Meet Our Team

Our Directors

Edwin Simpser, MD, FAAP, St. Mary’s President & CEO – Program Medical Director

Dr. Edwin Simpser is President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children. He is also an attending physician at the Department of Pediatrics at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York; New York Hospital, Queens; and Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. He joined St. Mary’s as Chief Medical Officer in 1999. Previously, he was chief of the Division of Nutrition in the Pediatrics Department at North Shore University Hospital.

Dr. Simpser is Board Certified in both Pediatrics and Pediatric Gastroenterology and has taught students, residents, and fellows throughout New York City including Cornell University Medical College, New York University School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM). He currently is on the faculty of the Hofstra NS-LIJ School of Medicine.

He is an active member of several prestigious medical associations focusing on issues of pediatrics, pediatric nutrition and medical care for children with special health care needs. Currently, he sits on the Medically Fragile Children’s Workgroup, which was convened to advise the New York State Department of Health’s Medicaid Redesign Team. He is the Chair of the Section on Home Care of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, he is the Co-Founder and Past President of the Pediatric Complex Care Association, which represents pediatric post-acute facilities around the country. A frequent invited lecturer at national and international meetings and academic centers, Dr. Simpser has also published numerous articles, abstracts, monographs, and book chapters.


Stella Yusupova, MA, CCC-SLP – Director

Stella 2015Stella is the Program Director of the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders. She is certified in Speech Language Pathology through the American Speech Language-Hearing Association. Stella obtained her BA in Linguistics and Communications Disorders from Queens College, CUNY and her MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from St. John’s University, NY. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and Certificate of Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped from the New York State Education Department. Stella joined St. Mary’s Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program in January 2003 and ever since has been working with the pediatric population specializing in Feeding/Dysphagia Therapy. Stella was part of interactive training workshops and presented at conferences on subjects related to feeding and swallowing disorders. Her research has been published in Children’s Health Care Journal. She has experience working in a hospital setting as well as home care servicing early intervention, preschool and school aged populations. Stella has extensive experience with diverse populations such as autism, sensory integration disorders, G-tube dependence, dysarthria, and dysphagia. Areas of specialization include ABA, Sensory Integration and NMES Vital Stimulation.


Laura Seiverling, PhD, BCBA-D – Behavioral Psychologist & Clinical Supervisor

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Dr. Laura Seiverling is a NY state licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). She received her doctorate in Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis in 2010 from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) and completed a one year post-doctoral psychology fellowship at Westchester Institute for Human Development. Dr. Seiverling joined St. Mary’s in August 2012. In addition to serving as the Clinical Supervisor and Behavioral Psychologist at St. Mary’s feeding program, Dr. Seiverling teaches graduate courses at Queens College (CUNY) and is a member of the psychology doctoral faculty at CUNY. Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, Dr. Seiverling was an Assistant Professor of Psychology for the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate program at Penn State University—Harrisburg campus. During that time, she collaborated on numerous research projects with clinicians and researchers at Penn State’s pediatric feeding program.

Dr. Seiverling has over 10 years of experience providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment for feeding as well as other behaviors for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is currently completing numerous research projects through St. Mary’s feeding program, has published over 20 articles and book chapters in the areas of feeding problems, autism, staff and parent training, and applied behavior analysis.


Our Staff


Kisha Ann Anderson – Feeding Technician

staff kishaKisha is a Registered Behavior Technician at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders. She began her tenure at St. Mary’s in December 2002 and has been trained in the various protocols administered to patients.

Kisha has attended professional seminars on An Integrated Approach to Oral Motor Training and was featured in a New York Times article on the work of the feeding program. Kisha is pursuing degree at Nassau Community College in Early Childhood Education. She continues to be involved in ongoing research within the program


Ludmila Bababekov, MS, CCC-SLP Feeding Therapist

ludmila 2Ludmila is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Communications Disorders from Queens College and a Master’s degree from Long Island University. She is certified in Speech Language Pathology through the American Speech Language-Hearing Association, and received a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Ludmila also holds a certificate of Teacher of Students with Speech-Language Disabilities, a Bilingual Education Extension in Russian, and is a certified NMES/ VitalStim provider. Ludmila’s training and professional experiences include working with pediatric and geriatric population. She has conducted evaluations and provided services for school aged- and EI children with speech, language, and feeding delays. She currently provides feeding therapy at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children and continues to provide home-based services. Ludmila continues to be involved in ongoing research within the program


Lisa Doyle, Managed Care Liaison

Lisa holds the position of Managed Care Liaison at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders. She has been a licensed practical nurse since 1996 and has been working in healthcare administration for over 10 years. Lisa worked in private medical practices and healthcare facilities; including a challenging and rewarding tenure at Nassau County Correctional Facility. She monitored and coordinated all aspects of care, acted as the liaison between the medical staff and the officers as well as the liaison between the facility and all outpatient facilities. This unique experience provided her with a profound perspective on life. Additionally, Lisa is a published author for pediatric health issues, specializing in sports related brain injuries. She joined the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in February 2015 and is here to assist our families with all aspects of insurance authorizations, appeal processes and coordination of managed care documents.


