Board of Directors

Dena Cohen is a writer and editor in Northern NJ. She has worked in the medical, psychiatry, and mental health fields, as well as in the book publishing industry. She was an Assistant Editor as well as a freelance writer and book reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Her career shifted into medical publishing, where she was Senior Editor of Primary Psychiatry, a psychiatry journal geared towards primary care physicians and psychiatrists, after which she freelanced as a copy editor for numerous healthcare advertising and medical education companies. In 2012, Dena started an online forum for Jews with mood disorders—the first steps in what culminated in founding Refa’enu. Refa’enu was granted non-profit status in New Jersey in January 2014, and Federal non-profit status as a 501(c)(3) public charity in June 2014. Dena is a trained peer-support group facilitator at the Mood Disorders Support Group of New York (MDSG)—after which the Refa’enu mood disorder support groups are modeled—and is also on the advisory board of Elijah’s Journey, an organization dedicated to increasing suicide awareness and prevention in the Jewish community. She writes an op-ed column for The Jewish Standard (under her maiden name, Croog). Her first op-ed column in February 2014—“I have bipolar disorder”—which addressed the need to speak openly about mood disorders in the Jewish community, won an Excellence in Journalism Award issued by the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists. Since then, Refa’enu has been featured in articles and columns in the Bergen Record, Jewish Link of New Jersey and Jewish Standard. Dena continues with her own writing, which she hopes to see published before the death of the printed word. More information about Dena’s editorial and mental health advocacy achievements can be found at www.denacroog.com.

Jeff Berman, MD, DFASAM, is a Diplomate and Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is the Executive Medical Director of Discovery Institute for Addictive Disorders in Marlboro, NJ, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Recently, he was at Bergen Regional Medical Center, NJ’s largest acute psychiatric hospital, where he served as Director of Chemical Dependency Services. Dr. Berman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult and Addiction Psychiatry as well as Psychosomatic Medicine. He has been certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine since 1988 and is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. Dr. Berman’s area of special interest in research and teaching is Pain Management and Co-occurring Opioid Dependence. He is also a strong advocate for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for the chronic persistent mentally ill. Dr. Berman participated in NIDA’s clinical trials of buprenorphine/naloxone for treatment of heroin addiction in 2001. Since then, he has developed innovative treatment programs for individuals with co-occurring disorders as well as substance use disorders. Dr. Berman served as Chief of Psychiatry at Fort Leavenworth, KS, including the Department of Defense’s US Disciplinary Barracks located at Fort Leavenworth. He retired from the US Army Reserve after 22 years of service, which included service in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He is currently the Psychiatric Consultant to the Department of Immigration Health (DIHS), a division of Homeland security. Prior to coming to NJ, he served as Medical Director of Gieisinger Health Care’s Marworth chemical dependency center and consultant to pain management centers in NJ and PA for issues of addiction, pain, and co-occurring mood disorders. He has taken an active role in the medical treatment of HIV patients in all of these clinical settings. He has experience in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, neurology, and anesthesiology. He leads a support group at the JCC in Tenafly for parents of children struggling with addiction and mood disorders.

Deborah Douek, MS Ed, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT, CCLS, a board-certified art therapist and child life specialist, is a leader in the arts and health world. For the past 17 years, Deborah has worked as a clinician and administrator of creative arts therapies programs. Populations she works with include: people with chronic pain and chronic illness, geriatrics, behavioral health, bereavement, eating disorders and pediatrics. Deborah is currently on the board of directors of the New Jersey Art Therapy Association, serving as the Public Relations Officer, and is Past President of Child Life of Greater New York. Deborah lives in Teaneck, NJ, with her husband and three children.

David Drapkin, LCSW, is a clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and Executive Clinical Director at Strive in Paramus, NJ. Previously, he served as manager of behavioral health programs at Englewood Health (formerly Englewood Hospital and Medical Center) in NJ, as well as the health system’s Addiction Specialist. David trained in social work in Australia and England, with additional psychoanalytic training from The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. He is from Birmingham, England, and moved to the US in 2012. David has a private practice in Teaneck, NJ, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Ira Friedman retired as a Senior Vice President of MetLife, where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions, as head of the corporate law group, and in privacy law. He served for 3 years as Chair of the Lawyers Alliance for New York, the largest provider of pro bono legal services to non-profit organizations in New York. He continues to serve on Lawyers Alliance’s Board of Advisors and has also been a Board Member of The America-Israel Friendship League, CAJE, Literacy, Inc., and The American Association for Gifted Children. Ira received his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law after graduating Brooklyn College with a BA, cum laude. He and his wife, Rosalyn, live in Teaneck, NJ, and have three daughters.

Ruth Roth received an MS from the Columbia University School of Social Work and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.  Her professional background includes experience as the director of marketing at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, and VP of Marketing/Sales at ValueOptions, an insurance company specializing in mental health/substance abuse services. Most recently, she worked as director of admissions/PR at Ben Porat Yosef. She is a wife, and a mother of three children- two daughters, and a son who took his own life. The cataclysmic impact of her son’s death caused a major shift in her awareness and understanding of mental illness and suicide; she now devotes much of her time and energy towards helping to destigmatize mental illness, speaking,  and writing on topics related to mental illness awareness in daily life that have been published in both a local newspaper (The Jewish Week) and in online blogs, (Times of Israel, Kveller, Modern Loss), and providing support to both people who struggle with their own mental illness, as well as parents and siblings.  Currently, she is involved in sponsoring and implementing a pilot program, “Jonathan’s Fellowship”, whose goal is to provide support to high school students struggling with mental illness, and friends who wish to provide support.

Hannah R. Rothstein, PhD, is Professor of Management at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She attended Yeshiva University High School for Girls, Brooklyn College (BA), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (MA), and the University of Maryland (PhD). Professor Rothstein is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Research Synthesis Methods, and a Consulting Editor for several other journals, including Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Methods, and Systematic Reviews. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and past president of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology. Professor Rothstein is an active member of the Campbell and Cochrane Collaborations, international organizations that promote evidence-based practice in education, social welfare, and health care. She currently serves on the Scholarship Committee of Footsteps—an organization that provides educational, vocational, and social support to Ultra-Orthodox and formerly Ultra-Orthodox individuals who want to become independent and productive members of society.

Mark J. Schwartz is current Township of Teaneck Councilmember. He is a volunteer firefighter and ambulance corp member in addition to being a Vice President at Yavneh Academy, where his children attend. He recently completed 9 years as Founder and President of Congregation Shaare Tefillah in Teaneck, NJ, and 6 years on the Township of Teaneck Planning Board. Professionally, he is a real estate management consultant and low income housing provider.

David Yammer, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist in New Jersey and in Israel. He maintains a private practice in both Teaneck, NJ, and in Jerusalem, specializing in psychotherapy and psycho-educational evaluations. Before moving to Israel, Dr. Yammer was the Director of Student Services at The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City for 21 years. In addition, he was Senior Psychologist for the adolescent suicide project of the Adolescent Study Unit of the Psychiatric Institute of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the doctoral programs in Professional Child and School Psychology at New York University.