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Ferkauf and Wurzweiler to Host March 31 Panel on Eating Disorders

Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Wurzweiler School of Social Work will host a presentation on “Dispelling Myths: Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community,” on March 31 at YU’s Israel Henry Beren Campus in midtown.

Eating disorders—which affect people of all ages and ethnicities and have the highest premature mortality rate of any mental illness—are often kept hidden, complicating treatment and prevention efforts. Recognizing the seriousness and increasing prevalence of eating disorders, Ferkauf and Wurzweiler are training more psychologists and social workers to diagnose and treat people who suffer from these devastating illnesses.

The event, cosponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), will be open to the public and feature three experts in the field: Dr. Esther Altmann, an educator and clinical psychologist in private practice who served as an eating disorders consultant to Jewish organizations; Ilene V. Fishman, a social worker specializing in the treatment of eating disorders who taught Wurzweiler’s first elective course on the topic last fall; and Dr. Yael Latzer, professor at Haifa University and director of the Eating Disorders Clinic of Rambam Medical Center, which she founded in 1992. Read the rest of this entry…


Researchers to Study Diabetes Self-Management and Behavioral Interventions

More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, yet as many as 60 percent of type 2 diabetes patients do not follow treatment plans prescribed by their health care provider and about 50 percent fail to meet treatment recommendations for control of blood glucose levels. Consistent adherence to oral medications and injectable insulin, both used to keep blood glucose levels in check, is particularly challenging among young patients and ethnic minorities. Consequences are significant: lack of adherence can lead to or exacerbate eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.


Dr. Jeffrey Gonzalez

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Graduate Profile: Nuttha Udhayanang, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

A common spirit runs throughout Yeshiva University: the mandate to matter.

Students of all ages and backgrounds come here to pursue a range of professional and personal dreams, from scientific research and medicine to law, Jewish education or public policy. Our students seek to harness their unique talents and YU education to make a lasting impact on the world around them. This spring, when they graduate from YU, these new alumni will hit the ground running.

In the weeks leading up to CommencementYU News will feature one remarkable graduate from each school, reflecting, in their own words, on their time here, their passions and their dreams for the future.

Meet the Class of 2013.


Ferkauf’s Nuttha Udhayanang hopes to assist those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in her native Thailand.

Name: Nuttha Udhayanang

School: Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Research Focus: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Read the rest of this entry…


Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Sciences Student Research Conference Highlights Diverse Fields of Study at YU

On May 10, Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School for Psychology and Center for Public Health Sciences hosted their 10th annual Behavioral and Social Sciences Student Research Conference Program. Known as YU Research Day, the interdisciplinary event highlights the work of students at Stern College for Women, Yeshiva College and the Sy Syms School of Business alongside presentations from students at YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Wurzweiler School of Social Work and Ferkauf.

Research Day 1-2“I am constantly reminded that people go into the field of psychology because they want to build civilization, they want to explore ideas and they’re wise enough to know that they don’t want to live in an enclosed bubble,” said YU President Richard M. Joel in his opening remarks to students. “They want to break down silos, bring their disciplines to play with other disciplines and inspire young people to explore their dreams and make those dreams come true.”

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Ferkauf’s Sarah Kate Bearman Bridges the Chasm Between Psychological Research and Practice

As a camp counselor, Sarah Kate Bearman was always intrigued by the “problem” kids—the high-energy, high-maintenance kids who had trouble following the rules and tried everyone else’s patience. Unlike many of her peers, Bearman saw children who didn’t really differ from better-adjusted, happier campers beneath the moodiness and attitude.

“I saw so much typical child behavior in these kids,” she said. “When children first start to develop problems with anxiety or depression, they don’t look that different than other kids—because they’re not. The older they get, though, the wider that gap grows.”

Bearman hopes to offer children effective mental health treatment in the early stages.

Bearman, now an assistant professor at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, kept thinking about that gap. It provided so much time for intervention: in theory, the earlier she could catch a child starting to slip, the more successful she could be in steering his or her developmental path back to a normal trajectory. After college, Bearman decided to become a child psychologist, completing a two-year research assistantship in pediatric pharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital and pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and a postdoctoral fellowship at Judge Baker Children’s Center of Harvard Medical School.

Bearman initially planned to research how disorders such as depression developed. But when she began her externship in clinical settings, she noticed a troubling phenomenon. Read the rest of this entry…


Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology Partners with Bronx Psychiatric Center on Innovative Treatment Training for Mentally Ill

Dr. Lata K. McGinn, associate professor and director of the clinical psychology program at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, has received a $470,782 federal grant through the Affordable Care Act to provide training for the continuous treatment of the severely and persistently mentally ill.

