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Our Team

Our Faculty

  • Dara Steinberg, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology in the Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, and jointly appointed in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Psychiatry.  She specializes in pediatric psychology, working with children, adolescents, young adults, and their families, who have chronic and acute medical conditions, particularly in the areas of hematology, oncology, and stem cell transplantation.  Dr. Steinberg enjoys treating concerns related to adjustment, adherence, and the emotional and behavioral aspects of living with medical conditions.  Her research interests focus on the interaction between physiological and psychological health and well-being.  She is dedicated to providing evidenced-based treatment, translating research into clinical practice and  program development.   Dr. Steinberg graduated from Brown University and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Clinical psychology from Yeshiva University, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology.  She has worked with a broad range of patients from young children to older adults, presenting with a range of psychological and medical conditions.  She completed her clinical psychology internship, and two year fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine.  She was previously a psychologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Our Staff

Michelle Bombacie, MS, Dipl. Ac., (NCCAOM), LMT, L.Ac. Michelle is the Program Coordinator for the Integrative Therapies Program/Center for Comprehensive Wellness. Michelle received her Masters of Science in Acupuncture from Tri-State College of Acupuncture and her Massage Therapy degree from the New York College of Health Professions.  She previously served as a clinician for the Integrative Therapies Program and delivered Complementary and Alternative Therapies (CAM) to children and their families. She is co-author of a publication on non-pharmacological therapies for palliative cancer care and has been involved in research related to the use of integrative therapies with pediatric cancer patients. In 2005 she launched a Family Practice, specializing in Acupuncture Physical Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine for patients undergoing cancer treatment, and those experiencing myofascial pain and stress-related conditions. Michelle is currently a member of the core faculty at the Tri-State College of Acupuncture, where she has extensive teaching experience and curriculum development in the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.


