Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies

You are here

Our Team


JoAnn Difede, Ph.D., Program Director
Colleen Becket-Davenport, Psy.D.
Mary Denise Cancellare, Ph.D.
James Kocsis, MD
Francis Lee, MD, Ph.D.
Andrew McAleavey, Ph.D.
Nancy J. Needell, M.D.
Megan Olden, Ph.D.
Melissa Peskin, Ph.D.
Amy Rubenstein, Ph.D.
Lisa A. Spielman, Ph.D.
Katarzyna Wyka, Ph.D.


Mariel Emrich, Research Assistant 
Annell Ovalles, Research Assistant

PATSS Faculty Bios

Dr. Melissa Peskin, Ph.D.

Dr. Melissa Peskin is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and an Assistant Attending Psychologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Peskin completed her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and received a M.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received extensive training in the evidence-based assessment and treatment of anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Dr. Peskin completed her clinical internship in the Trauma Recovery Center Division at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, where she provided Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, and Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy to service members in residential and outpatient PTSD programs. She joined the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies in 2012.

Dr. Peskin's research focuses on developing and improving the effectiveness of treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She has a particular interest in using neurobiological tools to understand treatment mechanisms and predict treatment response. Dr. Peskin is currently conducting a pilot study exploring a novel intervention for individuals with PTSD due to military sexual trauma.

Dr. Peskin has expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD, anxiety, and depression. She provides psychotherapy to individuals as part of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Military Family Wellness Center and serves as a therapist on DoD funded clinical research studies for individuals with PTSD. In addition, Dr. Peskin serves as primary supervisor and coordinates a trauma rotation for psychiatry residents, psychology interns, and social workers learning exposure therapy.

Dr. Andrew McAleavey, Ph.D.

Dr. Andrew McAleavey is an Instructor of Psychology in Psychiatry, at Weill Cornell Medical College. He completed his undergraduate training at Brown University and received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. He has received expert clinical training in evidence-based interventions, and completed his clinical internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College. He joined the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2015.

Dr. McAleavey has been published extensively in research literature focusing on the mechanisms of psychotherapy outcomes, as well as psychological symptom development. At present, this includes genetic, psychophysiological, and cognitive-emotional factors influencing who develops PTSD following a trauma and who is likeliest to respond to treatment. He is also interested in quantitative research methods.

Dr. McAleavey practices outpatient psychotherapy as part of the New York Presbyterian Hospital Military Family Wellness Center and works with inpatients at the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital. His clinical work focuses on PTSD, anxiety, depression, and anger management.

Dr. Nancy Needell, M.D.

Dr. Nancy Needell is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and an Assistant Attending Psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is the Medical Director of the Weill Cornell Psychiatric Mobile Crisis Team, a multi-disciplinary team that responds to crises and emergencies in the community, visiting people in their homes to assess the need for rapid intervention. Dr. Needell serves as a co-investigator on several DoD funded studies of PTSD. Dr. Needell is an active member of the New York City Elder Abuse Prevention MultiDisciplinaryTeam (made of up district attorneys, elder attorneys, social workers, adult protective service workers, and forensic accountants, among others) to help prevent and stop financial elder abuse. She also works in the Weill Cornell Psychiatric Emergency Department, Dr. Needell has worked at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility as well as in homeless shelters, jail diversion programs, and in-patient psychiatric units. She is board certified in adult psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and geriatric psychiatry.

Dr. Colleen Becket-Davenport, Psy.D.

Dr. Colleen Becket-Davenport is a postdoctoral fellow of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is the primary clinician for the Military Family Wellness Center at Weill Cornell and has worked with veterans from all branches and service eras in a variety of healthcare settings. Prior to joining our team, she completed her internship at the Manhattan Campus of the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System where she worked with veterans in primary care and provided evidence-based treatment in the outpatient PTSD clinic. She also trained at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where she worked with veterans struggling with co-morbid PTSD and substance abuse as well as offered couples therapy to veterans and their partners. While at the VA in San Francisco, Dr. Becket-Davenport served on a research team investigating the challenges of civilian readjustment among veterans, as well as a research team investigating the acceptability of a deployment anxiety reduction training among veterans and active duty service members. 

Manhattan Offices

425 East 61st Street
New York, NY 10065

435 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

Westchester Office

21 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, NY 10605