Our associates represent more than 75 combined years of program evaluation experience.
Holly Wald, PhD – Founder and President
SPECIALTIES: Project Management, Data Utilization, Cost Benefit Analysis
Holly founded HPW Associates in 2001, after having served as the Vice President for Research and Evaluation at KIT Solutions and as the Evaluation Specialist at the Institute for Psychiatry and Addiction at St. Francis Medical Center. Holly has over 25 years of combined experience in the design, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs and projects across government, non-profit, and private sectors. Examples of evaluations conducted include countywide systems of care models for adults and youth, school-based behavioral health models, peer and recovery support services, workforce development initiatives, cessation and education programs funded through the Master Settlement Agreement, strategic planning and initiatives for non-profits, and re-entry models for offender populations in Allegheny County. At HPW, Holly manages company operations and provides project support as needed. She has also conducted numerous trainings on evaluation and performance measurement, has published the results of her evaluative projects in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at a number of national conferences. Holly holds a PhD in Social Work – Applied Research from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Alisa Balestra, PhD – Research & Evaluation Specialist
SPECIALTIES: Project Management, Instrument Design and Development, Data Analysis and Visualization
Alisa has over eight years of experience in the design, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs and projects in the areas of education, health and human services, criminal justice, urban redevelopment, and learning and leadership development, among others. At HPW, Alisa manages evaluation projects across government, non-profit, and private sectors and is responsible for developing evaluation plans, including logic models, communicating with key stakeholders, data collection, analysis, and reporting, and training and technical assistance. Alisa also works alongside Holly on marketing and partnership development initiatives, publications and presentations, and general administration.
Prior to joining HPW in 2017, Alisa was a project manager and principal evaluator at INNOVATIONS in Community Research and Program Evaluation, a program in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, OH). There, Alisa managed contracts of low and high complexity and was the in-house qualitative data expert, acting as a co-investigator on a number of physician-led studies.
Alisa was also the Director of Community and Strategic Partnerships at Public Allies Cincinnati from 2011-14, a leadership and professional development non-profit. Alisa has published the results of her work at both invitation and in peer-reviewed journals, has participated in workgroup meetings with the Kettering Foundation, and has also presented the results of her applied research at annual conferences of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). Alisa holds a PhD from Miami University (Oxford, OH), awarded in 2011.
Sarah Hansen, PhD - Senior Research Associate
SPECIALTIES: Strategic Planning, Organizational Learning, Change Management
Sarah brings over eight years of experience in the areas of workforce development and higher education doing research for project planning, grant development and compliance, and program evaluation. Her strengths and interests focus around strategic planning, organizational learning, action-oriented research/evaluation, and change management.
Prior to joining HPW in 2018, Sarah was Senior Director of Operations at Pennsylvania Women Work, a Pittsburgh-headquartered workforce development agency. There, Sarah created annual performance goals for statewide and regional workforce initiatives, led grant development and administration activities, and created protocol for program research and evaluation for continual improvement. Previously, Sarah served as a Project Coordinator within the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for International Studies in Education and as Program Coordinator of Mechatronics/Natural Gas Technology within Community College of Allegheny County’s workforce development division.
Sarah holds a PhD in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, where her studies focused on post-secondary workforce development and organizational change. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the University’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department as well as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission.
Carol Brooks, MSW – Research Associate
SPECIALTIES: Qualitative Data Collection, Literature Reviews, Administrative Support Including Data Monitoring
Carol joined HPW in 2001 after serving as a program planner and coordinator with Communities in Schools (programs to improve student performance) and an evaluator of juvenile offender programs while employed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice. At HPW, Carol has expertise in qualitative data collection, analysis, and reporting, specifically facilitating focus groups and conducting personal interviews. Both her areas of interest and professional experience have been in the fields of education, veterans’ programs, criminal justice, and behavioral health. Carol holds a Master’s degree in Social Work Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Duquesne University.
