Staff

Management and Administration
Hiruy Gessesse, MD. – Psychiatrist

"I believe in treating the whole family system for lasting change to take place. I take a holistic approach to psychiatry that allows for healing to occur for the entire family unit."

Hiruy Gessesse, MD. – Medical Director

Medical Director Dr. Gessesse drives the healing process as he serves in a dedicated manner leading the treatment team. His in depth medical training serves him well as he specializes in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Dr. Gessesse is committed to the success of each client that we treat and he tirelessly works to provide superb consultation and direction to the treatment team. Read More...
Dr. Wong

"When I am not working I enjoy physical activities like soccer, racquetball and tennis."

Matthew Wong, JD, MD. - Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist Dr. Wong specializes in working with adolescents and demonstrates his proficiency as he directs the staff at Adolescent Growth. He has extensive experience and clinical expertise in treating children with Eating Disorders, Mood Disorders (Depression and Bipolar), Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Substance Abuse and Sleep Impairments. Read More...
“I come from a fine line of doctors delivering uncompromised medical care. My father was well beloved serving for over 50 years in under-served populations”

“I come from a fine line of doctors delivering uncompromised medical care. My father was well beloved serving for over 50 years in under-served populations”

Winifred Williams, M.D. - Medical Practitioner

Medical Practitioner Dr. Williams is a renowned medical practitioner that brings nearly 19 years of celebrated expertise to the medical field. Professionally, Dr. Williams presents as a compassionate doctor committed to the physical well being of each minor served at Adolescent Growth. Dr. Williams has been a member of the Adolescent Growth treatment team since 2008 serving in a diligent manner to support the excellence that is delivered to each minor. Read More...

“I’m a Mom to a beautiful boy, I love my cats and I consider myself a foodie”

Sieu Ma, B.A. - Director of Operations, Adolescents

Director of Operations Sieu joined the team in March of 2007 at the most introductory level. She has since moved up to Director of Operations due in part to her dedication, tireless efforts and great attitude. Sieu received her B.S. in Biology from the University of San Francisco with minors in Japanese and Chemistry in 2000. Read More...
"I am here to help provide support to our clients as well as our staff to ensure we are providing the best treatment possible."

"I am here to help provide support to our clients as well as our staff to ensure we are providing the best treatment possible."

Stacy Simone, M.A., LMFT, Director of Clinical Services

Director of Clinical Services Stacy's provides nurturing support to the facility Program Managers, ensuring the delivery of meaningful treatment programs and providing incomparable supervision and direction to the entire treatment staff. Stacy works closely with the psychiatrist and the other clinicians on the team to ensure the highest standard of care to each family we aid. Read More...
“When I first came to Adolescent Growth, I knew this was where I was meant to be”

“When I first came to Adolescent Growth, I knew this was where I was meant to be”

Erin Lae, M.A., LMFT, Program Manager

Program Manager Erin is a Program Manager and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has dedicated her life to pursuing her passion to help hurting families traumatized by Eating Disorders and both Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues. Read More...
"In my free time I like to spend time with my family. I love to decorate, sing and have a knack for scrap-booking and journaling."

"In my free time I like to spend time with my family. I love to decorate, sing and have a knack for scrap-booking and writing."

 Kristy Hamilton, MA., LCSW -Program Manager

Program Manager Kristy states that she is excited to be the Program Manager at the Sherman Oaks Adolescent Growth Treatment Center, working with such a distinguished professional team providing excellent services for the clients and their families. She is passionate about going alongside teens, young adults, and parents in overcoming struggles, and finding hope and clarity in the process of growth and recovery. Read More...
“I enjoy leading groups with the adolescent population at Adolescent Growth because of their passion and ability to overcome issues to pursue a bright future”

“I enjoy leading groups with the adolescent population at Adolescent Growth because of their passion and ability to overcome issues to pursue a bright future”

Karen Cohen, M.A., MFTI - Primary Therapist

Primary Therapist As the primary Group Therapist at Adolescent Growth, Karen utilizes her strong interpersonal and communication skills to work with and help others gain a new found sense of confidence and self worth. She has an unwavering commitment to make a meaningful difference Read More...
"I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a skilled and caring team who are so dedicated to the clients.  It is my responsibility to ensure that each client entering the facility is provided with the highest level of care and support."

"I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a skilled and caring team who are so dedicated to the clients. It is my responsibility to ensure that each client entering the facility is provided with the highest level of care and support."

Jeff Liebert, M.A., MFTI - Primary Therapist

Primary Therapist Jeff specializes in individual and group therapy with the adolescents in the Sherman Oaks facility and he cherishes the progress that he is able to contribute to for his clients. He also plays a key role in assisting families in the healing process by guiding and co-facilitating our exceptional multifamily groups during the Weekend Restoration Groups. Read More...
"I am responsible for conducting individual and family therapy sessions. I am committed to preparing parents for their child’s transition back into the home. "

"I am responsible for conducting individual and family therapy sessions. I am committed to preparing parents for their child’s transition back into the home."

