Keynote Speakers & Special Guests

NC Governor, Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper is a trusted leader and family man who is honored to serve as North Carolina’s Governor. Roy Cooper has spent nearly three decades in public service protecting families, keeping communities safe, and working to create jobs and improve schools. The son of a school teacher, he knows that education creates opportunity and he…

View details
NC Opioid Summit, Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary

Dr. Mandy Cohen was appointed to the role of Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in January 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper. Secretary Cohen and her team work tirelessly to improve the health, safety and well-being of all North Carolinians. DHHS has 17,000 employees and an annual budget of…

View details
Kody Kinsley, NCDHHS

Kody H. Kinsley serves as the Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS. He leads state-wide public policy and operations that promote whole-person health by developing prevention methods, interventions, and systems of care for individuals living with mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and substance use disorders. To that end, he oversees…

View details
Ben Money, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary of Health Services

Benjamin Money joined DHHS in 2019 as the Deputy Secretary for Health Services. Money previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) serving the 41 community health centers in the state. He led NCCHCA during a 10-year period of unprecedented growth in organizations, clinical sites and patients…

View details
Haner Hernández, Ph.D., CPS, CADCII, LADCI

Dr. Hernández is originally from Puerto Rico, is bilingual and has worked for 33 years in the health and human service field developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally and linguistically intelligent youth and adult health prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support programs.  He is a master trainer and facilitator and provides individualized technical assistance and support…

View details
Tracie Gardner

As Legal Action Center Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Tracie spearheads major initiatives and fosters strategic partnerships that support LAC’s mission. From 2015-2017, Tracie served as the Assistant Secretary of Health for New York State, where she oversaw the state’s addiction, mental health and developmental disabilities agencies. Tracie has worked almost 30 years in the…

View details
Andrea G. Barthwell

Andrea Grubb Barthwell, MD, FASAM is an internationally renowned physician that has been a pioneer in the field of addiction medicine within the American Addiction Society of Medicine (ASAM) and a contributor to the field of alcoholism and addiction treatment. She is a past president of ASAM, was awarded Fellow status, and is certified by…

View details
Daryl V. Atkinson

Daryl V. Atkinson is the Co-Director of Forward Justice, a law, policy and strategy center dedicated to advancing racial, social and economic justice in the US South. Prior to joining Forward Justice, Mr. Atkinson was the first Second Chance Fellow for U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). While at DOJ, Mr. Atkinson was an advisor to…

View details

Kassandra Frederique is the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit that works to end the war on drugs—which has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities—and build alternatives grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. During her time at DPA, Frederique has built and led innovative campaigns around…

View details

Looking for a Speaker? Use CTRL+F to Search This Page in Your Browser...

Confirmed Speakers

C. Daniel Bowes

Daniel joined the NC Justice Center as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2011 and now serves as the Director of the Fair Chance Criminal Justice Project. He advocates on behalf of individuals, families, and communities isolated from opportunities to prosper by the collateral consequences of criminal records. Daniel previously served as an Autry Fellow at MDC, Inc., and supervising attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Second Chance Employment and Housing Project. As the son of justice-involved parents, Daniel proudly serves on the advisory board of Our Children’s Place, a nonprofit program committed to the well-being of the 30,000 children in North Carolina with an incarcerated parent.

Daniel is a native of Alamance County, N.C. He is a graduate of Duke University and the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar.

Dr. Orisha A. Bowers

Orisha Bowers, Ph.D. is the Regional Director at national Harm Reduction Coalition. She is a lifelong community advocate, educator, and leader. Dr. Bowers, also an ordained minister combines her love for women’s health, rights, and justice with research and interdisciplinary studies to continue to creatively transform the community for universal liberation.

Anna Stein, JD, MPH

Anna Stein serves as a legal advisor to the Chronic Disease and Injury Section of the NC Division of Public Health and works broadly with other Divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services. She focuses on policies related to drug overdose prevention, substance use disorder treatment, harm reduction, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Anna received her law degree and master’s degree in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Melinda Pankratz, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Melinda Pankratz, PhD, MPH, has twenty years of experience in substance abuse prevention, including seventeen years evaluating school and community-based substance abuse prevention interventions, and three years administering state substance abuse prevention grants. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a passion for assessing, planning, and evaluating evidence informed prevention strategies and collaborating with statewide entities to create healthier North Carolina communities. She is currently a Senior Research Associate at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and prior worked for the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, Community Wellness, Health Integration, and Prevention Section, and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Chapel Hill Center.

Sharone Mitchell, Jr.

Sharone Mitchell joined the Illinois Justice Project in July of 2016. Previously, Mitchell was a trial attorney with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office from 2009 to 2016. Mitchell’s work focuses on adult justice specializing in pre-trial issues, sentencing policy, and violence prevention.

Michael Campbell

Sgt. Mike Campbell is the Field Training Officer with the Community Paramedic Division of Stanly County EMS. Sgt. Campbell has been in the public service field since 2003 and has been with SCEMS since 2018. He is responsible for ensuring that all community paramedics in the agency receive the necessary training to provide excellent care to both citizens and visitors of Stanly County, NC. Sgt. Campbell also assists with day to day operations of the Division and collaborates with community resources on a daily basis. Mike has developed a strong passion for helping individuals who suffer from substance use disorder, which came about after personally witnessing how opiate addiction affects families.

Cheryl Viracola, PharmD

Dr. Viracola has served as the Director of Practice Advancement for the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists since June 2019. She earned her undergraduate and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the UNC School of Pharmacy. In her current role, she facilitates the coordination of initiatives aimed at advancing the role of pharmacists in our state. Dr. Viracola has both a personal and professional passion for supporting and promoting the pharmacist’s role within the opioid space. Her work was realized in 2018 as the recipient of the Don Blanton Award for her contributions in this area.

Allison Robertson, PhD, MPH

Allison G. Robertson, PhD, MPH is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She received a PhD in Health Policy and Management from UNC-Chapel Hill and a MPH in Health Management and Policy from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Allison conducts mental health and substance use law, policy, and services research, with a particular focus on the problem of criminal justice involvement among adults with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and especially those with co-occurring substance use disorders.

Allison was PI on a study funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program on Public Health Law Research examining the effects of legal practices used in jail diversion programs for persons with serious mental illness that aim to improve participants’ access to treatment and reduce recidivism; was PI on a study of medication-assisted treatment for justice-involved adults with co-occurring disorders as part of a NIMH-funded Career Development Award; was PI on a NIDA-funded study of gender differences in a statewide jail diversion program; was PI on a feasibility/pilot randomized controlled trial funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation of medication-assisted treatment for opioid-dependent drug court participants; and is currently PI on a multi-site evaluation funded by The Duke Endowment of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs in North Carolina.

