Diamanto Tsakanikas, Ph.D., specializes in Clinical Neuropsychology across the lifespan. She has advanced clinical training and expertise in the Neuropsychological and Psychological evaluation for differential diagnosis and treatment of patients with a wide range of disorders affecting development, cognition, mood, and behavior. Dr. Tsakanikas’ diverse clinical areas of expertise include neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders, which span a wide range of behavioral and cognitive disorders associated with brain disease/conditions (e.g., attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, cerebrovascular accidents/stroke, cancer/neuro-oncology, auto-immune disorders). Dr. Tsakanikas is certified to conduct evaluations for intellectual ability by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Other areas of clinical expertise include neurodegenerative and movement disorders (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatric disorders (e.g., affective disorders/depression, anxiety, and psychosis). Dr. Tsakanikas’ clinical scientific research at Weill-Cornell Medical College and at The Rockefeller University Hospital, with a focus on neurologic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Tsakanikas has held executive board/leadership roles in organizations related to Neuropsychology and served on professional committees, such as institutional review board for clinical research and medical ethics, and is a member of multiple professional Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Neuroscience organizations.
Dr. Tsakanikas has completed two years of advanced Clinical Neuropsychological training and clinical research in a post-doctoral level fellowship at the Weill Cornell Neuropsychology Service/Memory Disorders Program in the Department of Neurology & Neuroscience at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center and in the Department of Neurology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where training also included conducting evaluations before and after neurosurgical interventions and treatment. She also has training and clinical experience in intra-operative procedures aiming to preserve optimal brain function post-operatively, such as cortical stimulation mapping during awake craniotomy for localization of areas critical for motor, sensory and language functioning as well as intracarotid amobarbital procedure (WADA test) for assessing laterality/hemispheric functional dominance of language and memory. Dr. Tsakanikas completed a clinical internship at the Neuropsychology Service in the Psychiatry Department at North Shore University Hospital, where she received specialized training in the Neuropsychological and Psychological evaluation and psychological treatment of adults, adolescents, and children with a wide range of neurodevelopmental, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Tsakanikas completed her doctoral education in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she also received a recognition award for her clinical research in Alzheimer’s disease and treatment.
Dr. Tsakanikas is passionate about and committed to advocacy for equity across social issues, with a special interest in working to reduce disparities in health care. One of her areas of focus has been improving health care access for patients with mental illness and cognitive dysfunction who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to quality health care based on their racial or ethnic group, socioeconomic status or other psychosocial variables that may impact health and health care access. Dr. Tsakanikas spearheaded the first cognitive remediation program within New York City Health + Hospitals, with Kings County Hospital serving as the flagship site in the city’s public health care system, to provide an evidence-based treatment for patients with cognitive dysfunction and comorbid psychiatric and/or medical conditions. While previously at New York City Health + Hospitals/Kings County, Dr. Tsakanikas was awarded a grant to develop a clinical program with the aim to improve access to quality comprehensive treatment for psychiatric patients with cognitive impairment (with or without neurologic or other medical comorbidities), of a largely underserved community, and reduce re-hospitalization rate, increase patient engagement in treatment, and optimize functioning in activities of daily living at home, work or school setting. Ultimately, equity in health care enhances the quality of life of our patients, regardless of psychosocial variables.