David Hughes has worked for more than 20 years on projects related to analyses of health care system utilization and cost assessment, behavioral health services research, evidence-based practices, cost simulation models for planning behavioral health systems, and the intersection of the behavioral health and criminal justice systems. He is currently the Project Director for the Maine Health Data Warehouse Project which involves building a highly secure and robust data warehouse to collect and house health care claims, and other relevant information. One of the important goals of this project is to make data from the warehouse available through a web-based self-service portal to researchers, evaluators, policy makers, program managers, advocacy organizations, and the public while protecting individual privacy. Dr. Hughes is also the Project Director for the California Health Reform Initiative which is using Medicare and Medicaid claims data as well as data from the state mental health and substance abuse authorities to examine how the health reform initiative will impact the behavioral health system in California. In addition, Dr. Hughes serves as a Senior Research Specialist for the SAMHSA-funded National Evaluation of SAMHSA’s Homeless Programs; and was the Behavioral Health Technical Assistance Director on the CMS-sponsored National Quality Enterprise. He has directed several federal multi-site studies, and was the Technical Assistance Provider to CMS Real Choice Systems Change Transformation grantees. He also served as the Project Director and Developer for the Mental Health/Jail Diversion Resource Allocation and Planning Model Project, a project funded by the Center for Mental health Services to develop a computerized budget simulation and resource allocation model for projecting the costs and potential cost offsets of implementing jail or prison diversion programs for offenders with mental illness and substance use disorders.
Executive Vice President
John Agosta is executive vice president of HSRI and has worked with people with disabilities for over 30 years. He completed his doctorate in Rehabilitation Research at the University of Oregon, specializing in research methods and community supports for people with disabilities. Additionally, he has extensive experience with community supports, having worked in direct services and administrative positions within agencies offering early intervention, residential, vocational, or family support services.
Employed at HSRI since 1983, Dr. Agosta has worked under contract with state and federal agencies on a variety of projects focusing on community integration for people with developmental disabilities. He has conducted analyses of state systems, and studied specific facets of the field (e.g., supported employment, family support, self-advocacy, Medicaid funding trends, self-directed supports). He helped found the national Self Advocate Leadership Network and The Riot!, a national e-newsletter designed with and for self-advocates. Presently, he is involved with projects related to exploring innovative means for supporting individuals with disabilities and their families, evaluating what states may do to reform service systems to improve performance, and establishing resource allocation protocols to provide individualized budgets for service recipients while making systems more efficient and equitable.
Team Lead - Population Health
Leanne Candura is the team lead for the Population Health team at HSRI. She manages the Maine Health Data Warehouse project, overseeing the development of a highly secure and robust data warehouse to collect and house healthcare claims data and related information. Leanne also manages the State of Maine Data Center Enhancement to Improve Health Cost Transparency project. Previously, she was the assistant project director of the Data Analysis Coordination and Consolidation Center for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, a five-year, $25 million project. In this capacity she managed and coordinated all activities performed by a staff of 45 across three separate organizations. Leanne has more than 15 years of experience working at the local, state, and federal levels in the field of behavioral health research and evaluation with a special focus on substance abuse prevention. Before joining HSRI, she worked as a research associate at OMNI Research and Training in Denver, where she was involved in a variety of prevention research and evaluation projects funded through SAMHSA and the Colorado Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division.
Team Lead - Child and Family Services
Linda Newton-Curtis is the team lead for the Child and Family Services team at HSRI. She has been involved in the evaluation of human services interventions for well over a decade, and her areas of focus include child welfare, substance use and drug courts. Linda's expertise includes qualitative and quantitative methodology, longitudinal research design, and the implementation of randomized control trials in complex social settings. She has extensive experience in the coordination of interconnected components of complex evaluations and using the data gathered to help inform practice as well as experience engaging and maintaining positive relationships with community partners and intervention participants from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Linda earned a doctorate in systems science/psychology from Portland State University, where she used systems concepts to explore the socialization effects of peer academic engagement, while accounting for peer group selection, on individual academic engagement during early adolescence.
