About Us

Meet Our Directors

Barbara Byers, MD, MPH

Barbara Byers, MD, MPH Co-Founder

Barbara Byers MD MPH is the co-founder of Capital Mental Health and is an adult and reproductive psychiatrist in Chevy Chase MD, specializing in the treatment of women who have mood and anxiety disorders surrounding the perinatal period. She also is the Co-Founder of the DC Metro Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative.

Dr. Byers graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry in 1997 and then got her Master’s in Public Health in 2000, where she did a needs assessment and developed a health curriculum for homeless women in Savannah, Georgia. In 2004 she graduated from medical school at the University of Rochester and then did a psychiatry residency at New York University/Bellevue, where she trained in reproductive psychiatry.

Dr. Byers served as the medical director of the Women’s Mental Health Program at Georgetown University Hospital from 2008-2012, where she clinically managed patients and taught residents and faculty about perinatal mental health. She has done multiple training and interviews for media outlets over the past 16 years of her career. When not practicing psychiatry, Dr. Byers can be found hanging out with her preteen, teenager, and fluffy dog Chase.

Robyn L. Wechsler, MD

Robyn L. Wechsler, MD Co-Founder

Dr. Robyn Wechsler is an ABPN board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist and is co-founder of Capital Mental Health. In addition to her busy private practice, she serves as the consulting psychiatrist for the ASCEND program, which offers intensive outpatient services to young adults. She consistently brings a wealth of knowledge and exceptional skill to her accomplished and comprehensive work.

Dr. Wechsler graduated from Brown University with a BS in psychology. She received her medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed her residency at the University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. After graduating from NYU, she worked as a consulting psychiatrist at Hudson Guild, a community based social services organization in NYC and with Premier Heath Care YAI, offering comprehensive treatment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In 2007, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a consulting psychiatrist at the Children’s Institute, using trauma-informed care to support children and families facing adversity. She was excited to return to her hometown in 2008 and joined as a staff psychiatrist at Med-star Georgetown Hospital. At Georgetown, she taught residents and fellows as well as co-ran the patient interviewing course for medical students. She transitioned into full-time private practice in 2012 and remained on the volunteer faculty of Georgetown’s Department of Psychiatry. Outside of the office, Dr. Wechsler is busy driving her three kids to and from activities. During downtime, she can be found hiking with her family and dog Tally.

Meet Our Associates


Elspeth Dwyer, MSW, MS, CRNP

Elspeth Dwyer is a board-certified Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, specializing in psychopharmacology. She received her Master’s degree in social work from Boston College and her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in nursing from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She has advanced training in cognitive behavioral (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Elspeth has extensive experience working in college health and a particular interest in working with young adults, especially college students. She specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and trauma related disorders.

Outside of private practice, Elspeth works at the National Institutes of Health caring for patients on the inpatient behavioral health unit as part of a research team focused on better understanding mood disorders and developing new treatments for depression. She strives to provide personalized care, focusing on her client’s individual needs and goals. Outside of work, she likes to hike and spend time with family.


Amy Goldfrank, LMSW, LGSW, JD

Amy Goldfrank, LMSW, LGSW, JD is a Licensed Master Social Worker with experience helping adult clients address relationship challenges, manage anxiety and depression, and navigate life transitions. In addition to her work at Capital Mental Health, Amy provides clinical services to clients with a wide array of presenting issues at an outpatient mental health clinic in Silver Spring. Amy utilizes trauma-informed skills in her integrative approach to treatment, often drawing upon cognitive behavioral therapy. Amy appreciates that every client is unique and tailors her approach to meet each client’s distinctive therapeutic needs.

Amy graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from Catholic University. She completed her Advanced Year Internship at the Counseling Center at Catholic University, working with young adults on a wide range of issues, such as relationship and identity concerns, social anxiety, anger, and grief. In addition to her MSW, Amy has post-graduate training in reproductive psychology, including infertility and post-partum depression. She also has experience working with survivors of domestic violence and emotional abuse. Prior to receiving her MSW, Amy attended the University of Chicago Law School and worked at the Department of Justice for more than a decade. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, and watching good television.