Kathy Shea, MS, CPNP.  Kathy is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Center for Survivor Wellness. She provides health care services to survivors of pediatric cancer, with an emphasis on educating patients and their families on their treatment history, potential long-term effects of treatment, recommended screenings and lifestyle choices. She is co-investigator on the Transition Program, which aims to assess the needs of pediatric cancer patients and their families as they transition off therapy and provide necessary services that enrich quality of life. She is also piloting a program for inpatient nurses on fertility preservation. Kathy has over twenty-five years of experience providing primary care services to infants, children and adolescents in a variety of settings primarily to underserved communities.  Her past experience also includes care of children with human immunodeficiency virus, lactation counselor and medical champion for the Reach Out and Read program. Kathy has served on the executive board of the Greater New York chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and as preceptor to Columbia University School of Nursing students. She completed her BS degree at Villanova University and MS at Columbia University School of Nursing.
Caitlin McCaffrey, BA.  Caitlin McCaffrey is the Educational Liaison for the Center for Comprehensive Wellness.  She graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Elementary and Special Education.  Prior to joining the CUMC team, Caitlin spent five years teaching hospitalized students in grades K-12 on both pediatric oncology and behavioral health units, collaborating with various school districts in the tri-state area.  Caitlin is an education advocate and serves as a liaison between patients and their families, schools, and multidisciplinary treatment teams.  She educates school communities on our patients’ medical diagnoses and how treatment directly impacts school functioning and development, focusing on the appropriate school accommodations required for patients to achieve academic success.  Her goal is to educate families on their legal rights and to teach parents how to effectively advocate for their children. Caitlin is an active member of APHOES, the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Educational Specialists, and her position is supported through The Valerie Fund Children’s Center.
Raquel Similio, MS, LAc, LMT, CLT. Raquel works with both adult and pediatric patients at the Center for Comprehensive Wellness. She is a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist and Medical Massage Therapist with an Associates degree in Applied Science in Massage Therapy from the Healing Arts Program at the City University of New York and a Masters of Science in Acupuncture from Tri-State College of Acupuncture, one of the oldest acupuncture colleges in the nation. Raquel began her career with a comprehensive wellness center in Manhasset, NY, then worked with one of the largest orthopedic practices on Long Island. In 2006, she started specializing in palliative care and oncology patients. She is also certified in lymphedema therapy, reiki, cranio-sacral therapy, reflexology and pre- and post-operative massage technique.
Betsy Ginn, RD. Betsy is a research nutritionist and clinical research coordinator at the Center for Comprehensive Wellness. Her focus is on integrative nutrition and helping patients relieve treatment-related symptoms with diet. She also advises on general healthy eating and exercise. Prior to joining CUMC, Betsy taught nutrition, cooking, wellness, and movement to elementary school children. She is finishing her masters in nutrition education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and has a strong interest in sustainable nutrition and how our food choices impact the environment.
Gayla Marie Stiles, MS, L.Ac, CYT  has been devoted to working therapeutically with diverse populations throughout her life.  In 1999, Gayla completed her BFA in dance performance and pedagogy from Ohio University.  As a professional modern dancer she performed internationally and established outreach programs which used the the transformative, healing, and educational aspects of movement in schools, community centers, assisted living, and hospital settings.  She accumulated knowledge from her training in Laban Barteneiff Fundamentals, Pilates Method, Yoga, Vipassana meditation, and a Dance Medicine Internship. Having studied Iyengar and Hatha yoga since 1995, she ultimately completed her Vinyasa teacher training from OM Yoga Center, restorative yoga certification with Judith Lasater, Children’s Yoga with Marcia Monroe, and Pre/Post Natal Yoga with Colette Crawford.  She has supplementary training in Thai Yoga Massage, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Michael Shea, PhD, as well as the Upledger Institute. After retiring from the world of dance, Gayla became a founding member of The Garrison Institutes’ Transforming Trauma Initiative where she designed and implemented contempletively based resilience programs for survivors of domestic violence, substance abuse, and the agencies who support them.  The program evolved globally to include survivors of violence, human rights defenders, and humanitarian aid workers.  She received her Masters degree from Tristate College of Acupuncture. Gayla has continued her studies of Chinese Medicine and Trauma with Lonnie Jarret, Shonihari Japanese Pediatric Acupuncture with Takayuki Koei Kuwahara, Essential Oil Therapy with Jeffery Yuan, and Chi Nei Tsang with Karin Sorvik.
Suvekshya Aryal, MPH.  Suvu is the Global Health Research Coordinator for the Integrative Therapies Program. She received her Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology, including an Advanced Certificate in Global Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. At the Mailman School, she was awarded Mailman Scholar Scholarship, and the Earth Institute Sustainable Development Research Grant. After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, Suvu worked with several global agencies, including Helen Keller International, World Vision, UNICEF, and Save the Children while conducting childhood mental health research, and nutritional interventions. Her research background is in life sciences and public health. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology from Salem College, North Carolina. She was born and raised in Nepal and completed her high school education in Kathmandu. She is fluent in Nepali and Hindi.

Katie Irmler, BS. Katie is a research coordinator at the Center for Comprehensive Wellness, leading a multi-site Children’s Oncology Group trial focusing on the role of probiotics in children receiving stem cell transplants. Prior to joining the Center for Comprehensive Wellness, she conducted clinical trials with the adult neuro-oncology team at CUMC.  She received her BS from Cornell University.

Rebecca Santiago, BS.  Rebecca Santiago is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Center for Comprehensive Wellness. She works closely alongside several Principal Investigators to enroll patients and organize the start-up of clinical research trials within the Pediatric Survivor Wellness, Psycho-Social, and Neuro-Oncology areas. Prior to joining the CUMC team, Rebecca served as a Clinical Coordinator for metastatic breast cancer patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She received her BS in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and is completing her Masters of Social Work at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.


Sonia Lugo, MS. Sonia is a Child Life specialist at the Center for Comprehensive Wellness. She has been trained to help children and families overcome life's most challenging events. With a background in child development and family systems, she shows the families how to cope through play and self-expression. Her goal is to provide emotional support for families while encouraging the optimum development of children facing health issues. She received her MS from Bank Street College of Education.
Karen Turi, MSW and Candida Batista, MSW. Karen and Candida are outpatient Social Workers at the Center for Comprehensive Wellness. Together they have over 20 years experience in counseling, helping children and their families identify their strengths, deal with the consequences of illness and hospitalization, and plan for continuity of care. They assess each family's needs then offer emotional support, advocacy, crisis intervention, and assistance with discharge planning. As expert listeners and problem-solvers, they also field questions about benefits, grants and entitlements, providing families with an essential safety net. Karen received her MSW from Barry University and Candida received hers from Columbia University.