Post-Doctoral Associates/Fellows

2018 Post-docs - Stephen Lupe, Franchesca Arias, Dahomey Abanishe, Sarah Westen, Janna Belser-Ehrlich, Tarrah Mitchell, Aprinda Indahlastari, Stephanie McDonough, Christine Machado-Denis

Dahomey Abanishe, Ph.D.

Dr. Dahomey Abanishe is a Post-Doctoral Associate in Neuropsychology at the UF Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. Prior to starting her post-doctoral training in neuropsychology, Dr. Abanishe worked as a Licensed Psychologist for almost a decade, with the elderly population in rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes across the State of Florida.   She has also worked as a Licensed Psychologist in the private practice sector and in a University Counseling Center in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Dr. Abanishe obtained a Masters degree in Community Psychology in 2005 and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Her dissertation cross-culturally examined construct and method bias in therapeutic outcome assessment.   Current interests include neuropsychological, treatment, and service delivery to adults with cognitive concerns, including those with TBI, focal brain lesions, neurodegenerative conditions and worried well.


Franchesca Arias, Ph.D.

Dr.  Arias is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Neuropsychology Area of the UF Department of Clinical & Health Psychology. She is a research fellow on a multidisciplinary T32 training grant focused on pain and aging (T32-AG049673, Fillingham PI), under the mentorship of Dr. Catherine Price. Her T32 research investigates the relationship between pain and outcomes of older adults who undergo elective surgery. As part of her training, she is involved in providing neurocognitive assessments and interventions with patients and family through the Perioperative Cognitive and Anesthesia Network (PeCAN) program, along with supervision of doctoral students.  Dr. Arias obtained a masters in Neuroscience in Education (Columbia University), completed a predoctoral internship at the University of Florida (neuropsychology), and obtained her doctorate from Fordham University in 2017.    Her dissertation examined relationships among executive function, characterological facets of inhibitory control, and risky behaviors in adults receiving opioid agonist therapy.


Janna Belser-Ehrlich, Ph.D.

Dr. Belser-Ehrlich is a post-doctoral Associate  in Neuropsychology through the UF Department of Clinical & Health Psychology. In  this role,  Dr. Belser-Ehrlich conducts neuropsychological evaluations for individuals with movement disorders, pre/post Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, aging and dementia, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy,  and pre-surgical cognitive screening.  She   plays an active role in supervision of doctoral students and interns, under  the supervision of  neuropsychology faculty. Dr. Belser-Ehrlich completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Florida (neuropsychology concentration) and obtained her doctorate from Yeshiva University in 2017. Her dissertation examined the contribution of cognitive functioning to a theoretical model of health-related quality of life  in community-dwelling older adults. Current research interests include cognition and aging, as well as neuropsychiatric symptoms of movement disorders.


Heshan Fernando, Ph.D.

HeshanDr. Fernando is a Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. He received his B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, double majoring in Molecular Biology and Psychology. He received his Master’s degree from New York University and earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY, where his dissertation research examined the role of executive functioning in interpersonal problems and distress in young adults. Dr. Fernando’s current research interests focuses on cerebral hemodynamic/metabolic risk factors and neurocognitive functioning in adults. His primary role involves clinical neuropsychological assessment of adults with various neurological disorders including dementia syndromes, movement disorders, and epilepsy.


Joseph Gullett, Ph.D.

Dr. Gullett is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory under the research supervision of Dr. Ron Cohen. He specializes in the application of Diffusion Tensor Imaging to the study of white matter and cognitive function in various clinical populations, and is interested in further developing multimodal neuroimaging approaches with the addition and integration of resting-state fMRI and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Clinically, he conducts neuropsychological evaluations through the UF Neuropsychology Service under the supervision of neuropsychology faculty in the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology.   Dr. Gullett completed his predoctoral internship at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and his doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Florida (neuropsychology track), where his dissertation investigated brainstem white matter integrity and sleep disordered breathing in veterans with a history of Traumatic Brain Injury.


Aprinda Indahlastari, Ph.D.

aprindaDr. Indahlastari is a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Woods lab, Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory (CAM) in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. She is a biomedical engineer by training and her research interests are in the fields of neuromodulation and neuroimaging. She received her B.S.  from University of California, San Diego and M.S. from Arizona State University. Dr. Indahlastari earned her doctoral degree from Arizona State University. Her dissertation involved a validation study between human in-vivo measurements and computational models of a non-invasive brain stimulation technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Her current work is focusing on applications of tDCS coupled with cognitive training to remediate age-associated cognitive decline in older adults. She also incorporates multimodal neuroimaging techniques such as structural and functional MRI to assess cortical structures and any changes in neural efficiency and brain connectivity related to tDCS and cognitive training.


Stephen Lupe, Psy.D.