Only 11 graduate schools from across the country received the grant awarded by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius through the Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training Grant program, which was authorized as a part of the Affordable Care Act. Ferkauf received the second largest grant and is the only recipient that will create an affiliated internship program.

“There are hundreds of clinical programs in the country, so the fact that Ferkauf is among the few schools to secure this grant speaks highly of the quality of training here,” said McGinn. “One of the things that make us unique is that we offer equal training in assessment, treatment and research, which leads to students being comprehensively trained.”

McGinn added that Ferkauf “exposes students to different modalities of psychotherapy which is relatively rare. As a result, our students are better positioned for diverse job opportunities because there is no gap or hole in their training.” Read the rest of this entry…

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Congressman Patrick Kennedy to Deliver Keynote Address at November 11 Event

Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy will deliver the keynote address at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology’s 55th Anniversary Gala Celebration. The event will take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on Sunday, November 11 at 5 p.m.

Ferkauf will honor Patrick Kennedy on behalf of his advocacy of mental health services and research.

Congressman Kennedy and his father, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will be recognized for their work as champions of the Mental Health Parity Bill and their advocacy of mental health services and research. In May 2011, Patrick Kennedy helped launch an initiative called One Mind for Research to improve funding and unify research efforts in brain science.

“I appreciate this honor, especially for my father, and I am glad to be partnering with Ferkauf to advance the cause of mental health services and research,” said Kennedy. Read the rest of this entry…

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Researchers at Einstein and Ferkauf Find “Personality Genes” May Help Account for Longevity 

“It’s in their genes” is a common refrain from scientists when asked about factors that allow centenarians to reach age 100 and beyond. Up until now, research has focused on genetic variations that offer a physiological advantage such as high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. But researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being outgoing, optimistic, easygoing and enjoying laughter as well as staying engaged in activities may also be part of the longevity genes mix.

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In Rwanda to Teach Others, Ferkauf’s Carl Auerbach Learns Something New Himself

Dr. Carl Auerbach, professor of psychology at YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, recently returned from Rwanda where he taught courses in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the National University of Rwanda as part of a Fulbright Fellowship.

Dr. Carl Auerbach has received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach the psychology of trauma in Rwanda.

Dr. Carl Auerbach spent the fall semester teaching trauma in Rwanda as a Fulbright Fellow.

In the fall semester of 2011 I traveled to Rwanda on sabbatical, having been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research at the National University of Rwanda. I went from classrooms where the largest class size was 20 to 30 students, most of whom were white and all of whom spoke English, to classrooms of 80 to 100 students, none of whom were white and only about half of whom spoke English. I went from a cozy apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to an African hotel, where the fact that the power failed at least once a day was compensated for by the invariable cheerfulness of the desk clerk who assured me that the power would be back in no time at all, which it usually was. I went from a culture of rushing to a culture of greeting. From a work environment where I would nod to my colleagues in passing as we hurried to our offices, to a work environment where it was rude not to shake hands with someone you know when you encounter them and to inquire about their health and state of mind.

In short, my sabbatical in Rwanda was a life-changing experience.

In Rwanda, I taught a lot of the same material that I teach at Ferkauf. I taught a course on the psychology of trauma and trauma treatment, and a course on qualitative research methodology. I also taught a course on psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy to the clinical psychology undergraduates.

My emotional reactions to Rwanda were complex and contradictory. Rwanda was horrifying and appalling, yet it was also inspiring and amazing. I was horrified when students told me stories of unimaginable trauma, of hiding in the bush and watching their families killed, of somehow surviving after being left to die, of brutal rape and sexual violence. I was inspired when I heard one student say to another, “It is possible that your father killed my father, but that is in the past. Now we are both students at the university and we need to work together if we are to have a future.”

The Fulbright experience changed me, both professionally and personally. Professionally, it forced me to rethink our Western theories of trauma and recovery. In the West, an individualistic society, we conceive of trauma as something that happens to individuals and trauma therapy as work with these individuals. In Rwanda, a communal society that experienced the collective trauma of the genocide, our Western theories do not directly apply.

Auerbach with students at the National University of Rwanda.

I am currently planning research on collective trauma and recovery. I am also rethinking my views on resilience, having witnessed the incredible recovery of the Rwandan people. I intended to study trauma in Rwanda, and there was a lot to be found. But there was an amazing amount of resilience there as well, as is shown in the students’ capacity to move on with their lives. My future research will also be concerned with the psychological and social processes that make such resilience possible.

