President: Marni L. Jacob, Ph.D., ABPP
Boca Raton, FL
Dr. Jacob is a Board-Certified, Licensed Psychologist with extensive training in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & Related Disorders. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia, and she completed her APA-accredited clinical internship at the University of Florida (UF) Health Sciences Center, with a primary focus in the UF OCD Program. She then completed a 3-year fellowship at the University of South Florida (USF) Rothman Center for Neuropsychiatry, which specializes in research and treatment for OCD and Related Disorders.
Dr. Jacob has published over 45 peer-reviewed journal articles, written several book chapters, and engaged in numerous presentations on OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders. Currently, she has a group practice, the Jacob Center for Evidence-Based Treatment in Boca Raton, FL, which specializes in treatment for OCD, O-C Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Phobias. She also serves as a faculty member for the IOCDF’s Pediatric Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) and Online Consultation Group series. Prior to serving as President of OCDCSFL, Dr. Jacob was a founding board member of OCDCSFL and served as Vice-President from 2015-2018. Dr. Jacob is excited to continue OCDCSFL’s efforts to spread awareness about OCD and related disorders, increase access to effective treatment and resources, and foster a sense of community for those affected by OCD.
Vice President: Katie Merricks, Ph.D.
Dr. Merricks received her Ph.D. from the combined program in Counseling and School Psychology from Florida State University and is a licensed psychologist. Dr. Merricks specializes in CBT with an emphasis on ERP for treating OCD and Related Disorders. She completed training at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg Florida. Dr. Merricks also completed training at the University of South Florida’s (USF) Rothman Center for Neuropsychiatry focusing on OCD and Related Disorders. More recently. Dr. Merricks worked two years at Rogers Behavioral Health focusing on the treatment of children and adolescents with OCD and Related Disorders. She now works full-time in a private practice in Clearwater, Florida focusing on individuals with OCD and anxiety-related disorders. Dr. Merricks looks forward to being a part of the change that will take place in the community because of OCDCSFL.
Assistant Treasurer: Joseph Brand, Ph.D.
Delray Beach, FL
Dr. Brand first became involved in OCD research and treatment as an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, and he went on to receive his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fordham University. He now works in Delray Beach at the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, where he specializes in treating anxiety, OCD and related disorders. Dr. Brand is excited for the opportunity to serve on the board of OCDCSFL and hopes to make a significant contribution in raising awareness about OCD and helping those who suffer find an appropriate, effective treatment.
Treasurer: Lori Aitken, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Lori Aitken is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with almost 30 years of clinical experience. She has specialized in the treatment of OCD and related disorders for the past 15 years.
Lori began her career as a CPA upon graduation from Indiana University’s School of Business. She soon realized she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others and began to take classes in psychology while continuing to work at a “Big 8” accounting firm. She ultimately attained her Master’s degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.
After owning a private practice in the Chicago area, Lori moved to Tampa in 2017 and worked in Rogers Behavioral Health’s Anxiety and OCD Program. She currently owns a private practice, Anxiety Center of Tampa, which specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults with OCD, anxiety, and related disorders.
In addition to advanced training in CBT, Lori is a graduate of the International OCD Foundation’s Behavioral Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) and has completed a training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Dr. Steven Hayes, one of ACT’s founders. She is currently studying Inference-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD so that she can offer clients an alternative evidence-based approach to OCD treatment.
Lori is excited to be able to combine both her clinical and business expertise in her role as Assistant Treasurer to the Board of OCDSFL.
Secretary: Lindsay Stewart, Ph.D.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dr. Lindsay Stewart received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and completed specialized training at the University of Miami in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including Exposure and Response Prevention, for OCD and Anxiety Disorders. Dr. Stewart currently serves at the clinical supervisor for the Anxiety Treatment Clinic at Nova Southeastern University where she trains doctoral students in the provision of evidence-based treatment for anxiety, OCD, and related concerns. Dr. Stewart also maintains a private practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Stewart is excited about the opportunity to be involved with OCDSCFL and increase awareness of OCD, and resources available for people affected by OCD throughout the Central and South Florida community.
Marketing Chair: Lori Merling, Ph.D.
West Palm Beach, FL
Dr. Lori Merling is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Florida whose clinical practice focuses heavily on OCD, OC-spectrum, and Anxiety Disorders.
Dr. Merling grew up in Montreal, Quebec, where she completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University in Humanistic Studies with a concentration in Race and Ethnic Relations. Dr. Merling then completed post-baccalaureate studies in Psychology at Concordia University, during which time she headed the volunteer and networking group for the Canadian Institute for OCD. Dr. Merling subsequently obtained a Masters and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University (NSU), where her research and studies centered around OCD and related disorders, and she served as the coordinator for NSU’s Anxiety Treatment Center and OCD and Related Disorders Clinic.