Team Lead - Behavioral Health
Teresita Camacho-Gonsalves is a team lead for the Behavioral Health team at HSRI. She has extensive experience in the areas of evaluation design, data collection, technical assistance and training. Teresita is currently involved in the SAMHSA-funded National Evaluation of SAMHSA’s Homeless Programs and the AFC and SAMHSA-funded Multi-Site Evaluation of the Project Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (LAUNCH). She also provides evaluation related technical assistance to Project LAUNCH grantees. In the past she served as project manager and senior research specialist for multiple SAMHSA-funded program evaluations as well as a SAMHSA-funded eight-site project on alternative interventions for the reduction and elimination of the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health facilities. For eight years, Teresita served as the assistant director of the SAMHSA-funded Technical Assistance Center for the Evaluation of Adult Mental Health Systems Change. She also managed the Multicultural Issues in Evaluation program. Prior to joining HSRI, she served as special assistant for multicultural projects at the Department of Mental Health in Boston. Teresita is fluent in Spanish, and she holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of New Hampshire.
Team Lead - Behavioral Health
Nilufer Isvan is a team lead for the Behavioral Health team at HSRI, with a focus on substance abuse treatment and prevention. She currently serves as a co-lead for the national cross-site analysis of CSAP’s Minority AIDS Initiative for the SAMHSA/CSAP Program Evaluation for Prevention Contract (PEP-C). She previously served as the data analysis team lead for the Data Analysis Coordination and Consolidation Center for SAMHSA/CSAP. Before joining HSRI she was a sociology faculty member at SUNY-Stony Brook where she taught, conducted research, and published in the areas of social science methodology, economic sociology, gender, work, and the family. She holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a master’s degree in computer science and systems analysis from Bogazici University in Istanbul, and a bachelor’s degree in statistics and computer science from the University of London.
Team Lead - Aging and Disabilities
Julie Bershadsky is the team lead for the Aging and Disabilities team at HSRI. She is the project director for the new National Core Indicators for Aging and Disabilities, an extension of the original National Core Indicators (NCI) program, and associated projects. She also serves as HSRI’s primary methodologist and data analyst for NCI, a program whose participants include over 45 state and 22 sub-state agencies. NCI-AD provides a set of common and nationally validated measures and survey instruments for state aging and Medicaid agencies, and NCI provides the same for developmental disabilities agencies. State agencies use these instruments to measure and track their performance and improve the quality of long-term services and supports. Dr. Bershadsky earned a doctorate in health services research and policy and a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Team Lead - Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Alexandra (Alixe) Bonardi is a team lead for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities team at HSRI. She directs the National Core Indicators project. In addition, she's a clinical assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and a faculty member in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disability (LEND) program—funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau—at the UMMS EK Shriver Center. Until 2014, she directed the Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research at the Shriver Center where she developed quality improvement projects to support state developmental disabilities systems. Alixe is a licensed occupational therapist and completed a LEND policy fellowship at the EK Shriver Center and a Fulbright fellowship, examining risk management and supports for people with intellectual disability in New Zealand. She has served as principal investigator for several research projects funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and others funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her research interests include the promotion of health and wellness in people with intellectual disability, health surveillance, and support systems that promote good outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disability.
Valerie Bradley, who has a lifelong interest in public policy, is a co-founder of the Human Services Research Institute and guided the organization from 1976 to 2016. Under her leadership, HSRI became a leading resource for public managers in human services across the country. After getting her Masters in Political Science at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, she began her work in the 1960s as a staffer to the California Assembly where she contributed to the development of landmark legislation in mental health and developmental disabilities. Her interest in reform has been manifest in her involvement in a number of important issues including quality improvement, family support, deinstitutionalization, and performance measurement. In the mid 1970s, Ms. Bradley authored a book on deinstitutionalization which began her decades long interest in the adoption of policies that would move people out of large custodial institutions. Most notably, Ms. Bradley was the co-director of the Pennhurst Longitudinal Study – a five year study of the ultimate closure of Pennhurst State Center in Pennsylvania. She has also been concerned with the quality of community services and supports, and that concern led to her explore best practices in quality improvement around the country, to work with individual states to enrich their quality assurance systems, to edit two volumes on quality assurance, and more recently – and for the past decade, to her work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a provider of technical assistance to state waiver managers.
In the 1980s, Ms Bradley and her colleagues worked to amplify the voices of families with children with disabilities in the formation of public policy. With support from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the U.S. Department of Education, Ms. Bradley led efforts to organize families in a number of states to initiate legislation that established flexible and family centered community supports. More recently, Ms. Bradley helped the Institute to forge important collaborations – the most important of which is with the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities. This partnership has resulted in the creation of National Core Indicators – a performance measurement system that facilitates state by state comparisons and that has generated perhaps the largest database of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the country if not internationally.
Ms. Bradley has also made contributions beyond her work at the Institute including as the Chair of the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities under President Clinton, and as President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She has received numerous awards including the Compass Award from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services.