Mona Ackerman, N.Y. clinical psychologist, dies at 66

December 5, 2012

Mona Ackerman, a clinical psychologist on New York’s Upper East Side who developed an early specialty with clients who had HIV/AIDS, died of ovarian cancer Dec. 5 at a hospital in New York. She was 66.

The death was confirmed by her companion, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Ackerman taught at New York University where she created a course in the psychology of philanthropy. She had previously worked at Bellevue Hospital and the private Horace Mann School, both in New York.

Until her recent illness, she was a weekly columnist for the Huffington Post and often answered readers’ questions about relationships. She has written for the Daily Beast, as well.

Mona Riklis was born in Tel Aviv and completed high school in Great Neck, N.Y. She was a 1968 graduate of the New York University and in 1988 received a doctorate in clinical psychology from Yeshiva University in New York.

Before switching to a career in clinical psychology, she was an editor at the Dell publishing company and a vice president of the film company United Artists, Cohen said.

Dr. Ackerman, who lived in a New York apartment that once belonged to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, was a noted hostess and was active in philanthropic organizations. Until recently, she was president of the Riklis Family Foundation; her father, Meshulam Riklis, is a financier and philanthropist.

Her marriage to Irwin Ackerman ended in divorce. Besides Cohen, her companion of 11 years, survivors include two children from her marriage, Ari Ackerman of New York and psychiatrist Gila Steinbock of Boulder, Colo.; her father, of Tel Aviv; a sister, a brother; and two grandchildren.

— From staff reports

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