Department of Psychology Staff

Department Organizational Chart

Director

Laurie Baker, Ph.D., ABPP-RP
Director of Psychology

Laurie Baker, Ph.D., ABPP-RP - Director of Psychology

Laurie Baker, Ph.D., ABPP-RP, is a board-certified rehabilitation psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist. Dr. Baker joined Shepherd Center in 2009 and completed the two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology in 2011. Dr. Baker received her B.A. from Bemidji State University in Minnesota, M.A. in Counseling and Community Psychology from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University, New York. She completed her internship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. She has several years of experience in research, brain imaging, cardiovascular disease, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. She has been an active member of the American Board of Professional Psychologists and American Psychological Association Divisions 22 and 40. Away from work, Dr. Baker loves to enjoy precious time at home or traveling with her family.


Supervisors

Gregory S. Brown, Psy.D.
Outpatient Psychology Supervisor, SHARE Military Initiative and Complex Concussion Clinic

Gregory S. Brown, Psy.D. - Outpatient Psychology Supervisor, SHARE Military Initiative and Complex Concussion ClinicGregory S. Brown, Psy.D., joined the Shepherd Center Psychology team in January 2018. Dr. Brown is a clinical neuropsychologist and the outpatient psychology supervisor for the SHARE Military Initiative and the Complex Concussion Clinic. He earned his doctoral degree in 2014 from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Brown completed his internship at the Central Arkansas VA with a concentration in Neuropsychology and a two-year APPCN postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology at Shepherd Center. Prior to his return to Shepherd Center, Dr. Brown worked as a neuropsychologist at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA, in the Army Intrepid Spirit and Traumatic Brain Injury Program. His current clinical focus is neuropsychological assessment and intervention of mild traumatic brain injury in both veteran and civilian populations. Dr. Brown also currently serves as a Major League Soccer consulting neuropsychologist for Atlanta United.

Chelsea Day, Psy.D.
Neuropsychology Supervisor, Acquired Brain Injury

Chelsea Day, Psy.D. - Neuropsychology Supervisor, Acquired Brain InjuryDr. Chelsea Day is a clinical neuropsychologist and the neuropsychology supervisor for the inpatient Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program. Dr. Day joined the Shepherd Center team in 2010, during which time she completed her two-year postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology. She serves as the neuropsychologist for three teams in the inpatient acquired brain injury unit, where she conducts neuropsychological evaluations, monitors neurobehavioral presentation, develops and implements behavioral management strategies, and provides psychoeducation regarding acquired brain injury to patients and families. She also conducts outpatient neuropsychological evaluations in the outpatient division of neuropsychology. Dr. Day serves as one of the supervisors for Shepherd Center's APPCN clinical neuropsychology fellowship program. She greatly values a multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation interventions.

Gary A. James, Psy.D.
Neuropsychology Supervisor, Shepherd Pathways

Gary A. James, Psy.D. - Neuropsychology Supervisor, Shepherd Pathways

Gary A. James, Psy.D., joined Shepherd Center in 2004. He is the neuropsychology supervisor at Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd’s post-acute brain injury program, as well as the Complex Concussion Clinic and the SHARE Military Initiative. Dr. James graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Baylor University in 2002. He serves as adjunct faculty in psychology graduate programs at Argosy University, Atlanta, where he has taught since 2006. Dr. James provides neuropsychological assessment and neurobehavioral treatment for adolescents and adults with a range of neurologic illnesses, and provides treatment primarily through individualized and group interventions. He is also the primary clinical supervisor for all trainees at Shepherd Pathways, the Complex Concussion Clinic, and SHARE Military Initiative.

Jill Koval, Ph.D., ABPP
Psychology Supervisor, Spinal Cord Injury

Jill Koval, Ph.D., ABPP - Psychology Supervisor, Spinal Cord Injury

Dr. Koval joined the psychology staff at Shepherd Center in 1989 after completing her internship at the VA Medical Center in Decatur, GA. She has a long-standing position in leadership in the department and is currently the psychology supervisor. Dr. Koval received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from George Washington University and is board certified in rehabilitation psychology. She has extensive experience in the area of emotional adjustment and other key rehabilitation issues for newly injured patients with SCI/dual diagnosis and their families. She treats patients in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program and SCI Day Program. Dr. Koval is also a member of the Shepherd Center Ethics Committee.


