Peter F. Luongo, PhD
Before joining IRETA in 2011, Dr. Peter Luongo worked in the behavioral health field for over thirty years as a social worker and administrator.
From working as a clinician to serving as the state director of Maryland, conducting home visits to family crisis intervention with the police, Peter has seen just about everything the world of behavioral health has to offer. With a wealth of perspective, skills and competencies at his disposal, Peter is in a unique position to help organizations provide competent, timely and appropriate care to people in need.
He received his B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from The Catholic University of America and his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Maryland. Peter has served as a faculty associate at Johns Hopkins University where he received the Johns Hopkins University Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996. In 2008, he received the Maryland Social Worker of the Year award from the National Association of Social Workers and in 2012, he was selected as one of “50 Heroes for Justice” by The University of Maryland School of Social Work. In 2015, he was elected a Class A Trustee of the General Services Board of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Julius J. Habjanetz
Chief Financial Officer
Jules earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration while majoring in Accounting at Duquesne University and an Associate Degree in Computer Science from Community College of Allegheny County.
He has over 26 years of multi-fund accounting in the nonprofit and government sector. His specialties are federal, state and county accounting and the Indirect Cost Proposal for the federal government.
Dawn Lindsay, Ph.D
Director of Research and Evaluation
Dawn brings a strong academic and analytical background to the IRETA team. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. After completing an addiction services rotation during her internship at the VA in Chicago, followed by an NIAAA-funded postdoctoral fellowship in alcohol epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, Dawn was committed to focusing her career in this field. She spent five years as an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Pitt researching substance use disorders in adolescents.
In her post-academic life, IRETA offers Dawn the opportunity to apply her analytic skills to on the ground, real-world research problems. She oversees all of IRETA’s applied research and evaluation projects, and truly enjoys working at a place where no two days are alike.
Dawn is on the Board of Directors for Transitional Services, Inc., which provides housing and other supportive services to individuals with mental health and intellectual challenges
Christie Nebel, MBA, LPC
Director of Clinical Quality Improvement
Christie earned a MA in community counseling from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and a MBA from Chatham University. She earned her undergraduate Psychology degree from Clarion University.
Christie has worked in many different capacities within the behavioral health field. Her career started as a drug and alcohol outpatient counselor, and she transitioned to providing therapeutic support to individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders through community treatment team services. She has also worked in a managed care organization and assisted in the creation of a medication-assisted treatment program within a family health center.
Working at IRETA provides Christie with the continued opportunity to positively impact peoples’ lives that have been negatively affected by addiction.
Piper Lincoln, MS
Senior Research Associate
Piper joined the IRETA staff as a Research Associate in 2012 to assist with evaluation services after receiving her Master of Science in Behavioral Decision Research from Carnegie Mellon University.
At IRETA, Piper is able to continue her pursuit of behavioral research in public health while working for a nonprofit in an underserved area and having an immediate impact on the lives of others.
As a research associate, Piper enjoys thinking critically about research methods and evaluating what influences behavior spanning from individual to societal level perspectives.
Jessica Thurston, LPC
Clinical Quality Improvement Associate
Jessica earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology as well as her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University. In 2014, Jessica completed the required field work and obtained her license as a professional counselor.
Jessica began her career as an in-home child and family therapist. She worked primarily with juveniles involved in the criminal justice system and their families, providing them with therapeutic support and interventions. She transitioned to working in an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center where she was able to pursue a personal and professional passion to helping those struggling with addiction. Jessica has worked in a variety of roles, including but not limited to case management, direct client care, and supervisor as a lead therapist.
Working at IRETA provides Jessica with the continued opportunity to positively help those that have been impacted by addiction. She is able to instill hope and reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders.
Jennifer Kita, MS, LPC
Clinical Quality Improvement Associate
Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Slippery Rock University. She worked within the child welfare system as a case worker and a supervisor, while obtaining a Master’s of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling, from Walden University.
After obtaining her Master’s degree, Jennifer began working in community mental health, as a therapist and eventually a supervisor. She provided treatment to individuals with dual diagnosis and obtained her license as a Professional Counselor. Jennifer has provided treatment to children, adolescents, and adults in individual, family, and group settings.
Prior to coming to IRETA, Jennifer worked with the substance use disorder population in individual and group settings. She also provided clinical supervision. Jennifer takes a client centered, strengths based approach to treatment. She believes that you need to meet the person where they are in their recovery. Her clinical skills and experience assist people struggling with addiction to gain hope and strength in their recovery journey.
Finance and Program Associate
Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance while minoring in Political Science at West Virginia University.
After spending five years in the banking industry, it was Jessica’s curiosity that brought her to IRETA. She had an insatiable eagerness to learn more about substance use, mental health, and their effects on people from all walks of life, and now works at IRETA coordinating trainings, providing continuing education to training participants, and assisting with fiscal operations.
Whether she’s working alongside trainers and clients or lending her banking expertise to various fiscal tasks, Jessica is thrilled that IRETA gives her an opportunity to apply her unique skills toward helping other people.
Marla Kauffman, MS
Communication and Health Promotion Associate
Marla received a Master of Science in Health Communication from Boston University in 2022 Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication and English Composition from Duquesne University in 2013. After working briefly for a social media marketing start-up, Marla was hired as the Marketing & Development Coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Western PA. During her time at Planned Parenthood, she nurtured a passion for the non-profit sector, particularly as it relates to healthcare and human services.
Working at IRETA provides Marla the opportunity to advocate for those affected by addiction and educate larger communities about the issue. As a person in long-term recovery she is particularly passionate about helping others with substance use disorders.
Jill joined the IRETA staff as a Research Assistant after completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology from Duquesne University.
After spending three years working in prison reform in southwest Pennsylvania, IRETA offers her the opportunity to continue researching behavioral health, and make an impact by helping those struggling with addiction.
At IRETA, Jill is able to employ her unique skills in positively impacting the lives of those who have been negatively affected by addiction.