Meet the Social Services Staff

specialty, compassionate counselingSocial Services Counseling Staff

The UHS Social Services Counseling staff provides compassionate, specialty counseling. Support services include alcohol and other drugs, chronic medical conditions and new diagnoses, eating disorders and body image, medical withdrawal administration, nutrition, pregnancy resources and referrals, relationship violence, stalking, sexual health, sexual violence, and victims of crime.

Our counselors provide education, counseling, advocacy, referrals and assistance with academic, financial and related issues that may arise as a result of the above.

Counselors

Justin Castello, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

Pronouns: he/him/his

Justin Castello, PhD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist within UHS Social Services where he's served Berkeley students since 2016. He provides individual and group counseling on alcohol and other drug use and related mental health concerns from Harm Reduction Therapy prospective. He also supports students who have survived trauma including sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking and harassment, as well as those who have caused related harm. Justin's work with Berkeley students is very client-centered, tailored to their needs, collaborative, and respects their self-determination.

Prior to joining UHS, Justin was the program/intake coordinator and a harm reduction psychotherapist at The Harm Reduction Therapy Center (a nonprofit with community programs and private practices in the SF Bay Area) for 8 ½ yrs. He's provided therapy (individual, couples, family, and group) in many settings including The Homeless Youth Alliance for transitional aged youth in the SF Haight, E.C. Reems K-8 Charter School in East Oakland, Hospitality House/a community program in the SF Tenderloin, and Pretrial Diversion of SF County. Justin has also provided therapy for people in a locked acute mental illness facility, a social rehabilitation home, and in SF and East Bay private practice offices. He's presented workshops and trainings on Harm Reduction and Harm Reduction Therapy Alcohol and Other Drugs Group facilitation and has over 15 years of experience in the field.

Clinical Interests: Harm reduction therapy, alcohol and other drugs counseling, trauma counseling, couples and family counseling, multicultural/intersecting identity issues, and LGBTQ+ issues.

Maayan Greene, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker 

Maayan Greene joined the UHS SOS team in 2013. She received her MSW from UC Berkeley. Maayan also currently works in private practice and at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital as a psychiatric social worker. She enjoys swimming and hiking in her spare time.

Clinical Interests: Eating disorders, trauma issues, healthy relationships, identity development, mindfulness practices (including MBCT and DBT techniques), depression and anxiety, and wellness and self-care.

Zenaida Hernandez, LCSW

Zenaida Hernandez, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, University Village

Zenaida Hernandez joined the UHS SOS team in August 2011 as a post-MSW fellow and then as staff in March 2017. She received her MS in Social Work from Columbia University and her BA in Psychology and Social Behavior from UC Irvine.

Zenaida previously worked for a neighboring county serving children and families for four years. During this time, she was trained in evidence-based treatment models that address concerns related to parenting, trauma, community-based care, and families served by child protective services. Zenaida enjoys spending time with her family and friends, visiting the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and cycling. 

Clinical Interests: Trauma-informed care, first-generation and transfer students, student parents, students of color (specialty in working with Latinx population). 

Additional languages: Spanish

Shanta Jambotkar, LCSW

Shanta Jambotkar, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker 

Pronouns: she/they

Shanta Jambotkar, LCSW, has worked at UHS Social Services since 2016. She self-identifies as a South Asian American, queer, cis-woman of color. Her social work education at the University of Michigan is blended with clinical training about body, mind, and spirit healing after trauma. Shanta is a social worker, psychotherapist, educator, and organizational consultant. A primary focus of her practice is to decolonize wellness by creating community and accessibility to healing for BIPOC. Her services are holistic, cultural, and indigenous informed to support communities experiencing intersectionality, and queer and trans people enduring adversity. Shanta is honored to witness and support students to access material resources, build self awareness and insight, and find pathways toward calm, purpose, and joy.

Clinical Interests: Healing after trauma, EMDR treatment, sexual violence and intimate partner violence survivorship, health conditions, LGBTQI, non-binary and BIPOC women, immigrant and next generation SSWANA communities.