Department Staff

Kirsten Allen, Psy.D., ABPP
Clinical Rehabilitation Psychologist, SHARE Military Initiative & Complex Concussion Clinic

Kirsten Allen, Psy.D. - Clinical Rehabilitation Psychologist, SHARE Military InitiativeKirsten Allen, Psy.D., ABPP joined Shepherd Center in September 2019 as a clinical sport and rehabilitation psychologist for the SHARE Military Initiative and the Complex Concussion Clinic. Dr. Allen earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 2018 as well as her master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology in 2013 from the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology in Denver, CO. She completed her internship at the James A. Haley (Tampa, FL) VA with a concentration in Rehabilitation, Health, and Neuropsychology, and her postdoctoral fellowship in Rehabilitation Psychology here in Atlanta, GA at Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to graduate school, she completed her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in Davidson, NC where she competed as a Division I athlete (swimmer). Dr. Allen’s current clinical focus is on psychological assessment and intervention for Veterans, athletes, and civilians with a history of mild traumatic brain injury. She also serves as a consulting Sport and Performance Psychologist throughout the community.

Alex Alverson, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Alex Alverson, Ph.D - Clinical NeuropsychologistAlex Alverson, Ph.D., joined Shepherd Center as a clinical neuropsychologist in 2019. Dr. Alverson earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgia Tech in 2009, and in 2017, earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston in Houston, TX. He attended the University of Alabama Birmingham – Birmingham VA Medical Center Consortium for his clinical internship. He then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio, TX, which included rotations in inpatient and outpatient polytrauma rehabilitation, the VA Neuropsychology Outpatient Clinic, the San Antonio Military Medical Center, and University of Texas Health Sciences Center. Dr. Alverson serves as a neuropsychologist on the inpatient acquired brain injury unit and conducts outpatient neuropsychological evaluations in the Outpatient Division of the Department of Psychology and Neuropsychology, as well as serving on the TBI committee. Dr. Alverson’s interests outside of work include BBQ, live music, and spending time with his wife and dog.

Tyler Brown, Psy.D.
Rehabilitation Psychologist

Tyler Brown, Psy.D. - Rehabilitation PsychologistTyler Brown, Psy.D., joined Shepherd Center in August 2020 as a Rehabilitation Psychologist. He earned his B.S. in psychology at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. He earned his M.S. in Psychology at Augusta State University before continuing his graduate education and earning a M.S. in Clinical Medical Psychology and his Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. He completed his clinical internship at Wichita State Counseling Center and Kansas University School of Medicine – Wichita and as part of the Wichita Collaborative Psychology Internship Program in Wichita. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Medstar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Brown is an adjunct professor at Mercer University. Dr. Brown has a passion for providing evidenced-based treatment to individuals and their families dealing with a variety of complex medical conditions including: SCI, ABI, MS, chronic pain, and amputation. In his free time, Dr. Brown enjoys hiking/outdoor recreation, college football, movies, exercising and training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing.

Jane DeMaria, M.A.
Psychometrist, Neuropsychology

Jane DeMaria, M.A. - Psychometrist, NeuropsychologyJane DeMaria, M.A., is a psychometrist who conducts inpatient and outpatient neuropsychological testing for various programs at Shepherd Center, including the Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Programs, as well in the outpatient division of neuropsychology. She earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of Florida and her Master of Arts in psychology at the University of West Florida. Prior to working at Shepherd Center, she was employed as a psychometrist by a clinical psychologist in private practice in Pensacola, FL. In this role, she administered psychological tests for adolescents and adults referred by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for the State of Florida. She moved to Atlanta and joined Shepherd Center in 2016.

Carly Drummond, M.Ed., Ed.S.
Psychometrist, Neuropsychology

Carly Drummond, M.Ed., Ed.S. - Psychometrist, NeuropsychologyCarly Drummond, M.Ed., Ed.S., is a psychometrist who conducts inpatient and outpatient neuropsychological testing for various programs at Shepherd Center, including the Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Programs, as well in the outpatient division of neuropsychology. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Georgia, and her Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degrees in school psychology at Georgia State University. She joined Shepherd Center in 2016.

Fabienne Elie, Psy.D.
Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Fabienne Elie, Psy.D. - Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral FellowFabienne Elie, Psy.D., joined Shepherd Center in September 2021 as a clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the APA-accredited clinical psychology program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort-Lauderdale, FL. She completed her APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship training in the adult clinical neuropsychology track at Jackson Health System, in affiliation with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is thrilled to become a part of the Shepherd Center family, where she hopes to continue providing culturally-sensitive care to patients with acquired brain injury and their families throughout their rehabilitation journey.

