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.
Leadership, Program Directors and Administration
Clinical Supervisors and Staff
Educators, Care Coaches and Specialists
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.
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.
Chase Bronfman, MBA
In 2019, Chase joined the BCW leadership team to oversee the business, operations, finance, and regulatory aspects of Backcountry Wellness. Previously, Chase worked as an Investment Banking Associate in New York City, managing a junior team that worked on large-scale corporate M&A, debt financing, and equity financing transactions. Prior to his work in the banking sector, Chase earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the NYU Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s of Arts from New York University.
Jessica Zweiman, LCSW
Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers’s University, an MFA in Directing from The Actor’s Studio & a BFA from WVU; as well, a certificate in Shakespearean Studies from Oxford University. Jessica believes strongly in the substance & strength of family; it is in this vein that she is, in addition to being the clinical supervisor, an enthusiastic family, individual and marital therapist. Jessica leads, both in her work as a clinical supervisor and as a therapist, as one who listens quietly, who looks for resolve with fairness and who believes in a glass half full. When our foundation, both inner and outer, can heal & become solid, so then too, can our lives.
Zoe Cohen, LMSW
Zoe is a warm, compassionate, and gentle eating disorder therapist. Zoe practices from a collaborative approach, meeting her patients where they are at and focuses on empowering her patients to advocate for themselves. Zoe focuses on creating a safe space for her clients to share, and believes in individualized treatment for all patients. Zoe has extensive experience working with high risk patients at different levels of care in schools and different treatment centers. Zoe holds a Masters in Social Work from Yeshiva University, is CBT certified from NYU, has been trained in suicide prevention work and is working towards becoming RO-DBT certified.
Katherine Tague, LPCA
Katherine is passionate about helping clients achieve holistic healing in their eating disorder recovery. Katherine is a pragmatic, goal-oriented therapist who works with clients to take values-driven action as they manage difficult symptoms of stress, anxiety, and fear. Katherine believes strongly in client individuality and helps clients to gain coping skills that work for them. Additionally, Katherine works with clients to help them gain insight into the function of their eating disorders. Katherine graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling & Spiritual Integration from Fordham University.
Bianca Alicea, BS
Director of Admissions and Compliance
Bianca graduated from Goodwin University with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Psychology. She has experience working in the Danbury Hospital Trauma Unit and served as Director of Admissions in her previous role at a rehab facility. Bianca has taken part in community outreach in raising awareness for mental health and attended several trainings for PTSD/Suicide Prevention. She has also conducted research in the space and worked on various data analysis projects with a County Department of Health. Bianca is passionate about improving patients’ wellbeing both physically and mentally.
Leslie Epstein, LCSW
Clinical Supervisor & Family Therapist
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.
Kate Osman, LMSW
Kate is a dedicated and compassionate family therapist. Kate believes communication between family members is the key to recovery and looks to provide a therapeutic environment in which all family members feel seen, heard and understood. Kate works to provide practical strategies to help parents and families support their loved ones, and, importantly, each other. Kate holds a Masters in Social Work from Yeshiva University and a BA in Psychology from Boston University. In addition, Kate holds an additional certification in marriage and family therapy from the Ackerman Institute for Family.
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.
Danielle Verboven, LPCA
Danielle received a Bachelor’s Degree in Relational Communication and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Danielle believes self-compassion and empathy are essential factors for those who are on the road to recovery and is passionate about fostering a therapeutic environment by providing each client with resources to develop techniques that will improve their mental health. Danielle provides individual sessions and facilitates group therapy to empower each client, often utilizing a strength-based approach to treatment.
Samantha Stevens, LPCA
Samantha received her B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College and her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Villanova University. With a background in Division I track and field, Samantha witnessed the prominence of disordered eating behaviors in collegiate athletes and the effects they have on individuals’ overall well-being. This inspired Samantha’s interest in working with eating disorders. She aspires to foster an inclusive and collaborative environment, in which clients are encouraged to explore the connection between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Samantha aims to assist clients through a strengths-based approach as they work toward recovery and recognizing their full potential.
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.
Valerie Bryden, RD
Valerie Bryden is a Registered Dietitian with her Bachelors Degree in History and teaching certification for grades K through 6. Valerie decided when her kids were small (ages 4, 6, and 8) that she did not want to teach. Instead, she wanted to know what Vitamin A did – and that quickly snowballed her into finishing all of the RD courses at UConn, followed by a yearlong clinical internship at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2009. Valerie has over a decade experience working at all levels of care (Inpatient, Residential, PHP, IOP and private practice) with ED clients. Valerie stands steadfast against diet culture, weight as a measure of health and judging people based on their looks or how they eat.
Rebecca Tolan, RD
Rebecca is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for helping others develop a deeper, realistic understanding of nutrition concepts to free themselves from disordered eating patterns. Rebecca first obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and after working for a public accounting firm for a summer, she decided to go back to school to begin a career in nutrition & dietetics – a field she’d always been interested in. Rebecca obtained a second Bachelor’s in Nutrition & Dietetics from CUNY Queens College, as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island, particularly focusing her research studies in the screening for eating disorders amongst various populations. Simultaneously, Rebecca completed her clinical dietetic internship at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Rebecca’s counseling style is compassionate and exploratory. She feels strongly there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and recovery, and finds most success through a collaborative approach.
