Board Members, Mifne USA

Noya. Dekel, Psy.D, is a clinical and program supervisor of Early Childhood Mental Health (birth to five) program at Children’s Institute. Inc.  For the last twenty years she has been working with high risk young children and their families. She started her training in infant mental health in Israel, and continued her training at the Jewish Board of Child’s and Family Community Services (JBCFS) in New York City. Since her arrival in Los Angeles she has worked with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental and mental health needs in community mental health agencies. She has continued her professional training with Patricia Van Horn PhD, she is committed to an integrative approach when serving infants and young children with autism and with other challenges, and their families. She is a founding board member of Mifne USA.

Wendy Parise

Wendy Parise, M.Ed., is a professor at Santa Monica College and currently teaches a variety of early childhood education and early intervention courses.  She possesses 3 CA teaching credentials and a Master’s Degree in Special Education.  Before joining the faculty at Santa Monica College Wendy taught for 25 years in both private and public school programs.  She is an active consultant across California in issues regarding early intervention and young children with special needs and co-chaired a work group that wrote a new Early Start Personnel Manual for CA that was instituted in 2010.  Her passion is to promote quality programs for all infants, toddlers and young children with special needs and their families. She is a founding board member of Mifne USA.

Julie E Taren holds a BA in Special and Elementary Education, a MA in Special Education and MA in Social Welfare (MSW). She has extensive experience in early intervention, working for LA County, Early Start and Regional Centers. She worked as a Senior Administrative Analyst in the Human Services Division at the City of Santa Monica, coordinating projects involving children and families. Active in many organizations involving young children, Julie has served as a board member and in leadership positions for the Infant Development Association of California, Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee, and the Santa Monica Early Childhood Task Force. Currently Julie is a lecturer at California State University Los Angeles in the Child and Family Studies Department and UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, Social Welfare Department. She also works with the Westside Regional Center to conduct intakes for the Early Start program and their Intake unit.

Wendy Parise

Barry Ackerman, Ph.D., has a doctorate in Immunogenetics.  He spent the first 10 years of his career working in basic medical research with Hyland Division of Baxter on transplantation compatibility typing and with Allergan Pharmaceuticals on the development of ophthalmic and dermatologic drugs.  While at Allergan, he became Director of Educational Marketing.  In 1976, he founded InfoMedix, a communications company that provided conference recordings. In the next 22 years, InfoMedix grew to one of the largest companies in the industry, recording an average of 250 conference per year with offices in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Australia.

Since the sale of the company in 1998, he has devoted his efforts to helping children in the community.  His community service includes Kiwanis Club of Irvine, the Orange County Children’s Book Festival (Executive Producer and Co-founder), Kids READ! book donation program (Director), See Better – Read Better Vision Screening Program (Coordinator), founding member of the Orange County Public Libraries Foundation and member of the Mifne USA Board of Directors.  In 2012, Dr. Ackerman was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year by the Orange County Department of Education.

Advisory Board Member, Mifne USA

Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen, Ph.D, holds a masters degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a doctorate in educational psychology from the UCLA School of Education . For nine years he was Director of the Pacific Oaks Research Center, followed by three years as Head Start Director for Pasadena, Altadena and Glendale. In 2001, he became Executive Director at the Westside Children’s Center with a wide range of prevention and intervention and child welfare programs for young children in West Los Angeles. Currently, as Project ABC Director, he works at Children’s Institute, Inc. for a federally funded early childhood mental health program designed to bring together mental health, child welfare, and early childhood education He recently completed the University of Massachusetts, Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program. He is also a certified Touchpoints trainer and Reflective Parenting facilitator. He is a founding board member of Mifne USA.