Valerie Ellois, Ph.D
Rehabilitation Psychologist

Valerie Ellois, Ph.D - Rehabilitation PsychologistValerie Ellois, Ph.D., joined Shepherd Pathways in 2020 as a Rehabilitation Psychologist providing therapy/interventions for patients and their families adjusting to brain injury. Dr. Ellois completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Chicago and received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The New School for Social Research in New York City. She completed her predoctoral internship at Rusk Rehabilitation as well as a two-year postdoctoral Rusk Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (AART) Fellowship focusing on brain-related illness/injury and neuropsychological rehabilitation. Dr. Ellois’ clinical interests include health disparities, suicidality, and problematic substance use in acquired brain injury. She has presented at several national conferences and has held leadership roles within APA Division of Rehabilitation Psychology and the American Psychological Association.

Jackie Haar, MSW, LCSW
MS Counselor

Jackie Haar, MSW, LCSW - MS Counselor

Jackie Haar, MSW, LCSW, received her BA at Emory University and her Master of Social Work (MSW) at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Jackie has over 25 years of clinical experience providing individual counseling and group therapy to adults, couples and children with various complex medical, developmental, learning and mental health issues. Her passion is assisting individuals and families in navigating the hurdles of their medical, psychosocial and emotional challenges. Her goal is to help her patients and clients develop strengths to cope more successfully as they embark along their journey toward growth and resiliency.

Prior to coming to Shepherd Center, Jackie worked as a Lead Social Worker at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (CIRU) for 16 years. During this time, she worked with patients and their families in addressing the challenges of life-altering complex neurological disorders. Jackie also served in a leadership role providing clinical supervision to both inpatient and outpatient MSW staff for 10 years. Before coming to Children’s, Jackie worked at the Marcus Institute for five years as a CSW and other Atlanta non-profit organizations.

Jackie served on the clinical advisory committee for Andee’s Army Foundation for three years and served on their advisory board for one year. She also served on Child Kind’s advisory board. In addition, Jackie has provided clinical volunteer services to clients at the Alzheimer’s Association and Positive Impact. In her free time, Jackie enjoys reading, exercising, needlepointing, going to art events and spending time with her husband and son.

Katie Harris, Psy.D.
Clinical Rehabilitation Neuropsychologist

Katie Harris, Psy.D. - Clinical Rehabilitation Neuropsychologist

Dr. Harris is a neuropsychologist specializing in assessment and intervention with rehabilitation populations. She obtained her doctoral degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Dr. Harris completed her internship at VA Northern California Healthcare System in the neuropsychology track. She then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in rehabilitation neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Harris joined the Shepherd Center psychology department in 2019, where she collaborates with a team of healthcare providers to support patients’ cognitive and emotional wellness.

Michelle Jackson, Ph.D., ABPP
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Michelle Jackson, Ph.D., ABPP - Clinical NeuropsychologistMichelle Jackson, Ph.D., ABPP, joined Shepherd Center in 2016 and is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist. Dr. Jackson completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Loyola University in New Orleans, LA, and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2014 from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. She completed her clinical internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center-Jackson VAMC Consortium. She then completed her two-year APPCN-approved postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, MS. At Shepherd Center, she is a neuropsychologist for three teams on the inpatient acquired brain injury unit and conducts outpatient neuropsychological evaluations in the outpatient division of neuropsychology. She is chair of the Acquired Brain Injury Behavior Committee and also serves as co-training director for Shepherd Center's APPCN clinical neuropsychology fellowship program. Dr. Jackson is dedicated to providing compassionate, culturally humble, holistic care to individuals and their families. She has particular interests in neurobehavioral management and training of future neuropsychologists. Dr. Jackson is originally from Trinidad and loves weightlifting and spending time with her dog, Belle.

Molly Keith, Psy.D.
Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Molly Keith, Psy.D. - Clinical Neuropsychology Postdoctoral FellowMolly Keith, Psy.D., joined Shepherd Center in September 2021 as a clinical neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow. She completed her doctoral degree in an APA-accredited clinical psychology training program, specializing in Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation, at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Keith completed her clinical internship at the Central Virginia VAMC in the neuropsychology track. She obtained an M.S. in General psychology from NSU in 2013. While completing that degree she was working as an LCMHC in Vermont, providing mental health and attachment therapy to children and their families. She received her M.A. in Counseling and Human Services from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1999. She aspires to become more involved in addressing the well-being of caregivers as well as providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to patients recovering from injury or illness.

Terri Kohn, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Terri Kohn, LPC - Licensed Professional Counselor

Terri Kohn, LPC, initially joined the Shepherd Center counseling staff in 1985. She has counseled patients and clients in multiple programs at Shepherd Center, including the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program and Day Program, outpatient brain injury programs at Shepherd Pathways, and the SHARE Military Initiative. Terri has also worked as a counselor with individuals with developmental disabilities. She completed her social work internship at the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo Hospital in 1978. Terri earned her undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and her graduate degree from the University of Georgia. She is a founding advisory board member and developed curriculum for the Family Warrior Weekend Camp, a camp for disabled service members from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Terri has presented on emotional adjustment to brain injury and transition to family and civilian life for the Georgia National Guard.

