Our Team

Reasons Eating Disorder Center places high importance on utilizing highly skilled and trained eating disorder treatment professionals in our programs. We believe in a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment which includes doctors, nurses, dietitians, therapists, mental health workers, diet aides, and somatic and experiential therapies.

-Our Team
National Director

Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFT

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Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFT

Nikki has a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology, with an emphasis in psychotherapy and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in both California and New York State. She has worked in various aspects of eating disorder treatment over the past ten years, utilizing her experience as a clinician and passion for the idea that relationships are healing to inform her efforts in program development, training staff, admissions, business development and clinical outreach aspects of her work. Integral to her clinical philosophy is her personal practice of yoga and meditation including completing a Yoga teacher training with an emphasis on trauma-sensitive mind-body movement. She is the founding chair of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, San Diego Chapter, and has served on several chapters over the past eight years. She currently serves in the role of National Director of Program Development where she is responsible for developing the Reasons philosophy and ensuring consistency across all programs through oversight of clinical and operations, as well as development and expansion efforts.

-Our Team
National Director

Norman Kim, PhD

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Norman Kim, PhD

Norman completed his B.A. at Yale University where he studied music and psychology, and was the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship for Research in Psychiatry. He completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at UCLA, where he was the recipient of an individual National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurobiologic underpinnings of emotion recognition and understanding in Autism. Most recently he has been involved in a multi-site, longitudinal study of children and adolescents at risk for developing bipolar disorder.

In conjunction with his research, Norman has developed an expertise in treating and teaching about psychiatrically complex populations, multi-modal treatment, and diagnostic assessment. While rooted firmly in empirically supported approaches, he has incorporated practices emphasizing somatosensory integration and that draw from eastern and traditional medicine with our current knowledge of the neurobiologic and cognitive processes underlying anxiety, mood, trauma and eating disorders. He has endeavored to develop a clinical approach that focuses on the exploration of meaning as a path to healing and that honors an individuals’ own narrative and journey.

Norman is a frequent, national speaker and educator, and is a passionate advocate for eating disorder awareness and translating research into clinical practice. He is the co-chair of the People of Color Subcommittee of the African American Eating Disorder Professionals of IAEDP, the co-chair of the Transcultural SIG of the Academy for Eating Disorders, a founding member of the Behavioral Health Task Force of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, on the Board of Directors of the Eating Disorders Coalition, the Eating Disorder Advisory Council for the Joint Commission, and the Clinical Advisory Boards for the Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association (MEDA), Recovery Warriors, Spectrum CBT, and Tikvah V’Chizuk.

-Our Team
Director of Clinical & Nutrition Services

Lisa Arroyas, RD, CEDRD-S

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Lisa Arroyas, RD, CEDRD-S

Lisa is a registered dietitian practicing in many areas of dietetics including eating disorders, chemical dependency, diabetes, PCOS and weight management. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach and has extensive experience working with female and male adolescents and adults with disordered eating and with issues related to weight management. She also has a background as a personal trainer, which allows her to use an approach that meets the unique needs of individuals struggling with poor body image and disordered eating. Lisa’s focus is on nutrition therapy using a non-diet approach, providing nutrition counseling and exercise education. She specializes in working with Athletes and Compulsive Exercisers, Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, Obesity, Compulsive Overeating and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Lisa has been working with adolescents and adults with eating disorders for over 10 years in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She is the co-founder of the Reasons Residential Program and served as the Director of Nutrition for a multi-site substance abuse and dual-diagnosis program. She is extremely passionate and dedicated to helping individuals struggling with food and body issues.

-Our Team
Medical Director

Wakelin McNeel, MD

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Wakelin McNeel, MD

Dr. McNeel received his BS in Chemistry from Central Michigan University, his MS in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his MD from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed his Residency and Child Psychiatry Fellowship from the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has over 10 years of experience working with patients with eating disorders.

