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.

 

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

Director of Social Services

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 healing, sexual and relationship violence, chronic health impacts, body image, disordered eating, mindfulness, wholistic wellness, EFT Tapping, Muslim mental health.

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 

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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

Sarah Abbas, MSW, ASW

Pronouns: she/her

Sarah Abbas, MSW, ASW is a 1st year Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellow, having received her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She received her BA in Psychology from Oakland University. Sarah is an awardee and member of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and The National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. She completed her clinical social work internship in a federally qualified health center, providing outpatient substance use services and integrated behavioral health care.

Sarah’s clinical interests include integrative mental health and wellness, anxiety and mood disorders, holistic care, trauma-informed care, mindfulness-based therapies, adventure therapy, experiential therapy, nature therapy, laughter therapy, and interpersonal therapy. She’s also interested in substance use treatment and harm reduction, intersectional identity development, women’s health and healing, social justice, community preventive services, support, and outreach and BIPOC, SSWANA, and Muslim mental health and well-being. 

Hailing from Dearborn, MI, Sarah enjoys taking scenic drives, going on road trips, exploring nature trails, kayaking, camping, and dabbling in art.

Angelica Yi, MSW, ASW

Angelica Yi, MSW, ASW

Pronouns: she/her/hers and they/them/theirs

Angelica Yi, MSW, ASW, is a 1st year Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellow. She received her MSW from Cal State LA and a BA in Gender Studies from UCLA. 

Angelica’s clinical interests include decolonizing therapy, strengths-based therapy, harm-reduction therapy, intersectional/multicultural counseling, LGBTQ+ identity and related concerns, API/Asian American identity, disordered eating/eating disorders, body image, self-compassion, religion and spirituality (particularly Christian faith), perfectionism, self-care, and mindfulness.  She has worked as a mental health counselor at a middle school in East LA and as an adult outpatient clinician within the Department of Mental Health in LA County. 

Angelica identifies as a queer and bisexual, second-generation Korean American person. She has experience facilitating spaces for those who identify as LGBTQ+, Christian, and POC (predominantly API communities).

Angelica loves cultivating creativity daily through playing guitar and piano, singing, and dancing. She also enjoys staying active, cooking, baking, and reading. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local farmers’ markets, thrift stores, parks, and libraries.

2nd Year Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellows

A 2nd-Year Post-MSW Clinical Social Work Fellow is pictured

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.

A clinical social work fellow is pictured

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 chronic disease prevention, food security, and weight concerns.

Sarah Minkow, MS, RD

Sarah Minkow, MS, 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. 

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