Chase Holleman, LCSW, LCAS

Chase Holleman, LCSW, LCAS is a person whom is deeply invested in his community. After living through a handful of overdoses, Chase was privileged enough to receive the opportunities of recovery, formal education, and the wisdom of his predecessors. Since then, his driving force has been to ensure that everyone can receive the same opportunities he did to transform his life.

Angela Harper King, MA

Angela joined the NC DHHS-Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services 21 years ago, as a Supportive Housing Specialist with key duties of; housing liaison to designated housing experts located across our state at Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organizations, and contract administrator for the DHHS’s contract with Oxford House, Inc; the provider of more than 2,000 recovery beds statewide for persons in recovery from substance use disorder.

Angela has been a Housing Counselor certified by The Association of Housing Counselors for the past 18 years, and has a combined, 32 years of experience in the Human Services field. Angela believes that having access to housing that is safe, decent, and affordable is central to the recovery process, which she considers a gateway to ultimate health, community inclusion and prosperity.

Alex Akushevich

I am the Data Lead with the North Carolina Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS). The CSRS is used to track all controlled substance prescriptions in the state and my role is managing the data side of the business. I’ve been monitoring the data for four years and hope to share my insights at the summit.

Steven Mange

Steve Mange serves as Senior Policy Counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, where has focused on strategies to combat the opioid epidemic, reduce overdose death, and address substance use disorder. Steve previously worked as Senior Policy Advisor to the Illinois Attorney General, Executive Director of the Illinois Meth Project, and consultant to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws.

Annette Hubbard

Annette works as a medication for addiction treatment intake case manager and behavioral health aide for the Ninilchik Traditional Council and has worked there since October 2016. Annette is also an enrolled tribal member of the Ninilchik Tribe. She is an advocate for medication for addiction treatment, harm reduction, overdose prevention and post-vention, mental health services, and substance user health care. In her spare time Annette enjoys doing yoga and cycling, fishing, camping, traveling around Alaska. She is also a volunteer and board member at the Homer Needle Exchange.

Rick Moore, MD, AAHIVS

Richard Moore II, MD, AAHIVS, obtained his medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He then attended family medicine residency training at the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency in Massachusetts, where he underwent an integrated training track in care of patients with HIV and Hepatitis C. He worked for Rural Health Group from 2014-2019, a federally qualified health center in northeastern North Carolina, where he directed their HIV, viral hepatitis, and medication-assisted treatment programs and served as associate medical director. He continues to provide HIV and Hepatitis C care in this setting and to direct those programs. He helped develop the Carolina Hepatitis Academic Mentorship Program, which trains North Carolina providers in low-resource settings in Hepatitis C care delivery. He serves as the medical director for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Viral Hepatitis Program, a role which he began in November 2020. He is an assistant professor for the University of North Carolina’s Department of Family Medicine in Chapel Hill, a role which he began in July 2019.

Jasmine McGhee

Jasmine S. McGhee serves as Special Deputy Attorney General and Director of the Public Protection Section at the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ). The Public Protection Section is the forward-facing unit of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and handles public safety policy, outreach, and related litigation, including on gender-based violence, criminal justice reform, and consumer protection. Ms. McGhee is the Lead Counsel for the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, which in December 2020 published and is working to implement 125 recommendations to improve racial equity in North Carolina’s criminal justice system. She is also the Attorney General’s representative on the NC Human Trafficking Commission and supervises the office’s participation on the NC Domestic Violence Commission, the Financial Literacy Council, and the Victim’s Compensation Fund. Ms. McGhee also serves as a member of the Statewide Reentry Council Collaborative, including its Steering Committee. Prior to joining NCDOJ, Jasmine worked as a litigator in the areas of white-collar crime and government investigations and had an active pro bono practice on civil rights and human trafficking matters. She practiced at both K&L Gates in Raleigh, NC and WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. Jasmine also clerked for Judge Andre M. Davis, then on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors and distinction and from Columbia Law School, where she was a Paul Robeson Scholar and an essay and review editor for the Columbia Law Review.

Tim Nolan, ANP

Tim Nolan is a nurse practitioner providing specialty care in HIV, Hepatitis C and MOUD in the setting of primary care for over 30 years. He currently volunteers collaboratively with Olive Branch Syringe Access Program

Eric Morse, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Eric Morse is an Addiction and Sports Psychiatrist. Dr. Morse is the medical director for 2 opioid treatment programs – Johnston Recovery Services in Clayton and Morse Clinic of Roanoke Rapids. He is also a Program Physician at the Morse Clinics of North Raleigh, Dunn, Zebulon, Chatham Recovery in Siler City, and Vance Recovery in Henderson. All of the Morse Clinics proudly accept Medicaid and Medicare. After completing his residency in psychiatry at the UNC, he completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at the University of Maryland and became Board Certified in Addiction Psychiatry by the ABPN. There in 2002-3, unlike most OTP physicians, he was trained in methadone maintenance by many addiction psychiatrists including Jerome Jaffe – one of the first OTP physicians in NY and the first “Drug Czar” under the Nixon administration in 1971 that focused on treatment and expansion of OTPs federally. Since then, Dr. Morse has worked in OTPs at the VA in Baltimore, Rockville, and Cumberland, MD until moving to Raleigh in 2006 and taking over as the medical director at Southlight.

At Carolina Performance in Raleigh, Dr. Morse has his 275-patient limit for buprenorphine maintenance and has been a PCSS-B mentor since it started in 2003 and is an Opioid Response Network mentor with the AAAP and SAMHSA. With 8 buprenorphine waivered physicians, Carolina Performance may be one of the largest buprenorphine OBOT providers in North Carolina. He serves as a consultant for the state in educating physicians on the proper treatment of opioid use disorder through the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse. He also was an investigator on NIDA’s CTN-0075 study on the role of pharmacists in maintaining stable Buprenorphine patients.

Dr. Morse also has been the Sports Psychiatrist for NC State for the past 15 years and has worked with college, pro, and olympic teams and leagues.

