We pride ourselves on being inclusive, approachable and empathetic. Finding the "right" clinician, where you feel a genuine sense of connection, is one of the most significant variables in treatment success.
Dr. Leopold Bolona, MD
Medical Director and Founder
Dr. Bolona is a compassionate bilingual psychiatrist, in private practice in Short Hills and Florham Park, New Jersey and serves as a consulting psychiatrist for several local school districts. He is Board Certified by the American Academy of Psychiatry and Neurology, in both General and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad Catolica Santiago of Guayaquil, Ecuador and completed his General Psychiatry Residency, and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. While there he was contracted to teach medical students and psychiatry residents on various topics related to child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Leopold Bolona is an active member of the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and has received several awards such as America's Top Psychiatrist and NJ Family Magazine's Top Child Psychiatrist. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Psychiatry and is contracted for various speaking engagements.
Dr Bolona has extensive training in the assessment and treatment of complex psychiatric conditions in both children and adults. In addition he is experienced in managing patients with dual-diagnosis, or co-occurring substance and mental health disorders. During his residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, he worked as a medical liaison and became skilled at collaborating with various providers. This experience has shaped the way he works with patients today in private practice. He believes that a multidisciplinary approach is paramount to providing comprehensive and effective treatment. What makes Dr Bolona unique is his commitment to comprehensive and individualized care.
Dr Bolona takes the “management” of medication management seriously, and believes that treatment doesn’t end when the appointment is over. He will coordinate with your other healthcare providers and family members, when appropriate, to ensure you are receiving the best care possible. In addition to being comprehensive, Dr Bolona places individualized care as one of his top priorities. He works from a holistic model of care, and understands that human behavior is shaped by multiple interrelated systems. He evaluates each person within the context of their own unique lives, and provides person-specific care. As an MD first, he will take any medical concerns, diet, exercise and lifestyle choices into consideration when developing your treatment plan. Patients report feeling uniquely supported, which can be difficult to find in mental health care.
Sylvana Garcia, PMHNP-BCr
Sylvana Garcia is a certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Association.
She holds a master’s degree in nursing from Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. Before attending graduate school at FDU, Sylvana worked for 6 years as a psychiatric registered nurse for Clara Maass Medical Center and Jersey City Medical Center. Also, Sylvana has worked with children ages 5 to 13 y/o as a school nurse for the Orange School District.
Sylvana is a compassionate and caring nurse. She enjoys taking time to listen to her patients and create the appropriate treatment plan. She believes in creating the right connection and wellness between body and mind. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
She practices yoga and meditation on her free time. Sylvana joined our team at Short Hills Psychiatric Wellness Center on January 2018.
Heena Patel, APN
Heena Patel-Owens started out as a Neurological ICU nurse 10 years ago, but when she discovered her true passion has always been the human psyche, she pursued a Master’s Degree in Psychiatry and currently works as a board-certified nurse practitioner at our practice.
Heena strongly believes that every individual has a unique story, perspective, purpose and set of problems, which oftentimes impacts ones mental health. She believes one's mental health is the key to having the quality of life a person wants and her priority in treating patients is to achieve the best possible outcome with an individualized and therapeutic approach.
She graduated with a Bachelors in Nursing from Villanova University in 2010 and a Masters in Psychiatry from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2017, and has worked with trauma, substance use disorders, and mood disorders.
Geraldine Tyler, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
Geraldine Tyler is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses Association. She also has advanced education in Obesity Management from Obesity Medicine Association. Geraldine originally attended Rutgers University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.
She then pursued her interests in nursing, graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She enjoyed seven fulfilling years working in various specialties including case management, neurological/stroke unit and psychiatric emergency services
as a registered nurse. Committed to advancing her education, Geraldine then went on to complete
a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Rutgers University and became certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked in internal medicine, gastroenterology and weight management department. She obtained a Post Masters certificate from Washburn University and became certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, expanding upon her knowledge in the field of mental health.
Geraldine provides personalized treatment services for each patient according to their needs. She believes in taking the time to listen to each patients concerns to identify the root of the problem. Treatment modalities include education, medication, psychotherapy, exercise, nutrition and/or other integrative approaches. She believes in helping one reach their highest potential and to that extent assist her patients in becoming mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually balanced.
Her motto is “We Have Goals.” Every patient can be assured that by the time they are done speaking with Geraldine, they will have a clear plan in place to address their most bothersome issues. She is fluent in English and Creole.
