Friendship House
Friendship House Community Services

Dr. Nelson Asante

Nelson Asante, MD

Dr. Nelson Asante joined Friendship House in March and was previously a staff psychiatrist at Scranton Counseling Center. After graduating from the University of Ghana Medical School, Dr. Asante completed his residency training in psychiatry and a fellowship in neuropsychiatry at Yale University Affiliated Hospitals. Dr. Asante is board certified in both adult psychiatry and addiction medicine. His clinical interests include, but are not limited to, managing treatment-resistant schizophrenics, using the assertive community treatment team model, and evaluating Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Dr. Ann McDonald

Ann McDonald, MD

Dr. Ann McDonald is an outpatient psychiatrist at Friendship House, bringing over 35 years of clinical leadership and experience to the medical team. Dr. McDonald graduated from Temple University Medical School and completed her psychiatric residency at Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa. She began her extensive career as an outpatient psychiatrist at Bristol-Bensalem Human Services and later became an inpatient psychiatrist at Lower Bucks Hospital. Throughout her career, she has supervised psychiatry residents at Hahnemann University Hospital, family practice residents at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Erie, and medical students from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. McDonald previously provided psychiatric care at St. Vincent’s Hospital as well as Pocono Medical Center - East Stroudsburg, in addition to her experience in private practices before joining the team at Friendship House in 2018 as an Adult and Older Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatrist at NHS/Merakey for 3 years.

Dr. Varsha Pandya

Varsha Pandya, MD

Dr. Varsha Pandya has been with Friendship House’s medical team as a child and adolescent psychiatrist for 18 years. She completed her medical degree in India and her general psychiatry residency in England. Dr. Pandya then completed psychoanalytic training, a child psychiatry fellowship, and an additional adult residency at New York Medical College Metropolitan Hospital. Throughout her tenure as a psychiatrist, Dr. Pandya has provided psychiatric services to children and adolescents in a variety of programs such as partial hospitalization program, inpatient, outpatient, and school-based. Dr. Pandya also served as a psychiatric consultant for dual diagnosed adults, outpatient services for Native American populations and adolescent/adult patients in detention/correctional centers.

Dr. Marwa Salam

Marwa Salam, MD

Dr. Marwa Salam joined Friendship House in August and is board certified in both adult general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry, her focus specialty. Dr. Salam completed her medical training at Egypt Medical School before joining New York University's Langone Medical Center Alzheimer's Research Program. She completed her general psychiatry residency at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, and fulfilled her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Salam serves as the President-Elect of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society. She became a staff psychiatrist at Scranton Counseling Center following her postdoctoral training in 2018.

Maria Murnock

Maria Murnock, PA-C

Maria Murnock is a licensed Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) at Friendship House, certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, with 20 years of child, adolescent, and adult psychiatric experience. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre and has served as a PA in both private practices and community-based psychiatric centers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Her experience in child and adolescent populations includes, but is not limited to, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Autism, Affective Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Tic Disorders, and Learning and Communication Disorders. Ms. Murnock is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants as well as the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants. She has served as a preceptor for students from Marywood University Physician Assistant Program and The Commonwealth Medical College (now Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine).

Carlene Spitzer

Carlene Spitzer, PA-C

Carlene Spitzer is a licensed, Certified PA-C at Friendship House with nearly 40 years of nursing and psychiatric experience. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marywood University and her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre. Ms. Spitzer previously was employed as a PA at Scranton Counseling Center, Advanced Community Service Associates, and Aaron Center. Ms. Spitzer is professionally affiliated with the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at both Marywood University and King’s College.