In a move to better represent the behavioral sciences on the Department’s senior leadership team, Lionel Wininger, PhD, LP, was named Chief Clinical Psychologist earlier this year.

“Dr. Wininger comes to us from the Montefiore system in New York, affiliated with Albert Einstein College of Medicine,” said Department Head Sophia Vinogradov, MD. “He brings a new and different perspective to clinical care, training, and how best to serve our patients. We are eager to learn from his perspectives and insights.”

Wininger noted that he is thankful for the foundational work that has been done by other faculty psychologists, including Sasha Zagoloff, PhD, LP; Jeff Wozniak, PhD; Sabine Schmid, PhD, LP; and Piper Meyer-Kalos, PhD, LP, to help integrate the behavioral sciences into the clinical care, education, and research done by the Department. “As I am learning, there are already wonderful clinical psychology leaders in our Department,” he said, adding that his colleagues simultaneously work as therapists, supervisors, educators, and researchers.

“This is a diverse group of professionals who care for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of mental health challenges as well as perform specialized assessments, conduct cutting-edge research, and engage in critical advocacy activities,” noted Wozniak. “Dr. Wininger will provide leadership, guidance, and shared vision for this group. I am pleased that he has taken on this exciting and challenging role.”

Dr. Lionel Wininger

One of the challenges that Wininger (pictured here) is addressing is what’s known as siloing. “When we’re siloed, we do our own work without knowing what our colleagues are doing, which may prevent us from seeing the opportunities for collaborating with other members of the department,” he explained. “Part of my role is to disseminate all the wonderful work our behavioral science colleagues are doing so others in the Department and Medical School – and in our communities – understand our contributions.”

Another part of Wininger’s role is to advocate for clinical psychologists, ensuring they are well represented throughout the M Health Fairview system. “For example, we would like to increase psychologist presence on inpatient units,” he said. Wininger also wants to improve representation of all the behavioral science disciplines, including social work and marriage and family therapy.

He is also excited about giving the Department’s residents, psychology students, and social work interns training experiences that will help foster a passion for psychotherapy.

“One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity to do my own clinical work, supervise our trainees, and still be involved with amazing education and research projects,” said Wininger. “I think this is a common feeling in our department.”