Joanna Savarese, Ph.D. is the Founder and Clinical Director of San Diego BrainWorks. Dr. Savarese is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who has specific focus in neuropsychological, psychoeducational, and psychological assessment. Her expertise is in the evaluation of Learning Disorders, ADHD, and differential diagnosis using psychological testing. She has worked extensively with children and adults providing both neuropsychological assessments and psychotherapeutic treatment. She has worked with various clinical populations including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Reading/Writing Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Dementia. Dr. Savarese is passionate about individuals receiving the proper diagnosis of learning disorders, such as dyslexia, and appropriate and effective treatment recommendations.
Dr. Savarese has more than 15 years of graduate and post-graduate experience in the field of psychology, neuropsychology, and assessment. Dr. Savarese has also been teaching at the college level for more than a decade and lectures in the community on topics such as: Understanding Neuropsychological Evaluations, Learning and the Brain, and Building a Positive Relationship with your Child. She has appeared on ESPN radio, NBC News San Diego, and has written articles for Parenting Magazine. She also wrote several features for the textbook The Neuroscience of Learning: Principles and Applications for Educators (2014).
Melanie Wu, D.O.
Board Certified Neurologist
Dr. Melanie Wu is a Board Certified neurologist at San Diego BrainWorks. Dr. Wu has specialities and expertise in the treatment of Headache and Movement disorders.
After graduating from Western University of Health Sciences, she completed her Neurology residence a Loma Linda University and her Fellowship at University of California San Diego. She was awarded the title of chief resident and is currently a member of AAN and the Movement Disorders Society.
Dr. Wu treats a variety of neurological conditions including tremors, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette’s syndrome, and ataxia. She has specific expertise in administering botulinum toxin (Botox) injections for disorders such as cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, headache and spasticity. She also conducts Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for a variety of conditions.
Dr. Wu focuses on caring for the whole person and has a strong commitment to individualized and holistic patient care. As an Osteopathic Practioner, she also offers Osteopathic Manipulations for headaches, jaw pain, migraine, and muscle tightness as part of her comprehensive care. Our approach at SDBW is focused on collaboration with the client and family, comfort, and improved quality of life.
Jessica Lenihan, PsyD
Dr. Lenihan is a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist whose expertise is the assessment of a wide variety of disorders, including traumatic and nonaccidental brain injury, concussion, seizure disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning differences, pediatric stroke, spina bifida and genetic disorders. She utilizes neuropsychological assessment in diverse contest in order to diagnose, plan intervention, conduct screenings and monitor progress with pediatric populations.
Dr. Lenihan provides a comprehensive assessment approach and tailored recommendations to assist with academic support, tutoring, psychotherapeutic treatment, and parental resources. She specializes in neuropsychological evaluations, Independent Educational Evaluations, psychoeducational evaluations, pre and post-surgical evaluations, and concussion management.
Dr. Lenihan received her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from an APA-accredited Clinical Psychology program at Loma Linda University with an emphasis in Child Clinical Psychology in Loma Linda, California. She completed her one-year internship in Pediatric Neuropsychology and Pediatric Psychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her two-year APPCN approved pediatric neuropsychology fellowship at Advanced Neurobehavioral Health of Southern California in San Diego, CA.
Lynn Warner, PhD
Licensed Clinical Neurpsychologist
Dr. Warner joins San Diego BrainWorks bringing over 30 years of experience to the practice. Dr. Warner has extensive experience in various settings, including Eastern Virginia Medical School, conducting comprehensive neuropsychological, intellectual, personality, and forensic assessments with ages 6 through 90. Dr. Warner also conducts Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE's) and comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations.
Negar Nazari, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Nazari is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, relationship issues, trauma, body image issues, eating disorders, chronic pain, academic/work challenges, identity and cultural issues, trauma, family of origin issues, and life transitions. Within the context of therapy, Dr. Nazari focuses on developing a strong therapeutic relationship so that clients can feel safe to explore their inner world uniquely. She is especially passionate about providing services to a diverse community, specifically those who may be marginalized or struggle to access services.
Dr. Nazari also has specialized training and experience providing psychological and neuropsychological assessments for various conditions including learning disorders, ADHD, Autism, PTSD, dementia, and differential diagnosis. Her experience consists of treating a variety of age groups, including children, adolescents, adults, and the geriatric population.
Dr. Nazari earned her B.S. and B.A. from the University of Georgia in Psychology and Sociology, respectively. She then went on to complete her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University, and her doctorate in clinical psychology from California School of Professional Psychology. Her clinical training has included working in crisis centers, hospitals, several university counseling centers, and private practice.