Dr. Merling completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Institute of Living’s Anxiety Disorders Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and her post-doctoral training at Rogers Behavioral Health in Miami, where she functioned as the clinical supervisor for 3 years. Dr. Merling is currently the Clinical Director of The Sydney Merling Center for OCD and Anxiety in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Board Member at Large: Marcia H Rabinowits, Psy.D
Marcia H Rabinowits, Psy.D, is a licensed psychologist specialized in the treatment on Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as anxiety disorders.
Dr. Rabinowits graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She earned her Master of Science in mental health counseling from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and received her Doctor of Clinical Psychology, from Spalding University–School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Rabinowits completed her clinical internship at the Seven Counties Internship Consortium and her post-doctoral fellowship at McLean Hospital Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI).
After completing her training, Dr. Rabinowits worked as a staff psychologist at McLean Hospital – OCD Institute and in private practice. After moving to Miami, Dr Rabinowits served as the clinical director at Rogers Behavioral Health Miami. Currently, she is dedicating her time and knowledge to her private practice (CBT Clinic for OCD and Anxiety) and offers specialized treatment to the Miami community. In addition to her passion to OCD treatment, Dr. Rabinowits is passionate about multicultural issues and has been involved in providing access to treatment to the Latinx community.
Board Member at Large: Jason Spielman, Psy.D.
Palm Beach, Florida
Jason Spielman, Psy.D., a Florida Licensed Psychologist, is the Clinical Director of the Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Florida. For 20 years, Dr. Spielman has treated individuals and families specializing in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Anxiety Disorders (social anxiety, general anxiety, school anxiety), Panic Disorder, Tic Disorders, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Trichotillomania, Body-Focused Repetitive Disorders (BFRD’s), Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections/ Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANDAS/PANS), the Fear of Flying, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Dr. Spielman is a graduate of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation Pediatric Behavior Therapy Training Institute (IOCDF PBTTI), has primary and advanced certification in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) from the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City, is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the PANDAS Network, is the President of the Broward Chapter of the Florida Psychological Association (FPA), and a Federal Key Psychologist.
Board Member at Large: Rashesh Dholakia, MD, MPH
Child, Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist
Altamonte Springs, FL
Dr. Dholakia is a board-certified psychiatrist who works with people of all ages to help enable mental, emotional, and behavioral changes that lead to improving and maximizing well-being. In addition to his work with children, teens, and their families, he helps corporate executives, physicians, and other professionals with stressful careers create balance and equanimity in their lives.
Dr. Dholakia specializes in psychopharmacology and uses evidence-based treatments—including medication management, appropriate psychotherapeutic recommendations, and lifestyle adjustments—to ensure your treatment plan offers you the best possible support. Dr. Dholakia treats a wide range of pediatric and adult disorders, with a special interest in OCD. Dr. Dholakia also provides comprehensive second opinion evaluations for complex cases that are not responding to treatment
Board Member at Large: Gwilym Roddick, DSW, LCSW
Anxiety and Addictions Specialist Orlando, FL
Dr. Gwilym Roddick (he/him), is the Founder and Director of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy of Central & South Florida, PLLC, Central Florida’s first multi-specialty group therapy practice specializing in CBT and related evidence-based therapies.
Dr. Roddick has received graduate degrees from Columbia University (Masters) and Rutgers University (Doctorate). Dr. Roddick is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), the New York City Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Association (NYC-CBT), and the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). With ABCT, he has served for several years on the Public Education and Media Dissemination Committee.
Throughout his career, Dr. Roddick has trained and supervised Psychologists, Psychotherapists, and Psychiatrists in CBT and ACT for Anxiety disorders and Addictions. Dr. Roddick has a particular expertise in working with someone with both OCD and a co-occurring addiction.
Additionally, Dr. Roddick maintains his over decade long practice in New York City and also serves as a clinician for the nonprofit Headstrong Project and Journalist Trauma Support Network, providing confidential individual and group psychotherapy to Post 9/11 Veterans and Journalists throughout the United States.
Co-Chair of Annual OCD Awareness Walk: Blaise Amendolace, Psy.D.
Boca Raton, Florida
Dr. Blaise Amendolace is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, professor, consultant, and trainer/organizer. Dr. Amendolace has over 15 years of experience in diverse mental health settings, serving in the roles of Clinical Director, Assessment Coordinator, Training Coordinator, Adjunct Faculty, and member of various Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees across multiple university settings. He is an active member of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science, member of the City of Coral Springs Multicultural Advisory Committee, and a volunteer coach for various youth sports.
Dr. Amendolace received his Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, graduating with honors in the major. He received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Florida Institute of Technology. He is a past recipient of the Florida Psychological Association’s Early Career Contributions to Psychology Award for his advocacy, teaching, and research contributions to the field.
Currently, Dr. Amendolace is the Clinical Director at Anxiety Institute in Boca Raton, Florida, a specialty clinic providing evidence-based, state of the art Intensive Outpatient Treatment for youth and young adults suffering with anxiety and OCD-related disorders.
Previous Board Members:
Natalie Noel, LMHC: President (2015-2018)
Karina Dach, LMHC
Nicole McCutchan, LCSW
Karan Lamb, PsyD