Meet our Maui Behavioral Health Resources Leadership Team
Jud R. Cunningham, LSW
Chief Executive Officer
Jud Cunningham has over 35 years of experience in behavioral health and human services, including nearly twenty-five years as an administrator of behavioral health organizations. His work included positions in the Navajo Nation, Arizona, Washington State and Hawaii. Jud attended college and graduate school in West Virginia, earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University in 1973. He also did post graduate work at the University of San Francisco, earning a certificate in Rehabilitation Administration.
Chief Operating Officer
Nicole Hokoana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy. She’s had the privilege of working in multiple settings — with youth on middle and high school campuses, with young adults at University of Hawai Maui College and with families at Child & Family Service. She served as a Program Director and Individual/Family Therapist at Child & Family Service for 4 years, before taking on the Director position for the agency. She began working at MBHR in 2018.
Chief Financial Officer
Patrick Saka is the former Chief Administrative Officer for the Maui Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital) and past Publisher/General Manager of The Maui News. He has served on the Board of Directors and held leadership positions for Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis Club of Maui, Kiwanis Club of Maui Foundation, Maui United Way, Ka Lima O Maui, Hospice Maui, Maui Chamber of Commerce, Maui Country Club and Maui Bronco League (youth baseball). He has also served on the Board of Governors of the Hawaii Employers Council and Statewide Health Coordinating Council.
Human Resources Director
Ronald Nelson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources from the University of Montana. For the past 34 years he served as a Human Resource Manager for Liberty House/Macy’s, where he oversaw the Maui, Kauai, Kona, Pearlridge and Windward Mall store locations. He has been involved in the Society of Human Resource Management, Workforce Investment Board, Salvation Army and the Private Industry Council. He joined MBHR in October 2018.
Malia gained key fundraising experience early in her career as Campaign Director for Maui United Way and later as Vice President of Donor Relations at Mile High United Way in Denver, Colorado. She has a BS in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Colorado, and a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. She has worked in fundraising since 1993, and is also certified as a PATH International instructor for therapeutic horseback riding. Malia joined MBHR in August, 2019.
David Wittenberg, Psy.D. Aloha House Mental Health & Social Services
David runs Behavioral Health Services of Maui, LLC, which provides management and consultation for Aloha House’s Mental Health & Social Services/Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division. He supervises and trains counselors in the Co-Occurring Disorders program and manages and consults with Aloha House’s mental health programs. Dr. Wittenberg is actively involved in the direction of Aloha House’s first County-wide Crisis Response Team and other related services for those with serious mental illness. He maintains a small private practice and specializes in men’s and couples’ issues and has been a manager and supervisor with Aloha House since 1997.
Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D., Aloha House Mental Health & Social Services
Heather runs Behavioral Health Services of Maui, LLC, which provides management and consultation for Aloha House’s Mental Health & Social Services/Child & Adolescent Mental Health Division. She grew up in Hawaii and has been a licensed clinical psychologist since 1996. Her clinical specialties include maternal-infant health, early childhood development, intensive and in-home family-focused services, as well as rural issues in psychology. Dr. Wittenberg manages and supervises clinicians in Aloha House’s counseling programs. She supervises post-master’s and post-doctoral interns and fellows as part of Aloha House’s initiative to train needed, high-quality clinicians for the families of Maui County. She also consults with local agencies and clinicians working with the “0-3” Early Intervention population.
Bob Lanser, LCSW, Aloha House Mental Health & Social Services
Bob received his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from San Diego State University, specializing in clinical mental health practices. His credentials include: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW – Hawaii), Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW) and inclusion in the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), awarded by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Bob began his career in mental health in 1974 and has worked in both the private and public sector. His experience includes clinical services for children, youth and families. He also specializes in working with adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. In addition, Bob has extensive experience in program development, supervision and clinical service management. Bob has worked with Aloha House since 1997 as a senior clinician and as a co-director of clinical and management services. He helped establish the Mental Health & Social Services Division.
Dr. Lisa Ponichtera, PhD, LMFT, CSAC
Malama Family Recovery Center Clinical Director
Lisa grew up on Molokai and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa and her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Saybrook University and is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Lisa has worked with women and families struggling with drug addiction since 2004 and conducted two qualitative studies comparing the lives of women struggling with methamphetamine dependence with women who were able to stop using methamphetamine. The studies also examined the role of spirituality in the process of addiction and recovery. Lisa has experience working with pregnant and parenting women, gender-specific substance abuse treatment, co-occurring disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, strengths and evidenced-based practices as well as motivational interviewing.
Susan Pirsch, MC, LMFT, CSAC
Maui Youth & Family Services Clinical Director
Susan supervises all MYFS programs. She has more than 25 years of experience working with adolescents and their families. While Executive Director of Upcountry Youth Center, Inc., she initiated bringing Boys and Girls Club’s programs to Maui. Most recently she worked at Seabury Hall for 17 years as the school’s first Guidance Counselor and also it’s Director of Community Service. Susan has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She received a Graduate Certificate in Public Health as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.