Our Clinical Care Team

Robin Goland, MD

Robin Goland, MD

Endocrinologist and Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes

Daniel Casper, MD, PhD

Daniel Casper, MD, PhD

Ophthalmologist

Mary Pat Gallagher, MD

Mary Pat Gallagher, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Rachelle Gandica, MD

Rachelle Gandica, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Kenneth Gorfinkle, PhD

Kenneth Gorfinkle, PhD

Pediatric and Adult Psychologist

Natasha Leibel, MD

Natasha Leibel, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Researcher and Endocrinologist

Jacqueline Salas-Spiegel, MD

Jacqueline Salas-Spiegel, MD

Adult Endocrinologist

Barney Softness, MD

Barney Softness, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Ileana Vargas, MD

Ileana Vargas, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Julia Vargas-Jerez, MD

Julia Vargas-Jerez, MD

In-Patient Adult Endocrinologist

Kira Almeida, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Kira Almeida, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Adult and Pediatric Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator

Anna Aluf, RN, CPNP

Anna Aluf, RN, CPNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Diabetes Educator

Ericka Arrecis, RD, CDE

Ericka Arrecis, RD, CDE

Adult and Pediatric Nutritionist

Emily Casciano, RD, CDE

Emily Casciano, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator

Steven Cook, BS

Steven Cook, BS

Research Coordinator

Jaclyn Gee, MS, CCLS

Jaclyn Gee, MS, CCLS

Child Life Specialist

Ellen Greenberg, MS

Ellen Greenberg, MS

Lead Coordinator Type 1 Diabetes Research Team

Patricia Kringas, RN, BSN, MA, CDE

Patricia Kringas, RN, BSN, MA, CDE

Research Coordinator and Certified Diabetes Educator

Erin Kelly, RN, CDE

Erin Kelly, RN, CDE

Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator

Linda Koplimae, RN, MSN, CDE

Linda Koplimae, RN, MSN, CDE

Inpatient Diabetes Educator

Elizabeth Levine, BS

Elizabeth Levine, BS

Research Assistant

Jessica Lynn, RN, CNM

Jessica Lynn, RN, CNM

Certified Nurse Midwife and Diabetes Educator

Sarah Pollak, RN, MS, CCRC

Sarah Pollak, RN, MS, CCRC

Clinical Research Coordinator

Patricia Pavlak, RN, MSN, NP

Patricia Pavlak, RN, MSN, NP

Inpatient Diabetes Nurse Practitioner

Robin Goland, MD

Robin Goland, MD

Endocrinologist and Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes

Dr. Robin Goland, J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Columbia University, directs the patient care and clinical research programs at the Berrie Center. She was instrumental in establishing the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center in July 1998. Under the leadership of Dr. Goland and Berrie Center Co-Director Dr. Rudolph Leibel, the Berrie Center has become recognized nationally and internationally for excellence and innovation in patient care and research in diabetes. Dr. Goland has a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. She was a resident and chief medical resident at NY-Presbyterian Hospital and did her endocrinology research training at Columbia University.

Daniel Casper, MD, PhD

Daniel Casper, MD, PhD

Ophthalmologist

Dr. Daniel Casper, Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, is an ophthalmologist with special interests in comprehensive ophthalmology, ophthalmic imaging and medical informatics and retinopathy prevention and screening.  Dr. Casper is also a specialist in medical and scientific art, and is senior author and illustrator of the text “Orbital Disease: Imaging and Analysis”. He received his MD degree from Albany Medical College and his PhD in Anatomy from Tufts University, and completed a research fellowship in experimental retinal pathology at Harvard Medical School.  He did his ophthalmology training at the ES Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, including a fellowship in Orbital and Oculoplastic Surgery.

 
Mary Pat Gallagher, MD

Mary Pat Gallagher, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Dr. Mary Pat Gallagher is a pediatric endocrinologist with a special interest in diabetes. Her research interests are in autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes and in clinical type 1 diabetes trials. She received her M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed her pediatrics residency, chief residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of New York at Columbia University, College of Physician & Surgeons.

Rachelle Gandica, MD

Rachelle Gandica, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Dr. Rachelle Gandica is a pediatric endocrinologist with a special interest in diabetes. Her research interests are in monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes as well as clinical type 1 and type 2 diabetes trials. She received her M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her pediatrics residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian at Columbia University, College of Physician & Surgeons.

