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Meet the team
Dr. Stephen Schmitz
Clinical Neuropsychologist, Director | Clinical and Scientific Advisor, DriveABLE
Dr. Stephen Schmitz is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and the founder and Clinical Director of The Brain and Behavior Clinic. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1985 and then was awarded a 2 year post doctoral fellowship position in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, studying under the direction of Dr. Robert Heaton.
Dr. Schmitz is an expert in traumatic brain injury and post concussion syndrome and is an accomplished forensic neuropsychologist. Ten years ago he developed the Sports Concussion Management Program, which emphasizes pre-season baseline cognitive testing for all athletes and is currently in use in Boulder, Douglas, Jefferson, Eagle, and Summit Counties. He is also the Clinical and Scientific Director for DriveABLE, an assessment tool which measures the cognitive competence of medically at risk persons to safely operate a motor vehicle. Dr. Schmitz served for 8 years as a Board Member and on the Executive Committee of the Brain Injury Association of Colorado. He also was on the Board of Directors of the Spinal Injury Foundation.
In his spare time he loves serving in indentured servitude to his wife, working in his backyard with it's menagerie of rabbits, dogs, and chickens, and going on 6-7 mile hikes carrying a 20lb. pack on his back. The fact that the pack only contains golf clubs is of no particular consequence.
Sandra Connors M.A., CCC-SLP
Sandra Connors wears a number of hats at The Brain and Behavior Clinic. She is our resident speech-language pathologist and provides treatment to all of our brain trauma patients as our cognitive rehabilitation specialist. Her focus is on developing and providing a holistic, patient-informed, and quality-of-life oriented approach, which focuses primarily on the practical issues of adaptation and the development of compensatory strategies. She is the manager of our Healthy Brain and Memory Program. She also speaks Spanish.
Sandra works as a volunteer at The Denver Hospice. She lives in Denver with her husband, their two dogs, and their lovebird. In her free time, she enjoys reading, travel, hiking, photography, and dancing Argentine tango.
Darin Pyatt, MA, LPC, CAC III
Darin Pyatt is the most experienced trauma counselor at The Brain and Behavior Clinic. She holds a degree of Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University and is certified in EMDR and Brainspotting techniques for the treatment of trauma. She has worked for many years in Children, Youth, and Families Prevention and Intervention programs and served for a number of years as the Clinical Supervisor and Program Manager at Boulder County Mental Health Partners, Inc. Darin is skilled at teaching mindfulness and meditative techniques for stress reduction, especially with trauma patients. She is a gentle soul who provides a strong therapeutic foundation for patients to deal with all of the complexities of their traumatic experiences. As if that were not all she is also a Level III Certified Addiction Counselor and is a Master Hypnotist.
Karin Dremel works as one of the trauma therapists at our Clinic. She began her training in psychological and counseling studies in 1982 after completing a six year apprenticeship in Finish Carpentry. She has received training in Hakomi Integrative Somatics, Somatic Experiencing, Family Constellation Processes, is a Certified Structural Integration Practitioner at the Rolfe Institute, and served as a staff member at the Colorado Center for Social Trauma. She just completed her Bachelor of Science degree and has been accepted into a Masters program in XXXXXXXX . Karin is a compassionate and caring practitioner who is highly skilled in helping trauma victims work through the physical, emotional, and cognitive consequences of their injuries. She brings an energizing life force to her work with all of her patients. In her spare time she likes to walk and contemplate her next trip back to her home in Heidelberg, Germany.
For the past 15 years Cynthia Henninger has served as the Brain and Behavior Clinic's Office Manager. She is a master organizer and is responsible to keep everything running properly and smoothly for all of our patients. She is an expert in answering all billing concerns and can assist in helping develop alternative payment methods on a case by case basis. Cynthia is the Erin Brockovich of our Clinic by possessing the remarkable capability of remembering details about every single one of our patients, their conditions, and their specific needs. During the long hours at work her French Bulldog, Mousse, always and faithfully keeps her company.
Heather Baldassar is our Chief Psychometrist and heads our Neuropsychological Testing Department. She is committed to helping patients and clients maximize their testing experience so that a true and accurate measurement of the optimal performance of their brain functioning is achieved. She is a highly meticulous and detailed professional who maintains strict normative standards of test administration and scoring, allowing for precise interpretation of the testing data by our clinic neuropsychologists regarding a patient's brain functioning. Heather puts everyone at ease with her warm and natural charm and helps easily guide each patient gently through the evaluation process.
In April 2015 Heather and her long-time sweetheart Steven were married on the beach in Jamaica. Despite her demure appearance Heather participates in Tough Mudder obstacle races annually.
Dr. Catherine Frantom
Dr. Catherine Frantom joined the Brain and Behavior Clinic in 2104. She earned her doctorate in psychology with a second concentration in statistics. She attended the University of Denver for her PhD, completed an APA accredited clinical internship, followed by an NIH funded T-32 fellowship at the University of Missouri in Columbia. She is a diplomate in Neuropsychology, board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology. She has been practicing for over 15 years and has broad experience working with neurological disorders and traumatic brain injury.
When not in the clinic she travels, runs, gardens, appreciates visual arts, and spends time with "The Boys", her two cats who have traveled with her throughout the world.
Dr. Mark Zacharewicz
Dr. Mark Zacharewicz joined The Brain and Behavior Clinic in 1997 after working for three years in a general Neuropsychology practice in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Prior to that position he had completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship appointment in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working under the direction of Dr. Charles Matthews, an internationally distinguished academician and neuropsychologist. Dr. Zacharewicz helped initiate the pioneering Memory Disorders Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and he developed a number of Dementia Clinics and a clinic for Attention Deficit Disorders while in Arkansas. Dr. Zacharewicz possesses a vast knowledge of the scientific foundations of neuropsychological assessment and diagnosis and is particularly skilled in providing expert testimony in forensic matters. He has a great deal of experience evaluating the neuropsychological aspects of a variety of general medical and psychiatric conditions and in conducting competency evaluations. Dr. Zacharewicz is a member of the International Neuropsychological Society, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, and is a past-president of the Colorado Neuropsychological Society. When not at the office he toils as low man on the totem pole at home under his wife, his daughter, and his son and daughter twin set.
Dr. Ilene Naomi Rusk
Neurobehavioral Consultant | Psychotherapy | Cognitive Rehabilitation
Dr. Ilene Rusk is a co-owner of The Brain and Behavior Clinic and spearheads our Healthy Brain and Rehabilitation and Treatment programs. She holds a prestigious M.Sc.Q, Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in England in Neuropsychopharmocology and has authored over 20 scientific research papers in areas as diverse as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and the effects of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters on behavior. She has previously completed 3 postdoctoral Fellowship positions in Conductive Education, Neural Tissue Transplantation, and the development of novel treatment strategies for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Rusk is a regular lecturer on the subject of the neuropsychological aspects of death and dying and leads an Embracing Life group at a local senior living facility. She is a cofounder of the Death Café in Boulder County and currently serves as the Vice-Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of The Grillo Health Information Center. She is also the clinical advisor to The Woman's Network.
Dr. Rusk is an expert skier and cook and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children when she isn't juggling 18 balls in the air all at the same time.
We are so pleased to have found Gracie, who has just joined our practice as our Patient Care Coordinator. Gracie is the primary contact for anyone seeking services in our offices. She knows how to get our patients processed efficiently into the system and is able to pre-certify all insurance based procedures. She helps normalize our patient's experiences at the Clinic by clearly explaining all of the processes and procedures they will individually undergo.