Dr. Natasha Donnelly, PhD, PMHNP-BC, Millennium Fellow

Natasha Donnelly is an PMHNP-BC, MSN, RN with a Ph.D. in Suicide Prevention. Natasha is a passionate mental health advocate and was a proud recipient of the Mind Millennium Fellowship. This is a lifetime achievement award by the Millennium Commission for her work involving developing new mental health strategies. Natasha has enjoyed many years of working in psychiatric settings with at-risk populations in England, Africa and now the USA. Natasha has been an active collaborator in many statewide multi-disciplinary initiatives in North Carolina. As well as enjoying her time as a PMHNP (including being a partner at the Cedar Oaks Clinic PLLC), Natasha is passionate about designing initiatives to promote Trauma-Informed/ Focused care and has been involved in therapeutic designs of indoor and outdoor spaces since 2004. In 2018 Natasha founded the charity TFTC Gardens to design therapeutic spaces to promote resiliency skills for those living with emotional challenges including addiction. Natasha is proud to be a Board Member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and an advisor for the Legacy Committee for the new Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, NC. For Natasha life is about celebrating the little things which, when gathered, become the most valuable things – they are the essence of what creates shared happiness.

Rev. Sarah S. Howell-Miller, M.Div., M.A.

Rev. Sarah Howell-Miller (she/her) is senior pastor at Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC and the Faith in Harm Reduction Program Coordinator with the National Harm Reduction Coalition. Sarah received her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2012 and was ordained an elder in full connection through the Western NC Conference in 2017. Sarah completed an M.A. in Bioethics at Wake Forest University in August 2019, where she wrote her master’s thesis on substance use, harm reduction, disability studies, and liberation theology. Sarah is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who performs regularly with Martha Bassett and friends. She and her husband Colin live with their 3 pit bull mixes in Winston-Salem.

Evelyn Bradley McGill, MA, LCAS, LCMHC, CSS

Evelyn Bradley-McGill, MA, LCAS, LCMHC, CCS is the Unit Supervisor for the Community Support Services Substance Use Treatment Program in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. She is a NC Person-Centered Thinking Training with The Learning Community and an Independent Trainer for various topics. She also hosts an online talk show, “EaseDrop” in partnership with Promise Resource Network of Charlotte NC where thought provoking conversations address issues that matter to women
She has been in the substance use/mental health field for 20 years as Clinical Director of a CABHA agency, Utilization Review Care Manager for a local MCO, Liaison for Youth Treatment Court in conjunction supervised the implementation of the Seven Challenges Program for the justice involved youth in SAIOP and Licensed Clinician. She has experience in settings that include a hospital psychiatric unit, outpatient therapy for co-occurring disorders, comprehensive community-based services.

Victor Armstrong

Victor Armstrong joined North Carolina DHHS as ‪Director of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services in March of 2020, with responsibility and oversight of the public community-based mental health, intellectual and other developmental disabilities, substance use, and traumatic brain injury system in North Carolina. Prior to accepting this role, Victor spent six years as Vice President of Behavioral Health with Atrium Health. Based in Charlotte, NC Victor had responsibility for operations of Atrium’s largest behavioral health hospital, Behavioral Health Charlotte (BHC). The BHC campus contains the southeast’s only psychiatric emergency department, staffed 24/7 with board certified psychiatrists, as well as 66 inpatient beds, and 10 outpatient programs. Victor has over 30 years of experience in human services, primarily dedicated to building and strengthening community resources to serve individuals living with mental illness. ‬‬‬‬‬‬

Victor currently serves on the Board of Directors of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) NC and was recently named to serve on the Board of Directors to the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) and is a member of NASW-NC. Also, he is a former board chair of NAMI NC, a former member of the Board of Directors of National Council for Behavioral Health, i2i Center for Integrative Health, and RI International.

Will Madison , ABA, NCPRSS

Will Madison is currently a Training and Education Coordinator in the State of North Carolina and has held that position since 2017. Previously he was an Outreach Services Representative for Oxford House, Inc for Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem area of North Carolina. He has been in long term recovery since 2011 and has been working for Oxford House, Inc. since 2012.

Mr. Madison spent many years opening multiple houses in many cities in North Carolina. Mr. Madison excels at using innovative ideas and always brings a solution to any problem that arises. To that end, in 2017 Mr. Madison took on the challenge of creating a comprehensive training for Oxford House residents and staff in both the use of NARCAN for Opioid overdose crisis but also in reducing the stigma of the use of medication assisted treatment specifically with the Oxford House population. Mr. Madison’s work with the development and implantation of this training is now being used as a model across the country with more than 3000 Oxford Houses worldwide.

Jason Jackson

I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix online. I them obtained my Masters degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Boston University and currently working on completion of my dissertation for my PhD in Health and Human Services/Social Work. I have done some teaching as an adjunct instructor in Criminal Justice at several colleges and universities over the last five years.
I am currently a fully licensed substance use counselor, mental health counselor, clinical forensic counselor, and Mental Health First Aid Instructor. My current position is Programs Coordinator for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office in charge of development, implementation, and oversight of all specialized programs within the Pitt County Detention Center.

Capt. Dale J. Chandler

I began my career in the fire service in 2010, I went to EMT class and obtained that credential. I was enrolled in a criminal justice program but was hired on full time with Stanly County EMS. I found EMS was my passion, I obtained my paramedic working my way up through the ranks. I helped develop our current FTO program and served in that role until I was promoted to Training Officer in October 2019. I also serve as our special operations coordinator, we provide services ranging from tactical medicine to swift water rescue. I hold an associates degree in Emergency Medical Science and am currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s program for Emergency and Disaster Management. I have two children and a wife whom I love dearly and spend all of my spare time with them!

Anna S. Godwin, MS, LCAS, CSAPC

Anna Godwin, MS, LCAS, CPS is the CEO of Community Impact NC (CINC). CINC works in partnership with communities to support and create evidence-based practices and education that prevent and minimize the harm of substance use. Anna is Vice President of Addiction Professionals of North Carolina and serves on the NC Substance Use Federation Advisory Committee. She is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) and Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) in the state of North Carolina. In addition to her tenure in the prevention field, Anna has experience working in both residential and outpatient substance treatment as well as an employee assistance consultant.

Erin J. Day

Erin Jamieson Day joined Community Impact NC in October of 2018 and is the Chief Operating Officer. In 2006, she received a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Religion & Philosophy from Barton College.

Erin has worked for over 10 years in the prevention of substance use disorders. She has experience in leading a community coalition and training communities to begin community level prevention efforts. She has received Coalition Academy training through Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, is a trained Recovery Coach, and has had training in racial equity and disparity issues through the Racial Equity Institute.

Erin currently serves on the board of the NC Prevention Providers Association. Locally she serves on the board of the Wilson Housing Authority, the Wilson Housing Development Corp., the Wilson County ABC Board, the Wilson Chamber of Commerce, the Mental Health America of Wilson County board, and belongs to The Rotary Club of Wilson.

