Understanding Behavior began as a collaboration in 2004 between Dr. Alex Campbell and Dr. Juve Vela with the idea that changing behavior starts with understanding behavior.
At the time, Dr. Campbell had over 30 years of experience working in the field of developmental disabilities, as well as a critically praised book entitled Bridges to Compassion. Dr. Vela brought over 15 years of experience in clinical practice and recognition as an expert in psychological consultation.
Utilizing their extensive backgrounds, they began to provide a unique blend of behavior consultation that incorporated classical applied behavior analysis (ABA) along with clinical psychology and systems theory. This approach to working with families, individuals and specialized programs in this manner was so well received that in 2007 Dr. Campbell and Dr. Vela turned their collaboration into what is now Understanding Behavior, Inc.
Over the years, Understanding Behavior, Inc. has become a leading provider of behavior consultation that offers intelligent, quality and professional services to a wide array of people and companies across the country.
Our Management Team
Understanding Behavior’s management team has been working in the field of developmental disabilities for almost 30 years.
With expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Clinical Psychology, our management team has the depth of experience needed to address the unique challenges of the individuals, families and professionals we serve. Understanding Behavior’s management team frequently contributes to research literature and is active in education, awareness and advocacy efforts in the field nationwide.
Juve Vela, Psy.D.
CEO & President
Dr. Juve Vela has been working with individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities and mental illness for over 20 years. He is a noted expert in the field of community-based consultation of both behavior and systems, and he has been invited to lecture on behavior consultation locally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Vela completed his doctoral work at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California and his post-graduate certification in Applied Behavior Analysis at Pennsylvania State University. He finished his earlier studies at St. John’s College and the University of California, Berkeley. After extensive experience in the provision of behavior consultation to individuals, families, organizations and a variety of groups, Dr. Vela teamed with Dr. Alex Campbell in 2005 to form what is now Understanding Behavior. In addition to his leadership role at Understanding Behavior, Dr. Vela has professional involvement in critical intervention services for people diagnosed with developmental disabilities, and with supported living services for adults with special needs who wish to live independently. He also collaborates with photographer and filmmaker, Sven Wiederholt, on a wide array of documentary projects involving subjects of special interest.Email Juve Vela, Psy.D.
Our Support Staff
Lauren is a California native and graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Aside from her love of the written word, she knew her passion was in helping individuals and families looking for support in their community. Her professional background has been in the non-profit sector, helping underserved youth with substance abuse prevention, gang intervention and co-occurring services. As a Case Manager at Understanding Behavior, Lauren offers support and guidance to families seeking behavior services. From the first time a client calls she will be the direct point of contact, overseeing the coordination of care between providers and families, helping to navigate insurance companies, and any additional assistance needed throughout the entirety of their services.Email Lauren Stewart
Senior Recruiting Specialist
Nicole Ostrowski comes to us with over 10 years of recruiting experience. Before moving to the health industry she previously worked in international recruiting for education and school management throughout Asia, and has also done a stint in legal and executive recruiting. Nicole graduated from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University and has always had a fascination with different cultures and the study of human behavior. This interest was reinforced early on by participating in her University’s study abroad program in Europe as well as more recently living 2 years in Japan. Nicole has a live, love, laugh attitude about life and lives by the motto: “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff!”Email Nicole Ostrowski
David Rana, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Dir. of Training & Prof. Dev.
Dr. David Rana is a psychologist with an interest in professional development. Prior to his training in psychology, he was a university professor, and has remained interested in education and career development. He is running our professional, student and staff trainings. These include curriculum and educational materials for the ongoing classes attended by student interns, professional seminars on best practices in the treatment of issues related to the autistic spectrum, along with staff orientations and materials for new hires. He also runs occasional classes in our continuing education (CEU) program, which serves to keep licensed professionals up to date on new developments in their fields and introduce them to new areas of interest. Dr. Rana has also participated in curriculum development for, and sat on the board of Precious Minds a UBI grade school that served autistic and emotionally disturbed children.
Jill Westfall brings nearly 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Her experience includes work as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Marin Convalescent Homes, Office Manager for the Spine Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco, as well as the Medical Billing Representative for outpatient practices and emergency department physicians. As the Claims Administrator Jill oversees all of Understanding Behavior’s nationwide billing and claims systems.Email Jill Westfall
With over 13 years of corporate law practice, Mr. Ashton Hakim brings critical legal counsel to Understanding Behavior. Mr. Hakim graduated from U.C. Berkeley, whereupon he entered and received his J.D. from Loyal Law School at Loyola Marymount University. His corporate counsel experiences ranges across a broad spectrum of business matters. Mr. Hakim advises Understanding Behavior on all corporate issues, as it relates to contracts and agreements, licensing, sales and purchases, corporate governance, employment matters and intellectual property. Mr. Hakim has been counsel to Understanding Behavior and it's affiliates for the past 4 years.
Partner of Zeisler, Zeisler, Rawson & Johnson, LLP, Zach Zeisler's first exposure to the accounting world was in the music industry, becoming involved in the “corporate rock” trend of the early 1980’s. During his tenure with a music industry accounting firm, he was involved in royalty accounting and auditing, individual and small business income taxes, tour accounting for entertainers and general financial statement audits, reviews and compilations. After the firm dissolved in 1985, he joined his father in the firm Zeisler and Sobel. Zach graduated in 1983 from the University of California, Davis, Phi Beta Kappa and with highest honors.