Jamie Gunning, Program Coordinator

Jamie is the program coordinator at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders, she is the friendly voice you hear when you first call our program.  Jamie is a registered medical assistant who has been part of St.  Mary’s Hospital for Children since 2004.  She also pursued a degree in early childhood education at Queens Borough Community College.   When Jamie joined St. Mary’s she served as the unit coordinator on the nursery inpatient unit and transferred to the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in 2015.

 


Elise Jusko, MS, CCC-SLP – Clinic Supervisor

staff eliseElise co-founded the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in January 2002 with Dr. Edwin Simpser, who served as St. Mary’s Chief Medical Officer at the time. She now works in a role of Clinic Supervisor at the Center. Elise has been a Speech Language Pathologist for over 25 years specializing in pediatric feeding disorders. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from James Madison University. She is certified in Speech Language Pathology through the American Speech Language-Hearing Association and received her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Elise also holds a Certificate of Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped and is a certified NMES/ VitalStim Provider. Her studies have been published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.


Anselma Kuljanic, RD – Registered Dietician

staff anselmaAnselma has been a Registered Dietitian since 1998 and has worked at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children for over 12 years. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nutrition and Food Science from New York University. Anselma began her work at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children managing the premature and infant patients and joined The Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in August of 2010. She has experience in both community and clinical settings and conducts nutrition workshops in educational settings in the community.

 


Tracy Mentore – Dietary Manager

staff tracyTracy Mentore is the Dietary Manager of the Cindy & Tod Johnson Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Management, and Nutrition.

Tracy has 37 years of varied food service experience that includes management positions held in acute care and long-term healthcare settings. She is ServSafe certified.

 


Jillian Paganelli – Feeding Technician

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Jillian is a Feeding Technician who began working at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in May of 2016.  She received her BA in Spanish with a concentration in Psychology from Muhlenberg College.  Prior to joining St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Jillian worked as a middle school Spanish teacher in Westchester County, NY.  She also worked as a caregiver for a New York family with special needs children. Additionally, she worked as a  Speech Therapy intern at a non-profit organization in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico and at BLANK Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a dedicated advocate for families and children and is committed to improving the quality of life by turning knowledge into practice with the patients and families she serves at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders.


Stacey Rivera – Feeding Technician

Stacey is a Feeding Technician who began working at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in February of 2016.  She received her BA in Psychology from Western Connecticut State University.  Prior to coming to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Stacey was working for the Board of Education in New Jersey with children with multiple disabilities and special needs for almost 10 years.  She has experience using teaching methods to improve the lives of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.  She provides services based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for special needs children.  In addition, Stacey provided home-based therapy that offers parent training to help families develop strategies to support their child’s development in the home and community.  She is currently dedicated to providing intensive services to children with feeding disorders at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders.


JoKathleen Rodriguez, PNP – Nurse Practitioner

staff jokathleenJoKathleen Rodriguez is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. She has earned double bachelor’s degrees from NYU in Psychology and Nursing and a master’s degree in Advanced Practice Nursing with a dual track in Children with Special Needs, also from NYU. She is certified in BLS, PALS, ACLS, and CPHON.

JoKathleen began working full time at St. Mary’s in 2002 as staff nurse on the Toddler unit. She became a per diem Nursing Supervisor and staff nurse and then returned in 2007 as the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for the Nursery. In 2008, JoKathleen joined the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders along with continuing as a member of St. Mary’s Medical Services for the inpatient programs where she provides medical coverage to the Nursery, Wound Team and Orthopedic Rounds. JoKathleen also continues to work as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist, which she has been doing since 1994.


Hiro Yamazaki – Feeding Technician

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Hiro is a Registered Behavior Technician at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders. Hiro earned his bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services from St. Joseph’s University. He completed training in Beckman Oral Motor.

Hiro began working at the Center for Pediatric Feeding Disorders in January 2007 and continues to be involved in ongoing research within the program.