Stephen LupeDr. Lupe is a Med/Health Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. Dr. Lupe completed his Master’s degree and Doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in integrated behavioral health at The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. Dr. Lupe then completed his predoctoral internship at the University of Florida Health Science Center. As part of his clinical appointment, Dr. Lupe provides pre-surgical evaluations for solid organ and bone marrow transplant patients for the UF Health Shands Transplant Center. In addition, he completes pre-surgical evaluations for patients in need of ventricular assist devices and spinal cord stimulator implantations and also provides direct clinical care to patients with chronic pain and medical conditions at Shands/UF Health. His clinical and research interests include integrated primary care, chronic pain, health promotion and disease prevention intervention, acceptance and commitment therapy, program development within health systems, and interdisciplinary treatment team approaches aimed at increasing health behaviors. His dissertation examined the effects of training on health behavior counseling among clinicians.


Christine Machado-Denis, Psy.D

Christine Machado DenisDr. Machado-Denis is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. As part of her clinical appointment, Dr. Machado-Denis provides pre-surgical evaluations for bariatric surgery patients for the UF Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. In addition, she completes pre-surgical evaluations for patients in need of solid organ transplants, ventricular assist devices, and spinal cord stimulator implantations. She also provides direct clinical care to medical inpatients at Shands/UF Health. Dr. Machado-Denis completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Maryland/ VA Maryland Healthcare System in Baltimore, Maryland and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with a specialization in medical psychology from Albizu University in Miami, Florida. Her clinical interests include cardiac rehabilitation, psychopharmacology, heart failure, health promotion and disease prevention intervention, program development within hospital systems, and interdisciplinary treatment team approaches aimed at reducing hospital readmission rates. Her dissertation examined psychological factors impacting patients with cardiovascular disease and psychopharmacological treatment considerations for cardiac populations.


Stephanie McDonough, PhD

Stephanie McDonough

Dr. McDonough is a Health Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. She received her B.S. from the University of Vermont and M.A. from the University of Louisville. Dr. McDonough earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Louisville. Her research has examined biopsychosocial factors in the prevention, development, and management of chronic illness. Dr. McDonough’s dissertation research explored unique associations between weight stigma, exercise motivation, and psychological need satisfaction in a community sample of adult women. Clinically, Dr. McDonough completed her pre-doctoral internship in Health Psychology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Her current clinical interests include psycho-oncology, inpatient consultation-liaison psychology, and transplant psychology. During her fellowship year, Dr. McDonough will be providing psychological consultation, assessment and intervention for solid organ and stem cell transplant patients, patients with cancer, and medical inpatients with complex medical conditions.


Tarrah Mitchell, PhD

Tarah MitchellDr. Mitchell is a Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology Post-Doctoral Associate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Mitchell earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2018, following a pre-doctoral internship specializing in pediatric psychology at the University of Florida Health Science Center. Dr. Mitchell’s research focuses on understanding the bidirectional relationships among children’s physical, psychological, social, and academic functioning (health-related quality of life) and their weight-related health behaviors, such as disordered eating, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. An additional research line focuses on strategies to accurately assess these concepts and behaviors in youth. Clinically, Dr. Mitchell provides inpatient and outpatient services for children, adolescents, and young adults with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease) within multi-disciplinary environments to address medical adherence, adjustment concerns, and psychological needs.


Sarah Westen, Ph.D.

swestenDr. Sarah Westen is a pediatric psychology postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida (UF) through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Bringing Science Home Initiative. Dr. Westen also completed her doctoral training and psychology internship/residency at UF (mentor: Dr. David Janicke) specializing in pediatric chronic illnesses with an emphasis on type one diabetes research and clinical care. Dr. Westen will be staying as a second year postdoctoral fellow in 2018-2019 as a recipient of JDRF’s National Fellowship Program in Psychology. She is also a 2018 Children with Diabetes Friends for Life® fellow and the 2018 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s (APA, Division 54) Drotar-Crawford Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Grant in Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Westen is currently involved on projects examining depression; telehealth intervention; barriers to participation in clinical trials; and, sleep, glycemic control, and adherence in pediatric type one diabetes. In 2015, Dr. Westen was awarded the APA Mary Jo Kupst Trainee Grant for Research in Resilience and examined psychological predictors of adherence in adolescents with type one diabetes. In the same year, she was awarded the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology’s Geoffrey Clark-Ryan Memorial Award for Pediatric Research. Dr. Westen is interested in the biopsychosocial aspects of chronic illness in children, young adults, and families (e.g., quality of life, adherence, coping, family management, transition from pediatric to adult care, treatment of comorbid mental health and behavioral conditions). Clinically, she sees patients for intervention services in the UF Psychology Clinic and the multidisciplinary UF Pediatric Endocrinology Diabetes Clinic. Dr. Westen is passionate about teaching and supervises undergraduate students, psychology doctoral students, and doctoral interns in diabetes research, therapy, and consultation-liaison work (including psychology services in UF Pediatric Endocrinology). She is involved in several multi-site working groups regarding type one diabetes treatment in the context of interdisciplinary care; for example, she is a current member of the JDRF Psychosocial Advisory Committee, and Co-Chair of the American Psychological Association’s Special Interest Group in Diabetes.