Walden Behavioral Care is made up of a collection of mission-based, passionate and empathic people who have committed ourselves to change the way people access mental health care. Our diverse team is made up of innovators, clinicians, administrators, social workers, business professionals, dietitians, nurses, mental health counselors, psychologists and doctors who are all dedicated to helping all individuals receive the specialized care they need and deserve.
“We have a group of incredibly talented people with an extraordinary level of heart. I know this is what sets us apart from other organizations as a place to work and as a place for our patients to experience healing.”– Stu Koman, Founder and CEO of Walden Behavioral Care
Stuart Koman, Ph.D.
Ten minutes with Dr. Stu Koman and you can understand why he has had such a profound impact on the lives of his patients, their families and the hundreds of people who have been fortunate enough to work alongside him. Stu is a visionary. He is a thoughtful, empathetic and persuasive leader whose mission is bold and whose commitment to that mission is brought forth through the teams at Walden each and every day.
Stu founded Walden Behavioral Care in 2003. His tenacious and passionate spirit has been the driving force in the company’s growth to 15 locations up and down the east coast. You are as likely to find Stu running adolescent groups for our residential program and consulting with clinicians on complex cases as you are to find him sharing a refreshed strategy to the Board of Directors.
Since beginning his professional career in 1981, Stu has revolutionized the way individuals and their family’s access and receive mental health care. Fundamentally, Stu believes in creating opportunities for underserved and low-resourced populations to receive top-quality mental health care. As such, he has developed and managed several successful behavioral health care companies including Charles River Hospital and health management in Wellesley, MA, where he developed innovative treatment models for adolescents in hospital settings, and Choate Health Systems, Inc. (CHSI), where he introduced the continuum of care model that offers varying levels of support under one administration. Stu is a lecturer at Tufts School of Medicine, a member of the APA and MPA and a board member of the American Association of Mental Health.
In his “down” time, Stu loves traveling the world and exploring new cultures and terrain on his bicycle. He serves on the board at “Cycle Kids,” a not-for-profit whose mission is to encourage healthy and fun movement for children by teaching them the practical skill of riding a bike. Most recently, Stu is delighting in his new role as “Zayde” (Grandpa).
James M. Greenblatt, M.D.
Dr. G, as we lovingly refer to Dr. James Greenblatt here at Walden, is a rare and wonderful person that we are fortunate enough to have as a leader. He is inspiring, witty, warm and welcoming to all. He is a brilliant and fearless innovator with a comforting demeanor that fosters truly collaborative alliances with each of his patients and our medical and clinical teams alike.
Dr. Greenblatt is an internationally – recognized pioneer in the eating disorder and integrative medicine fields. Board certified in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry, he understands that all individuals have unique biochemical profiles that lead to a range of different behaviors and, therefore, treatment needs. His interest and research in the integral role of nutrition in psychiatric outcomes and the interrelatedness of all body systems have changed the lives of countless individuals whose psychiatric symptoms persisted despite the use of traditional psychopharmacological interventions. As our chief medical officer and vice president of medical services, Dr. Greenblatt utilizes these key concepts with patients and provides medical management, leadership and oversight of all our psychiatric programming.
Dr. Greenblatt received his medical degree and completed his adult psychiatry residency at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Dr. Greenblatt also serves as a clinical faculty member in the psychiatry department at Tufts Medical School. He lectures extensively throughout the United States and Canada on integrative therapies for mental health. Additionally, he is the author of “Answers to Anorexia,” “The Breakthrough Depression Solution,” “Finally Focused” and “Answers to Appetite Control.” A lover of the performing arts and music, there is rarely a performance in Boston that Dr. Greenblatt has not seen or have an opinion on and it is unlikely there is a coffee shop in the metro Boston area that he hasn’t tried.
Paula Vass, MSW, LICSW, MBA, CEDS
Paula is a force. It’s as simple as that. There is no one that runs faster or will push harder to make sure that our patients and their families get the care they need and deserve. She runs a tight ship as our leader of clinical operations and will be the first at your doorstep lending a hand if you or someone in your family is sick or in need.
