Joanne Gillis-Donovan, Ph.D.


Dr. Joanne Gillis-Donovan, president and CEO of Melmark since 1996, has 30 years of experience in health care, clinical psychology/family therapy, and organizational development.

Joanne received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Temple University in 1977, her Masters Degree in Child Psychiatric Nursing in 1972 from New York University, and her bachelor's in nursing in 1966 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She also studied the biological basis of child psychiatry at the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. After graduating with her degree in nursing, she spent the next 4 years managing children's intensive care units in the Army Nurse Corps and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Joanne spent 5 years as a consultant at the Wharton Applied Research Center. Joanne was instrumental in laying the foundation for what became the Wharton Family Business Institute. Subsequently, she moved to the Graduate School of Nursing at Penn. There, as clinical assistant and then clinical associate professor, she wrote, developed, and directed the master's program in child and family mental health. She has been in the active practice of family therapy for 35 years.

In 1977, she founded an organizational development company and for the next 20 years consulted to a wide variety of businesses, both publicly and privately held. Using her health care background and her knowledge of family and organizational systems, Joanne consulted with a range of organizations, from health care to the motion picture industry on both the production (Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Universal Studios) and exhibition (AMC) sides. She has a longtime special interest in family-held business, large and small.

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