Madalyn Tedesco, M.A., MFTI -Primary Therapist

Primary Therapist Madalyn is proficient in conducting individual and family therapy sessions. She is a co-facilitator of the Weekend Restoration Groups and is committed to meticulously preparing parents for their child’s transition back into the home. It is her mission to help provide parents with the necessary support, education and care as they are the role models of their family units. Read More...
"I facilitate dynamic individual and family therapy aimed at identifying strengths, improving communication and teaching members to learn to accept and love themselves. I try to bring a level of clinical sophistication when co-facilitating the Parenting Support Groups."

"I facilitate dynamic individual and family therapy aimed at identifying strengths, improving communication and teaching members to learn to accept and love themselves."

Sara Burchfiel, M.S., MFTI - Primary Therapist

Primary Therapist  Sara has worked in the mental health field providing a variety of services to children, teens and their families. She facilitates dynamic individual and family therapy aimed at identifying strengths, improving communication,  and teaching members to learn to accept and love themselves. Body image, self esteem and boundaries are core issues that she explores and helps develop. Read More...
"At Adolescent Growth I've been blessed to work with an amazing and supportive staff who empower not only our clients, but have also inspired me to grow as an individual and as a professional."

"At Adolescent Growth I've been blessed to work with an amazing and supportive staff who empower not only our clients, but have also inspired me to grow as an individual and as a professional."

Katrina Niere, MA, MFTI, Group Therapist

Group Therapist Katrina Niere utilizes her strong skill set to work with and help others gain insight into their current behaviors and a new vision for who they are and what they were designed to be. She co-facilitates the Parenting Support groups based upon her research based knowledge of parenting styles. Read More...
“Nutrition is not just what you eat but more importantly it’s about how you feed your body to support your mental and physical state”

“Nutrition is not just what you eat but more importantly it’s about how you feed your body to support your mental and physical state”

Lauren Schmitt, M.S., R.D., C.P.T.

Lead Dietitian Lauren Schmitt is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer specializing in individual and corporate wellness, eating disorders, and weight management. Lauren has a Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from California State University at Northridge (CSUN) with Read More...
“Prevention of chronic disease starts with nutrition and how we take care of our bodies – It’s never too late to start!”

“Prevention of chronic disease starts with nutrition and how we take care of our bodies – It’s never too late to start!”

Brooke Horn DeKofsky, M.P.H., R.D., L.E.

Dietitian Brooke graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. While completing her Bachelor’s degree, Brooke became a Peer Health counselor and discovered her passion for Public Health. Read More…
"I truly love working here because I genuinely feel I have the opportunity to be apart of someone's journey in recovery each day. These clients and their family have trusted me to care for them and I'm honored to be able to do that.".

"I truly love working here because I genuinely feel I have the opportunity to be apart of someone's journey in recovery each day. These clients and their family have trusted me to care for them and I'm honored to be able to do that."

Jonnell States, LVN - Charge Nurse

Charge Nurse As a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Jonnell has been given the opportunity to see various clients and she recognized early that adolescents are her true calling. She is drawn to psychology and loves the individuality that each teenager brings. She works along side our psychiatric and medical staff to aid in the medication management component of the program. Read More…
"What I love most about working for Adolescent Growth is tailoring my teaching to each student. I don't think education should have a one-size-fits-all approach, so I appreciate getting to know each student as an individual and helping them grow academically while they are in treatment."

"What I love most about working for Adolescent Growth is tailoring my teaching to each student. I don't think education should have a one-size-fits-all approach, so I appreciate getting to know each student as an individual and helping them grow academically while they are in treatment."

Serena  Padilla, BA - Academic Coordinator  

Academic Coordinator Serena is a dedicated member of the Adolescent Growth treatment team in Commerce , California. She devotes her time to working with each minor to address their individualized academic needs. Serena is capable of providing challenging work to our youth, while simultaneously encouraging them and bringing out their strengths. Read More…
"I have worked with a few non-profit youth organizations and overall that have been the most fulfilling work to date.  While working with at-risk youth and children, I taught them how to make a balanced meal as a healthy alternative to processed food they were used to."

"I have worked with a few non-profit youth organizations and overall that have been the most fulfilling work to date. While working with at-risk youth and children, I taught them how to make a balanced meal as a healthy alternative to processed food they were used to."

Constance Vazquez, Culinary Manager

Culinary Manager As the culinary manager at Adolescent Growth Constance provides well balanced meals that are healthy yet don't "taste" healthy or bland. Chef Constance leads the delivery of nutritional meals aimed at helping our clients that struggle with an eating disorder get on an individualized meal plan tailored for their needs. Read More…