Dr. McNeel is an active research physician and is the principal investigator in numerous Phase I-IV Clinical Trials. He is currently the Medical Director of BHC Alhambra Hospital, and has been the Chief of Staff and the Medical Director of the Eating Disorder Programs for over 10 years. Dr. McNeel practices on the principle that respect of the patient’s individual beliefs on medications is of utmost importance and does not impose medications, rather makes recommendations which support the therapeutic process of recovery.

-Our Team
Director of Admissions and Case Management

Christina Martinez, PhD

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Christina Martinez, PhD

Christina brings her experience of depth psychological training and providing case management services to patients and families at our various levels of care. What stands out about Christina is her passion for advocacy and service to patients, families, and surrounding healthcare professionals. She draws her inspiration and reflection from music, nature and the creativity of daily life. We are certain when you meet her and have the opportunity to work together through the admissions and case management process for your patients you will be inspired by her commitment to going above and beyond for patients and families.

-Our Team
Director of Operations & Research

Claire St. John, MPH, RD, CEDRD

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Claire St. John, MPH, RD, CEDRD

Claire St John, MPH RD brings compassion and understanding to her nutritional counseling practice. Claire has worked with men, women and children suffering from eating disorders at all levels of care, leading guided meals, restaurant and snack outings, nutrition groups and multi-family nutrition groups. With a dynamic understanding of eating disorders and how they impact individuals and families, Claire is passionate about repairing broken relationships with food.
Claire holds a Master’s of Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University, and after completing her rotations at Eisenhower Medical Center, passed the exam to become a Registered Dietitian. Working with eating disordered clients from the outset, she has developed a method of practice that includes exposure and response therapy, motivational interviewing and compassionate understanding paired with firm encouragement.
Helping people reconnect with food and normalize their eating patterns is the most rewarding part of working with eating disordered patients for Claire. Encouraging people to be able to make peace with food, enjoy meals with loved ones and move through the world without fear is why Claire chose the field of eating disorders.
Claire enjoys reading and writing and hiking and cooking, and spent seven years as a newspaper reporter, covering the school beat and the City Hall beat. She enjoys learning about her clients’ passions -- what they’re reading, what they’re studying in school and what their hobbies are, taking a whole-person approach to treatment.

-Our Team
Senior Clinical Supervisor

Jessica Gillespie, MA, LMFT

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Jessica Gillespie, MA, LMFT

Jessica Gillespie received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She graduated with honors and is a member of Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society. Jessica started her internship with the Pepperdine Community Clinic where she was trained in Narrative Therapy. She continued her work at Orange County Rescue Mission/Village of Hope providing counseling services to homeless individuals, couples and families, and leading a support group for women with Methamphetamine addiction. Jessica joined the Reasons team in 2013 where she has worked as a Program Therapist in the Inpatient, Residential and Partial Programs. Her clinical style is a collaborative, strengths-based approach, pulling from attachment theory, humanistic psychology, a postmodern framework, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – highlighting the clients’ inherent resilience and fortitude. Currently, Jessica is the Director of Residential Services.

-Our Team
Director of Nursing

Heather Johnson, RN

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Heather Johnson, RN

Heather is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She has always had a passion for helping others. It was this passion that motivated her to join the Peace Corps as an educator and advocate for children in Ukraine. After the Peace Corps, she gravitated towards a career in the mental health field and began working at a local non-profit mental health agency. Here, she realized that helping the under-served was her calling. It also inspired her to pursue a degree in registered nursing in order to additionally assist this population within a medical capacity.
She is committed to creating an environment that supports a healthy mind and body as well as aid in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

-Our Team
Program Manager, Inpatient Programs

Golshid Fadakar, LMFT, LPCC

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Golshid Fadakar, LMFT, LPCC

Bio coming soon.

-Our Team
Program Manager, Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program

Michele White, LMFT

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Michele White, LMFT

Michele holds a MA in Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, from Pepperdine University. She has over 5 years of Inpatient and Outpatient experience, working with children ages 5-18 and their families in underserved communities. She has experience utilizing evidence based practices – CBT, TFCBT and DBT- to restore one’s ability to thrive in their daily environments. She is fueled by her passion for providing effective, quality therapeutic services.

