About Us

Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D.

Carlos Blanco, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Research Scientist in the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Blanco is a graduate of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) and completed his psychiatry residency at Columbia University, where he also completed a fellowship in Clinical Research at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic.

Dr. Blanco has been conducting research on pathological gambling for the last 30 years, including research on the prevalence, course and predictors of remission of pathological gambling in the general population, as well as research on the treatment of pathological gambling with medication and psychotherapy. His research also examines the epidemiology and treatment of disorders that often occur together, such as mood or anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. Dr. Blanco’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute, New York State and numerous private foundations. He is the author of over 120 scholarly publications.

Iván Balán, Ph.D.

Iván C. Balán, Ph.D., is a Senior Psychologist and Researcher at the Gambling Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.  Bringing to his work extensive experience with addictive disorders, Dr. Balán's work at the clinic focuses on providing treatment, supervising clinicians, and developing Motivational Interviewing-based interventions for treating problem gambling.  Originally trained in Motivational Interviewing (MI) in 2002, Dr. Balán has written numerous treatment manuals for MI-based interventions, two of which are currently being used in NIMH-funded studies.   He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and regularly trains and supervises in MI. 

A bilingual and bicultural Latino psychologist, Dr. Balán obtained his doctorate in 1996 from the California School of Professional Psychology. In 1994 he became a staff psychologist at the Department of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian Hospital of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, providing services to HIV affected populations.  He continues his work in HIV prevention as a researcher at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, also at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. 

Silvia J. Franco C., MD.

Silvia J. Franco C., MD. graduated Medical Doctor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, 2013. Internship at the Addictions unit of Santa Creu i Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona Spain, 2012. Currently Assistant research scientist and therapist at the Gambling Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) since 2013. 

Michael McKee, Ph.D.

Michael McKee, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist in the Gambling Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Trained in the use of cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) by leaders in the field such as Dr. Gail Steketee, Dr. Richard Heimberg, and Dr. Marsha Linehan, among others, Dr. McKee currently specializes in CBT for problem gambling.

Dr. McKee has also been a cognitive-behavioral research therapist for National Institute of Mental Health-funded projects studying the effectiveness of CBT in the treatment of social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and hypochondria. In addition, he supervises the work of pre-doctoral trainees and postdoctoral fellows at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic.

Dr. McKee has extensive experience with the treatment of a range of behavior problems, and maintains a private practice in Scarsdale and Cold Spring, New York.

Formerly, Dr. McKee was Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, treating patients and teaching trainees in the ambulatory services department at the Westchester Division of New York Presbyterian Hospital from 1993 to 2000.

Jorge Mario Rodríguez-Fernández, M.D.

Jorge Mario Rodríguez-Fernández, M.D., is an assistant research scientist and therapist at the Gambling Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) since 2013. He received his medical education at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He continued his scientific training at SUNY Downstate, The Marine Biological Laboratory, Columbia University/Molecular Imaging & Neuropathology Division and Yale University. Currently working in the better understanding of impulsive and addictive disorders from basic to clinical research. 

Marcela Hoffer, LCSW, MA, MS.

Marcela Hoffer, LCSW, MA, MS, is a Senior Clinician at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at New York State Psychiatric Institute. Ms Hoffer is a graduate of Universidad de Buenos Aires, School of Psychology (Argentina) and graduated from the School of Social Work at Columbia University. Ms. Hoffer is a research scientist and a bilingual clinician treating pathological gambling applying Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques. Additionally, she is trained in Interpersonal Psychotherapy treating depression in cancer patients. She is also supervises social work interns. Her research interests include pathological gambling, acculturation issues and mental health disorders in medically ill patients.

 



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