For over 20 years, Paula has been a fearless advocate for underserved and complex populations. Paula has been with us since 2003 and has held numerous leadership positions. In her current role, she oversees the admissions and utilization review departments in addition to the inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient programs.
Before joining Walden, Paula was a psychiatric triage clinician at Deaconess Waltham Hospital and a supervisor for the Department of Children and Family Services. In addition, she has managed a private practice in the Waltham area, treating young adults with eating disorders. She graduated from Lasell College with a bachelor’s in human services and earned her master’s in social work from Salem State University. Most recently, Paula graduated from Bentley College with an MBA.
Paula has been a member of the National Association of Social Workers since 1997 and is a certified eating disorders specialist as designated by the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. When not helping others, Paula can be found on the football field watching her college-aged son’s games, shopping with her teenaged daughter or seeking out a good vacation spot with a beautiful beach and warm sun for she and her husband.
Charles R. Rossignol, MBA
Enter Chuck’s office and you will be immediately greeted by the quiet hum of choral music and the oversized M&M (plain and peanut) bowl. That sums up Chuck – welcoming all with open arms, soothing, easy to make laugh and always available with a listening ear.
On top of all that, Chuck has been committed to the growth and development of Walden. Like a heat-seeking missile, he identifies, develops and manages all business expansion projects for the organization. Chuck also oversees contract management to assure our patients are receiving the best insurance coverage, always seeking to broaden our provider network.
Before joining Walden, Chuck was the chief executive officer at Arbour-HRI Hospital – a private psychiatric hospital in Brookline and the group vice president at Pioneer Behavioral Health where he oversaw behavioral health services in Connecticut and New York. Throughout his career, Chuck has also served as a consultant on a number of projects for several local and regional private psychiatric hospitals and human service organizations in areas of Joint Commission accreditation, quality assurance and improvement, operations / financial performance and improvement. Chuck earned his master’s degree in business administration from Northeastern University.
On any given Saturday, you may find Chuck conducting a wedding ceremony as his church’s Deacon or spending time with his wife and two adult children.
Rebecca Bernat, MSW, LICSW, CEDS
Strong, confident, empathic, clinically-astute, and respected by her colleagues, Becky has devoted her life to serving clients and families with mental and behavioral health concerns. A passionate leader and mentor, Becky oversees our adult and adolescent residential programs with boundless energy and spirit.
Prior to her current role, Becky served as the Program Director of Walden’s Residential Programs in Massachusetts for 5 years, and before that she was Program Director of Walden’s Braintree Clinic. She understands that the journey to recovery is rarely linear and brings her experience from working in different levels of care into the treatment process for clients in the residential program.
Before joining Walden, Becky spent nine years at Germaine Lawrence, an intensive long-term residential program for adolescent girls, where she held many roles, including clinician, clinical director, and agency administrator. While there she helped establish the Hirshberg Center, a specialized eating disorder facility, and the Merck Center, created to support young women with Borderline Personality Disorder features and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) approach to treatment. Becky is a DBT expert and has been Marsha Linehan trained. She sits on a McLean Hospital DBT consultation team and has a DBT-focused private practice in Brookline MA. While at Walden, Becky has created a DBT training program and implemented it across all levels of care in all locations.
Outside of work, Becky can be found implementing home improvement tasks, traveling, and collecting fabulous shoes. Lots of the travel is with her niece and nephew, whom she adores. When she was 12 years old, her grandmother gifted Becky, her first pair of boots with heels and she has never looked back. “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” Keep going, Becky!
Rebekah Bardwell Dowekyo, LPC, CEDS-S
Bekah is a fearless and passionate member of our senior leadership team, and under her direction, our Connecticut and Western MA clinics have developed and implemented various specialized treatment tracks including trauma, substance use, and bariatric tracks. In her current role, Bekah is responsible for program development and clinical, administrative, and fiscal oversight of all of Walden’s virtual programs and ambulatory clinics in CT, Amherst, and Peabody, MA, and our residential and ambulatory programs in GA.
