Advisory Board

2021 Advisory Board

Session programs and presentations for the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit are tailored to provide stakeholders timely and relevant information for their particular fields. Operation UNITE created a National Advisory Board to represent multi-disciplinary interests in the Rx drug abuse and heroin issues and to guide development of conference offerings. Members of the Advisory Board are:

Grant T. Baldwin, PhD, MPH
Director, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Grant Baldwin is the Director of the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention (DUIP) at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He has served in this capacity since September 2008. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for persons ages 1 to 44 years. DUIP is dedicated to reducing the number and severity of unintentional injuries through science-based programs and applied research. CDC is focused on preventing injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle-related crashes, older adult falls, prescription drug overdoses, and traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Baldwin joined the CDC Injury Center in November 2006 as acting Deputy Director. In this role, Dr. Baldwin assisted the NCIPC Director in providing overall leadership and direction for the Center. He began his career at CDC in September 1996. Dr. Baldwin received his PhD in health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2003. He also received a MPH in behavioral sciences and health education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 1996. He currently adjunct Associate Professor at Emory in the School of Public Health and teaches two courses – Social Behavior and Public Health and Community Needs Assessment.

Michael C. Barnes, Esq
Chairman, Center for U.S. Policy (CUSP)

Michael C. Barnes is Chairman of the Center for U.S. Policy, a not-for-profit organization advancing solutions to the nation’s substance abuse, mental health, and incarceration crises.  He is also Managing Partner and Founder of DCBA Law & Policy, a law firm recognized nationally for its work in health care and drug policy.

Mr. Barnes previously co-created and successfully exited a global health care and policy consulting firm and a private residential substance abuse treatment program. He also co-founded a not-for-profit that provided early leadership to address the U.S. drug abuse, addiction, and overdose crisis. 

Mr. Barnes often provides legal, political, and issue analysis for national news networks, including FOX News, FOX Business, CNBC, CNN, and HLN.  He has been a member of the advisory board for the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit since 2011, the National Sheriffs’ Association’s Drug Enforcement Committee since 2014, and the editorial board for the Journal of Opioid Management since 2015.

Mr. Barnes was a political appointee under President George W. Bush, having served as confidential counsel in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Daniel Blaney-Koen, JD
Senior Legislative Attorney, American Medical Association Advocacy Resource Center

Daniel Blaney-Koen is a senior legislative attorney with the American Medical Association Advocacy Resource Center (ARC). The ARC attorneys focus on working with state and specialty medical societies on state legislative, regulatory and policy advocacy. In addition to his work in the ARC, Blaney-Koen has held several roles at the AMA, including serving as a public information officer, policy analyst and speechwriter. Currently, he focuses on state legislation and policy concerning the nation’s opioid epidemic, with particular emphasis on overdose prevention and treatment. He also covers other pharmaceutical issues as well as insurance market reforms. Prior to joining the AMA in 1999, Blaney-Koen earned his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Colorado State University, and his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona. He earned his law degree from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Blaney-Koen, his wife, two young sons and daughter live in Chicago.

Betty-Ann Bryce
Special Advisor/Rural Lead
Public Health Education and Treatment, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)

Betty-Ann Bryce is the Rural Health Liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). She returned to USDA from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), where she served as a Special Advisor for Rural Affairs. At ONDCP, she chaired the Rural Substance Use Disorder Federal Interagency Working Group, guided the work on the Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool, Regional workshops, Federal Rural Resources Guide, and the Rural Community Action Guide: Building Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities. She joined ONDCP from USDA, where she served as a senior policy advisor in the Rural Development Agency. Prior to joining the U.S. government, she served as the Senior Policy Analyst for the Rural and Regional Unit at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for several years, in Paris, France. In this capacity, she assessed regional and rural government policies in different countries and contributed to several OECD Publications including: Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet (2014), Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development (2012), and the Rural Policy Reviews of the Netherlands (2008), Finland (2008) and Scotland, UK (2008). She coordinated and co-authored Innovation and Modernising the Rural Economy (2013), Rural-Urban Partnerships: An Integrated Approach to Economic Development (2013), the Rural Review of England, UK (2011), Strategies to improve Rural Service Delivery (2010), and the Rural Policy Review of Italy (2009). In addition to a Juris Doctorate, she holds a Masters in Economic and Territorial Development from L'Institut d'Etudes Politique de Paris (The Paris Institute of Political Studies) in France, and a Masters in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in the United States.

Monty Burks, BS, PhD
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Substance Services, Director of Faith-Based Initiatives

Monty Burks, CPRS, PhD, serves as the Director of Faith-Based Initiatives for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, where his role is engaging and connecting Tennessee's faith communities to the behavioral health care system, with the goal of expanding addiction and mental health support services across the state. He also oversees the Tennessee Lifeline Peer Project, a state program aimed at reducing the stigma associated with people who suffer from addiction and the Tennessee Faith Based Community Coordinators, whom seek to help congregations build their capacity to combat addiction and mental health issues in their respective community. Burks earned his master's degree in criminal justice from Middle Tennessee State University and his doctorate in theology from Heritage. Burks has more than 18 years' experience working with the criminal justice system in various roles, including adjunct criminal justice professor at Motlow State Community College, Criminal Justice Research Analyst at Middle Tennessee State University, and Criminal Justice Program coordinator at Tennessee State University, where he still serves as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice.