Frances M. Burns, APN
Mrs. Frances M Burns has been a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner since 2002. She has been providing Psychiatric care/medication management since then, at a variety of mental health settings, including in-patient, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and Emergency Services. She is the owner and sole provider, of a private Psychiatric Practice, called Lanoka Harbor Psychiatric Associates, serving Ocean County from 2010-2016. This practice currently operates in Raritan NJ, Somerset County.
She is also a nurse Practitioner in Adult Medicine, (dual degree from UMDNJ, Newark, NJ) since 2002, and has frequently been consulted to perform Differential Diagnoses, for Mental Health Clients who have acute or chronic medical diagnoses, including Traumatic Brain Injury. She has been contracted by the DOD, to treat active military in Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk VA, treating co-occurring disorders including Mood and Behavioral disorders, PTSD, Substance Abuse, and Traumatic Brain injuries. She has held other positions in private practice, and other Government based treatment centers, including for the City of VA Beach, Somerset County, NJ, and Warren County, NJ. She is regarded by many of her peers, as an expert in her field, and has implemented EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE, consistently as it applies to medical and mental health. She is the mother of 5 grown children and 6 grandchildren, and enjoys gardening, and historical home restoration, since purchasing her first of many properties, at the age of 19.
She is currently scheduling new patients, at the Westfield Psychiatric and Wellness Center, and is available 2 evenings per week, at this time.
Lisa McDermott is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She received her undergraduate degree in sociology at William Paterson University and continued her education at Rutger’s University, earning her master’s in social work with a concentration in addictions treatment. Lisa has worked with diverse populations in the residential and outpatient continuum of care since 2011 treating adolescents and adults with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
Lisa is a passionate social worker that uses a strengths-based approach in her work.
She has experience working with a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, psychosis, substance abuse, interpersonal, and trauma. She incorporates treatment modalities including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Illness Management and Recovery, and Mindfulness. Lisa thoroughly enjoys guiding individuals, and their families, to improve their overall sense of self
worth and quality of life.
Lauren Ritz, LPC, ACS, DRCC
Licensed Professional Counselor
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Lauren is committed to helping individuals acquire skills and strategies for coping with difficult life stressors. Additionally, Lauren has extensive experience working with individuals dually diagnosed with mental illness and an intellectual or developmental disability. She assists parents navigating the world of special education and provides parent coaching to manage or modify behaviors of concern. As a Certified Clinical Trauma Therapist, she works with individuals with varying experienced traumas and utilizes a trauma informed lens in the therapeutic relationship. Additional areas of specialty include depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, substance use and overall emotional distress.
Lauren engages her clients in active problem solving to facilitate understanding and her therapeutic approach is individually tailored to meet client’s needs to reduce symptomatology. She utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) -- helping individuals change their unhelpful thinking and behavior to enduring improvement in mood and functioning -- to inform her practice along with other evidence-based treatment modalities. By leveraging the foundations of mindfulness as well as a wellness approach, Lauren provides holistic, person centered and creative treatment for each client.
As an Approved Clinical Supervisor(ACS), Lauren is able to provide clinical supervision for Licensed Associate Counselors who are completing their provisional hours for eligibility for full licensure.
Erika Hurtado, LSW, LCSW In-Progress
Erika received her master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Montclair State University. Her treatment approach is informed by a wide range of treatment modalities including but not limited to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Erika utilizes a client centered approach aimed at individualizing the needs of each client and/or family.
Erika incorporates a mindfulness-based practice allowing clients to access resources within themselves. This approach assists her clients to understand their emotions with increased clarity helping to create a healthy and stable environment for themselves and their loved ones. Erika’s experience focuses on a wide range of services for children, adolescents, and adults. Her work includes individual, family, group, and couple’s therapy. She has worked in a variety of placement settings including, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization. She is a bilingual therapist, treating in both the English and Spanish languages. Erika is committed to creating a safe and authentic environment where both the client and their families can feel empowered while embarking on their healing journey.
Anna Deschamps, TMS Coordinator
Anna Deschamps is a student at Kean University studying Psychology, working toward her Licensed Professional Counselor licensure. She has been working in the mental health field for over five years.
During this time, Anna became trained and certified in the use of various Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machines and has been working as a technician for the past three years. It is her passion to help others overcome their mental health battles. During the treatment process the clients can always count on Anna to be warm, compassionate, and sensitive to their needs.
“I am personally invested and will help in any way I can within my role as part of the TMS team.” – Anna Deschamps (2020)