Clinical Staff

Ada Cheung, Ph.D, LCSW

Dr. Cheung received her Doctoral and Master Degree of Social Work from the University of Houston. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and board certified Supervisor. She is our Managing Director of the Family and Children Counseling Department, and Director of Intensive Outpatient Program. She has years of experience working at various behavioral health and clinical settings, including nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, behavioral health clinic serving children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric population.

Noa Ben-Yehuda, LCSW

Noa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Ben Gurion University in Israel, and a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Houston. Noa brings expertise in providing therapy services focused on recovery from mental illness and trauma. She is a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for treating other psychological conditions. Her experience includes working with individuals, couples and groups, focusing on enhancing clients' strengths, as well as enabling them to be empowered, inspired, and create changes in their lives. Originally from Israel, Noa is providing therapy and counseling services both in English and Hebrew.

Laura Alter, MS-HRM

Laura Plastrik Alter works as a Vocational Counselor in the Disability Department. She assists individuals with a disability to find and maintain employment.

Mal Finger, LBSW

As a Licensed Geriatric Professional with over 20 years experience at JFS, Mal Finger brings a set of interpersonal skills to facilitate, encourage and enable the JFS Senior Adult clients he serves to successfully negotiate the perils of aging. Areas of specialization: Client assessments, case management, information and referral, and provides empathetic counseling and advocacy on behalf of his clients. In addition to these duties, Mr. Finger is the MIS Coordinator of the Information Technology Department of the agency.

Ivy Ickes, LCSW, CPRP

Ivy has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Women's Studies from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a Master of Science in Social Work with a clinical concentration from The University of Texas at Austin, training as a post-graduate fellowship at the Veterans Health Administration and received clinical supervision at The Menninger Clinic where she worked for five years. In addition to being a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, this JFS Staff member is also a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) who is dedicated to helping her clients discover the value of a meaningful role in living, learning, working and socializing domains while becoming more comfortable and accepting of their authentic self. She is specialized in behavior and mindfulness-based therapies (such as cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance & commitment therapy), and uses an integrated strengths-based approach in her therapeutic practice. Her professional interests include victim advocacy, self-compassion, values, creativity, mindfulness, and LGBT+ equality.

Jacqueline Kudlaty, MSW

Case Manager with Senior Adult Department of JFS since 2008 and Primary liaison with the Care for Elders Intensive Case Management Program. Her experience includes an internship at the VA Medical Center where she worked with seniors and offered grief counseling through a Hospice Care Team.

Hope Lipnick, MA, LPC, CHTP

Jewish Denominational Chaplain at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Director of Jewish Chaplaincy at the Texas Medical Center. Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Psychological Associate, Certified Contemplative End of Life Practitioner, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and Reiki Master. Masters degree in Psychology and Certificate from Masters in Jewish Studies Program. Year-long Clinical Pastoral Education Fellow at MD Anderson, followed by a second year of Advanced Residency in CPE at MDA as a Fellow.

Judy P. Magids, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 40 years of clinical experience as a psychotherapist. On the staff of JFS since 1987 in the Community Mental Health Consultation Program. Through JFS, she is a consultant to preschools, after-school programs and summer camp programs. Her advanced post graduate training focuses on young children (birth to six) and on families. She also provides individual therapy for adults with a particular focus on life transitions.

Leah Mueller, LBSW

As the Coordinator of the Senior Adult Services Department, she provides supervision and direction to the departmental staff. Serves as the agency's Legislative Issues Liaison. Licensed Geriatric Professional with 19 years of experience. Prior to joining the JFS staff in 200l, supervised the Chai Program at the Houston JCC. This is a transitional program for senior adults at the JCC catering to individuals 60+ who do not require adult day care services, but need a more structured and smaller program. Intergenerational programming has consistently played a role in her professional life since her student internship in 1987. Holds a Bachelor of Science of Social Work from the Ohio State University with concentration in gerontology. Areas of specialization: senior assessment, info & referral, case management. Works with Holocaust survivors to help them obtain appropriate benefits.

Steven L. Parks, LCSW, RPT

Steven L. Parks is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with years of experience working with children and adolescents that have experienced trauma, attachment disruption, and/or psychological disorders. Steven is certified in multiple evidenced based psychotherapy treatments including Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and Play Therapy. Steven's positive, strengths-based approach encourages clients to identify their own goals and take clear steps towards achieving those goals in a supportive therapeutic environment. Steven holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Texas Tech University and a Master's Degree of Business Administration and a Master's Degree of Social Work from the University of Houston. Steven is also a Board Approved Supervisor. I work with clients in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language

Ruth S. Sherman, LBSW

Licensed Social Worker with a concentration in gerontology. On the JFS staff in the Senior Adult Services Department since 1989. Areas of specialization: assessments for environmental services, case management, information and referral, supportive casework, counseling and advocacy on behalf of clients. Works with Holocaust survivors to help them obtain appropriate benefits.

Emily R. Van Laan, LCSW

LEmily R. Van Laan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has experience working with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings including children's hospitals and schools. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Emory University and received her Master of Science in Social Work degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Emily worked with children with a variety of neurological differences for 5 years. She is passionate about helping children and adolescents overcome their challenges and support them to identify strengths and tools they need to succeed.

Jamie Paul Weiner, LMSW

Jamie is a graduate of Wurzweiler School of Social Work (2001). Her background is in disability services and she is currently the Director of Celebration Company. Jamie has been with JFS since 2012 and carries a small case load of clinical clients.

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