Bekah brings to Walden over 20 years of eating disorder experience. Prior to joining us, Bekah was an Intensive Care Manager at the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (Value Options, Inc.) in Rocky Hill, CT. She also founded and directed the Intuitive Eating Program (IOP) at Hollywood Pavilion Hospital in Hollywood, FL, and held various clinical positions at The Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, FL. Bekah composed the foreword to the highly acclaimed “Maintaining Recovery from Eating Disorders” self-help book by Naomi Feigenbaum and was featured in the Emmy Nominated HBO Documentary “THIN.” Bekah earned her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Connecticut and is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist.
And if we think Bekah juggles a lot working at Walden, that’s nothing compared to her role as mom and competitive kickball player! Bekah was even part of the Las Vegas World Championship Kickball competition. A lover of manatees, she finds them ideal swimming partners and even adopted one as a member of the Save the Manatee Club.
Robert Keane, Ph.D., LICSW
There’s something about Dr. Bob Keane that simply warms your heart and makes you feel good. He has a keen way (no pun intended) of bringing calm to any situation. His kind and empathetic demeanor and his patient clinical style help his clients to feel comfortable and cared for. He also has a wry sense of humor that keeps his patients and colleagues smiling all day.
With more than 30 years working with diverse patient populations in the mental health field, Bob has spent the last seven years with us, overseeing the daily operations of clinical inpatient services, program coordination, utilization review and clinical training.
Before joining Walden, Bob was the deputy commissioner at the state Department of Mental Health and was a co-principal investigator of a four-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration which significantly reduced the use of seclusion and restraint in Massachusetts. Prior to that, Bob served as the regional director at the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, the managed-care carve-out company responsible for managing mental health and substance abuse benefits for Medicaid. Bob earned his master’s degree and a doctorate from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.
Bob is an adjunct professor at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work where he enjoys teaching clinicians of the future. Bob has a million interests including being a life-long guitar player. He says he’s not very good, but we beg to differ. He loves art – all types – and he’s a fine painter. He can draw anything and appreciates nothing more than a long walk on the beach.
Emily Slager, LMHC
In Emily’s 12+ years as a member of Team Walden, she has become a valued and trusted constant both as a clinical leader and an administrative powerhouse. If you are in need of clinically-sound advice for a particularly challenging case, ask Emily. Looking for an obscure document from 8 years ago? Emily will know exactly where it is. Need support? Coverage? A specialty referral? Pen? Emily’s your person. Each day, she balances 18 plates on her finger with ease. She is our resident superhero.
Beginning her career as a clinician at our inpatient eating disorder unit, Emily quickly progressed to managerial roles including Program Director of Residential and then Program Director of our Waltham clinic. Emily has been instrumental in the development and maintenance of the GOALS program and continues to be innovative and flexible in creating programs that meet the needs of our ever-evolving patient population. She is always willing to volunteer her ‘extra’ time to be on committees that need her expertise like the training committee and the LGBTQ+ task force. In her current role, Emily is responsible for overseeing and managing all administrative and clinical activities for programs and locations in Peabody, Waltham, Hyannis, and Braintree, MA.
As if she wasn’t busy enough at work, Emily is also a mom to twin toddler girls with lots of personality! When she’s not having tea parties or chasing them around, Emily enjoys running, reading, and watching college football.
Medical and Clinical Leadership
Corrinne Archibald, RD, LDN
Corrinne has been part of the Walden team for over 12 years. Her kind and empathic approach to nutrition counseling helps individuals in her care to feel more at ease. With a constant smile and a bright demeanor, Corrinne is a valued member of the clinical team and is looked to for nutritional guidance by her clients and her colleagues alike. In her current role, Corrinne is responsible for providing nutritional support and consultation across our various Massachusetts outpatient clinics.
Corrinne earned her BS in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado in 2006 and completed her dietetic internship through Simmons College in 2007.
When she’s not wearing her dietitian hat, Corrinne is a proud mother to a daughter and new baby boy and a fur mama to her “fun-loving” lab named Finn.
Linda Paulk Buchanan, Ph.D.
Full of warmth and compassion, it’s easy to see why people are so drawn to Dr. Linda Buchanan. Linda is a pioneer in the eating disorder field and she is credited with training a large percentage of the eating disorder therapists in the Atlanta area. She was the founder of Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders (ACE) that is now part of Walden. Linda’s clinical interests include diagnosis, personality variables and coping resources of those living with eating disorders and has particular experience helping individuals to use and integrate their faith in the recovery process.
