Chief Faculty

EITI is led by nationally recognized early intervention specialist Connie Lillas, PhD, MFT, RN, a National Graduate Zero to Three Leadership Fellow and an infant mental health and early intervention specialist with a background in maternal-child nursing, family systems, and developmental psychoanalysis. Dr. Lillas is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Training Institute, whose curriculum regarding high-risk pre-birth to five-years-olds in the foster care system is employed to train service providers across disciplines in Los Angeles County, through collaborative training efforts from the Department of Child and Protective Services, the Department of Mental Health, and Regional Centers.  She currently co-chairs the Foster Youth Mental Health Initiative Capacity Building Policy Workgroup at the Children’s Law Center, which houses 90% of all attorneys representing infants and children in the foster care system. She also functions as a Court Team Liaison for a 0-3 court team pilot that is being organized in Service Planning Area 6 (South Los Angeles).


Katherine Crowley, OTD, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 1974. She began her career working with adults in a psychiatric hospital on the East coast and thereafter moved west to Colorado to work in the community mental health system. When the political winds changed and the facility was closed due to shifting governmental fiscal priorities, Kate pursued a master’s degree in occupational therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, changing her focus of study and practice to pediatrics where her thesis work involved examining variables in parental involvement in a child’s early intervention program.  In 1997, she enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Southern California Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the School of Dentistry.  She completed her clinical doctorate (OTD) in 2006 and continues to teach at USC in the Minor’s Program in Occupational Science. She is also the Consulting Program Director at Atwater Park Center, an early intervention and daycare center in Los Angeles.


Mona Delahooke, PhD is a clinical psychologist specializing in infant and toddler development.  She has worked in various settings in the field of mental health since 1980 including the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, the Behavior in Babies Clinic at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, and the Interdisciplinary Training Institute. With a special focus on early childhood development, she holds a certificate and is a faculty member of the DIR Institute, part of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders. Currently in private practice in Arcadia, she consults with parents, preschools and school districts in the areas of developmental screening, assessment and intervention in children under the age of five. 


Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT has dedicated over 30 years to establishing an extensive network of community collaborations necessary to effectively engage her philosophy of a culturally informed, whole person, reflective process perspective in understanding development, attachment and community mental health service delivery. She earned certification by the National Registry for Certified Group Psychotherapist, is a designated Certified Clinical Supervisor by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is approved as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist Reflective Practice Facilitator III/Mentor in the State of California.  She is the program coordinator for the developmental disabilities team at Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, CA, is a consultant to Westside Regional Center, provides community trainings and consultations for the Department of Mental Health, Zero-to-Three, First 5 LA, Department of Children’s Services, is an adjunct instructor at Alliant International University/CSPP, is a core faculty trainer for EITI, and provides expert testimony for cases involving special needs expertise.  Dr. Mendez provides individual and/or group reflective process facilitation / supervision to mental health professionals and community agencies seeking specialized professional development support. She has extensive experience in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities and infant/family mental health.  She is trained in the following evidence-based treatment models:  Triple P (practitioner and trainer), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, and Seeking Safety. 


Past Presenters & Adjunct Faculty 

Locally and nationally renowned keynote speakers represent multiple fields and specialty areas.

Past presenters include

Victor Bernstein, PhD

 Diane Cullinane, MD & Professional Child Development Associates Staff

Carol Falender, PhD

Chandra Ghosh-Ippen, PhD

Regina “Reggie” Melrose, PhD

Susan McDonough, PhD

George McCloskey, PhD 

Blair Paley, PhD

Caron Post, PhD & LAC Perintal Mental Health Task Force Faculty

Joan Rosenberg, PhD

Babette Rothschild, LMFT

Rachelle Tyler, MD

Patricia Van Horn, PhD

Marlene Zepeda, PhD

Melanie Morones-Walker, LMFT, ATR, and CA Endorsed ECMHS

Lisa Poelle, MA 

Jessica Richards, MS, LCSW, CA Endorsed IFECMHS, and RPF-II 

Jacquelyn Christensen, PhD 


Meet the EITI Team