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Our Clinical Staff

Thomas W. McCormack, M.D.


Medical Director and founder of Athens Behavioral Medicine, Dr. McCormack is a native Georgian and graduate of Emory University School of Medicine. He held an appointment as Clinical Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry at Emory from 2003-2010, and he currently holds the same position at the new medical school in Athens, the MCG/ UGA Health Partnership through Augusta University. Over his six-year tenure at Duke University School of Medicine, he completed a residency in General Psychiatry and then sought subspecialty training, completing fellowships in both Forensic Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, where he served as Chief Resident. He earned his undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude from Wake Forest University and high school diploma from Marist School in Atlanta.

Dr. McCormack is one of only several physicians in the state of Georgia to be awarded board certifications in General Adult Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry. Additionally, Dr. McCormack is certified to administer two highly-effective non-medical procedures for treatment resistant depression (TRD): Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). 

Dr. McCormack specializes in Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD), ADHD, Forensic psychiatry, Child and Adolescent bipolar/ depression/ anxiety/ OCD/ tic disorders/ eating disorders, behavioral disorders of childhood, and general adult psychiatric practice. Dr. McCormack strongly believes in utilizing psychotherapy along with conservative medical treatments when clinically warranted.

Dr. McCormack lives in Athens with his wife and three children. He is a longstanding active member of Beech Haven Baptist Church, where he serves as Chairman of Deacons and Usher. He has previously served as 3rd Grade Sunday School Teacher, Personnel Committee member, Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee from 2012-2014, & Chairman of Music Minister Search Committee in 2019. Dr. Mack's hobbies and interests include his children, religion/ theology, fossil shark tooth collecting, SCUBA diving, kayaking, world travel, & coaching youth sports. His patience and long-suffering have been proven by the fact he is an avid fan of Atlanta Braves baseball, UGA football, & Wake Forest football & basketball.

Lauren Willis, PA-C

Lauren Willis is a certified Physician Assistant originally from Macon, Georgia. She earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia in 2010. To gain additional medical experience before PA school, Lauren then spent 2 years working as a tech in the Emergency Department at Athens Regional Medical Center. She then entered the PA program at Mercer University, where she earned her Masters of Medical Science in 2014. Upon graduation, Lauren returned to the Emergency Department at Athens Regional to work as a Physician Assistant. In 2016 Lauren decided to follow her passion for the field of Psychiatry and join the team at ABM, where she now provides mental health evaluations, medication management, and brief supportive psychotherapy to children & adults under the supervision of Dr. Thomas McCormack.

Lauren is certified by the NCCPA and is also a member of Georgia Association of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. 

Lauren lives in Athens with her husband Justin, son Paxton, daughter Collins, and two dogs. She enjoys playing golf, attending concerts, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs (especially in football) and spending time with her family. 

Lanie Garifallou, PA-C
Sarah Crawford, LCSW
Sarah Crawford is an energetic Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned a BA in Psychology at Georgia College and State University and completed her Masters of Social Work at UGA.

Her practice experience includes, but is not limited to, individual psychotherapy, couples and family therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, OCD, depression, stress, panic attacks, and grief issues. Depending on the individual client's needs, Sarah is capable of employing multiple methods of treatment, such as solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior modification, DBT techniques, relaxation skills, and education in family dynamics. Sarah also enjoys working with those who are dealing with chronic pain and the emotional toll that it inflicts, as well as women struggling with postpartum issues & depression. Sarah joined ABM after working with Pathways Transition Programs here in Georgia for over 11 years. She has extensive experience in working with children and adolescents who have dealt with severe trauma and has provided family crisis intervention. While at Pathways, she worked on their Intensive Family Intervention (IFI) program and progressed to managing the program for the entire agency.

Sarah grew up in south Georgia, and she feels strongly that family is very important in anyone's life. Sarah currntly lives in Monroe, GA with her husband and two children. She and her family regularly attend Athens Church, and Sarah enjoys baking (when she has the time with two young children around), gardening, and is an avid UGA football fan. She loves the beach and looks forward to any time she can get away there. Sarah has a calm, endearing demeanor and likes to mix things up with humor when appropriate. She is excited to join the ABM family! 

Elizabeth Estes, R.N.
Elizabeth Estes has a distinguished career as a psychiatric nurse, serving in a number of different settings. She has worked as Charge Nurse of Pediatric Psychiatry Unit at Charter Winds Hospital and as an outpatient Pediatric Psychiatry Nurse at Advantage Behavioral Health Systems in the past and currently at ABM.  While her experience is extensive, it is her genuine caring and compassionate nature that sets her apart and makes her beloved by our patients.
"Nurse Ede" assists Dr. McCormack in the care of his patients by fielding clinically related telephone calls,  monitoring the physical status of patients (vital signs, height, weight, BMI, etc.), and administering intramuscular Ketamine injections for Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) & long-acting depot medication injections as needed.

Rita Macari, LPC


Rita Macari is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who earned her BA in Studio Art from The State University of New York/Queens College and an MA in Psychology/Counseling from The State University of West Georgia. Rita trained in "Heartcentered Hypnotherapy" at the Wellness Institute in Seattle, Washington, additionally completing their two year intensive program focusing on humanistic, holistic, and existential modalities. Rita has been an advanced EMDR practitioner for over a decade with extensive experience in PTSD and traumatic stress. She also trained under John Gray, the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus" and worked as a facilitator for Dr. Gray's workshops for Gwinette Habitat for Humanity.

Her practice experience includes, but is not limited to, individual psychotherapy, couples and family therapy, Post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, OCD, depression, stress and panic attacks, grief issues, substance dependency, abuse and recovery. She especially enjoys working with seniors and is involved with Olli, an organization for ongoing learning for adults 50+. Rita is registered with "Care For Our Troops," offering trauma counseling for various members of our armed forces, and she considers it an honor to work with United States Veterans.  Additionally, Rita offers a variety of therapies for parents and caregivers. "Our children live in the present; worry exists in the future. Stress-free parents raise stress-free children."

Rita was widowed in 2007 after 35 years of marriage. Although she is a native New Yorker, Rita has lived in the South since 1996 and considers herself "a bit Southernized." She credits her love for her two granddaughters for bringing her to Athens.  "These are the happiest days of my life."

Rhonda Winters, FNP-C

Rhonda Winters is a certified Nurse Practitioner originally from Forsyth, Georgia.

She attended Auburn University for core courses and played basketball for the Lady Tigers. She then earned her B.S. in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia in 1986 and worked in Labor and Delivery as an RN before deciding to return to school at Georgia College and State University, where she earned her Masters of Nursing in 2001. Since graduation, she has worked in Orthopedics, Sleep Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Urology. In 2018, Rhonda decided to join the team at ABM because Psychiatry has been an interest of hers since her work in Internal Medicine. She became aware that it was often difficult to find adequate mental health resources for her patients and endeavored to pursue work in Psychiatry to help meet needs in our community. She provides mental health evaluations, medical management, and brief supportive psychotherapy to children and adults under the supervision of Dr. Thomas McCormack.

Rhonda is certified by the ANCC and is also a member of the American Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau.

Rhonda lives in Athens with her husband, Butch. They have three children—Lauren, Trippe, and Peyton. Her biggest joy is spending time with her grandchildren, Paxton and Collins. She also enjoys photography, golf, basketball and cheering for the Auburn Tigers! (“Sorry Dawg fans, but since all of my children graduated from UGA, I do consider myself a part time fan!”).