Cheryl A. Linden, LPC, OT/L
Licensed Professional Counselor

Cheryl A. Linden, LPC, OT/L - Licensed Professional Counselor

Cheryl A. Linden, LPC, OT/L, is a licensed professional counselor at Shepherd Center. She graduated from Manchester College with a Bachelor of Social Work in 1982, and completed her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University in 1987. She joined Shepherd Center in 1988, working as an occupational therapist in inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI), outpatient spinal cord injury, inpatient acquired brain injury (ABI) and the intensive care unit (ICU). She served as the occupational therapy education coordinator from 1993 to 1997. She completed her master’s degree in psychology from the Georgia Professional School of Psychology in 2001 and transitioned to her current counseling position the following year, though she continues to maintain her license in both fields. Ms. Linden specializes in working with adolescents with SCI and brain injuries, and frequently gives presentations on adjustment issues within this population. She also maintains a private practice and serves on the Board of Directors for The Ramp Less Traveled, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and mentorship for young people with spinal cord injuries who are returning to college. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (including her three cats), golfing, performing standup and improv comedy, and volunteering at an animal shelter.

Wendy Magnoli, Ph.D.
Clinical Health Psychologist

Wendy Magnoli, Ph.D. - Clinical Health PsychologistWendy Magnoli, Ph.D., is a psychologist for the Dean Stroud Spine and Pain Institute outpatient clinic. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Auburn University and completed her internship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Magnoli has specialized training and experience in pain psychology as well as other areas of health psychology. She is a certified clinical trauma professional with years of experience treating individuals with both acute and chronic trauma histories, and is especially interested in the association between trauma and chronic pain.

Katherine McCauley, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist, SHARE Military Initiative

Katherine McCauley, Ph.D. - Clinical Psychologist, SHARE Military Initiative Katherine McCauley, Ph.D. works with post-9/11 veterans and service members as a clinical psychologist at the SHARE Military Initiative. Dr. McCauley completed her undergraduate work at Emory University and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her doctoral internship and postdoctoral supervised work experience with the VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division. Prior to coming to the Shepherd Center, Dr. McCauley worked at the Seattle VA on the Co-occurring Disorders Team within the Addiction Treatment Center and at the Atlanta VA in General Mental Health. Her clinical interests include providing evidence-based, client-centered care to individuals with co-occurring disorders, supporting relationship satisfaction and family functioning, and trauma-informed care. She serves on an interdisciplinary team that provides comprehensive rehabilitation services for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Dr. McCauley also has research and program development interests related to improving care for individuals with substance use disorders.

Kristian Nitsch, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Kristian Nitsch, Ph.D. - Clinical NeuropsychologistKristian Nitsch, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of medical and rehabilitation populations, with an emphasis on acquired brain injury. Dr. Nitsch earned his doctorate in clinical psychology, with an emphasis in rehabilitation psychology, at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2018. He completed his internship in clinical neuropsychology at the Charleston Consortium followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in rehabilitation neuropsychology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Nitsch joined Shepherd Center’s Psychology Department and Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd’s post-acute acquired brain injury program, in 2020. He collaborates with an interdisciplinary team of health care providers to support patients’ cognitive and emotional well-being as they navigate the rehabilitation and recovery processes. Dr. Nitsch also serves as the primary research advisor for Shepherd Center’s clinical neuropsychology fellowship program.

Punam Rahman, Psy.D., ABPP
Clinical Neurorehabilitation Psychologist

Punam Rahman, Psy.D., ABPP - Clinical Neurorehabilitation Psychologist

Dr. Rahman joined the Shepherd Center psychology department in 2017. She is a licensed psychologist who provides treatment and conducts cognitive assessments for a diverse range of people affected by neurological diseases and injuries. She graduated from the University of Rochester with her bachelor's degree before obtaining her Psy.D. from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Rahman completed her internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York with a one-year neurorehabilitation fellowship at Weiss Memorial Hospital. She is passionate about helping patients with spinal cord injuries/dual diagnosis achieve their optimal level of functioning, compassionately helping them navigate through the challenging transitions. Dr. Rahman also serves as the SCI Rehabilitation Psychology training coordinator and is the chair of the Patient and Family Experience Committee. She is active within various Division 22 committees and received her ABPP in Rehabilitation Psychology in 2020. Along with her clinical work, Dr. Rahman enjoys doing outreach within the community, supervising/mentoring students and cooking with her family.