Michele views it as a privilege as a clinician to be a part of the therapeutic journey, which involves meeting patients where they are, identifying their inherent strengths, collaborating with them on moving forward, and witnessing as they guide the reins of their own destinies.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her chocolate lab, Sophie, cooking, and entertaining for family and friends.

-Our Team
Program Manager, Hancock Park Residential

Anna Governale, LMFT

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Anna Governale, LMFT

Anna Governale completed her undergraduate degrees in psychology and religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002. She subsequently began working in the mental health field as a mental health worker at a residential treatment center for eating disorders for 5 years, while acquiring her master’s degree in clinical psychology. Anna completed her master’s program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. After graduating, Anna began working at a community services agency, serving underprivileged communities in the inner cities of Los Angeles, providing in home services to children, adolescents and families. After gaining experience working with this diverse population for 3 1/2 years, Ms. Governale realized that working with eating disorders was her true calling and something she was genuinely passionate about. Anna began working for Reasons in May of 2011 as a program therapist, and has also served as interim program manager for the partial and intensive outpatient programs. She is currently the program manager for Reasons inpatient, partial and intensive outpatient programs at BHC Alhambra Hospital. She is DBT trained, and pulls from a variety of therapeutic orientations in her work with clients to assist them in their journey to wholeness and healing.

-Our Team
Program Manager, San Marino Residential

Rachel Cannon, MS

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Rachel Cannon, MS

Rachel Cannon completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology with a minor in Counseling from Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, MO in 2008. She went right into her Master of Science program at The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS graduating in 2011. Rachel began working for the state of Kansas in the child welfare system providing intensive family therapy to encourage positive skills in parenting. She then worked for the state correctional system as a therapist in the women’s state prison, providing skills based interventions and groups for women striving to make a different life for themselves. Rachel has also worked in roles that allowed her to be involved in the community through public education while representing domestic violence organizations and hospice organizations. Rachel began working for Reasons in June 2018 and has found a genuine passion in working with eating disorders. She is currently the program manager for Reasons' residential facility in San Marino. Rachel is trained in DBT and pulls from other therapeutic models, including Compassion Focused Therapy, to guide clients on their way to wholeness and freedom. ​

-Our Team
Senior Admissions & Referral Coordinator and Creative Marketing Specialist

Ashley Bullock

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Ashley Bullock

As Admissions and Referral Coordinator, Ashley is the first point of contact for all admissions inquiries including insurance related questions and patient financial responsibility. Her passion for helping others led her into the field of eating disorder treatment nearly seven years ago and she has been a valued member of the Reasons team ever since. Ashley exhibits a natural ability of connecting with individuals of all backgrounds, a quality which is particularly important when conducting initial interviews with potential clients. “The admissions process is a very delicate & important part of the bigger picture, so I try my best to make every individual comfortable enough to openly share their story. I learn so many great things from our clients.” In her spare time Ashley enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends doing just about anything, whether its barbecuing, hiking, or collecting records. She graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Marketing, and is currently pursuing a second degree in Psychology.

Ashley also posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus for Reasons. Follow us to see her amazing inspirational posts!

-Our Team
Admissions & Referral Specialist

Megan Riley, LMFT

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Megan Riley, LMFT

Megan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Admissions Specialist at Reasons at Fremont Hospital. Megan has worked in the treatment of eating disorders since she began her initial post-graduate internship in 2008. Since that first training position, she has worked in small private clinics and large HMO provider settings and hospitals, in all levels of eating disorder care.

Megan is a member of the Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disoders (APTED) and California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). She is trained in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and she strives to utilize her knowledge and experience to be a resource to families through the admissions process

-Our Team
Director of Business Development

Fiona LaRosa-Waters, BS

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Fiona LaRosa-Waters, BS

Fiona LaRosa-Waters is an experienced behavioral health marketing professional and community relations specialist, and the director of business development for Reasons Eating Disorder Center. She has been working in the eating disorders field since 2011 and has held positions as a professional outreach representative for eating disorder and substance use facilities, a counselor in a treatment center for adult women with eating disorders, and providing outpatient case management and treatment placement services for clients struggling with addictions and eating disorders. Prior to shifting to a career in behavioral health Fiona worked in special education coordinating the administrative and operational aspects of a residence of deafblind students ages 16-22. She is passionate about helping people locate resources to support treatment and recovery, advancing education about eating disorders and addiction, and connecting with the mental health community. Fiona graduated summa cum laude from Lesley University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. She enjoys traveling, public speaking, cooking, and hiking with her dog.

