Announcing New Clinical Leadership at New York Center for Living

Founded on a Desire to Help

The New York Center for Living was founded in 2007, by Elizabeth Kabler, to fulfill a dire need in New York City to address the developmentally unique challenges of adolescents, young adults and their families facing issues of substance use and associated mental health disorders.

Over a decade later, we have witnessed the ravages of the drug epidemic permeate every demographic sector. We have seen our dire need to address substance use disorder with adolescents and young adults become ever more layered with complexity. Assessment and treatment now require expertise in concurrently managing issues of substance use, addictive and behavioral disorders, trauma and social isolation in a world composed of instant digital connection.

Using Modern Treatment for Modern Families

At NYCFL, we recognize that we sit on the cusp of legalization of marijuana and the targeting of young people with the allure of cartridges filled with flavorful nicotine. Families are yearning for supportive and accurate guidance to navigate this new frontier. Contemporary programming requires a blend of evidence-based practices that resonate with this critical stage of development, embedded within a family-centric model. We believe treatment needs to be engaging to teens and young adults and delivered in an inviting manner.

NYCFL is a guiding force for young people and their families to get the most contemporary approach for tackling substance use and mental health issues. Most are the place to turn to for schools, physicians, mental health providers, colleagues and families to obtain quality assessment and guidance as to the next steps towards intervention.

Leading the Pursuit of Quality Care

The Board of Directors of the New York Center for Living are therefore thrilled to announce that we have hired a new Chief Executive Director/Chief Clinical Director, Dr. Audrey Freshman, PhD, LCSW, CASAC, as well as a new Medical Director, Dr. Maria Alikakos, DO, to lead us into our next phase of growth and continue to drive our pursuit of the highest quality care.

Our New Chief Executive and Clinical Director

Dr. Audrey Freshman, PhD, LCSW, CASAC

Dr. Audrey Freshman, PhD, LCSW, CASAC brings to NYCFL a vision that is derivative of a profession that has converged on all of the foundational theories, practices and ideals that will continue to make our center the premier treatment facility for adolescents, young adults and their families. Her life work has included a blend of psychiatric knowledge first gleaned at NYS Psychiatric Institute, followed by decades of practice in the field of substance use disorder. Most notably, Dr. Freshman served as Associate Director at a major Long-Island based non-profit NYS OASAS program targeting adolescents and young adults where she helped to create and oversee a school/family/community-based model of treatment.

Since 2011, her knowledge of contemporary research and evidence-based practices have been accelerated in her position as Director of Continuing Education and Director of the Postgraduate Program in Addictions at Adelphi University. During her tenure at Adelphi, she has been a leader in the academic field in offering the highest quality education and postgraduate certificate training, collaborating extensively with local and national treatment providers to meet the needs of mental health professionals throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

Dr. Freshman has published and presented extensively on the subject of adolescent addiction and has conducted research on the intergenerational transmission of PTSD as a risk factor for substance use disorder. Dr. Freshman received her B.A. from NYU in psychology, her M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University and her PhD in Clinical Social Work from New York University.

Our New Medical Director

Dr. Maria N. Alikakos, DO

Dr. Maria N. Alikakos, DO, comes to NYCFL with the mission of delivering a tailored and holistic treatment approach using patient centered evidence-based medicine combined with extensive psychiatric knowledge. Her ability to offer individualized and highly-specialized care stems from the unique blend of actively practicing in four different treatment settings — inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and primary care. Dr. Alikakos places tremendous value in truly understanding each person’s unique situation so she can form a genuine connection with patients and their families — this allows her to effectively offer superior care and achieve sustainable results. She develops a collaborative relationship with her patients inspiring them to become invested in their treatment plan and empowering them to succeed in their treatment goals.

Dr. Alikakos is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinaiand an Attending Psychiatrist at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel psychiatric emergency room. She is also the Director of Behavioral Health at Community Health Initiatives, a primary care facility and federally qualified health center in Brooklyn where she led the integration of psychiatry and social work with primary care.

Dr. Alikakos completed her residency in General Adult Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Health System, Beth Israel Medical Center followed by Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship training at the The Mount Sinai Hospital where she was Chief Fellow. She then focused on Addiction Medicine leading to the position of Director of Psychiatric Services at Realization Center outpatient chemical dependency program where she spent the last 7 years while also being an Attending Psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital. Dr. Alikakos spent a significant part of her practice training residents and fellows in psychiatry and addiction medicine. Dr. Alikakos has a special interest in Global Medicine and is the CEO of The Global Physicians Corps, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2006.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Audrey Freshman and Dr. Maria Alikakos on their new roles.

Updated November 2019

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