Tim Riggins, LCSW, Ed.D.
Rehabilitation Counselor, Shepherd Pathways

Tim Riggins, LCSW, Ed.D. - Rehabilitation Counselor, Shepherd PathwaysTim Riggins, LCSW, Ed.D., is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and rehabilitation counselor who works with patients and families adjusting to brain injury at Shepherd Pathways. He earned a master’s degree in social work from North Carolina State University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from North Carolina State University. He has worked in the areas of homelessness, mental health, suicide prevention, LGBTQ, hospice, bereavement and acquired brain injuries. He has extensive experience with adolescents, adults and children. Tim has developed strong therapeutic skills with issues surrounding anxiety, depression, bereavement, sexuality, LGBT issues, couples/family counseling and brain injury. Tim uses a therapeutic treatment approach rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems approaches. Tim focuses on a holistic, client-centered approach that supports balance between the body, mind and spirit.

Susan K. Shwartz, Ph.D., ABPP
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Susan K. Shwartz, Ph.D., ABPP - Clinical NeuropsychologistSusan Shwartz, Ph.D., ABPP, joined Shepherd Center in 2016 as a clinical neuropsychologist at Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd’s post-acute brain injury program. Dr. Shwartz graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from Georgia State University’s joint Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology/Behavioral Neurosciences Program in 2010 and 2014, respectively. She completed her clinical internship in neuropsychology at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and her APPCN-approved postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at the Memphis VA Medical Center. She loves being involved in the training programs at Shepherd Center. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (husband and a dog named Lady) and friends, exercising, cooking, and most importantly, eating.

Lauren Thomas, Psy.D.
CRU Neuropsychologist

Lauren Thomas - Clinical NeuropsychologistLauren Thomas is a rehabilitation neuropsychologist with over ten years of experience in providing direct patient care and program development across the spectrum of rehabilitation treatment settings. Clinical interests include provision of assessment and intervention for traumatic brain injury, stroke and medically complex patients, with particular focus on caregiver/family support, community re-integration and integrative treatment approach. Research interests include multidisciplinary team process improvement, impact of integrative and wellness interventions on rehabilitation recovery, and management of behavioral problems in brain injured populations. She has been involved in graduate student training and enjoys mentoring early career clinicians in the field of psychology and other rehabilitation disciplines.

She completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond and her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology in Arlington, Virginia. She completed her Internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuropsychology at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. After completion of fellowship, she moved to south Florida and worked for Memorial Health Care System where she helped to develop a rehabilitation psychology program to support the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute. Most recently, she worked for Inova Healthcare System as the lead neuropsychologist for the inpatient rehabilitation program at Inova Fairfax Hospital, a level-one trauma center in northern Virginia.

Lauren is relocating to the Atlanta area along with her husband and two young children. She is very excited to join the Shepherd Center team and to explore all the wonderful cultural and outdoor adventures that the Atlanta area has to offer.

Shatavia Alexander Thomas, DMFT, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Shatavia Alexander Thomas, DMFT, LMFT - Licensed Marriage and Family TherapistShatavia Alexander Thomas, DMFT, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist, joined Shepherd Center in 2020 as the ABI Family Therapist. She received her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University, and her doctorate of marriage and family therapy from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Her previous roles include substance abuse and outpatient mental health counselor, juvenile court family therapist, university staff counselor, group therapist, nonprofit executive, faculty member, and director of clinical training. Shay has also served as a mental health consultant to an assisted living facility, community-based medical clinic, and collegiate sports team. She frequently facilitates continuing education workshops to licensed mental health professionals. Her memberships include the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)/Clinical Fellow and AAMFT Approved Supervisor, the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (GAMFT) and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Grounded in family systems, her strengths-based style involves offering hope, maximizing resources, infusing creativity, and considering the impact of generational patterns, culture and meaning. Shay also maintains a private practice in Atlanta.

Vanessa Watorek, Psy.D
Clinical Neuropsychologist

Vanessa Watorek, Psy.D - Clinical NeuropsychologistVanessa Watorek, Psy.D., joined Shepherd Center in September 2019 as a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow, and was hired as a clinical neuropsychologist in September 2021. She obtained a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology at New York University. In 2019, she received her Psy.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford (APA-accredited). Dr. Watorek completed her CPA-accredited internship at Hamilton Health Sciences, with an emphasis on neuropsychology within a rehabilitation setting. She works with individuals from adolescence through older adulthood, with specific interests in acquired brain injury and neurodegenerative conditions.