Leadership Team

Michael Alessandri, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Dr. Michael Alessandri is the Executive Director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). Dr. Alessandri has worked with individuals with autism and their families since 1981 in various capacities. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester and obtained his MS and Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University. Dr. Alessandri is also Clinical Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics and serves as the Department of Psychology’s Assistant Chairman for Community Outreach and Engagement. 

Dr. Alessandri has received numerous community service awards, including the Autism Society of America’s Wendy F. Miller Autism Professional of the Year Award and National Autism Program of the Year for UM-NSU CARD. He is also the recipient of the March of Dimes Community Excellence in Health Care Award (2007), the Health Services Coalition Outstanding Community Leader Award (2009), and the Parent to Parent Excellence in Family Advocacy Award (2010). Dr. Alessandri was also named one of the Ronald McDonald House's 12 Good Men (2008) and the Dewar's 12 Man of Distinction (2007). In 2012, he was selected by the Children's Trust as the David Lawrence Champion for Children, one of South Florida’s highest honors for community service. In 2016, Dr. Alessandri was named the Visionary Leader of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and in 2017, he was recognized by the Dade County Bar Association with the Fostering Inclusion and Diversity Award. For more information about Dr. Alessandri please click here.


Jennifer Durocher, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Durocher is the Director of UM-NSU CARD and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami. She has worked with individuals with autism and their families for over 20 years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Miami, where she obtained both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.