Kenneth Gorfinkle, PhD

Kenneth Gorfinkle, PhD

Pediatric and Adult Psychologist

Dr. Gorfinkle, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology, is the consulting psychologist at the Berrie Center. He is also a supervising psychologist in the Consultation/Liaison Service at the Children’s Hospital of NY. He is the author ofSoothing Your Child’s Pain. His research interest is in chronic illness as well as role of parenting style in children coping with painful medical procedures.  Dr. Gorfinkle received his Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research.

Natasha Leibel, MD

Natasha Leibel, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Dr. Natasha Leibel, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, is a pediatric endocrinologist with a focus in diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes in children. She received her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and completed her pediatrics residency, chief residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of New York at Columbia University, College of Physician & Surgeons.

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Researcher and Endocrinologist

Dr. Utpal Pajvani is an endocrinologist with a focus in diabetes. Dr. Pajvani’s research focuses on the role of developmental pathways in the regulation of Type 2 Diabetes, and the use of existing therapeutic agents in other scientific areas in novel applications to ameliorate obesity-induced insulin resistance.  He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Columbia University.

Jacqueline Salas-Spiegel, MD

Jacqueline Salas-Spiegel, MD

Adult Endocrinologist

Dr. Jacqueline Salas-Spiegel, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, is an Endocrinologist with a special interest in diabetes. Dr. Salas’ research interests include diabetes clinical outcomes in minorities and underserved populations, as well as the diagnosis and management of cystic fibrosis related diabetes (CFRD). She received her M.D. from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and completed a Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

Barney Softness, MD

Barney Softness, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Dr. Barney Softness, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, is a pediatric endocrinologist with a special interest in diabetes. His research interests are in the use of insulin pumps in very young children and in prevention of type 1 diabetes. He received his B.A. from Amherst College and his M.D. from Columbia University. His pediatric endocrinology training was at Cornell University Medical College.

Ileana Vargas, MD

Ileana Vargas, MD

Pediatric Endocrinologist

Dr. Ileana Vargas, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, specializes in the treatment of children with diabetes and children with obesity. Dr. Vargas’ research interests are in the cause, treatment and prevention of childhood obesity. Dr. Vargas is a graduate of Fordham University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Julia Vargas-Jerez, MD

Julia Vargas-Jerez, MD

In-Patient Adult Endocrinologist

Dr. Julia Vargas-Jerez is an adult Endocrinologist with a special interest in Diabetes. She received her M.D. from the University of Pontificia Universidad Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic, completed her internal medicine residency at St. Barnabas Hospital, Bronx N.Y., and did her Endocrinology Fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center at N.Y.

Kira Almeida, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Kira Almeida, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Adult and Pediatric Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator

Kira Almeida is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator who counsels both children and adults with diabetes. She focuses on integrating patient’s individual lifestyles and food preferences when helping a patient set nutrition and diabetes self-care goals. Ms. Almeida teaches several diabetes education classes at the Berrie Center including Nutrition & Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. She holds a Masters in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics from New York University and completed her dietetic internship through New York University.

Anna Aluf, RN, CPNP

Anna Aluf, RN, CPNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Diabetes Educator

Anna Aluf is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  She provides diabetes education to pediatric patients and their families and works closely with the pediatric diabetes team to help patients achieve optimal control of their diabetes.  She received both her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and her MSN in advanced practice nursing from Rutgers University.

Ericka Arrecis, RD, CDE

Ericka Arrecis, RD, CDE

Adult and Pediatric Nutritionist

Ericka Arrecis is a Registered Dietitian who provides diabetes education and nutritional counseling to Berrie Center patients. She individualizes the diabetes recommendations to match each patient’s medical and cultural needs in order to improve diabetes self care and glucose control. A native Spanish speaker, Ericka leads our Spanish-language diabetes education classes. She received a BA in Nutrition and General dietetics from Queens College and completed her dietetic internship at New York Institute of Technology.

Emily Casciano, RD, CDE

Emily Casciano, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator

Emily Casciano joins our pediatric team as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes EducatorShe focuses on the integration of healthy lifestyle habits and safe diabetes management. Emily helps children and their families problem solve and set appropriate individualized self-care goals related to nutrition, exercise, and diabetes. Emily received her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from the University of Connecticut and completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics from the University of Connecticut.

Steven Cook, BS

Steven Cook, BS

Research Coordinator

Steven Cook is a Research Coordinator and certified Patient Care Technician who is involved in screening, prevention and intervention in Type 1 Diabetes trials.  Steven has many years of experience in the clinical and research setting. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at St. Joseph’s College.