Tobirus M. Newby, LCSW

Social Services Manager

Tobirus M. Newby is a licensed clinical social worker and the manager of the UHS' Social Services department. Over the past 17 years, Tobirus has worked in the field of violence prevention and intervention by supporting the healing journeys of survivors and by educating and fostering change with those who have caused harm in their relationships and communities. In addition, he is an educator at UC Berkeley Extension and the University of San Francisco and has a private consulting practice through which he provides organizational equity and inclusion services. A quote that guides his life and his practice comes from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Clinical Interests: Alcohol and other drugs counseling, domestic violence and sexual assault intervention, sexual health risk reduction, LGBTQ issues, trauma counseling, spirituality, intersectionality, and multiculturalism.

Erin O'Connor LCSW

Erin O'Connor, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Erin O’Connor, LCSW, joined UHS in 2020 as a Trauma and Health Concerns Social Worker. She was previously working as an outpatient therapist and trauma specialist at a community non-profit outside of Detroit, MI. Erin received her BA in Psychology from Michigan State University and her MSW from Wayne State University. She is nationally certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Erin loves to travel domestically and internationally with her spouse — she’s been to five continents! She enjoys yoga, music, writing poetry, baking, hiking, and playing board games.

Clinical Interests: Trauma-informed and trauma-specific care, relationship and sexual violence, mindfulness, self-care, integrated health & wellness: Tapping/Emotional Freedom Techniques, body image, sociocultural identity, mental health among Muslim Americans and other underserved communities.

Jason Straussman

Jason Straussman, AM, ASW

Associate Clinical Social Worker, University Village

Jason Straussman, AM, received his AM from the University of Chicago, his MA in Religious Studies from Baylor University, and his BA in Music and Religion from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Prior to joining UHS, Jason was working in a refugee mental health agency providing therapy and case management to refugees and their families while living and studying at the University of Chicago.

Jason enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends, and reading books about fiction, history, and interesting people. Jason is interested in music, community, alternative living, and becoming involved in community empowerment efforts.

Clinical Interests: Families, religion and spirituality, cultural identity, stress management, depression, relationships, and trauma-informed healing.

Karen Tsai, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker 

Clinical interests: Trauma-informed counseling, psychodynamic psychotherapies, multicultural and social-justice oriented counseling, mind-body-spirit wellness.

Robin Walley, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker 

Interim Post-MSW Fellowship Coordinator

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Robin Walley, LCSW, joined the Social Services team in 2003. She received her MSW from UC Berkeley and her BA in Psychology from Pomona College. As the alcohol and other drug counseling team lead, Robin has been a steadfast advocate for a cross-UHS harm reduction orientation and motivational interviewing-informed practice, which has impacted the language used at UHS to talk about alcohol and other drugs, the services provided to students, and how UHS collaborates with campus and community partners.  
 
Clinical Interests: Alcohol and other drugs counseling, harm reduction, motivational interviewing, LGBTQ+ experiences, polyamory and consensual non-monogamy, kink/BDSM, self-injury, sexual and racial identity development, and identity intersectionality.

Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellows

Sarah Abbas, MSW, ASW

Angelica Yi, MSW, ASW

2nd Year Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellows

Madeleine Kannan

Madeleine Kannan, MSW, ASW

Arizona State University

Madeleine Kannan (she/her/hers) received her BA in Psychology and Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her MSW from Arizona State University. Prior to joining UHS, she worked as an adult outpatient clinician within a community mental health clinic and a crisis intervention specialist at a crisis line. Madeleine identifies as a cisgender, queer, mixed race woman. She enjoys creative outlets centering art, writing, and music. 

Clinical interests: social justice oriented counseling, intersectional identity development, trauma/resiliency, expressive arts, South Asian-American identity, capacity building with LGBTQ+ students and students of color.

Darius Taylor

Darius Taylor, MSW, ASW

Loyola University Chicago

Darius Taylor received his BA in Professional Studies in Psychology (with a concentration in Mindfulness, Meditation, and Relaxation) from Roosevelt University and his MSW (with a Mental Health Specialization and focus on Substance Use and Addiction) from Loyola University Chicago. Before joining UHS, Darius worked at a dual-diagnosis substance use and mental health treatment facility in Chicago facilitating groups and doing individual therapy with clients. Prior to that, he worked at Catholic Charities in Refugee Resettlement as a case manager.