-Our Team
Clinical Outreach Specialist

Zena Rice-Sarantis

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Zena Rice-Sarantis

Zena received her B.A in Psychology from the University of Kentucky, and is completing her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University. With previous experience working in eating disorder treatment Zena remains passionate about the work and dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders and quality treatment programming.
Zena covers Los Angeles County, the Central Coast and Northern California.

-Our Team
Trauma Informed Yoga Therapist

Jillian Szafranski, RYT

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Jillian Szafranski, RYT

Jillian Szafranski began her work in the healing arts as a dancer, competitive gymnast and actor. Her training is rooted in Alexander and Linklater Techniques which she learned while attending Emerson College in Boston. Drawing enormous inspiration from the ever-developing field of neuroscience, Jillian uses her her knowledge of anatomy and somatic integration (a therapeutic technique that combines the mental, emotional, spiritual to the physical body) to craft a proprietary hands-on approach to yoga that is informed by her own experiences with physical trauma and illness. With primary emphases alignment, mindfulness, and intuitive sound and movement. She uses grounding techniques to train her students how to self-regulate and navigate through potential triggers that may otherwise lead to flashbacks or unhealthy cycles of behavior, all of this with careful consideration to not re-traumatizing the patient. Over time she teaches her students not to avoid physicality, but to combat old fight-or-flight responses by engaging the initial response and creating new muscle memory in the brain and body grounded in safety and strength.

Jillian co-created yoga programs for Reasons Eating Disorder Residential Center and BHC Alhambra Hospital in 2009, where she works with adolescents and adults. She also founded the office yoga programs for NPR (National Public Radio) in Culver City and MTA (Metro Transportation Authority) in Downtown Los Angeles. Jillian works privately as a yoga therapist and bodyworker. She is Yoga Alliance certified.

-Our Team
Neurologic Music Therapist

Melissa St John, MM, MT-BC

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Melissa St John, MM, MT-BC

Melissa received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She completed her clinical internship at the Central Wisconsin Center, serving children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics with a range of developmental disabilities and mental health needs. Melissa received her master’s degree in music from Colorado State University, with a focus in Neurologic Music Therapy. She also completed specialized training in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT Certification). Melissa is very passionate about using music to support others. Emphasizing a client-led approach, Melissa pays extra attention to each client's unique needs, preferences and goals.

-Our Team
Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Certified Laban Movement Analyst

Deva Connett, MA, BC-DMT, GL-CMA

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Deva Connett, MA, BC-DMT, GL-CMA

Deva Connett is a board certified dance/movement therapist and certified Laban movement analyst. She graduated from Wittenberg University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minored in theater and dance. After briefly working in business, she returned to school and received her master of arts from Columbia College Chicago in dance/movement therapy and counseling. In Chicago, Deva worked with various populations including clients with traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. At Riveredge Hospital where she worked for 3 years, she helped to create an intensive outpatient program for adolescents and focused her work in the program on utilizing creativity and relationships to help her clients grow, learn, and heal. While in Chicago, Deva danced professionally with Tiffany Lawson Dance until relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. In therapy, Deva utilizes a holistic approach that helps clients connect and integrate the mind and body.

-Our Team
Psychiatrist, Reasons Residential Hancock Park

Howard Askins, MD

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Howard Askins, MD

Bio coming soon.

-Our Team
Nurse Practitioner, Reasons Residential Programs

Allison Gutierrez, NP

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Allison Gutierrez, NP

Bio coming soon.

-Our Team
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

Brittany Canady, RD

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Brittany Canady, RD

Bio coming soon.

-Our Team
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Residential Pasadena

Alyssa Davis, MS, RD

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Alyssa Davis, MS, RD

Bio coming soon.