Jaclyn Gee, MS, CCLS

Jaclyn Gee, MS, CCLS

Child Life Specialist

Jaclyn Gee is a Certified Child Life Specialist who is dedicated to making healthcare environments as manageable as possible.  She addresses the emotional, developmental, and psychosocial needs of patients and their families at the Berrie Center.  Jaclyn received her BS in Psychology from Susquehanna University and her MS in Child Life from Bank Street College Graduate School of Education.

Ellen Greenberg, MS

Ellen Greenberg, MS

Lead Coordinator Type 1 Diabetes Research Team

Ellen Greenberg brings 30 years of research experience in Pediatrics to the Berrie Center. She is the lead coordinator for the type 1 diabetes trials performed at the Berrie Center, including . screening, prevention and intervention trials.  She is the lead coordinator for the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange, a new multi-center patient registry for patients with type 1 diabetes. She directs the team of research assistants and research coordinators working on the type 1 diabetes trials.  Ellen received her BS from Fairleigh Dickinson University and her MS from Columbia University.

Patricia Kringas, RN, BSN, MA, CDE

Patricia Kringas, RN, BSN, MA, CDE

Research Coordinator and Certified Diabetes Educator

Patricia Kringas, a certified diabetes educator, brings many years of research experience to the Berrie Center. Patricia assists patients to meet the rigor and pace of various experimental protocols. She has coordinated major multi-center trials are focusing on adults with Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (ACCORD, DREAM, and ORIGIN studies) and  treatments for adolescents and young adults with type 2 diabetes (TODAY Study).  Additional studies focus on noninvasive visualization of pancreatic beta cell mass by PET scanning. Patricia directs the patient education program at the Berrie Center and co-chairs the Translational Research committee at the Berrie Center. Patricia received her BSN degree in Nursing from Mount St. Mary College and her Master’s degree in Nursing Education from New York University.

Erin Kelly, RN, CDE

Erin Kelly, RN, CDE

Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator

Erin Kelly is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator who provides diabetes education to adult patients. She works closely with patients and their families to tailor effective diabetes management plans based on an individual's needs and lifestyle. Erin is also a certified insulin pump trainer and former science teacher. She received her BS in Biochemistry and Education at Stonehill College and her BS in Nursing from Massachusetts General Hospital–Institute of Health Professions.

Linda Koplimae, RN, MSN, CDE

Linda Koplimae, RN, MSN, CDE

Inpatient Diabetes Educator

Linda Koplimae is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator. She brings over 20 years of experience in helping patients with self-management of chronic conditions.  She is part of the inpatient diabetes team whose goal is to provide excellent diabetes education to patients and medical staff. She works closely with newly diagnosed patients and patients needing assistance with achieving better glycemic control.  She received a BSN in nursing from Dominican College of Blauvelt, NY and an MSN in case management from St. Peter’s College, New Jersey.

Elizabeth Levine, BS

Elizabeth Levine, BS

Research Assistant

Elizabeth is currently a research assistant for the type one diabetes research team. She received her BS in Biology and Neuroscience from Trinity College in 2012.

Jessica Lynn, RN, CNM

Jessica Lynn, RN, CNM

Certified Nurse Midwife and Diabetes Educator

Jessica Lynn is a registered nurse and certified nurse midwife with a long-term interest in caring for people with diabetes. As a diabetes educator, she believes in evidence-based practice, communication, creativity and family involvement.

Having delivered more than 1300 babies in Brooklyn, Guatemala and Jamaica, Jessica brings a unique perspective to managing diabetes in pregnancy at the Berrie Center. Through midwifery she also discovered her interest in young adults and their special needs as they transition from pediatric to adult health care.

Jessica has a BA in women's studies and biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She went on to receive a BSN and MSN in nurse midwifery from Columbia University.

Sarah Pollak, RN, MS, CCRC

Sarah Pollak, RN, MS, CCRC

Clinical Research Coordinator

Sarah Pollak is a Registered Nurse and certified clinical research coordinator who brings many years of clinical research experience to the Berrie Center. She is involved in screening, prevention, and intervention for type 1 diabetes trials. She received her Bachelor of Science and Nursing degree at Syracuse University and Master's degree in Nursing Administration at New York University.

 

Patricia Pavlak, RN, MSN, NP

Patricia Pavlak, RN, MSN, NP

Inpatient Diabetes Nurse Practitioner

Patricia Pavlak is an Adult Nurse Practitioner on the inpatient diabetes team whose goal is to provide excellent diabetes education and management to hospitalized patients.  She works closely with patients and their families and health care professionals to help  patients achieve optimal glucose control and transition to outpatient care.  She graduated from Monmouth University with a BSN and MSN/Adult Nurse Practitioner.