A treatment community that meets and exceeds your needs.
Collaborative. Committed. Creative.
Our team is hand-picked by our founder, Dr. Joanna Bronfman. We’re specialists in eating disorder treatment: educated, experienced, approachable, and one hundred percent dedicated to your success. We’re available to you – our patients and families – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. For our team, commitment means service, and service means meeting the highest standards.
Communication is the foundation of healing relationships, which makes communication the hallmark of the Backcountry Wellness approach to treatment.
Dr. Joanna Bronfman is a thought leader in the field of eating disorder treatment. She holds a doctoral degree in psychology (Psy.D), a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and a master’s degree in education (MS). As a pioneer in the field of eating disorders, Dr. Bronfman lectures at major academic institutions such as Yale University and the University of Connecticut. She’s also a sought-after guest speaker, having accepted invitations to share her knowledge at The Nantucket Project and school districts nationally. Dr. Bronfman’s clinical work has focused on private clinical practice in conjunction with New York Presbyterian Hospital / Cornell Medical Center and the Pleasantville Public School District. Dr. Bronfman was formerly the Clinical Supervisor at the Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders of Greenwich, Connecticut. She earned her Psychology Doctorate from California Southern University, her Master’s in Social Work from New York University, her Master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.
Under Dr. Bronfman’s leadership (“Dr. B”), Backcountry Wellness offers the premier eating disorder treatment program in New England. She upholds an environment filled with acceptance and compassion, rather than stigma and judgment. Dr. B understands the social, emotional and psychological distress that adolescents and young adults go through when they struggle with an eating disorder.
Dr. B is committed to changing the paradigm in eating disorder treatment. Her life’s work – and her passion – is to create an open, inclusive, and inviting environment where everyone who needs help will seek help, and where everyone who seeks help will learn to heal in the way that works best for them. The right way.
Julia Simmons, LCSW
Julia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a strong desire to help others. Prior to working at Backcountry Wellness, she worked in a school setting, where she provided individual and group therapy. She has used those skills, along with her organization and dedication to her patients, to provide the utmost support to those with whom she works. She is an active listener and offers tremendous support to all of her patients and their families. Julia earned her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and a B.A. in Education Studies from Brown University.
Dr. Natalie Richton, Ph.D.
Dr. Richton holds her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is a published author in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Richton has extensive training in outpatient and residential treatment, working with children, adolescents and adults. She uses her strong background in evidence-based treatment to provide her patients with optimal care. She is an empathic clinician and supervisor, who uses her clinical training and compassion to promote motivation, hard work and change. Dr. Richton earned her Ph.D. from Farleigh Dickinson University and her B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Dr. Lindsay Moskowitz, M.D.
Psychiatric Medical Director
Dr. Moskowitz has a passion for treating children and adolescents. Her warmth, empathy, genuineness, honesty, and gentle demeanor aid in establishing a good rapport with her patients. She has a unique skill set in treating patients with eating disorders based on her comprehensive background in nutrition in addition to her psychiatric training. Dr. Moskowitz served as the Psychiatric Director of the Eating Disorder Program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center at Long Island Jewish Hospital through Northwell Health for nearly 8 years and left in February 2020 to focus on her private practice. She is board certified in both Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She was recently an assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. She earned her Medical Doctorate from SUNY Upstate Medical University and her undergraduate degree in Nutritional Studies from Cornell University.
Jane Wynne, MS, RD
Jane earned her Master of Science in Nutrition from Hunter College, where she developed both a deep understanding and love for the power of nutrition. Through her work as lead dietitian at Monte Nido residential eating disorder treatment center in Irvington, NY, Jane realized her passion for helping those with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. This specialty further sculpted Jane’s ability to focus on the entire individual, addressing how mental health impacts food choices and wellness. She continues to work in the outpatient setting to provide tailored nutrition counseling to individuals, families, and program groups to help her patients work towards recovery and establish a sound relationship with food.
Molly Gerster, RD
Molly earned her Master’s in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She has a strong background in biology and uses her scientific knowledge to develop nutritionally appropriate meal plans for the whole body. She is attuned to the emotional role food plays for many people, and factors this in when creating a plan that works for both mind and body. Molly obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from Bates College.
Melissa Liebre, BS
Culinary and Meal Support Director
Melissa is a talented culinary expert and is the backbone of Backcountry Wellness’ food and menu-based programming. Melissa has a culinary Arts Diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She believes that healing begins through the changing of one’s relationship with food. Melissa is in the process of obtaining her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Cappella University and earned her B.S. from Iona College.
Leslie Epstein, LCSW
Leslie is a passionate and dedicated family therapist. Prior to Backcountry Wellness, Leslie was the Director of Learning Resource Network at the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services. In her role there, she provided consultation to parents and families about their child’s development. Leslie ensures families are given the support they need and provides them with strategies to help their loves ones. Leslie earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University. She has also earned a Certificate in Family Therapy from The Ackerman Institute.