Danielle Barnett, PsyD
Danielle Barnett got her doctorate from the APA accredited Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL. During her training she emphasized neuropsychological assessment working at Northwestern and Rush Neurobehavioral Center. Here, Danielle worked on interdisciplinary teams to provide neuropsychological assessments to clients ranging from toddlers to geriatric, specializing in psychodiagnostic of severe mental illness, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disorders, attention difficulties, mood disorders, behavioral dysregulation, language disorders, and educational evaluations. Danielle also conducted assessments through University of Chicago doing research to gain insight towards math and reading anxiety.
Outside of assessment, Danielle also has experience giving individual, family, and group therapy with an interest in trauma and health psychology. Danielle has worked at a cancer center providing treatment for those affected by cancer, as well as a community mental health agency providing services to children and families with moderate to severe mental health needs. Danielle has an interest in Mindfulness, both incorporating it into her work as well as conducting research on the scientific processes underlying mindfulness practice. In addition to being in clinical practice, Danielle also teaches in Pepperdine’s Graduate Program and at MiraCosta College. In her spare time Danielle enjoys living back in San Diego with her husband where she tries to be outdoors as much as possible, enjoy yoga, and hosts game nights for family and friends. She is supervised by Dr. Joanna Savarese.
Elizabeth Dutcher, M.A., AMFT
Registered Associate of Marital and Family Therapy
Elizabeth specializes in the treatment of ADHD, depression, anxiety, and relational conflict in children, adolescents, and adults. Treatment strategies include helping clients in ADHD symptom management, gaining insight, developing mindfulness techniques, emotion regulation skills, communication skills, and parenting skills. Elizabeth works with each individual client or family to develop a tailored treatment program rooted in evidenced-based theory to truly meet their specific needs and help them achieve positive results in their lives.
Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from the California School for Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, and her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. Elizabeth’s clinical training includes Vista Hill’s ParentCare, UCSD Outpatient Psychiatric Services, and UCSD’s Co-Occurring Disorder Clinic. Elizabeth has also guest lectured on family therapy theories in USD’s graduate psychiatric nursing program.
Elizabeth takes a biopsychosocial approach to assessment and treatment of individuals, couples, and families. This is a holistic approach, facilitating collaboration among psychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevant care providers. Elizabeth believes this integrative approach is key to providing the best treatment outcomes for her clients.
Clinical supervisor: Dr. Joanna Savarese
Talia Seider, PhD
Licensed Clinical Neuropsychologist
Dr. Seider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with special training in Neuropsychology and Gerontology. She completed her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and worked at the UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center before earning her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida. She trained at UC San Diego for her pre-doctoral internship in Clinical Neuropsychology and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UC Los Angeles in Geropsychology.
She is a culturally sensitive neuropsychologist with experience conducting evaluations in Spanish. She specializes in assessment of individuals aged 55+ with concerns for cognitive decline related to age, Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementias. She has extensive training in assessment of adults with a variety of neurologic (e.g., traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis), medical (e.g., HIV, substance use disorders), and psychiatric (e.g., depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia) concerns. She also has experience evaluating learning disabilities and ADHD.
Her research background is in healthy cognitive aging and its neurological substrates. Aside from neuropsychological assessment and research, she has experience with cognitive intervention for healthy and cognitively impaired adults, individual and group psychotherapy, and caregiver support.
Ricky Metcalfe, PsyD
Dr. Metcalfe has worked in a number of clinical settings, including outpatient, residential treatment, integrated medicine, and behavioral medicine/inpatient psychiatric hospitals. His primary focus has been with youth and their families, providing both psychotherapy and comprehensive psychological evaluations. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from San Diego State University, followed by his Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. While completing his doctorate, Dr. Metcalfe enjoyed concurrent roles as an assessment specialist, group therapist, and individual therapist with children and adults at Loma Linda University’s Behavioral Medicine Center and through the Riverside University Healthcare System. As an adjunct to his graduate school work, Dr. Metcalfe also conducted psychological assessments with adults under the tutelage of some esteemed psychologists in San Diego.
His broad clinical training allows for a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes holism (i.e., mind-body-spirit). Through his work with clients from diverse backgrounds and varying demographics, Dr. Metcalfe has acquired valuable knowledge for understanding how others’ unique life experiences shape their values, worldview, and decision-making. He approaches his work with respect and care, and strives to offer excellence in exchange for the trust those he serves afford him. He is supervised by Dr. Joanna Savarese.