She received her Master’s degree from the Psychological Studies Institute (now known as Richmont University) in Christian Counseling and received the 1999 Distinguished Alumnus Award for her work in founding ACE. Dr. Buchanan then went on to receive her Ph.D. from Georgia State University completing a residency at the Medical College of Georgia.
Linda is a published author. Her book “A Clinician’s Guide to Pathological Ambivalence; How to be on Your Client’s Side Without Taking a Side,” provides helpful techniques in working with a population that is ambivalent about recovery. When she’s not busy profoundly impacting her clients or mentoring other clinicians, Linda enjoys traveling, backpacking and writing.
Adolph Casal, M.D.
A man who rarely rests, we appreciate Dr. Casal’s unwavering commitment to our Georgia patients and clinical teams.
Dr. Casal is responsible for overseeing medical services, programming and staff supervision across our Georgia locations. Bringing more than 25 years of experience treating children and adults for a wide range of mental health conditions, Dr. Casal is inspired by the bravery of our patients and is committed to ensuring that they receive care that will support their recovery goals. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and also serves as the medical director of psychiatry at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Prior to joining our Atlanta team, Dr. Casal served as an instructor in psychiatry at Cornell University’s Medical College. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and his bachelor’s degree from Emory University. When he’s not focusing on patients, Dr. Casal likes to spend time with his incredibly talented family of athletes, doing Crossfit, traveling and tries to fit in skiing whenever he can.
Michael Chiumiento, Psy.D.
Dr. Michael Chiumiento has been a part of the Walden family for almost eight years. He is passionate, brilliant and committed to the recovery success of those that he works with and their families. In his current role, Michael provides training and consultation to our adolescent treatment programs with an emphasis on evidence-based interventions including Family-Based Treatment (FBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Michael also provides training and consultation to schools and outside agencies and continues to facilitate skills and support groups for parents and other caregivers across our adolescent continuum of care.
Michael has received extensive training in FBT and DBT, sits on a DBT consultation team and provides outpatient individual and family therapy services. He received his graduate education in clinical psychology at William James College and completed a doctoral dissertation on the use of group therapy interventions for parents engaged in adolescent eating disorder treatment.
Michael’s passion for his clients and their families is felt by all those who have the pleasure of working with him. His patient and empathic demeanor help him to create meaningful and trusting relationships with his clients and their families. When he’s not wearing the “parent guru” hat – as he has been affectionately called by his colleagues – Michael enjoys writing, meditating and spending time at the beach.
Kate Craigen, Ph.D.
We all appreciate Kate, (Dr. Kate Craigen) and her wonderful listening ear. She is warm, delightful, and always ready to tackle any challenge thrown her way. As our Director of Clinical Integrity and Innovation, Kate is consistently evolving our programs, making sure they remain state of the art, offering the best, innovative, evidence-based therapies and programs that blend client needs with clinical integrity.
Before joining Walden in 2014, Kate conducted her postdoctoral fellowship and was a clinical instructor at the Eating and Weight Disorders Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Kate received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
When Kate’s not busy leading and innovating programs here at Walden, she’s our own Martha Stewart following her passions like sewing, hosting dinner parties and taking care of the plants that fill her home. She’s also a dance enthusiast and she is one of the only people we know that finds cleaning ‘fun.’ Last but not least, Kate is thoroughly enjoying her newest title, Mom.
Rachel Fortune, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Fortune is a bold, brilliant and fun leader. She is an esteemed adolescent medicine provider who also understands that humor can be a hugely helpful component for many who are doing the hard work of eating disorder treatment. She comes to us with extensive experience working not only with eating disorders but also with general medicine and substance use disorders. In her current role at Walden, she provides clinical care and oversight for our inpatient eating disorders unit and our residential program. Dr. Fortune is an expert in the medical management of eating disorders, is board certified in both Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and has committed her professional career to advancing the field of eating disorders.
Before joining the Walden team, Dr. Fortune served as the National Medical Director for Newport Academy in Connecticut and worked at Yale University School of Medicine / Yale New Haven Hospital serving the adolescent population. She completed her pediatrics residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Adolescent Medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Dr. Fortune brings her eating disorder expertise from all settings of treatment to provide excellent patient care.