She has lived in Wilson for 18 years, has a husband named Aaron, and two children, Audrey (8) & Axel (5).

Elizabeth Joniak-Grant, Ph.D.

Dr. Joniak-Grant is a sociologist with expertise in such areas as deviance, interaction, drugs, institutions, homelessness, and qualitative methods, including ethnography and in-depth interviewing. She has designed, conducted, and/or analyzed fieldwork and in-depth interviews with homeless youth, HIV/AIDS healthcare providers, people who were deciding whether to get an HIV test, and most recently, in conjunction with her work at UNC’s Injury Prevention and Research Center, state officials, healthcare administrators, and prescribers impacted by state-mandated opioid prescribing limits in North Carolina.

Dr. Joniak-Grant has been a chronic pain patient since 2003 and has advocated for her patient community since 2014. She has served as a patient representative on a number of FDA advisory committees and as a review panel member for the FDA’s Office of Orphan Product’s Rare Diseases Natural History Grant Program. She is also a member of the inaugural Patient Engagement Collaborative, a joint effort of Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) and the FDA, that is working to increase patient engagement in medical product development.

Ronny A. Bell

Dr. Ronny Bell is Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the Director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity at the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Bell serves as Chair of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board and he is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of eastern North Carolina. Dr. Bell’s research focused on health disparities that impact racial/ethnic minority and rural populations, with a particular focus on American Indians.

Holly Carter

Holly Carter is the State Opioid Grant Coordinator with Community Impact NC. She has coordinated the Lock Your Meds Multi-Media Communication Campaign in NC since 2017. She has provided support to various organizations, from state-level to county-level providers, in assessing, planing, implementing and evaluating this campaign to create policies and change behaviors in order to reduce access to prescription medications.

Van L. Ingram

Van Ingram is the Executive Director for the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. Van joined ODCP in November 2004, shortly after it was created with the mission of coordinating Kentucky’s substance abuse efforts in enforcement, treatment and prevention/education.
Van served with the Maysville Kentucky Police Department for more than 23 years, the last six as Chief of Police. He is a former President of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, and was named “Kentucky Chief of the Year” in 2001. He is a former recipient of the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement, as well as the Melvin Shein Award for distinguished service to Kentucky law enforcement.

Regina (Gina) Musa, NCCPSS, CARC

Rural Outreach and Networking Coordinator, Harm Reduction Learning Network Initiative
Ms. Musa has worked in the fields of recovery and harm reduction since 2016. Prior to joining UNC IPRC, she worked at the NC Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) as their Linkage to Care Coordinator. In that role, she worked statewide to support NCHRC’s participants in the process of connecting to health, wellness and treatment/recovery resources, with a focus on participants in rural, under-resourced areas. Through building relationships, Ms. Musa connected those in need to appropriate resources, while providing hope and using a non-judgmental, person-centered approach. Ms. Musa is also a ex sex worker as well as a person who experiences SUD and is currently in long term recovery. Ms. Musa is currently a student at UNC Chapel Hill as well as employee whose work includes recruitment, interviewing and qualitative inductive and deductive coding. Prior to working for NCHRC, Ms. Musa worked at Healing Transitions, providing wraparound services to people who have survived a non-fatal opioid overdose as well as other trauma from substance use. Ms. Musa advocates for recovery and the de-stigmatization of those fighting to become their best selves through the often-challenging recovery process.

Mary Figgatt

Mary (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Graduate Research Assistant at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. She aims to improve public health through community-focused research. Prior to her doctoral training, she was an epidemiologist in local and state government where she led several epidemiologic projects, including those with a focus on viral hepatitis and overdose prevention. Her specific research interests include substance use, harm reduction, and infectious disease.

Melinda Ramage, FNP-BC, CARN-AP

Melinda is the Medical Director of Project CARA. Project CARA is an outpatient integrated, comprehensive perinatal substance use disorder program that serves the 16 western counties of North Carolina.

Tammy Cody, MSW, LCSW

Tammy Cody, MSW, LCSW, has been social worker focusing on the mother-baby dyad for over 25 years. She is Project CARA’s Western North Carolina regional lead for integration of multi-disciplinary teams that work with substance affected families both inpatient and outpatient. A graduate on UNC-Chapel Hill, she has spent 20 year in a neonatal intensive care unit providing complex care management and crisis intervention services to the families of Western North Carolina. Her current role is the Lead Navigator of the Integrated Care Team of Project CARA (Care that Advocates Respect, Resilience, and Recovery for All). Project CARA provides comprehensive substance use treatment within a high-risk obstetrical care program at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). This work will cross multiple counties and systems. Tammy is dedicated to patient-centered healthcare systems.

Crystal B. McIver Phd

Dr. McIver enjoys loving and empowering people. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother and the author of Ice Cream a book about loving mornings. She is a life and employment coach, and a motivational speaker through her Coaching and Consulting firm “Crystal Solutions”. Crystal is the founder of Experience 180inc. a non – profit developed to provide programs to help individuals experience a new direction. The first program provided by Dr. McIver’s nonprofit is “Total Package”, a reentry program currently serving Lee County’s justice involved population.

Hailey Hartman, MPH

Hailey Hartman, MPH is the Overdose Surveillance Coordinator at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Before joining the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in 2019, she worked as a communicable disease epidemiologist in Colorado, Oregon, and North Carolina. In her current role, Hailey oversees, develops, and implements policy, procedures, and processes related to enhancing the reporting of overdose morbidity and mortality data and utilizing NC data sources and systems to better inform ongoing work across the state.
Ms. Hartman holds a MPH in Health Promotion and Policy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a BA in Biology from from William Jewell College.

Jamie Carter, MD, MPH

Jamie Carter is a primary care and addiction medicine physician at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, North Carolina. She completed her residency in internal medicine and her primary care addiction medicine fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Her interests include integration of addiction treatment into the primary care setting and low barrier access to medication for opioid use disorder. Her previous work includes performing an evaluation of a novel low barrier buprenorphine treatment program for patients experiencing chronic homelessness in San Francisco. She is currently leading efforts to implement and evaluate a low barrier medication for opioid use disorder program at Lincoln Community Health Center.

Reid Getty

Reid is a non-binary harm reduction advocate who hails from Carteret County, North Carolina who now lives and works in Durham. Starting originally as a volunteer, Reid is now the NCHRC phlebotomist and travels to exchanges and organizations across the state to perform field testing for HIV, Hepatitis, and Syphilis while coordinating with the state and local health departments. Reid also offers overdose reversal trainings, distributes naloxone and information at local events, and works on the Durham mobile exchange as well as operates the Friday fixed site in Durham. Reid is a proud believer in harm reduction, prison abolition, and securing rights for sex workers and drug users.

