Mental Health Advisory Council

Mental Health Advisory Council Members

Joann Paley Galst, Ph.D., Chair

Joann Paley Galst is a founding member of the American Fertility Association, now known as Path2Parenthood (P2P) and a former member of the Board of Directors. She is currently the Co-director of Path2Parenthood Support Services and Chair of the P2P Mental Health Advisory Council. She is also a past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Mental Health Professional Group. Dr. Galst received her doctorate at Columbia University Teachers College, receiving a National Institute of Mental Health Graduate Fellowship, and obtained her undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She has taught at both the college and graduate school levels and worked as the staff psychologist at the Fertility Research Foundation. She is a licensed psychologist in New York with over 20 years of experience specializing in mind-body medicine and reproductive health issues, including infertility, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy and parenting after infertility and third party reproduction.

Elaine Gordon, Ph.D.

Elaine Gordon is a Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in infertility, child development, reproductive medicine, and third party family building. Besides her role as a therapist and group facilitator working with patients struggling with fertility related issues, she lectures on various topics surrounding the psychology of reproductive medicine. Dr. Gordon is the author of “Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy? Where some babies come from, a children’s book dedicated to explaining a child’s unique reproductive beginnings. Her professional associations include The American Psychological Association, and The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She has served as the educational chair for the Psychological Special Interest Group and participates on various group committees. Dr. Gordon’s clinical work involves individual therapy, group process for couples and individuals, staff training for programs involved in reproductive medicine and third party screening and evaluations. She also counsels birthmothers and prospective parents who are considering adoption. You can reach contact her at or go to her website,

Judy Kottick, L.C.S.W.

Judith Kottick, L.C.S.W. is a recognized expert in the field of reproductive counseling. She developed the psychological services components at the Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Sciences at St. Barnabas Medical Center and at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey. Gestational carrier and egg donor arrangements are particular areas of interest and are frequently the topics of symposiums and workshops she is invited to give in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Serving as a consultant to numerous infertility programs throughout the tri-state area, Judith currently maintains a private practice in Montclair, New Jersey. She draws upon her postgraduate training as a psychotherapist and in behavioral medicine from the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School to provide a personalized approach to helping people cope with the challenges of fertility treatment, pregnancy loss, adoption, and parenting. Involved as a mentor for Resolve Northeast region and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Judith has written numerous articles for professional organizations, and has also contributed a chapter to the book “Frozen Dreams.”

Piave Lake, M.D.

Dr. Lake received her Bachelor’s Degree in Italian Literature from Bryn Mawr College in 1992. She was graduated from Tulane School of Medicine in 1997. She completed her residency in General Adult Psychiatry at the McGraw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago in 2001 and served as Co-chief Resident during her fourth year of training. She became a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 2002. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the Mental Health Professional Group of ASRM. Dr. Lake has been in private practice as a general adult psychiatrist in Charleston, SC since 2002. She works individually with adults18 years to geriatric ages. She utilizes psychopharmacology and psychotherapy to treat a variety of problems, most commonly depression and anxiety. She has a special interest in treating those with infertility issues, women with perinatal and postpartum mood problems, and mood problems related to hormones. She also performs 3rd party evaluations, screenings and psychoeducational meetings for gamete donors, gestational carriers, and donor gamete recipients/intended parents. Please contact Dr. Lake at

Patricia Mendell, L.C.S.W.

Patricia Mendell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Certified Diplomat. She is the facilitator of the Path2Parenthood Ovum Donor Seminar Series. Patricia has served as Co-Chair of Path2Parenthood (P2P) since 2006. She is a member of the P2P Mental Health Advisory Board. Patricia is co-author of the fact sheet for P2P on “Talking to Children about Ovum Donation” reissued in 2009. In 2003 Patricia was a recipient of the Path2Parenthood Family Building Award and is a founding board member of the organization. Patricia has written and spoken extensively on numerous topics regarding fertility, third party reproduction and disclosure, parenting after fertility, multi-fetal reduction, and pregnancy loss and adoption. As an infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, she is well aware of the impact decision making choices on people’s lives. In her role as therapist and consumer advocate, she gives those seeking her help both practical and therapeutic advice on how to cope better with stress, resolve marital tensions and explore and select solutions to their family building dilemmas. Patricia holds a BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and an M.S. from Columbia University School of Social Work. She is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Mental Health Professional Group and a MHPG mentor. Patricia is married and is the proud mother of two sons David and Michael Singer. She and her husband have practices in New York City and reside in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

William Petok, Ph.D.

Bill Petok’s professional activities include the co-production of two films for training therapists, multiple journal articles, chapters in professional texts and regular presentations at state, national and international conferences. In addition to teaching in the resident training program at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1985 he has presented Grand Rounds to the medical staffs of hospitals around the country. A fellow of the Maryland Psychological Association, member of the American Psychological Association, and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Dr. Petok is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Maryland and listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He also is a Diplomate and Founding Fellow of the American Board of Sexology. A past Chair of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, he currently serves on the Executive Council of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and on the editorial board of ASRM’s journal, Sexuality, Menopause and Reproductive Medicine and is an associate editor of Post Graduate Obstetrics and Gynecology. Bill Petok earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His Doctorate is from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1978. His post doctoral training includes a year at the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C. and at Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital in the Sexual Dysfunctions Clinic. Bill is married to Barbara Schlaff, a partner at the law firm Venable in Baltimore. Together they have 2 children, Ben, born in 1981, and Alison, born in 1985. His personal interests include cooking, photography, sailing and down hill skiing.

Deborah Simmons, Ph.D., L.M.F.T

Dr. Deborah Simmons is co-owner of Partners in Healing of Minneapolis. She is a marriage and family therapist who has been working with individuals, couples and families in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN for 19 years. She works actively with adults to resolve a variety of concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse, health problems, and relationship issues. Often working in collaboration with physicians, nurses, and genetics counselors, she employs a variety of techniques in her work, including clinical hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and energy work. She has found that the use of humor and improvisation is helpful in finding new solutions to life's challenges. Dr. Simmons specializes in reproductive complications. This includes fertility challenges, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, fetal anomalies, premature delivery, and stillbirth. She often is sought out by women with postpartum depression and anxiety. She consults to reproductive medicine clinics and OB-GYN clinics in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She also works with fertility clinics and third party reproductive agencies around the country to provide assessments and testing of potential egg donors and gestational carriers. She is a frequent speaker for the Midwest Region of RESOLVE. She received her PhD in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota. Prior to working as a therapist, Dr. Simmons worked as a Congressional aide and lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and a health care policy analyst in St. Paul. She is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Minnesota Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She is also a professional member of RESOLVE and Path2Parenthood.


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