Dr. Fortune’s spunky personality and no-nonsense clinical approach allow her to create trusting and collaborative relationships with her patients. In her spare time, Dr. Fortune is a busy mom to two daughters and a large goofy dog. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and singing at/attending country music concerts.
Gail Hanson-Mayer, APRN, CS, BC, MPH
Always willing to go the extra mile, Gail’s commitment to her work is matched only by her genuine concern for the well-being of her patients and her dedication to the professional development of her colleagues and mentees. Calm, even in the most stressful of situations, we all look to Gail as a guiding light and role model for our emerging leaders.
Since Walden began in 2003, Gail has held many positions. In her current role, she is responsible for medical and psychiatric support management at our residential program and the satellite clinic locations across Massachusetts. She is responsible for coordinating care for individuals living with a variety of complex medical and psychological conditions monitoring and evaluating their medication needs and providing ongoing physical and emotional assessments. Gail also serves on numerous leadership committees and she is always one to take charge and make sure that things are accomplished in a timely manner.
In her 35 years of nursing experience, Gail has held a variety of distinguished roles including senior nursing and consulting positions at Sterling resources LLC, Universal Health Services, Management Services, Inc. and Choate Health Management Inc. Concurrent to her role here at Walden, Gail also serves as the Director of Counseling Services at Regis College.
Gail was recently the co-recipient of the inaugural, James Greenblatt Award for Clinical Excellence. This is our highest clinical honor that acknowledges a special individual who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to patient care and their recovery success. Gail is proud to share her birthday with one of her favorite athletes, Larry Bird. She is an avid Celtics and Red Sox fan. Don’t get her going on the most recent World Series! She loves working with athletes and has been the manager of The Haydenettes – national champions in synchronized skating -for the past 20 years. To top all that off, she has a new granddaughter that was born on the lunar eclipse.
Alexandra Natova, M.D.
Dr. Natova manages the non-psychiatric medical care for individuals in our inpatient, residential and partial hospitalization programs. She works in close collaboration with attending psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, social workers and counselors. Her day-to-day responsibilities typically include completing initial medical evaluations and providing medical consultations for the management of complex clinical cases during hospitalization. Dr. Natova is an active member of our Infection Control Committee, which serves to minimize patient and employee risk of infections.
Before joining Walden, Dr. Natova worked for many years in several hospital-based internal medicine and primary care offices and was an attending physician at Northeast Specialty Hospital in Braintree, MA as well as Kindred Hospital in Waltham, MA. Dr. Natova received her medical degree from the Pavlov Higher Institute of Medicine in Bulgaria and completed internship and residency in medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston.
When she’s not at Walden, Dr. Natova manages her own primary care practice and is also an assistant professor in medicine at Tufts Medical School.
Mariela Podolski, M.D.
When it comes to the perfect blend of warmth, charisma and experience, Dr. Podolski has it all. Her wealth of knowledge and experience leading patient care and medical supervision assures the patients in our care are receiving the highest quality of care and compassion.
Dr. Podolski is board certified from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She received her doctorate in medicine and surgery from the Universidad de Costa Rica, completed her general psychiatry residency at The Institute of Living in Hartford, and her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Additionally, Dr. Podolski is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Before she came to the United States, Dr. Podolski was a general practitioner in Costa Rica for four years. She delivered primary care medicine to a very rural area, indigenous communities. According to Dr. P, “sometimes we would go into the reservation and provide care with no other resources than what we could carry on a donkey. We did it all, from primary care and wound care to delivering babies. It helped me become a more well-rounded physician. It was also really cool to live so close to the Caribbean beaches that are true paradises.”
As a trained ballerina, Dr. Podolski noticed many of her peers developing pretty significant body image issues. Wanting to help this population of people drove her career interest in eating disorder support and care.
In her spare time, Dr. Podolski drives hours every winter weekend with her husband and young family to ski Vermont’s White Mountains! Hard to believe this Costa Rica Native has traded in her flip flops for a pair of ski boots. Here at Walden, we know who to reach out to if we need an insider’s perspective on planning a vacation to her beautiful Costa Rica.