Our Team

Neha Goyal

Neha Goyal, PhD

Director, Psycho-oncology Psychology

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Neha Goyal is the Director of the Psycho-oncology Psychology Service and Clinical Psychologist at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer. Dr. Goyal is passionate about working with patients and families to support their mental health as they cope with a cancer diagnosis. In Psycho-Oncology, Dr. Goyal uses cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based approaches to help patients and their family members cope with the emotional and physical challenges of a cancer diagnosis, from active treatment to survivorship and end-of-life. She is also interested in improving the mental health care of patients at the Cancer Center working with other teams to implement various programs. Dr. Goyal’s research interests include the development and implementation of psychological interventions to improve quality of life in patients with cancer, particularly for those with advanced cancer.

Dr. Goyal received her PhD in clinical psychology from The Ohio State University. She completed a clinical internship with a Behavioral Medicine Specialization at the Palo Alto VA. She then went on to complete a clinical post-doctoral fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Care at the Palo Alto VA and a research post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Survivorship at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.



Lawrence E. Kaplan, D.O.

Clinical Director, Psycho-oncology Psychiatry
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and behavioral Sciences Weill Institute for Neurosciences

Lawrence E. Kaplan, DO, FACLP is Associate Clinical Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Weill Institute for Neurosciences UCSF and Clinical Director of the Psycho-oncology Psychiatry Department at Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Director of the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service at the Parnassus Campus. He earned his medical degree at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency training at Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, followed by fellowships in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosocial Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. He is board-certified in general adult psychiatry and consultation-liaison psychiatry.


As a psychiatrist who specializes in working with patients diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Kaplan is involved in the longitudinal course; from diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, with specific emphasis on cancer related neuropsychiatric and cognitive symptom management, pharmacology, therapeutic modalities and coping with spiritual/existential related issues. Areas of research include investigations into relationships between REM Sleep Behavior disorder, PTSD and Parkinson’s disease.



Jamie Alexis Cohen, PsyD

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Cohen earned her Psy.D. from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium in Palo Alto, CA. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Northport VA Medical Center in New York, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship with an emphasis in primary care psychology at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Her clinical interests include motivational processes involved in adaptive health behavior change, facilitating integrative and interdisciplinary approaches to comprehensive healthcare, as well as assisting patients and their families cope with the challenges associated with cancer diagnosis, care, and survivorship. As a member of the psycho-oncology team, some of the services she is honored to assist patients with include goal-setting and problem navigation in the context of cancer treatment, as well cognitive, behavioral, and mindfulness-based interventions for managing pain, insomnia, fatigue, stress, and more.


Vittorio Comelli

Vittorio Comelli, PsyD

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Comelli, received his doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. He completed his pre-doctoral fellowship in Health psychology at the California Pacific Medical Center Adult Outpatient Psychiatry and his post-doctoral clinical health psychology fellowship at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in psycho-oncology. Dr. Comelli was the Assistant Director of the Medical Students Well Being Program at the UCSF School of Medicine for the last 13 years. He attended to mental health and wellness needs of students in medicine, created wellness programs, and numerous clinical and administrative efforts to improve wellbeing and functioning of learners in medicine.  Dr. Comelli has been facilitating Support Groups for oncology patients and their partners through the Patient and Family Support Center at UCSF since 2005. He is a volunteer faculty at the UCSF Dept of Psychiatry where he has been supervising and facilitating process groups for psychiatry residents. For the last 5 years Dr. Comelli was a Director of Psychological Services at Baywell Psychiatry group in San Francisco. Currently he maintains private psychotherapy practice in San Francisco specializing in working with the chronically medically ill, medical trainees and professionals, and oncology patients. He comes from a diverse cultural background, is fluent in 3 languages, versed in working in a multi-cultural environment and a passionate advocate for social justice and diversity.

Dr. Comelli is a practitioner of Devotional Yoga and maintains regular spiritual practice which occupies most of his free time. Socially he enjoys friends, travel, and nature.  loves hanging out with his  cat, Simha.

Mayra Gomez Padua

Mayra Gomez Padua, Ph.D.

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Mayra A. Gomez Padua is a bilingual psychologist who deeply values providing psychological care to patients with cancer and their families. She uses evidence-based approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), trauma-informed and mindfulness-based techniques to support English and Spanish speaking patients. She provides support to patients at all stages of their cancer journey ranging from coping with a new diagnosis, to managing physical symptoms and challenges of treatment, survivorship and end of life.

