Infant-Parent Program Clinical Staff

Leslie Baxter, LMFT

Ms. Baxter is the coordinator of the Infant-Parent Program’s Early Childhood Mental Health/Therapeutic Services training strand. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Ms. Baxter holds an MS in clinical psychology and a California teaching credential. She has been providing community services as a bilingual early childhood mental health consultant and infant-parent psychotherapist since 1994. She provides direct support and training to childcare providers, as well as assessments, referrals, and treatment for families. She trains and offers clinical supervision to graduate students and community practitioners in the field of infant/early childhood mental health. Ms. Baxter is also an adjunct assistant professor in child development at Cañada College.

María Cristina Borges Cruz, MFT

Ms. Cruz is a multicultural and bilingual mental health consultant and early childhood mental health clinician at the Infant-Parent Program. She provides trauma-informed and culturally sensitive mental health consultation, infant-parent psychotherapy, and child-parent psychotherapy services at a diverse range of childcare and community-based agencies in San Francisco serving families with children from birth to age five. In support of the Infant-Parent Program’s training efforts, she collaborates in the design, implementation, and facilitation of an integrated multicultural seminar at the Child Trauma Center.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ms. Cruz migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004. Since then, she has been working in the field of infant mental health at a diverse range of capacities in organizations such as Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Services to Enhance Early Development at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Family Paths, the Ann Martin Center, and Mujeres Unidas y Activas.

Lea Brown, LCSW

Ms. Brown has been the clinical supervisor of both infant-parent psychotherapy and early childhood mental health consultation for the past 15 years and serves as a field instructor/field placement liaison for social work students training at the Infant-Parent Program. Ms. Brown also provides direct services in infant-parent psychotherapy, group intervention, and ECMH consultation, as well as training both in the Infant-Parent Program/Daycare Consultants Program and to local and regional infant mental health and early intervention agencies. She has served as a faculty member in the Advanced Clinical Supervision Certificate Program at the Smith College School of Social Work.

Gloria Castro, PsyD 

Dr. Castro is a clinical psychologist and certified sexual assault counselor. Dr. Castro was granted the Fraiberg-Harris Fellowship to complete her postdoctoral training at the Infant-Parent Program. Her clinical work focuses on perinatal mental health and she is currently working in a multidisciplinary team at the ZSFG OB/GYN high-risk clinic providing assessment and psychotherapy to pregnant women with mental health issues throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-partum. Dr. Castro is also assessing and providing mental health services to families and young children at the NICU and the Kempe Clinic at ZSFG. She has experience conducting comprehensive psychological assessments and developmental neuropsychological assessments for children ranging in age from infancy to adolescence.

Prior to coming to the Infant-Parent Program, she worked at the National Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Mexico City and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has worked with children, adolescents, and families in various clinical venues including Rape Trauma Services and North Peninsula Family Alternatives in San Mateo County, where she developed and implemented a mental health program for immigrant families. She has consulted, supervised, and trained mental health providers who work with immigrant families and their children. She has a strong interest on the impact of immigration on family systems, the intergenerational transmission of trauma, and the impact of trauma on children’s development. She has presented at national and international conferences and forums on the topics of parenting in different cultures and the impact of immigration on the sense of self and motherhood identity. In addition to her work at UCSF, Dr. Castro has taught and serves on the advisory board at Argosy University's American School of Professional Psychology.

Amee Jaiswal, LCSW

Ms. Jaiswal has provided early childhood mental health consultation in childcare centers with Daycare Consultants, a component of the Infant-Parent Program, since 2001. She also works with families as an infant-parent psychotherapist. Ms. Jaiswal has worked with children of various ages and their families in a variety of capacities, including working with children who have developmental delays. She has also provided child and family therapy in a multitude of clinical settings. Ms. Jaiswal has particular experience with persons from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, including Spanish- and Hindi-speaking families. She is endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist.