Michelle Delahanty, MPH - Data Analyst
SPECIALTIES: Data Management and Analysis, Program Evaluation, Research Methods
Michelle joined HPW in 2019 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. Michelle holds a Master of Public Health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, with a certificate in Evaluation of Public Health Programs. As a student at Pitt Health, Michelle worked with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank to design, pilot, and implement a large-scale survey with Foodbank clients. As the project lead, Michelle oversaw the survey process from start to finish, engaging hundreds of individuals and ultimately using survey results to help drive a new Foodbank Wellness Policy. At HPW, Michelle is primarily responsible for data analysis and management specific to low and high complexity projects. Prior to her work through Pitt Health, Michelle served as an AmeriCorps member with a disaster relief nonprofit in New Orleans, LA; in this role, Michelle managed large groups of stakeholders including volunteers, funders, and community members. In addition to her MPH, Michelle also holds undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Elementary Education, both from The College of New Jersey.
In addition to our in-house expertise, we also work with various partners on a project-by-project basis. These individuals have expertise in database development, statistical analysis, and cost effective analysis.
Paul Scott, PhD – Consultant
Paul applies his expertise in psychometrics, design, and statistics to provide methodological support within teams of researchers and evaluators and currently teaches courses in statistics and quantitative methods at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his PhD in Research Methodology in 2017.
As a consultant with HPW since 2017, Paul has worked on evaluation projects that have required advanced statistical analysis. His primary methodological interests are casual inference and longitudinal data analysis, and he has a substantive interest in research oriented on improving life outcomes for underserved populations, specifically youth and adolescents. In addition to his degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Paul has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Berea College in Kentucky.
Kathryn Gigler, MA – Consultant
Kathryn has expertise in the areas of psychology, behavioral health, violence prevention, and health education and has performed data collection, analysis, and reporting for HPW since 2017.
Previously, Kathryn served as the Director of the Women’s Center at Elizabeth City State University (Elizabeth City, NC), where she managed programming and evaluation related to a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. In her capacity as the Director, Kathryn partnered with state and federal coalitions related to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.
Kathryn has also worked for both rape crisis centers and domestic violence agencies in three states, including Pennsylvania. Concurrently with her work with HPW, Kathryn acts as a medical/legal advocate for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), as well as on domestic violence and rape crisis hotlines for Crisis Center North (Pittsburgh, PA) and the YWCA of Greater Chicago, Illinois. Kathryn holds a Master’s degree in research psychology from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), awarded in 2012, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Northwestern, where she expects to graduate in 2018.
Cynthia Zubritsky, PhD – Consultant
Cynthia has consulted on a number of evaluation projects in collaboration with HPW and Beaver County since 2005.
Currently, As the Director of Policy Research for the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, she has extensive experience in management and organizational issues in behavioral healthcare systems, aging systems, and corrections systems, including integrated systems design, outcome measurement, quality assurance measurement, evaluation, primary and secondary data analysis and policy design.
Cynthia is currently the primary investigator of a five-year study with the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights to determine the effectiveness of a state system redesign in response to an Olmstead Settlement Agreement. She has served as the primary investigator of NIH and SAMHSA sponsored research, including Systems of Care studies, health disparities, integrated systems research targeted at building collaborative models between mental health, substance abuse, aging, corrections and education, and national multi-site studies investigating the effectiveness of integrated human service and physical health care delivery models. She has also been supported by private foundations such as Pew to develop intervention studies for vulnerable populations programs.
Cynthia serves as a national expert in health systems design for national and international foundations and is a senior fellow at the Penn Center for the Studies of Health Disparities, the Leonard Davis Institute and the Penn Institute on Aging.
Karen Shastri, PhD, CPA – Consultant
Karen has acted as a consultant and collaborator with HPW since 1995. In her work with HPW, Karen has been involved in research and evaluations specific to costs as they relate to effectiveness and efficiencies in the criminal justice and human service fields.
Specifically, she has examined these aspects with respect to programs provided by behavioral health organizations for school-age children, workforce development programs targeting an offender population, recovery support services, service training for officers and prosecutors, statewide training of programs funded under the stop violence against women (STOP), electronic fingerprinting and photo imaging, arraignments through video conferencing, and programs that instruct in the area of community-oriented policing, among others. Karen also continues to evaluate the financial condition of firms and health care entities as a result of economic and firm-specific events.
Professionally, Karen serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, and Financial Management, has been on the Editorial Board for Research in Healthcare Financial Management, and an ad hoc reviewer for accounting related journals and conferences. Broadly, Karen’s research, teaching, and professional interests are correlated, since all factors focus on an entity’s effectiveness, efficiencies, and costs of activities.