Sasha Beatty, APRN
Sasha is a trained and board certified Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse. Her over 10 years nursing career has afforded her the pleasure to work with many people and impact lives daily. She worked in Cardiac Telemetry for 7 years, Labor and Delivery for over 6 years and currently practices as a Nurse Practitioner in Pain Management in addition to working at Backcountry Wellness. Sasha has a passion for helping others and is a natural at her craft. Sasha earned her M.S. as a Family Nurse Practitioner and B.S. in Nursing from the Pace University Leinhard School of Nursing.
Erica Adler, LMSW
Erica has experience working in hospital, residential and outpatient settings. Erica values the use of a multi-disciplinary team, always making sure to stay connected with other treatment providers so that she is offering her patient’s comprehensive care. She provides individual therapy, group therapy and meal support therapy in a dynamic way. Erica’s engaging personality ensures that patients make change, while enjoying it too. Erica earned her Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University and her B.A. from Skidmore College.
Emily Johnston, LMSW
Emily has experience working in residential and outpatient settings. Aside from her extensive experience working with eating disorders, Emily has also worked for a non-profit organization with a focus on Runaway and Homeless youth. Emily has a strength based approach to treatment and believes in empowering individuals to take charge of their recovery. Emily is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Emily earned her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University and her B.A in Counseling from Lesley University.
Heather Van Hiel, LMSW
Heather practices psychotherapy through a compassionate and collaborative approach. Empowerment of the individual is an important and imperative aspect of her treatment style. She understands the effects of pressures of today’s society on mental and physical health and it is her mission to challenge harmful ideals while rebuilding confidence and self-compassion in individuals she treats. She specializes in co-occurring mental health disorders and comes to Backcountry Wellness after working in an outpatient addiction treatment setting. Heather earned her Master’s in Social Work from New York University and her B.A. from UCLA.
Bianca Alicea, BS
Bianca graduated from Goodwin University with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. She has experience working in both the Danbury Hospital Trauma Unit and outpatient settings. Bianca also recently served as the Admissions Director for Westport Rehab. She has taken part in community outreach for raising awareness for mental health/suicide prevention and has also conducted research in the space. Bianca is passionate about improving patients’ wellbeing both physically and mentally.
Arta Cakaj, ATR, LCAT
Arta is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, leading art therapy groups for our patients. She uses art to encourage self-expression of thoughts and feelings that may be difficult to verbalize. Arta’s approach is to see each patient as a whole human being: Mind, Body and Spirit. Arta earned her MS in Art Therapy and Counseling from the College of New Rochelle.
Leslie Santiana, RYT
Somatic Therapy Practitioner
Leslie is a 500-HR RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher), ACE Nutrition Specialist, and Certified Personal Trainer. She works individually and in small groups to encourage clients to rebuild a healthy relationship and connection with their bodies through mindfulness, meditation, and movement. Having studied yoga as a therapeutic support system, she acquired experience serving populations recovering from chronic stress, addiction as well as food and body-image related challenges. She has specialized training through “Eat Breathe Thrive” (TM) and ” Yoga for Eating Disorders.” Her sessions blend her background in the performing arts, healing arts, and personal recovery from an eating disorder.
Jennifer Oberlander, LPCA
Jennifer earned her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and BS in Psychology from Mercy College. Jennifer has experience working in an outpatient setting and non-profit organizations for children and adults. Jennifer specializes in co-occurring mental health disorders with a focus on trauma, anxiety, and depression. Jennifer has a person-centered approach to treatment and has a passion for helping others achieve their goals.
Vanessa Cotto, BA
Utilization Review Coordinator
Vanessa earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Seton Hall University where she gained a deep appreciation for the complexity of the field and specifically its relation to Mental and Behavioral Health. She is passionate about advocating for the continued awareness of Mental Health and the psychological effects on health and behavior, as well as the implementation of effective and accessible services and interventions for those seeking support. Vanessa’s past work experience ranges from assisting with the conducting and analysis of clinical research studies to supervising and facilitating programs within a residential treatment facility. It was these experiences that led to her work within eating disorder recovery where she was able to build on her knowledge and gain a greater understanding of the intricate balance between nutrition and the mind.
Alexis Scacco, LMSW
Lexi is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in eating disorders and mental health treatment. Lexi’s therapeutic approach is tailored to the unique needs of each individual and utilizes an array of evidence-based treatment modalities. She has experience working in inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment facilities. Lexi has earned her Master’s in Social Work from Adelphi University and her B.A. in Sociology from Stony Brook University. Lexi is continuing her education and is currently pursuing her PhD in Social Work at Adelphi University.
Lexi resides in Stamford, CT with her fiancé Leon and fur baby Scarlett.
Megan Schultz, LMSW
Megan earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University and her B.A in Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She has experience working in school settings and in residential eating disorder treatment settings. Her approach aligns with the common factors model, focusing on warmth, empathy, genuineness, and modeling what she expects from her patients. The most rewarding part of her work is being a part of this journey to recovery and seeing her patients reach a fuller, happier life.