Michelle Mathis

Minister Michelle Mathis is Executive Director of Olive Branch Ministry, a faith-based harm reduction agency serving the NC Foothills/Piedmont region. She oversees a Tri-County Overdose Response Team, and Points of HOPE, a justice-centered education and syringe services program that includes low barrier/low threshold suboxone and HepC treatment.

Michelle is Board President of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition and serves in the National Faith in Harm Reduction Movement. She believes that honoring an individual’s journey, with compassion and love, is the key to a successful connection. While her faith is the motivation behind her work, extending hope and extending life is her mission.

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein

Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Social Medicine at UNC—Chapel Hill, as well as a core faculty member in the UNC Center for Health Equity Research. She received her PhD in Community, Research, and Action at Vanderbilt University and completed a NIDA T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School. Dr. Brinkley-Rubinstein’s research focuses on how incarceration can impact health outcomes. She is the PI of a recently funded NIMHD R01 cohort study relevant to pre-exposure prophylaxis among people on probation and parole and the MPI of a NIDA Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network Clinical Research Center grant that will include the implementation and evaluation of opioid overdose prevention programs in community supervision settings in Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and Brunswick County North Carolina.

Mehri McKellar, MD

Mehri McKellar, MD is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center, and has >15 years of experience in treating patients living with HIV (PLWH). She serves as one of the primary providers in the Duke ID/HIV Clinic where she cares for over 300 PLWH. She also serves as Medical Director for the Duke ID Clinical Research Unit, where she oversees multiple HIV-related clinical trials with a team of research coordinators and staff members.

Since her arrival at Duke University in 2008, one of her major research interests has been on HIV prevention – including rapid HIV testing in non-traditional settings such as emergency rooms, and more recently, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). She serves as the Medical Director of the Duke PrEP clinic, which was the first dedicated PrEP Clinic in North Carolina, and now has over 300 persons on PrEP. Her work with PrEP extends to persons who inject drugs, and she recently completed a study looking at awareness, interest and feasibility of administering PrEP thru syringe exchange services. Starting in 2020, she began work on a larger study evaluating the use of PrEP and medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder via telemedicine through syringe exchange sites. She will be presenting this work today in conjunction with her community partners.

Sindhu Shamasunder, MPH

Sindhu Shamasunder graduated with her MPH from Columbia University in 2016 and has since worked in overdose epidemiology and HIV Data to Care. She currently works as a substance use epidemiologist for the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, with a focus on overdose surveillance and PDMP analysis.

Mark W. Parrino, MPH

Mr. Parrino has been involved in the delivery of health care and substance abuse treatment since 1974. He received both a Baccalaureate in Psychology (1974) and a Masters in Health Policy, Planning and Administration (1982) from New York University.Mr. Parrino served as the Director of the Gramercy Park Medical Group, an outpatient methadone treatment program, from 1980 to 1994. He also served as President of the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) and was the Chair of New York City’s Health Systems Agency’s Technical Advisory Group on Substance Abuse. Mr. Parrino also served as the Chair of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) Consensus Panel for State Methadone Treatment Guidelines, the first Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) published for national distribution.

Currently, Mr. Parrino is the President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence and continues to be responsible for the development and implementation of the Association’s organizing initiatives. He is a consultant and educator to government, community and business groups concerning substance abuse treatment and policy. Mr. Parrino is a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators Award for 2003.

Haner Hernández, Ph.D., CPS, CADCII, LADCI

Dr. Hernández is originally from Puerto Rico, is bilingual and has worked for 33 years in the health and human service field developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally and linguistically intelligent youth and adult health prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support programs. He is a master trainer and facilitator and provides individualized technical assistance and support to organizations that provide Substance Use Disorder and gambling prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery supports. Also, Dr. Hernández has over 25 years of experience in delivering addiction counseling and clinical supervision to professionals in the field.
Haner is a person in long-term recovery from addiction and is committed to eliminating health disparities by participating in processes the build equity. He has served as a consultant to a number of local and state health departments with a focus on disparities, building health equity, addiction treatment, and recovery supports. He also consults with and teaches a number of courses at the New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center at Brown University and the National Latino and Hispanic Prevention, Treatment Addiction Technology Transfer Centers funded by CSAT. Currently he serves on the Peer-Led Advisory Board of the National Addiction Peer Recovery Center of Excellence. Dr. Hernandez was appointed to SAMHSA Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) steering committee in 2014 and the Criminal Justice Policy Committee in 2018. He has served a consultant to several federally-funded initiatives in the areas of behavioral workforce development, HIV/AIDS, Substance Use Disorders prevention and treatment, military service members, their families and TBI and PTSD, and pediatric asthma. Dr. Hernández serves as faculty at the New England School of Addiction Studies since 1998, has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, and has presented at several national and state conferences. Dr. Hernández serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Board for Voluntary Certification of Drug and Alcohol Counselors, was appointed to the Springfield Public Health Council in 2006, and served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Latin American Advisory Commission in Massachusetts from 2000-2004.

Haner earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Springfield College and a Master of Education with concentrations in Counseling Psychology and Addiction Studies from Cambridge College in Massachusetts. His doctoral degree was earned at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His major was Community Health Education and his minor was Social Justice Education. In addition, Mr. Hernandez holds an advance Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling at the reciprocal level, is licensed in Massachusetts, and is a Certified Prevention Specialist.

Andrea G. Barthwell, MD, DFASAM

Andrea Grubb Barthwell, MD, FASAM is an internationally renowned physician that has been a pioneer in the field of addiction medicine within the American Addiction Society of Medicine (ASAM) and a contributor to the field of alcoholism and addiction treatment. She is a past president of ASAM, was awarded Fellow status, and is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). Dr. Barthwell has been widely regarded by her peers as one of the “Best Doctors in America” in addiction medicine.

Dr. Barthwell’s career has been as diverse and successful as the patients for whom she advocates. Her career has been comprised of a unique balance of research and practice, and reflects her steadfast commitment to merging scientific inquiry with the human side of addiction: Dr. Barthwell has combined involvement in governmental policy with community-based work in health-care organizations, as well as serving on a number of editorial boards of scientific journals and widely publishing her own research.

