Deborah M. Benson, PhD, ABPP is the Founder and Director of Common Ground Alliance. Dr. Benson is a New York State Licensed Psychologist specializing in rehabilitation neuropsychology, who has been working with individuals with brain injury and their families for over 20 years. She earned her PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology in 1992 from the City University of NY-Queens College, and is Board Certified in Rehabilitation Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). She is certified by the American Psychological Association in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders. Other certifications include the Commission on Healthcare Certification as a Life Care Planner; and the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer.
Dr. Benson was the Director of Transitions of Long Island, the post-acute brain injury rehabilitation program of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System from 1998-2008, and is currently Director of Clinical Services at Paradigm Management Services, a national medical management company. Dr. Benson maintains a small private practice, CarePaths, in Plainview, NY providing cognitive rehabilitation and counseling services for persons with brain injury and their families.
Dr. Benson currently serves on the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS), and was the recipient of that organization’s Champion of Hope award in 2009. Dr. Benson served on the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council from 2005-2008 and is also on the advisory board of the Coma Recovery Association. Dr. Benson co-edited the textbook Acquired Brain Injury: An Integrative Team Approach (Springer, 2007), and was co-author of the cognitive rehabilitation workbook Functional Memory Manual. Dr. Benson has presented on numerous topics related to recovery, rehabilitation and long-term wellness after brain injury at regional and national conferences.
Anthony Martino is a certified therapeutic
recreation specialist with 15 years of experience in healthcare, including both clinical and management positions. He is currently a recreation therapist in the brain injury rehabilitation unit at Southside Hospital. Anthony has dedicated his career to helping individuals with brain injury lead the most productive and active lives they can. In addition to his professional activities, Anthony is very active in community/advocacy efforts. He is an Advisory Council Member to St. Joseph’s College Recreation and Leisure Service Management Program, Long Island Leisure Services Association, and New York State Parks and Recreation. Anthony is on the committee for Licensure of Recreation Therapists in the State of N.Y. He has P.A.C.E. certification as an arthritis exercise instructor. Anthony is an avid Tai Chi practitioner and instructor, and teaches the Tai Chi class at Common Ground.
Wendell D. Miller, PTA, CPT, CBIS graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, and from Touro College with an Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy. He is a New York State Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant with 8 years of experience working with individuals with neurological and orthopedic injuries, including as a Life Skills Trainer at Transitions of Long Island and a Physical Therapist Assistant at STARS, both part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Wendell is also a certified Personal Trainer and Brain Injury Specialist. He is currently working with various skilled nursing facilities as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Wendell co-facilitates the Yoga/Stretch class at Common Ground with Rebecca Rosenfeld.
Reby Rosenfield, MPA, MSC. holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. She also has a Minister in Spiritual Counseling degree from the New Seminary Interfaith Ministry and is an ordained Interfaith Minister. Reby’s primary work is as a pharmaceutical research consultant. She has also been a Yoga and Aikido practitioner for over 20 years, and is certified as a Therapeutic Yoga Facilitator from the Integral Yoga Teacher Training Institute in New York City. Reby co-facilitates the Yoga/Stretch class at Common Ground with Wendell Miller, PTA.
Robin Tovell-Toubal, LMHC, CRC, is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor and holds national certification in rehabilitation counseling. She has a master’s in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. Robin worked in the field of brain injury rehabilitation at Transitions of Long Island for eleven years and was on the staff of the Brain Injury Day Treatment Program at the Rusk Institute in New York City for three years. She was an Assistant Director in the Mental Health and Health Services Department of the September 11 Recovery Program at the American Red Cross. Robin’s current professional pursuits include providing counseling and community based services to individuals over the age of sixty and their caregivers. She will soon be expanding her activities by opening a private practice in Plainview, NY. Robin facilitates the Women’s Group and Family/Caregiver Groups at Common Ground Alliance.
Elisa Salerni completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Neuropsychology in 2013 from The Gradate Center- The City University of New York. She completed an externship at Transitions of Long Island, and went on to post-doctoral training in Clinical Neuropsychology at Stony Brook University Hospital. She is a New York State licensed psychologist and has worked with both children and adults with a variety of neurological/psychiatric challenges. Elisa leads the monthly book club at Common Ground, where members choose books of interest, read selected chapters, discuss and answer critical thinking questions in a stimulating and supportive environment.
Jean Kirk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who worked at the International Center for the Disabled in NYC for many years before joining Paradigm Management Services in 2013. Dr. Kirk is also an adjunct professor at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. Jean leads the ever popular Game Night at Common Ground.
Philip Sparacino is a creative arts therapist who works with individuals in a variety of settings on using acting and other creative/expressive techniques to explore emotions, work on communication skills and have some laughs! Philip leads the Drama Group at Common Ground, where members come to tap into their “inner actors”!