Kadija Johnston LCSW

Ms. Johnston is the Director of the Infant-Parent Program, Associate Director of the Child Trauma Center, and Associate Chief Social Worker at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry at ZSFG. Ms. Johnston developed the program’s approach to early childhood mental mealth (ECMH) consultation which now serves as a model for other organizations, both locally and around the world. She has provided training in ECMH consultation to clinicians in 22 states and is consulting on the development of services in Taiwan.

Ms. Johnston writes and lectures nationally on ECMH consultation including publications in Zero to ThreeInfant Mental Health Journal and the 3rd edition of the Handbook of Infant Mental Health. Her co-authored book, Mental Health Consultation in Child Care: Transforming Relationships With Directors, Staff, and Families, was awarded the Irving B. Harris Book Award for contributions to early childhood scholarship. Ms. Johnston is active in local and national organizations involving infancy and early childhood mental health, including West Ed’s Program for Infant-Toddler Caregivers Home Visiting Training, The Infant Mental Health Task Force, the Early Head Start National Resource Center at Zero to Three; and the Irving B. Harris Foundation Professional Development Network for Training and Diversity in Leadership in the Early Childhood Mental Health Field. She is also an expert advisor for the SAMHSA-supported Center of Excellence in ECMH Consultation.

Elizabeth Lujan, PhD

Dr. Lujan is a licensed clinical psychologist with the Infant-Parent Program. Dr. Lujan obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University' Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and is a member of the training program’s supervisory team, providing direct clinical services to infants, toddlers, and their caretakers, as well as early childhood mental health consultation to childcare providers. She started her career as a social worker serving immigrant Latino families in Washington, DC, then conducted child-parent psychotherapy with preschoolers and their caretakers exposed to domestic violence at the UCSF Child Trauma Research Project, and conducted neuropsychological evaluations of preschoolers and psychological assessment and treatment of foster children. She is both bicultural and bilingual, and all of her training and direct service efforts are provided in both English and Spanish.

Livia Ondi-Pancholi, MA, MS, MFTI

Ms Ondi-Pancholi is a registered marriage and family therapist intern at the Infant-Parent Program, where she provides infant-parent psychotherapy for families and early childhood mental health consultation to daycares, preschools, and shelters. She earned her first master’s degree in clinical psychology in Hungary and graduated from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology with her second master’s degree in prenatal and perinatal psychology and somatic psychology. She has worked with children and families in a variety of clinical settings and was trained at the Infant-Parent Program before becoming a staff member. Ms Ondi-Pancholi has a special interest in the treatment of transgenerational and early childhood trauma within a relationally focused and somatically informed trauma treatment model.

Kristin Reinsberg, MS, LMFT

Ms. Reinsberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist and serves as the director of the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Training and Direct Services Program at the Infant-Parent Program. She received her MS in clinical psychology from San Francisco State University, where she focused on infant mental health through her internship at the Infant-Parent Program. During this internship, almost 20 years ago, she began her work in early childhood mental health consultation.

After graduating, she continued her work and training in ECMH consultation, infant-parent psychotherapy, and child therapy as part of a collaborative program between Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) and the Infant-Parent Program. In 2001, Ms. Reinsberg was asked to develop and coordinate an expansion of the ECMH consultation services in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as part of her work with JFCS. In the ten years that followed, Ms. Reinsberg developed a high-quality, highly respected ECMH consultation program providing services to over 45 programs serving young children and their families. She developed a comprehensive practice-based training program for new consultants and trained and supervised approximately 20 consultants and seven supervisors during her time with JFCS. Ms. Reinsberg also expanded the presence and awareness of mental health consultation through her community partnerships and advocacy efforts.

Beginning in 2012, Ms. Reinsberg returned to “where it all began” at the Infant-Parent Program to serve as the director of their Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Training and Direct Services Program. In her role at UCSF, Ms. Reinsberg has been able to continue her focus on training and developing professionals in the area of ECMH consultation. Additionally, she is responsible for supervising and supporting the work of approximately 13 staff that provide ECMH consultation and therapeutic direct services to over 60 programs serving young children and their families in San Francisco. Ms. Reinsberg also has a private practice in San Francisco where she works with adults, children and families, and has been a contributor, author, and content expert in the area of early childhood mental health for abilitypath.org, a website supporting families with children with disabilities.