Dr. Barthwell left clinical practice in 2002 when called to service as the Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) by President George W. Bush. Following her service at ONDCP, Dr. Barthwell has worked to advance policies that strengthen medical care within addiction settings, conceived and developed a state-of-the-art holistic center for the treatment of alcoholism and drug dependence (Two Dreams with programs in Chicago, Illinois and Outer Banks, North Carolina), and re-opened her multispecialty group practice for the treatment of trauma, pain, and addiction in Chicago (Encounter Medical Group).

Dr. Barthwell is widely published and has served on a number of national advisory boards and committees, most notably the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) Drug Abuse Advisory Committee. Currently, she serves as a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She was appointed a clinical professorship for the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York Stony Brook (SUNY). Additionally, Dr. Barthwell has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of International Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Research (2010-present), the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice (2005-present), the American Journal on Addictions (1995-2002), the Journal of Maintenance in the Addictions (1997-2002), and the NIDA Editorial Advisory Board (1994-2002). She is the founder of “The Parents’ Academy”, a lecture series aimed at helping parents rear tobacco-, alcohol-, and drug-resistant children.

Dr. Barthwell is serves as the Medical Director for Encounter Medical Group PC and is the Founder and CEO of the Two Dreams facilities.

Colin Miller, BS

Colin Miller is co-founder and executive director of the Twin City Harm Reduction Collective (TCHRC), a syringe services program in Winston-Salem, NC. He also works as a Harm Reduction Consultant for the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Colin has been involved in harm reduction since 2003 as both a recipient and provider of services. Over the years, Colin has worked primarily with people living with HIV and/or HCV, drug users, sex workers, and people experiencing homelessness. He holds a BS in Community and Justice Studies from Guilford College.

Rachel Meyer

Rachel Meyer is on a mission to develop and implement sustainable holistic wellness programs for clergy and their congregations. She works as Director of Program Development for the Clergy Health Initiative (CHI) and as Program Director for the Reimagining Health Collaborative (RHC) of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative (TMC) at Duke Divinity School. Joining Duke and CHI in 2012, Rachel’s early work with the initiative focused on data collection and research on the holistic health of United Methodist Clergy in North Carolina. In 2014, she shifted focus to help CHI develop new programs, as well as to translate the CHI’s research findings to broader audiences. Through her leadership of RHC, Rachel has worked with over 30 churches, helping them develop faithful responses to mental health needs, substance abuse disorders, and food access. This experience prepared her to work as the Project Director for the Churches Promoting Recovery Project, working alongside colleagues in both CHI and TMC to assess the needs and develop practical resources for churches engaged in response to the opioid and substance use crisis in North Carolina.

Becca Rose

Becca Rose has been a volunteer for NCHRC since 2014, before syringe exchange became legalized, sorting files, holding Naloxone kit parties and occasionally managing the underground office.In 2018 Becca came back in full force to become NCHRC’s best and brightest Outreach Worker for New Hanover and surrounding counties.

Becca is passionate about perinatal participants. Having been directly impacted, Becca knows exactly how to navigate the various healthcare systems for women who use drugs before, during, and after their pregnancies, and offers a great deal of support throughout that time. Becca has also spoken on panels relating to breastfeeding and childcare for women who use drugs and how healthcare systems can better empower women despite drug use.

Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta

Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta is a scientist at UNC Chapel Hill. At the Opioid Data Lab (, his team studies both pain management and substance use. The research efforts are divided into 3 sections: Theory, Practice, and Lived Experience. Dr. Dasgupta works closely with patients suffering from chronic pain, as well as people who use drugs. He brings harm reduction principles to pain management, and participatory research to overdose prevention.

Dr. Dasgupta’s passion is telling true stories about health, with numbers. Centered in epidemiology, his multidisciplinary approach draws on field research, large database analytics, laboratory investigations, randomized trials, and community-based interventions. Through his work he aims to amplify community and patient voices in public health.

Mary Beth Cox, MPH

Mary Beth Cox, MPH is the Substance Use Epidemiology Team Lead within the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH). Before joining the NC DPH Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in 2016 she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi and worked in communicable disease surveillance in New York and North Carolina. In her current position, Mary Beth leads a team of epidemiologists focused on statewide surveillance of alcohol, opioids, and other medication and drug use. She serves on several state and national workgroups aiming to reduce alcohol and other drug morbidity and mortality. Mary Beth holds an MPH in Epidemiology and Global Health from New York Medical College, and a BA in Religion from Wake Forest University.

Jill McLelland

Jill McLelland is a native of Iredell County where she currently serves as the director for Drug-Alcohol Coalition of Iredell (DACI) . A graduate of Gardner-Webb University, she has over 15 years experience working in the mental health & substance use field. Jill is passionate about reducing stigma, and raising awareness around mental health and addiction issues in her community. In her free time she enjoys quilting, and spending time with her 2 dogs and 4 cats.

Michael D Fliss, PhD, MPS, MSW

Mike Dolan Fliss a public health epidemiologist and data scientist, dually affiliated with the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the NC Division of Public Health to help bring research to practice. His current projects include opioid overdose (built the state’s dashboard), the tobacco / alcohol retail environment, child maltreatment, industrial animal farms, racial disparities in policing, and public health informatics. He has a PhD in Epidemiology (2019) and master’s degrees in social work (2009) and public health informatics (2018). He teaches a course on R for Public Health Epidemiology at UNC with content publicly available online.

Brett McCarty, ThD

Brett McCarty is Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences in Duke’s School of Medicine and Assistant Research Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke’s Divinity School. He is Associate Director of the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative, and he is also a faculty fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and a faculty associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine. Dr. McCarty’s work centers on questions of faithful action within healthcare, and these questions draw him into conversations at the intersections of bioethics, political theology, public health, and theological anthropology. His current research projects focus on religious responses to the opioid crisis and competing conceptions of agency within modern healthcare.

Melissia Larson, Law Enforcement Programs Manager, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

Melissia Larson manages the development and implementation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) sites across North Carolina and provides training to law enforcement on harm reduction topics. Her professional interests include increasing awareness among law enforcement on how harm reduction plays a critical role in their response along with creating understanding of the intersection of co-occurring disorders within the justice system.