Edie Mead, LCSW 

Edie Mead is a licensed clinical social worker with over 15 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families. Edie has a particular interest in working with parents during the perinatal period. She has advanced training through Postpartum Support International and is certified in treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Edie is a compassionate listener and tailors her approach to the unique needs of her clients through a combination of interventions including Trauma Focused CBT and Interpersonal Therapy. Edie also has experience supporting families through life's many transitions including grief and loss. Edie earned her Master's of Social Work from The Catholic University of America and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and three children. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, playing tennis and spending time with her family.

Lisa McLish, LCSW, JD

Lisa McLish, LCSW, JD

Lisa McLish is a licensed clinical social worker with over 10 years of experience working with adolescents, adults and couples. Lisa has an interest in helping people through life’s transitions including pregnancy and post-partum, work and educational changes and marriage. She is an active therapist who creates a trusting environment to work toward enhancing a client’s strengths and helping them develop a stronger sense of self.

Lisa graduated with an MSW from Catholic University in 2009. In addition to her MSW, Lisa has completed the two-year Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training program at the Washington School of Psychiatry, has completed work in Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy through the Beck Institute, and was a training Fellow in the Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at Children’s National Medical Center. In addition, prior to receiving her MSW, Lisa was a practicing attorney who worked at the Department of Justice for 15 years. A long-time resident of Washington, D.C., Lisa is the mother of two adult children, one teenager and one aging Goldendoodle and enjoys running and competing in races.


Emee Ta, MD

Emee Ta is a general adult psychiatrist with a particular interest in treating depression, anxiety, and trauma/stressor-related disorders in emerging adults, young professionals, and college students. Dr. Ta practices with a comprehensive and holistic biopsychosocial model of psychiatry that closely intertwines a thoughtful and informed approach to prescribing with psychotherapy. Her treatment philosophy strives for not just the absence of depression or anxiety, but also for overall wellbeing built upon a foundation of internal strength and positive coping skills. Outside of her work at Capital Mental Health, Dr. Ta also works as a staff psychiatrist at the student health center at George Washington University.

Dr. Ta offers both combined medication management and psychotherapy services, as well as medication management alone with close collaboration with a therapist. Dr. Ta primarily practices cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but also draws upon concepts from multiple other modalities, including trauma-based therapies, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), to create individually tailored treatment plans for each patient.

Originally hailing from the Midwest, Dr. Ta graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science and attended medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She went on to complete her psychiatry residency at the University of Wisconsin where she served as chief resident and received an award for her service to the residency. She is additionally trained in reproductive psychiatry. In her free time, Dr. Ta enjoys soaking up the arts, history, and culture, so naturally the DMV was the perfect place to set up roots!

Damira Vulas, MD

Damira Vulas, MD

Dr. Damira Vulas is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist. She was born and raised in Croatia where she attended University of Zagreb, School of Medicine. Following medical school, she moved to the United States. She gained experience in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment and completed general adult psychiatry residency training at Drexel University College of Medicine. During residency training, she received an award for excellence in consultation liaison psychiatry. Dr. Vulas pursued subspeciality training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Children’s National Hospital, George Washington University. She served as a chief fellow during her last year of fellowship training.

Upon graduation from fellowship, Dr. Vulas joined Capital Mental Health as a staff psychiatrist. Throughout her training, Dr. Vulas advocated for integrated, collaborative patient care. Her specific areas of interest include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma related disorders, early childhood development and attachment. She places great importance on caring, compassion and holding hope for her patients with particular emphasis on diversity and cultural sensitivity. Out of the office, she enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her family.

