Alumni Success

Leads Northern California Region in Integrating Evidence-Based Substance Use Interventions

Sarah Ferraro Cunningham
2009, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | San Francisco Bay Area

Psychologist at Kaiser Permanente and Co-Founder at Panaptic, Incorporated

“My strong relationship with my advisor, Mary Herget, profoundly impacted my academic life and career. Her support, guidance and clinical supervision in the Clinical Intensive shaped my practice and professional ideals.”


Leads Northern California Region in Integrating Evidence-Based Substance Use Interventions

Dr. Sarah Ferraro Cunningham is a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente and a co-founder of Panaptic, Incorporated. At Kaiser Permanente, Ferraro Cunningham provides individual, group and family therapy at Kaiser Santa Rosa's Chemical Dependency Service. “I collaborate with Kaiser's Division of Research, leading the Northern California region in integrating evidence-based substance use interventions,” she added. Ferraro Cunningham provides support to postdoctoral residents and leads the program evaluation component of the residents’ training in Santa Rosa.


Ferraro Cunningham co-founded Panaptic with fellow Argosy University alumnus Dr. Richard Von Feldt, who graduated in the same year and in the same program. Panaptic is a national organization that provides comprehensive marijuana prevention programs to educational institutions, healthcare organizations and families. “I [also] speak at lectures and conferences regarding marijuana use and prevention to [audiences including] leaders in education, medical providers and mental health providers,” Ferraro Cunningham said.

Her passion for psychology began when she was young. “I wanted to help others and champion issues surrounding diversity and privilege. In high school, I served as a peer counselor and facilitated day-long workshops on diversity,” she stated. Before earning a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology degree from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | San Francisco Bay Area (ASPP, San Francisco Bay Area) in 2009, Ferraro Cunningham obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lafayette College and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northeastern University. She worked for several years at a community mental health center in the Boston area prior to pursuing her doctorate.

Following graduation from ASPP, San Francisco Bay Area, Ferraro Cunningham began her work at Kaiser Permanente as a staff psychologist in chemical dependency clinics. “Throughout my eight years at Kaiser Permanente, I have championed evidence-based practices that address behavioral health integration and contributed to best practices groups focusing on adolescent health. I have also devoted my expertise to nationally recognized research projects on early intervention for teens and young adults struggling with substance use,” she said.

Ferraro Cunningham worked full time during her studies, serving as a practicum trainee, and working as a teacher’s assistant. “Finding time for self-care was a challenge and also necessary for my success. I strongly encourage [students] to take advantage of the amazing support and live training opportunities while at Argosy University. I benefited tremendously from the support provided by my advisor. [Working as a] teaching assistant shaped my career development and practice in many ways,” she mentioned.

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