Sasha Beatty, APRN
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
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.
Mirzana Calhoun, LPN
Licensed Practical Nurse
Mirzana (“Zana”) Calhoun obtained her nursing degree from the University of The State of New York. She has over 8 years of experience in the eating disorder field previously working at the Monte Nido residential eating disorder treatment program. As someone who is recovered and also a parent, Zana has great compassion for the patients and their families. Prior to coming to the United States, Zana did a lot of philanthropic work with Bosnian orphan war children and has always been a children’s advocate. Her motto is that even on a bad day- it’s just a bad day and not a bad life. She’s currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
Nicole Palumbo, MS
Education Liaison, Teacher
Nicole Palumbo comes to Backcountry Wellness with over two decades of mathematics education and administrative experience. Originally from Buffalo, New York, she is a graduate of Buffalo State College and Canisius College. As a mathematics instructor, she has highly developed people and problem-solving skills. As chairperson for the Mathematics Department at Claremont Preparatory School & St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s School, she became an expert in budgeting, long-term planning, and staff management. Additionally, Nicole is an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Outside of professional interests, she gardens, reads, and enjoys living in Chappaqua, NY with her daughter, cats, dog, and one fairly ferocious hamster. Nicole regularly fosters kittens for a local animal shelter, and volunteers time and financial support to organizations such as the SPCA and Farm Sanctuary.
“Be true to yourself and kind to others, and the rest will fall into place.”
Ilene Smith, MA, MPH
Ilene is an experienced teacher, facilitator and personal coach who is certified in Mindfulness and Positive Psychology. Her passion for teaching and learning has spanned over 5 decades and during that time Ilene has worked with people of all different ages and stages of life. Her dedication to the development of children’s social, emotional and educational needs, has defined her life.
Ilene has a Masters of Public Health from New York Medical College and was named Outstanding Woman in Public Health by the university in 2004. Additionally, she has a Masters of Arts from New York University in Health Education and Human Sexuality. Ilene has additional certifications in English and Drama education.
She has been an educational consultant for MindUp, a mindfulness curriculum developed by the HAWN foundation. Ilene was a senior trainer and facilitator at CARE for teachers, a mindfulness based professional development program designed to reduce stress and promote social emotional competence. Her work was featured at the International Mindfulness and Education conference in Rome.
Ilene lives in Pleasantville with her beloved black Labrador, Grace, who has been meditating with her since she was a puppy. She is the proud parent of one daughter, Sarah, who is a NYC based Drama educator. Ilene infuses each interaction with joy, meaningful connection, and an opportunity for personal growth.
Ariella Rahbani, MS, RYT
Mindful Movement Instructor
Ariella Rahbani is a yoga and movement instructor with certifications in vinyasa yoga, aerial yoga, Mat pilates, Sup yoga, and group fitness. Ariella earned a B.S. in Psychology from Western Connecticut State University and M.S. in Nutrition from Adelphi University. Ariella incorporates her knowledge into providing a full mind, body, and spirit connection for students who take her classes.
Crystal Cruz, BS
Crystal enjoys working with adolescents, and has a love for behavioral interventions that help reinforce desirable behaviors while eliminating unwanted ones. She is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has her Bachelors degree in Psychology. Crystal is currently obtaining her Masters degree in School Psychology and looks forward to continuing her therapeutic work at Backcountry Wellness.
Stella Balbino, BA
Stella has earned her bachelor degrees in General Psychology and Music from Hunter College. She has great experience in music performance and in working with children and teenagers in educational and recreational settings. Stella is passionate about assisting patients into creating optimistic perspectives of their life circumstances which can lead them into believing in their capacity to overcome hardships, pain and despair. Stella is creative and uses that as a tool to engage with and reach our patients. Stella plans to do her Masters in Music Therapy and currently runs music groups at our residential program in which she uses music to relieve stress and provide a positive and light environment to our patients”- B.A. in Psychology and Music
Brittney Zeleznik, BS
At BCW, we are privileged to have Brittney as our care coach and clinical intern, infusing our community with an energetic, warm, and nurturing atmosphere. With extensive experience in the mental health field, Brittney has worked with children, teens, and adolescents both in inpatient settings and in the comfort of their own homes. Brittney holds an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Science with a minor in Special Education from Mercy College and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) at Yeshiva University. Brittney embodies the perfect blend of playfulness and professionalism, earning the admiration of our residents. Beyond BCW, she enjoys immersing herself in live music, engaging in outdoor activities with her daughter, and indulging in movie marathons.
Kennychard Lafontant, BA
Kennychard “Kenny” Lafontant, received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology at Duquesne University and is currently a graduate student at Fordham University pursuing a degree in Social Work. Kenny has experience working with children and adolescents of all cognitive levels in both academic and therapeutic settings.
Lauren McKenna, AA
Lauren received an associate’s degree in Human Services. She has experience working with child, adolescent, and adult inpatients struggling with multiple mental health issues including mood disorders, eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse. Lauren is currently working towards her BA in Social Work at Lehman College and plans to pursue her Masters in Social Work.