Telepsychiatry appointment link: https://doxy.me/drvulas


Ursula Kahric, LMSW

Ursula is a Licensed Masters Social Worker providing individual therapy with Capital Mental Health.  In addition, Ursula works with adolescents and young adults with Embark Behavioral Health's intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs. 

As a second-generation Croatian American, Ursula is familiar with the direct impact multiculturalism can have on one’s mental health and overall wellbeing. She also grew up in Montgomery County and understands the unique culture of growing up in an area with high academic pressures imposed on students. 

Using humor and authenticity, Ursula helps adolescents and young adults navigate transitions associated with adulthood.  She believes a therapeutic relationship is built on trust and communication.

She previously worked with high-risk adolescents as a clinical intern on the inpatient unit at Adventist Behavioral Health.  Additional experiences include conducting research and working on policy initiatives for various mental health topics, including children’s subjective wellbeing and addiction. Ursula incorporates her knowledge and experience of both clinical and population level mental health into her therapeutic practice by using an ecological perspective. She understands how various systems in one’s environment affect individuals. 

She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Psychology from American University and her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a concentration in clinical behavioral health.

Outside of work, she likes spending time with her family, traveling, and going to SoulCycle. 


Aleeza Michael-Tabrizi, LCSW-C

Aleeza is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing psychotherapy to children and adolescents.  Aleeza also provides parent coaching to those in need of additional guidance in supporting their children’s social-emotional development.  

Her practice focuses on helping clients develop the tools to address anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression.  Aleeza has received training in the treatment of OCD utilizing evidence based exposure and response prevention practices.  She has also completed training in Empowering Parents through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  Aleeza previously worked as a social worker with Maryland’s Infants and Toddlers Program where she learned many treatment modalities through parent coaching.  

Aleeza earned her Master’s in Social Work from the Catholic University of America where she worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  She received her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University where she was on the rowing team. Outside of work, Aleeza loves spending time with her spouse, child and dog, Tucker.  She loves hiking, relaxing by the water, and spending time with friends and family. 


Mariam Kashani, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Mariam Kashani, DNP, PMHNP-BC is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner whose career spans 22 years. Her experience treating adult patients started at the Washington Hospital Center and led to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where she was Associate Medical Director of Clinical Programs and Associate Investigator for multiple research initiatives.

Dr. Kashani provides medication management and psychotherapy to patients
suffering from mood disorders, anxiety, depression, insomnia and trauma. She is passionate about guiding her patients to find their best selves by listening with compassion and by creating a proactive plan for mental balance.  In addition to a specialization in psychiatry, Dr. Kashani is also board-certified in primary care medicine and has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in both cardiovascular and sleep medicine journals. She practices a holistic approach and believes mental health is at the core of overall wellness. Her philosophy is that every individual has the intrinsic ability to lead a happy and productive life.  Dr. Kashani received her Doctoral degree in Advanced Practice Preventive Care from Johns Hopkins University where she received the Outstanding Scholarship Award for her dissertation on behavioral strategies aimed to empower patients to reduce disease risk. She completed extensive training in psychiatry, focusing on neuropsychopharmacology, at Johns Hopkins Hospital and at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC.  She holds a BS in Microbiology, BS in Nursing, and MS in Advanced Practice Nursing from the University of Maryland where she also earned a certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in 2001. Dr. Kashani enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and two dogs, Cookie and Biscuit.

Meet Our Staff


Florence Villas

Florence Villas grew up in the Philippines and moved to Maryland in 2011. She attended National College of Business and Arts in the Philippines, where she majored in Computer Management and graduated with a BS in Business Administration. Prior to her work with Capital Mental Health, Florence worked as a supervisor at Universal Bank. Florence is a tremendous asset to Capital Mental Health. She received her Medication Technician license in 2017. She is trustworthy, conscientious, and truly a joy to be around. She develops strong relationships with clients and staff. She is eager to assist clients and meet any administrative needs that arise. Outside of work, Florence enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with family, friends, and her 2 year old nephew.