Miriam Silverman, PsyD

Dr. Silverman is a clinical psychologist and infant-family and early childhood mental health reflective practice facilitator. She provides infant-parent psychotherapy and child-parent psychotherapy to young children and their parents who are at risk for (or are currently) experiencing significant problems in their relationship. As a mental health consultant, she provides program consultation to teachers, supervisors, and administration of childcare centers and schools and staff of residential substance abuse treatment centers for women and children. Additionally, Dr. Silverman provides consultation to the certified nurse widwives at ZSFG. She participates in the training and supervision of interns in infant-parent psychotherapy, early childhood mental health consultation and therapeutic shadowing. Dr.Silverman is in private practice specializing in work with children with disorders of learning and communicating and their families and provides training nationally on topics related to infant mental health.

Maria Seymour St. John, PhD, MFT

Dr. St. John is an associate clinical professor with the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Director of Training for the Infant-Parent Program, where she oversees curricular and training program development, instruction, and recruitment and supervision of trainees. Endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, a Reflective Facilitator II and a Mentor, Dr. St. John’s areas of expertise include infant-parent psychotherapy, diversity and inclusion, and reflective supervision. Dr. St. John is licensed as a marriage and family therapist and completed her doctoral training in the UC Berkeley Department of Rhetoric, an interdisciplinary critical studies program. She has published on subjects related to race, class, gender and sexuality in infant mental health work in numerous books and journals including Zero to Three, Feminist Studies, Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Attachment and Sexuality, and the World Association of Infant Mental Health Handbook of Infant Mental Health. She is a core member of a collaborative group that publishes and trains on the Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets, which are being disseminated via the Irving B Harris Foundation, Zero to Three: the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, and the World Association of Infant Mental Health.

Adriana Taranta, LCSW

Ms. Taranta has been an early childhood mental health clinician, consultant, and supervisor at the Infant-Parent Program since 1996. She has worked with families with young children in a wide variety of settings, and has brought her early childhood clinical lens to her work in settings traditionally focused on adult needs, such as residential settings for homeless families and domestic violence shelters. Ms Taranta is endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and has been trained and fostered in trauma-focused child-parent therapy. She co-authored, along two colleagues at the Infant-Parent Program, an article for a special edition of The Infant Mental Health Journal on the work of early childhood consultation in crisis-focused, adult-centered settings.

Abby Waldstein, MEd

Ms. Waldstein has worked as an infant mental health clinician for the past 18 years. She holds a master's degree in child development from the Erikson Institute of Chicago, with a specialization in infant studies and at-risk children from birth to three from the Erikson Institute’s Irving B. Harris Infant Mental Health Certificate Program. Ms. Waldstein is endorsed as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Core Provider and Reflective Practice Facilitator by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health.

As part of her work with the Infant-Parent Program, Ms. Waldstein has provided mental health consultation to subsidized childcare centers, consulted to residential and out-patient substance abuse treatment programs for mothers and their infants, facilitated therapeutic play groups, provided clinical supervision to staff, and developed and taught on-going seminars in infant and preschool development to the Infant-Parent Program’s training program, as well as to other agencies in San Francisco. Her publications include Inclusive Interaction in Infant-Parent Psychotherapy, published by the Zero to Three Press.

Sandra Willard, PhD

Dr. Willard is a clinical psychologist who obtained her PhD in psychology from Palo Alto University's Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. She is a clinical supervisor in the infant-parent psychotherapy training program and provides direct clinical services in infant-parent psychotherapy and early childhood mental health consultation to childcare programs, as well as a dual-diagnosis residential treatment program serving mothers and their children. Dr. Willard is endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, Reflective Facilitator, and Mentor. Her previous clinical work in child and adult individual, group, and family psychotherapy deepened her interest in prevention and the impact of trauma on parent-child relationships and took place in a variety of clinical sites including the Family Crisis Center psychiatric residential treatment center, the Therapeutic Nursery School early childhood mental health program, and Kaiser Hospital.