognitive testing, and finally a feedback session to go over all of the details of the evaluation, including recommendations for how to overcome any weaknesses uncovered. Dr. Polster completed an APA-approved neuropsychology post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA and currently serves as a faculty member at UCLA working within the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT concussion clinic. As an ex-college basketball player (Johns Hopkins University), Dr. Polster enjoys working with young athletes to assist them with reaching their academic potential while balancing their athletic interests. He remains active in the athletic community, including serving as a Director of a social+fitness club as well as developing a new physical+cognitive fitness program. <top>

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Noelle Orsini, M.A.
Educational Specialist
Noelle Orsini has been an educator for over twenty years. She began her educational career as a second grade teacher and a learning specialist in New Jersey. During her time as a learning specialist she introduced and modeled effective Balanced Literacy lessons and strategies for K-4 students, teachers, and support staff. She also established a successful system to analyze and use data to drive daily instruction and provided professional development for implementing research-based teaching practices. For the past seven years Noelle has been an educational therapist and educational consultant in Southern California. She assesses students and provides individualized program plans to meet their specific learning needs. She is trained in structured literacy programs such as Wilson Reading and Lindamood-Bell. She integrates mindfulness techniques and strategies into her daily lessons and empowers her students to take ownership of their learning. Noelle graduated with her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching and Literacy from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. In addition to her passion for teaching and learning, she is an accomplished tennis player having played at the college varsity level. In her free time she enjoys playing paddle tennis, long walks with her beloved golden retriever, Kingsley, and gatherings with friends and family. <top>

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Sara Daoud, M.A.
Certified Mindfulness Facilitator

Sara Daoud received a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from Stanford University, after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2010. She completed her health coaching certification from Wellcoaches — one of the top health coaching programs in the country endorsed by the ACSM and ACLM — and is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach (210013). Sara has also received her Yoga Teacher certification with well-known Power Yoga innovator and teacher, Bryan Kest, and has been a dancer for twenty years, understanding the powerful ability of movement for concentration and mental health. She most recently completed the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Mindful Awareness Research Center in 2016. Thereafter Sara began Elevated Flow, her own private mindfulness-based coaching practice specializing in helping individuals and groups with stress-reduction, pain management, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorders, and trauma through both private coaching and retreats. Scholar, artist, and longtime meditator, Sara has a sincere passion and gift for listening and providing healing to those suffering from all walks of life. An avid traveler (nineteen countries from a young age), Sara has a deep cultural awareness, sensitivity, and perspective, which make her uniquely dynamic and empathetic. <top>

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Jamie Stern, M.A.
Neurofeedback Clinician

Jamie Stern earned her bachelor’s degree at University of Southern California (USC) where she studied cartography and environmental science. When she went on to her dual Masters, she focused on human geography, culture, and the trauma psychology of displaced peoples. Jamie studied Neurofeedback Therapy at the EEG Institute in Woodland Hills, California. She is also an Amen Certified Brain Health Coach. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. She is the Director of Research for an international non-profit organization that focuses on post-war neuropsychological trauma of displaced peoples. She has presented her cultural neuroscience research in both the US and in the Netherlands while demonstrating the positive effects of Neurofeedback therapy in children and adults. Jamie especially loves working with children. She has worked extensively with children and specializes in the Autism Spectrum, ADD/ADHD, OCD, sleep issues, focus difficulties, trauma, and behavioral issues. Jamie provides a cheerful, fun and calming environment for children to make their neurofeedback experiences positive and productive. <top>

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Dana Entin, M.N., R.N., P.N.P.
Parenting Educator & Consultant

Dana Entin is a leading parent educator and consultant. Combining her health science and clinical background, she provides advise and coaching to parents and children in both individual and small group settings. Dana has taught and lectured thousands of parents and professionals. She specializes in every aspect of raising kids including behavior and discipline, health and safety, education, technology, development, nutrition and sleep. As a graduate of UCLA’s Master of Nursing program in 1989, Dana spent her early clinical career as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in two very busy pediatric practices in Los Angeles. Over the past 18 years, Dana has worked hands on with parents and their children, helping and enhancing their family dynamics; it is this work that brings her on staff at Palisades Neurodevelopment Center. Dana offers individualized parenting consultation to those interested in refining and refreshing their parenting practices, in hopes of establishing a more trusting and harmonious relationship with their children. This work is focused on instituting discipline practices that are effective and empower children to be authentic yet compliant, while maximizing children's emotional, social and cognitive learning abilities and promoting respect and emotional wellbeing for all family members.  Dana is a native Angelino, loves the outdoors, and is a proud mother of three college age young adults.  <top>