Rwanda also changed me personally. When I first returned from Rwanda I was struck by the incredible wealth of America and how much we take it for granted. The money my wife and I spent on the dinner to celebrate my return would have fed a Rwandan student for a month. Even something as prosaic as Internet access was dictated by one’s wealth. When I first thought about teaching in Rwanda, I planned to put my course material online so that the students could print it out. Upon arrival, I learned that only the relatively rich students own computers and others make do with the computers they can borrow. Moreover, students don’t print out articles; they read them on the computer screen because paper is expensive.

My hope is that Yeshiva University will develop more connections with Rwanda, both at the individual and the institutional levels. It would be wonderful to create more student exchanges, in which students from YU travel to Rwanda to meet students at the National University, and vice versa. It would also be desirable to set up official ties between Yeshiva University and the National University of Rwanda. Rwanda enriched my life and it could enrich the life of others as well.

Dr. Carl Auerbach is professor of psychology at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. He can be reached at The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to Yeshiva University.


From New Master’s Programs to a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education, Yeshiva University Expands its Offerings

Graduate education at Yeshiva University continues to thrive—and grow. A new Executive MBA program and master’s programs in arts and education join an academic landscape already home to one of the nation’s top medical schools, one of the finest law schools, and leading graduate schools for social work, psychology, Jewish studies and Jewish education and administration.


In the past year, the University has introduced a variety of new master’s and certificate programs and expanded existing ones, in response to student demand and interest.

  • The Center for Executive and Professional Education at the Syms School of Business will launch an Executive MBA program in August, featuring classes on Sundays.
  • Syms’ MS Program in Accounting, now in its third year, is continuing its successful expansion and has nearly tripled in size since its inception. A new feature offers classes during the summer for non-accounting majors who choose to attend.
  • YU’s Graduate Programs in Arts and Sciences is also expanding its offerings. The math department unveiled a new PhD program in Mathematical Sciences this past fall, a selective program open to students who have already completed 60 credits of graduate-level study.
  • The math department is also continuing to offer its MA program in mathematics, currently in its second year, in addition to a BA-MA option that is now open to current YU students who wish to take graduate level courses during their senior year on campus and apply those credits toward a master’s degree.
  • The department of economics is launching a new MS program in quantitative economics (MQE), slated to begin in September. It is considered a pre-experience program, open to recent college graduates. Similar to the master’s in math, the MQE also includes a BA-MS option open to current YU students who wish to earn credits towards their graduate degree.
  • This past fall, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration introduced an Accelerated Master’s Program in Jewish education.  The one year, full time program balances intensive course study alongside practical teaching experience in the classroom.  A select cohort of ten students proceed through the program together, enriching one another by sharing their knowledge and learning experiences.  The program is fully sponsored by the Jim Joseph Foundation and applications are currently being accepted for the fall, 2012 cohort.
  • Azrieli Graduate School continues to expand program offerings and was recently approved by the New York State Education Department to offer two new Master’s degrees leading to New York State teaching certification.  Students who hold an initial certification in Childhood Education 1-6 can now enroll at Azrieli in the 36-credit Advanced Childhood Education 1-6 program leading to NYS professional teacher certification.  Students who wish to teach at the middle/high school level can enroll in a 42 credit Adolescence Education program leading to initial/professional certification in grades 7-12 biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, social studies, English and Hebrew.  Additionally, undergraduate students can begin these MS programs as seniors in the joint BA/MS program with Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women.  Both certification programs will begin in the fall, 2012.
  • The Institute for University-School Partnership, with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, currently has 51 educators enrolled in the 2nd year of its Online Certificate Programs in Differentiated Instruction, Educational Technology Integration, and Student Support. In the coming year they will be adding a brand new program in Online/Blended Instruction and Design. Each online program lasts 30 weeks and is broken up into 3 courses of 10 weeks each. These programs are taught entirely online and asynchronously with weekly assignments and outstanding instructors who provide weekly feedback and practical take-aways to enhance the learning of students in the classroom.
  • For the first time this year, the Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) partnered with the Machon Puah Institute to offer a certificate program for graduates of YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary to educate them on halachic and medical issues related to infertility.
  • In June, the CJF will launch the second installment of its Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education, sponsored by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The curriculum comprises four seminars that focus on the theories and applications of experiential education: imparting values, creating experiences, cultivating communities and self development. Participants are also connected with a mentor who works with one on one and guides them in developing a final focal project.
  • Learn more about all of YU’s graduate schools by visiting