Risa Breckman, LCSW: Executive Director

A licensed clinical social worker, Risa has developed training materials and protocols utilized internationally, and has trained thousands of professionals across disciplines and career levels in elder abuse detection, assessment and intervention. In 1982, Risa established an elder abuse program for NYC’s (then) Victim Services Agency (now Safe Horizon), and later for the Queens DA’s office and a NYC-based hospital. She established the country’s first elder abuse victim support group and developed a conceptual framework for guiding assessment and interventions adopted internationally. Risa co-wrote the AMA guidelines on elder abuse, is the co-author of the seminal book guiding interventions, Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Mistreatment and numerous other publications addressing this topic. A psychotherapist trained at the Albert Ellis Institute, she integrates cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approaches to assessment and interventions with elder abuse victims. Currently, she is working with the Department for Justice and others to develop a roadmap for the elder justice field utilizing concept mapping methodology. In addition to her work with NYCEAC, Risa is an Assistant Professor of Gerontological Social Work in Medicine and Director of Social Work Programs and Education in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Visit Risa’s Linkedin page here.

Elizabeth Bloemen, MPH : Social Media Associate

Elizabeth BloemenElizabeth serves as the Social Media Associate for the NYC Elder Abuse Center.  Elizabeth writes posts for the Elder Justice Dispatch blog and assists with social media networking. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and recently received her MPH from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health where she focused on the health of an aging society and elder abuse.  Visit Elizabeth’s LinkedIn page here.

Sarah Dion: Program Assistant

EchoAmpitheaterCropSarah serves as the Program Assistant for the NYC Elder Abuse Center. She manages NYCEAC’s day-to-day billing and scheduling concerns, coordinates grant projects and maintains NYCEAC’s website. Additionally, Sarah contributes content to the blog and fields various inquiries related to the work of NYCEAC. Sarah received her BA in Biology from Columbia University where she also concentrated in Philosophy. To contact Sarah, click here.

Cara Kenien, LMSW, MPA: Social Media Manager

Cara serves as the Social Media Manager for the NYC Elder Abuse Center.  Cara writes and coordinates content for the Elder Justice Dispatch: Engaging Professionals to Prevent Elder Abuse blog, conducts interviews for the Podcast series and manages social media networking. Cara also serves as the Assistant Director to the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life at Weill Cornell Medical College.  Prior to this, she was the Associate Program Officer at The Brookdale Foundation Group, an organization committed to enhancing the quality of life of America’s elderly.  She has taught courses through the Certificate Program at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Longevity of Hunter College including Family Systems Perspective: Intergenerational Issues in Aging and Understanding the Dimensions of Elder Abuse: Research, Policy & Practice. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Public Administration from Binghamton University, NY. Visit Cara’s LinkedIn page here.

Mark Lachs, MD, MPH: Medical Director

An internist and geriatrician, Mark is the Irene and Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College and Co-Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and the Director of Geriatrics for the New York Presbyterian Health System. Both a clinician and researcher, Mark has conducted numerous studies of elder abuse outcomes and epidemiology, and he is principal investigator of the largest longitudinal study of elder abuse victims which was funded by the National Institutes on Aging. He is also the co-principal investigator of the NYS Prevalence Study, funded by the NYS Family & Children’s Trust Fund. His other interests include resident-to-resident abuse in long term care, abuse committed by paid home care providers, and self-neglect in older people. His many accolades and awards include a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholarship (the country’s preeminent career development award in Geriatric Medicine), a National Institutes on Aging Academic Leadership Award and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Rosalie Wolf Ward. A co-author of the American Medical Association’s Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Elder Abuse and Neglect, he has testified before congress on matters related to aging, served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on an international screening study of elder abuse, and been a member of a congressionally mandated National Academy of Sciences Panel convened by an order of congress to address the training needs of health care professionals in domestic violence. Mark mentors junior faculty in the area of elder abuse and neglect, and maintains an active geriatric medicine practice in New York City.  In September 2010, Penguin Viking published his book Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or a Loved One Gets Older (www.treatmenotmyage.com). Visit Mark’s Linkedin page here.

Veronica LoFaso, MD: MDT Geriatrician

Ronnie is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital within the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. She  provides geriatric medicine consultations to NYCEAC’s multidisciplinary teams, serving to help the teams evaluate and respond to the myriad medical issues that are presented to them. In addition, she has developed and conducted numerous elder abuse trainings for a variety of institutions throughout the greater New York City area and beyond. Ronnie has presented at national conferences, has conducted workshops on a broad range of topics related to elder abuse, and has managed cases of elder abuse in New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Geriatrics out-patient practice as well as in the homebound population as Former Director, Home Visit Program in the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Robin Roberts, LMSW: Coordinator, Multidisciplinary Team

Robin provides case consultations to professionals and non-abusing family members, friends and neighbors and serves as the Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator (MDTC) for NYCEAC’s three teams – one in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan. These teams coordinate assessments and interventions on complex elder abuse cases. In addition, she provides case consultations to professionals from a range of disciplines from diverse systems and conducts in-service trainings on elder abuse and team interventions. Prior to this, she was the Director of JASA’s Legal/Social Work Elder Abuse Program (LEAP) in Queens. In addition, Robin has a private practice, providing individual, family and group counseling to adults, specializing in anxiety and depression disorders. She also provides mental health services to substance abusers and formerly incarcerated individuals. Robin’s previous employment included working at a residential treatment facility for 10 years, providing psychosocial interventions to children and young adults suffering from trauma and experiencing mental illness. She holds a Bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College. Visit Robin’s Linkedin page here.