She is an experienced public safety project director with over 19 years within the area of criminal justice and public safety initiatives. Melissia has directed numerous collaborative initiatives including preventing and responding to human trafficking, domestic violence homicide prevention and diversion of justice involved people with mental illness. During her career, Melissia has provided technical assistance on a variety of issues and was on the forefront for North Carolina law enforcement agencies implementing permanent drop-off boxes for unwanted prescription pills and for law enforcement’s deployment of naloxone. Melissia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Dorothy McNair

Dorothy is the Harm Reduction Outreach Worker for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

Daquan Peters

Daquan Peters is a Wilmington native. He is also a passionate criminal and social justice advocate. He works for Linc Inc. a Reentry non-profit agency, performing supportive services for those returning to society. He’s also the New Hanover County Second Chance Alliance Coordinator

Derrick Vickers, BS Appalachian State University

Derrick Vickers, Project Manager for Insight Human Services, has been working with local organizations, county agencies, and service/religious groups for the past six years. He has completed the National Coalition Academy through CADCA and was recognized for his efforts at the local level to create positive change in communities. He chairs the Stokes Citizens for Safe and Healthy Communities coalition, sits on the Executive Board for Stokes Partnership for Children and is second year director for the Sandy Ridge Ruritans.

Sarah Murray, MSW, LCSW

Sarah Murray (she/her) is a macro social worker who currently works in homelessness advocacy. Prior to that she worked as a case manager and clinician for 10 years. Sarah has particular interest and experience in training service providers in topics related to centering LGBTQ communities. A queer cis woman, Sarah is honored to have the trust of her co-presenter in teaching about trans and non-binary communities for this summit.

Raye Dooley, MPH, MSW

Raye Dooley (they/them/theirs) is a trans social worker from the South. They currently work as a therapist in private practice, where they focus on serving trans and intersex clients as well as others on the LGBQA spectrum. Passionate about social work that falls at the intersection of clinical practice and social justice, Raye’s primary clinical interests include sexual and gender identity exploration, substance use recovery, and working with those who have chronic illnesses. Raye also enjoys working with organizations as they undergo training and transformational work intended to improve material conditions for trans and queer people. Additionally, they hold a Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture from the NC Botanical Garden and particularly love thinking about how trans people can heal from oppression by connecting to the earth we inhabit.

David Crispell

Dave Crispell is a born an raised Durhamite, thankful to the Eno, Occaneechi, and Tuscaroran indigenous people who cared for this land so well prior to its theft under colonization. He is a father, husband, brother, son, friend, neighbor and citizen and would be nothing without those who grant him those lables. Along the way he has acquired other titles like Reverend and Executive Director, but find those hold far less importance than the moniker we were all born into – human.

Dave is the co-founder and ED of Jubilee Home in Durham, NC, and an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ. Jubilee Home offers supportive housing to justice involved persons in Durham transitioning to independence.

Frankie Roberts

Since 2000, Mr. Roberts has been the Executive Director of Leading Into New Communities (LINC) Inc., a non-profit agency that provides shelter and services for men and women returning from prison.

Mr. Roberts co-founded LINC, Inc. with Tracey Ray after he lost his brother to incarceration and addiction. LINC’s mission is to educate and motivate youth to make positive life choices while empowering men and women returning from incarceration to be productive members of our community. LINC has successfully helped reintegrate over 1200 men and women who have been released from prison since 2002; 92% of which have remained out of prison.

Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director

Kassandra Frederique is the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit that works to end the war on drugs—which has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities—and build alternatives grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights.
During her time at DPA, Frederique has built and led innovative campaigns around policing, the overdose crisis, and marijuana legalization—each with a consistent racial justice focus. Her advocacy, and all of the Drug Policy Alliance’s work, lies at the intersection of health, equity, autonomy, and justice. She has mobilized cities to rethink their approach to drug policy from the ground up and has helped bring the dialogue around safer consumption spaces to the national level through strategic organizing and partner development. Among other victories, Frederique was the architect of the campaign that cut the number of New York City marijuana arrests by more than 99% since 2010, curtailing the city’s infamous reign as the marijuana arrest capital of the country.
Throughout her work, Frederique has been a powerful advocate for working closely with people who have been directly impacted by the war on drugs, and she has built strong alliances with partners in New York and beyond. She has been instrumental in grounding the national drug policy conversation around reparative justice and restitution for communities harmed by the war on drugs. Additionally, Frederique is actively working with the In Our Names Network and other efforts across the country to resist drug war-fueled state violence.
She has been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, USA Today, National Public Radio, and the Netflix documentary Grass is Greener. She has received numerous awards, including the Activist Award from SEIU32BJ, New York City Council Women of Distinction, VOCAL New York’s Joe Bostic Advocacy Award, National Advocates for Pregnant Women Emerging Leader award, and was recognized on both Essence Magazine’s Woke 100 and The Root’s ROOT100. A New Yorker, Frederique holds a M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University and a B.S. in Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Lousie Vincent, MPH

Louise is an activist and educator in NC whose work and expertise in drug user health, social and criminal justice reform has driven the expansion and acceptance of harm reduction in NC and the Southern US. She is a harm reduction consultant who specializes in women’s health, drug policy reform, and the meaningful engagement of people who use drugs. Louise is committed to developing and evaluating user informed systems and developing organizational leadership using horizontal structures and feminist theory. Louise’s passion and expertise have created opportunities
for system change and movement building both locally, nationally and internationally. Louise sits on the board of the International Network of People Who Use Drugs and is the Executive Director of Urban Survivors Union a growing alliance of national drug user unions made up of over 19 drug user networks located across the US. 
We are community organizers whose theory of change involves providing direct services in areas where syringes and pipe service programs are illegal or newly legal and where drug users are denied the most basic health services.

Jessica Dicken, MSW, Section Chief, Community Wellness, Prevention and Health Integration Team, DMH/DD/SAS

Jessica has twenty-two years of experience in substance misuse prevention, including thirteen years conducting training and technical assistance to prevention block grant providers, law enforcement, coalitions and collaboratives in Illinois and North Carolina. She’s passionate about encouraging community strategic planning for ATOD primary prevention initiatives and collaborating with statewide partners, most recently on the impact of Federal Tobacco 21 laws and navigating prevention efforts during and post COVID. She’s been with DMH since May 2018 serving as the Prevention Block Manager, Interim Section Chief and since July 2019 as Section Chief. Prior to 2018, she focused on training, TA and instructional design roles with the NC Training and TA Center. In her spare time, she is a proud mother and spouse, an avid sports fan, gardener, reader, animal lover and weekend explorer of North Carolina beaches/mountains and sites. Jessica received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

William L. Lassiter, MPA

Mr. Lassiter plans and directs operations of the Juvenile Justice Section, and serves as a member of the Department’s senior leadership team. As Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice, he oversees juvenile facility operations, juvenile court services, juvenile community programs, and juvenile intervention and treatment programs.