Darius is a fitness enthusiast and enjoys lifting, running, and biking weekly. He loves reading academic literature around psychology, spirituality, health, and wealth building, and science-fiction and supernatural young adult fiction are my favorite genres for pleasure. His favorite podcasts at the moment are Decolonize Social Work, Today Explained, and The Daily.

Clinical Interests: Harm reduction therapy, alcohol and other drugs counseling, multicultural/intersecting identity issues, and LGBTQ+ issues, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders.

Registered Dietitians

The UHS Registered Dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy and nutrition counseling for any UC Berkeley student with nutrition-related health concerns.

Elizabeth Aong, MPH, RD

Elizabeth Aong, MPH, RD

Elizabeth Aong joined UHS in 2017 as a part-time clinical dietitian. She completed her undergraduate degree at UC San Diego and received her MPH in Nutrition from the University of Washington. Elizabeth has a clinical interest in community public health, food security, and weight management

Emily Champoux

Emily Champoux, MPH, RD

Emily Champoux joined UHS in 2020 as a Registered Dietitian. Outside of working with the UHS dietitian team, she also works at an eating disorder clinic in San Francisco and runs a private practice. Emily received her MPH in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her BS in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She has a clinical interest in eating disorder prevention and management, athletic performance, heart disease, and diabetes

Emily enjoys hanging out with her puppy, Murphy, and spending time with friends and family. She loves being in the kitchen, whether that’s mixing up homemade guac for Taco Tuesday or baking cupcakes. Food brings Emily joy and she believes it's a great outlet for stress that allows her to connect with others’ cultures. When she’s not in the kitchen, Emily is at the dog park with Murph or chilling at the park with friends.

Sarah Minkow, MS, RD

Sarah Minkow, MPH, RD

Sarah Minkow joined UHS in 2017 as a clinical dietitian. She completed her BA in Psychology with a minor in Exercise and Health Science at UC Santa Barbara (2006) and her MS in Nutritional Science at California State University, Long Beach (2016). Sarah has a clinical interest in nutrition for disease prevention and treatment, mindful eating, and food security.

Toby Morris

Toby Morris, MS, RD

Lead Clinical Dietitian

Toby Morris has been the lead clinical dietitian for students at UHS since 2012. She received her BA in Communication Studies from UCLA, her MS in Nutrition from San Jose State University, and completed her dietetic training at UCSF Medical Center. Toby specializes in eating disorders and mindful eating. 

Jazmin Rodriguez-Jordan

Jazmin Rodriguez-Jordan, RD, PhD

Jazmin Rodriguez-Jordan joined UHS in 2020 as a Registered Dietitian. Prior to joining UHS, she was a lecturer in the Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology Department at UC Berkeley. Jazmin received her BA in Latin American Studies and Sociology from the University of San Francisco, her PhD in Nutritional Biology from UC Davis, and completed a dietetic internship at UCSF. She loves being a mom to her growing toddler, taking hikes in the Oakland hills, riding bikes as a family, and reading great memoirs (if time permits).

Additional Languages: Spanish

Social Services Administrative Staff

Kimberly Mims

Kimberley Mims

Medical Withdrawl & Academic Adjustments Resource Specialist

Kimberley Mims is the lead administrative specialist for Social Services. She has been at UHS for 25 years. Over the span of her career, Kimberly has worked as a certified medical assistant (CMA) in Primary Care and as an administrative assistant in Social Services. Her areas of specialty are medical withdrawals and academic adjustments. One of Kimberly's favorite aspects of her work is connecting with students who have mental and physical challenges, and seeing them overcome those barriers so that they can successfully complete their education. She is dedicated, caring, skilled, and is beloved by her team and clients. 

Kimberly's hobbies include gardening, walking, and hosting one of her homes for temporary housing to traveling healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially her son Terrell, granddaughter Avery, and grandson, Zakari.

Gerald Suarez headshot

Gerald Suarez

Administrative Assistant

Gerald Suarez joined the UHS SOS team in 2018. He previously worked at the Opiate Treatment Outpatient Program at UCSF-Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Gerald received his BS in Health Education (emphasis on Community-Based Public Health) from San Francisco State University. He is also a certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT). Gerald enjoys traveling to new places, being outdoors, and trying food from all different cultures (he’s a foodie)!

Additional langauges: Tagalog