Restoring hope with dignity

Leadership Team

Dr. Haskell joined JJPI as its Executive Director in January 2017. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania. Over the last fifteen years, his focus has been on the design, implementation, and direction of child and adult community mental health programs. Dr. Haskell has served as the clinical and administrative director of several publicly-funded mental health programs in Philadelphia and surrounding communities. These programs have been located in traditional clinics as well as in school-based settings. In 2010, he assumed the role of Director of Social and Psychological Services for a nationally-recognized network of charter schools, where he was instrumental in creating its social work and counseling/therapy programs. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director at JJPI, Dr. Haskell served as the Chief Program and Clinical Officer at a Philadelphia-based behavioral health and social services provider.

Dr. Haskell is interested in the application of evidence-based practice in community and school settings, trauma-informed settings, the design and implementation of effective prevention programs, and the use of performance-based data to aid in program improvement.

Dr. Brandi Stewart received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri and began working at JJPI in 2014. Dr. Stewart is a Pennsylvania-licensed psychologist with more than 15 years of experience working with trauma in both survivors of and perpetrators of sexual violence. She has a specialized interest in working with adolescents and young adults who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors. As Director of Clinical Services at JJPI, Dr. Stewart is responsible for the clinical and administrative oversight of all of JJPI’s treatment programs.

Dr. Stewart has been supervising both pre- and post-doctoral level students for more than 10 years. She has presented talks on various topics within the sexual violence field at conferences at the national, state, and local levels, as well as at many local medical colleges and universities, and many local behavioral health and juvenile justice programs. In addition, Dr. Stewart has been a featured guest on several radio shows, including WHYY’s Radio Times.

Dr. Stewart has been a clinical member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers since 2006. Additionally, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, and the Sexual Offender Assessment Board (SOAB) of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to her work at JJPI, Dr. Stewart maintains a part-time private practice.

Donald Kushon, M.D., received his medical degree and Psychiatry Residency training from the Hahnemann University School of Medicine (presently Drexel University College of Medicine) in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Kushon joined JJPI in 2017 as Medical Director of Adult Services. He is board certified in Adult Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine, Addiction and Geriatric Psychiatry.  He has a faculty appointment of Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Drexel University where he maintains an affiliation.  He has worked extensively in General Hospital Consult Psychiatry, Emergency Room Psychiatry and Inpatient Psychiatry.  He served as a Medical Director of the Psychiatric Medical Care Unit at Hahnemann Hospital for several years.   He also has a longstanding Psychopharmacology outpatient practice.   He has been a teacher to medical students and residents for many years and has made numerous presentations and publications on a variety of topics to regional and national audiences. 

David M. Harwitz, M.D., Board Certified Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist, joined JJPI in 2017 as Medical Director of Child & Adolescent Services. He received his medical degree from The Hahnemann University School of Medicine (presently Drexel University College of Medicine) in Philadelphia, PA, followed by training in Adult, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY.  In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks he acted as Child & Adolescent Director of Disaster Psychiatry Outreach, P.C., a non-profit organization which provided mental health services during The City of New York’s crisis response. Prior to his current position, he served as Medical Director of The C.A.S.T.L.E  Children’s Program at Virtua in Camden, New Jersey, a community-based treatment center providing therapeutic mental health services for at-risk children and families.

J.P. West joined the Joseph J. Peters Institute in 2002 as Director of Partial Hospitalization Services. J.P. holds a B.A. in Social Work from Widener University and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University.

J.P. oversees JJPI’s Partial Hospitalization Program, which serves adults with sexual behavior problems and concomitant mental health and/or developmental disabilities. Prior to joining JJPI, J.P. was Director of Forensic Services at CareLink Community Support Services, where she founded the STAR Program, a residential and day hospital program for adults with mental health issues and who have been convicted of a sexual offense, or who have a history of deviant sexual behavior. The STAR program was among the first programs of its kind in the United States and Canada.

J.P. has presented talks at conferences and additional trainings throughout the United States. She is also a member of the Sexual Offender Assessment Board (SOAB) for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Melissa Gonska, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Marywood University. Dr. Gonska has significant experience providing treatment and assessment for various client populations in a number of different settings, including counseling centers, inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, correctional centers, and community mental health facilities. Prior to assuming her role as the administrator and program coordinator of JJPI's Safety & Responsibility Program, Dr. Gonska provided treatment, student supervision, and assessment as a licensed psychologist in the program for over five years. In her role as Coordinator, Dr. Gonska oversees all treatment services provided to youth and adults in these outpatient programs and coordinates their administration. In addition to her role at JJPI, Dr. Gonska works as a psychotherapist for a private practice in the Philadelphia area.

Melissa Keating joined JJPI’s Survivor Services Program as a Senior Clinician in 2017 and was promoted to the role of Coordinator of Survivor Services in 2018. In her role, Melissa is responsible for clinical and administrative oversight of JJPI’s programs serving survivors of trauma and for helping to coordinate JJPI’s student intern training program. Melissa received a Bachelor’s degree from Temple University and a Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She has worked in several community mental health settings in a variety of roles in Philadelphia and surrounding communities and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania.

Melissa is trained in several evidenced-based practices including Cognitive Therapy through the Beck Institute Initiative, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), and PriCARE (Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement). She supervises the implementation and use of TF-CBT at JJPI and is a certified PE consultant for clinicians being trained in the PE model.

Dr. Julie Curcio-Alexander is a licensed psychologist who serves as the Evaluations Coordinator and as a Supervising Psychologist in Survivor Services.  She completed her graduate training at Villanova University, Temple University and John Jay College, City University of New York. Dr. Curcio-Alexander provides clinical and administrative supervision of the evaluations team, as well as training and clinical supervision to doctoral clinical psychology students. Dr. Curcio-Alexander is trained in relational, cognitive and exposure-based psychotherapies for trauma-related and mood disorders. She also serves as an expert witness in child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, child pornography, and child protective services cases, and has been admitted as an expert in PA Common Pleas and Federal Courts. She has published peer reviewed articles and chapters and provides continuing medical and legal education on child sexual abuse investigations, the impact of trauma on children’s development, and children with disabilities who have been maltreated. She is a frequent guest lecturer at the Perelman School of Medicine Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program. Previously, Dr. Curcio-Alexander had clinical and administrative oversight of the forensic evaluation service at the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.