Mr. Lassiter received his master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina State University; and in January 1998, he began working as a researcher for the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Center for the Prevention of School Violence. In 1999, he became the project coordinator for North Carolina’s statewide school safety tip line and its accompanying educational campaign: Working against Violence Everywhere (WAVE). By 2001, Mr. Lassiter had been promoted to the Center’s School Safety Specialist. In this position, he coordinated a number of projects for the Center, including the “What We Want to be is Bully-Free” awareness campaign, North Carolina’s annual census of school resource officers, the North Carolina portion of the National Institute of Justice-sponsored national evaluation of school resource officers, North Carolina’s critical incident response kit project, North Carolina’s pre-service teacher conflict management project, and the Center’s character education effort. In 2005, Mr. Lassiter was called upon to lead the Center and help it realize its vision of “every student attending a school that is safe and secure, one that is free of fear and conducive to learning.”

In 2010, Mr. Lassiter was called upon to serve as the State Contracts Administrator for Juvenile Community Programs. In 2013, he was promoted to Director of Juvenile Community Programs, where he worked to develop a comprehensive service delivery model for youth in the state’s juvenile justice system.

In 2015, Mr. Lassiter was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use, for which he co-chaired the Work Group on Children, Youth and Families.

Mr. Lassiter was honored to receive the prestigious National Service Award from the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence, for his exemplary service to children, youth and communities. Lassiter has co-authored Preventing Violence and Crime in America’s Schools: From Put-Downs to Lock-Downs, which takes an in-depth look at the causes and solutions of youth violence. He has been featured on a number of major news networks and national publications including: CNN, Fox News, the BBC, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and many others.

Jesse Bennett, MSW, LCAS

Jesse Bennett MSW, LCAS is a former drug user and a formerly incarcerated person. He works as the executive director for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. He participates in the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina through leadership, advocacy, resource and policy development, and education. Jesse has a master’s in social work from North Carolina State University and is a certified in integrated harm reduction psychotherapy.

Elyse Powell, PhD

Elyse is the State Opioid Coordinator for the NC Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Dr. Powell coordinates NC DHHS’ response to the opioid epidemic, including shaping response strategy and leading coordination across treatment, prevention, surveillance, and policy strategies to best improve outcomes for North Carolinians. Dr. Powell is passionate about advancing the way we prevent and treat chronic diseases, including addiction. Dr. Powell received her Ph.D. from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Prior to that, Dr. Powell worked as a Junior Policy Associate for The New York Academy of Medicine, supporting the NYS Department of Health obesity prevention coalition and policy center. She earned her BA from Princeton University, where she studied the neuroscience of addiction.

When she can, Dr. Powell spends time enjoying NC’s outdoors biking, camping, and rock climbing.

Nidhi Sachdeva, MPH

Nidhi Sachdeva (she/her) is a connector of ideas and people, builds community, and advocates for justice. She is a Senior Research Program Leader with the Duke’s Department of Population Health Sciences, where she built and leads a portfolio of prevention research, implementation science, and evaluation projects focused on reducing harms and saving lives from the opioid epidemic. Nidhi comes to Duke from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch where she lead strategic planning, partnership development, policy and program implementation, and local capacity building for injury and violence prevention efforts around the state with a special focus on the prevention of drug poisoning and overdose death. Nidhi also served as a Program Manager at the University of North Carolina’s Injury Prevention Research Center where she oversaw several poisoning prevention policy and program evaluation studies. She has worked in public health in various capacities and settings and on multiple levels within government (local and state) and research universities. Nidhi earned a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia.

MegAnn Smith, MPH

MegAnn Smith, MPH manages the contract development and oversight for the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB) at the NC Division of Public Health. Her work includes developing partnerships and technical assistance with local health departments, community-based programs, and healthcare organizations on topics such as overdose prevention and harm reduction, core injury prevention, suicide prevention, and rape prevention and education. She has a passion for health equity and works to integrate equity in all of the IVPB contracts and programs. She received her undergraduate degree from Guilford College and her master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Amanda (Khalil) Isac, PharmD, MPH

Dr. Isac serves as a pharmacist for the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch at the North Carolina Division of Public Health. In this role, she helps support the expansion of various clinical programs and polices around increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, integration of harm reduction strategies into health systems, and education around safer prescribing practices. Dr. Isac’s work also includes coordination of naloxone distribution across North Carolina for a variety of community-level and state partners. As a practicing community pharmacist, she has been actively engaged for several years in leading key pharmacist initiatives on addressing the opioid crisis including safer syringe sales, naloxone training, and implementation of medication take-back programs. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of South Carolina and completed a post-graduate pharmacy residency at the University of Georgia.

Alyssa Kitlas

Alyssa Kitlas is the Community Overdose Prevention Coordinator for the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB). In this role, Alyssa coordinates the North Carolina Safer Syringe Initiative, supporting the more than 40 registered programs in the state; coordinates technical assistance provided to community based organizations and local health departments related to overdose prevention and harm reduction; and co-convenes the Opioid Action Plan SSP Advisory Group, a group of individuals with lived experience with substance use and/or who work at syringe service programs that is critical to guiding overdose prevention work in the state. Alyssa is also on the planning committee for the 2021 NC Opioid Summit.

Sarah Staudt

Sarah Staudt has been the Senior Policy Analyst and Staff Attorney for Criminal Justice matters at Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts since 2018. Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts works to find anti-racist solutions to systemic injustices fight for their implementation. Sarah graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2013. Before coming to work with Chicago Appleseed, Sarah was a Equal Justice Works Fellow and criminal defense attorney with the Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) where she focused on holistic juvenile and young adult defense. During her time at Chicago Appleseed, Sarah has focused on Pre-Trial court reform issues through Appleseed’s work as a member of the Coalition to End Money Bond, and was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the groundbreaking Pretrial Fairness Act passed in 2021. The Pretrial Fairness Acts makes Illinois the first state to fully end Money Bond and restructures the pre-trial justice system. She also works on projects about reforms to Electronic Detention programs, abolishing overly punitive sentencing systems, and promoting court system efficiency, fairness and accountability.

Charity Anderson, MPS

Charity Anderson received her master’s degree in prevention science in 2018 and is currently working toward her prevention specialist certification. She is also a certified recovery coach and trained in youth suicide and crisis prevention. Charity currently serves as the Youth and Family Engagement Specialist with Community Impact NC, under the Division of Coalition Support. She previously served as a Social Emotional Generalist and Community Liaison with GOAL High School in Colorado Springs, supporting at-risk youth with life skills development, substance misuse prevention, and recovery support.