Our Team

PRINCIPAL ASSOCIATES

Our associates represent more than 75 combined years of program evaluation experience.

Holly Wald, PhD – Founder and President

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

Alisa Balestra, PhD – Research & Evaluation Specialist

SPECIALTIES: Project Management, Instrument Design and Development, Data Analysis and Visualization

Alisa has over nine 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.

CONSULTANTS

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, PhD - Consultant

Kathryn has been a consultant for HPW since 2017. Currently, she is the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Pittsburgh Ballet. At HPW, Kathryn consults on evaluation projects in the areas of behavioral health and health and human services with specific focus on women's issues, intimate partner, and other forms of violence. Kathryn has been also heavily involved in writing extensive literature reviews. 

Previously, Kathryn served as the Director of the Women's Center at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and has worked for both rape crisis centers and domestic violence agencies in three states, including Pennsylvania. Kathryn holds both Masters (2012) and Doctoral (2020) degrees in Research Psychology from Northwestern University. 

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 and 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 worked as a consultant with HPW since 1995 and has been primarily involved with projects specific to costs as they relate to effectiveness and efficiencies in the criminal justice and human service fields. 

Specifically, Karen has examined aspects of costs with respect to programs provided by behavioral health organizations for school-age children, workforce development programs targeting an offender population, and recovery support services, among others. 

Professionally, Karen serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, and Financial Management and has been both on editorial boards and an ad hoc reviewer for accounting journals and conferences. 

John Bonello, MPA - Consultant

John has been a consultant with HPW since 2020 and is primarily involved with evaluation projects specific to countywide needs assessments and prevention outcomes.

Originally from Detriot, MI, John received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, where he focused on Policy Research and Analysis and Program Evaluation.

Prior to graduate school, John served two one-year service terms with AmeriCorps as a College Advisor for the Michigan College Access Network, where he served primarily low-income high school students with the goal of increasing the number of graduates applying to and enrolling in post-secondary programs. While in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, John led a program evaluation project on micoloan programs in Entebbe (Uganda) focused on strategic planning initiatives. He also built engagement and brand strategies for the American Institute of Architects Pittsburgh Foundation for Architects.