Dr. Gomez Padua’s research interests include reducing health disparities, improving equity in the quality of cancer care, and alleviating the traumatic stress associated with all cancer types.

Dr. Gomez Padua earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University. She completed an internship approved by the American Psychological Association at San Francisco VA Health Care System followed by an Integrated Care Psychology Post-Doctoral Clinical Residency in Primary Care Medicine.

Lauren Harris

Lauren Harris, Ph.D.

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Lauren Harris is a Clinical Psychologist at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Harris received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA, with a focus on Health Psychology. She completed an American Psychological Association-approved clinical internship at the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Psychology at the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center.

Dr. Harris has provided clinical care to cancer patients and their families for over a decade. She is committed to providing high-quality, evidence-based treatments to improve the lives of her patients. Dr. Harris uses cognitive-behavioral, values-based, and mindfulness-based approaches to help patients cope with the many challenges that can accompany cancer, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, physical symptoms, and changes in identity, roles, and functioning. She also assists patients with decision-making, communicating with medical providers and loved ones, and enhancing well-being through exploring values and finding meaning.

Emily Kantoff

Emily Kantoff, NP

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Emily Kantoff is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who cares for patients with cancer. Her techniques include cognitive behavioral and existential psychotherapy as well as personalized medication management. Focusing on individual needs, she helps her patients cope, work on short- and long-term goals, and find meaning in their experiences. She is adept at addressing cancer-related symptoms, including anxiety, depression, grief, fatigue, cognitive changes and sleep disturbances.

Having honed her skills as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Emily has invested five transformative years in the field of psycho oncology during her professional career at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute. There she helped to author a pioneering fellowship curriculum for psychiatric NPs, as well as cultivated an expertise in personalized pharmacology and existential-focused therapies. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, she also gained invaluable experience at the Abramson Cancer Center. 

In her teaching and research, she focuses on meeting the psychiatric needs of cancer patients and their families, with the goals of reducing distress and improving quality of life.

On weekends, Emily Kantoff enjoys trailblazing hikes and e-bike adventures, as well as exploring fun culinary scenes and seeking some Zen through hot yoga. She loves reading, especially to advance her practice as a care provider.

Patty Moran

Patty Moran, PhD

‎Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Patty Moran is a Clinical Psychologist at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer, and a Research Specialist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Iowa in 2000, with a focus on health psychology. She completed an American Psychological Association-approved clinical internship with a Behavioral Medicine Specialization at the Palo Alto VA Hospital, and a post-doctoral fellowship in Psychology and Medicine at UCSF.

In Psycho-Oncology, Dr. Moran uses cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused, and mindfulness-based approaches to help cancer patients and their family members cope with a wide array of concerns and symptoms related to cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

Dr. Moran has directed patient-oriented research projects at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health for the past 20 years, with a key focus on the design and implementation of behavioral clinical trials within integrative medicine. She has served as Project Director on two NCCIH-funded Center of Excellence Research grants on mindfulness-based interventions, as well as several other NIH-funded studies using integrative approaches. 

Jim Spira

James Spira, PhD

Attending Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Jim Spira is a licensed psychologist and is Board Certified in Clinical Health Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.  He received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley with a dissertation focusing on group psychotherapy for cancer patients, and completed his internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship from Stanford University with a specialization in Psycho-Oncology. Dr. Spira has served on the faculties of the medical schools at Duke University, the University of California San Diego, and the University of Hawaii.  He was also Head, Division of Health Psychology and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and recently served as Director, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD, Pacific Division.  Dr. Spira has served as President of the Hawaii Psychological Association, President of the American Academy of Clinical Health Psychology, and as a member of the State of Hawaii Board of Psychology.  Dr. Spira has written two books on psychotherapy for cancer patients, and specializes in teaching self-help skills to help patient cope with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, through meditation, self-hypnosis, and relaxation training to aid in living as comfortably and fully in each moment as possible.


Administrative Staff

Christine Pollak, Administrative Director

Mikela Barulich, Practice Supervisor

Mercedes Malone, Practice Coordinator of Psycho-oncology Psychology and Psychiatry

Kit Yu Choi, Practice Coordinator of Psycho-oncology Group Visits