Anne L. Burns, RPh
Vice President, Professional Affairs, American Pharmacists Association (APhA)

Anne L. Burns is Vice President, Professional Affairs, at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). She is responsible for the Association’s strategic initiatives focused on advancing pharmacists’ patient care services in team-based care delivery models, as well as health care quality, pharmacy practice accreditation, and credentialing. She also works on APhA’s medication therapy management, medication safety, Rx drug abuse, and health information technology initiatives in addition to other key pharmacy practice issues. She has served on many medication therapy management and quality-related advisory councils. Ms. Burns joined APhA’s Education Department in 1997 and transitioned to the Professional Affairs Department in 1999 to focus on pharmacists’ patient care services and community pharmacy residency program accreditation. Prior to joining APhA, she served on the faculty at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Pharmacy. She is a graduate of OSU and completed the Wharton Executive Management Program for Pharmacy Leaders.

Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM
President, Addiction Crisis Solutions, and Immediate Past President, American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Kelly Clark is board certified in both addiction medicine and psychiatry. She has focused her career on issues of addictive disease, evidence-informed behavioral health care and payment reform. She founded Addiction Crisis Solutions to focus on educating all stakeholders on addiction in the service of transforming addiction care to evidence-based, cost-effective practice. She has provided expertise about the opioid crisis to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Comptroller General; the Pew Trusts, National Safety Council, and National Business Group on Health; as well as numerous provider and payer organizations. Clark earned a master's degree in business administration from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin. She continues her work as a founding member of the Advisory Board of the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit.

Lori L. Croasdell, M.A.
CEASe/Drug Free Communities Coordinator, CEASe (Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances), Scott County, Indiana

Lori is a passionate and active member of her community in Scott County, Indiana, where she and her family have resided for nearly 24 years. An Indianapolis native, Lori graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Psychology from Olivet Nazarene University and her master’s degree in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from Ball State University. In addition to serving as the CEASe and Drug Free Communities Coordinator, she teaches college level public speaking courses. She is committed to her faith, her family, and her community. Her county is nearly last in health outcomes in Indiana and has high youth and adult substance use, in addition to being the epicenter of the 2015 unprecedented HIV outbreak due to IDU of Opana-ER. Her latest efforts involve promoting county-wide positive social norms campaigns, facilitating stigma reduction for addiction and recovery, helping start a Recovery Community Organization, expanding recovery supports in the county jail, guiding the coalition through its 12-Month Action Plan, and assisting with the growth and expansion of the EMPOWER Youth Coalition. Lori was named the 2016 Prevention Professional of the Year by the Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ICAADA).

 

David M. Dickerson, MD
Section Chief, Pain Medicine, and Medical Director, Anesthesia Pain Services Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, NorthShore University HealthSystem

David M. Dickerson, MD is an anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician. He is the section chief for pain medicine at the NorthShore University HealthSystem.  His research and clinical endeavors focus on pain care outcomes and implementing safe and effective pain care delivery systems.  While at NorthShore, Dr. Dickerson authored a system-wide practice advisory on safe opioid prescribing and leads several quality improvement and clinical initiatives optimizing patient access to non-opioid care across the care continuum. Clinically, Dr. Dickerson directs the inpatient pain services for three hospitals as well as three outpatient pain clinics. 

Prior to joining the NorthShore System, Dr. Dickerson served as director of the University of Chicago Medicine’s acute pain service and chair for the Institution’s Pain Stewardship Program. Dr. Dickerson served as the American Society of Anesthesiologist’s liaison to the National Pain Care Coalition and currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the ASA Committee on Pain Medicine. Dr. Dickerson teaches several classes on pain and neuroscience for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.  He has given invited lectures nationally and internationally on pain and opioid stewardship and comprehensive pain care in the era of the opioid epidemic.  Dr. Dickerson created policies, procedures and clinical pathways for outpatient and inpatient ketamine and lidocaine infusions for treatment refractory pain, opioid and naloxone prescriptions, and safe drug disposal.  He provides editorial services for multiple leading anesthesia and pain journals and has published over 20 peer-reviewed book chapters and manuscripts in anesthesiology and pain medicine. Dr. Dickerson is a core faculty member of the University of Chicago Center for Health Care Delivery Science and Innovation and a past grant recipient of one of the Center’s innovation awards for the study of implementing pharmacogenomics into inpatient pain care. 

John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Director of Center for Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM is the director of the Center for Preparedness and Response. In this role, he is responsible for all programs that comprise CDC’s public health preparedness and response portfolio. Dr. Dreyzehner is a highly respected national leader in the field of public health, with a particular career emphasis on preparedness and response issues, including serving as the ASTHO Preparedness Policy Committee Chair, National Homeland Security Consortium Tri-Chair, and the NEMA-ASTHO-GHSAC Policy Committee Co-Chair.

Dr. Dreyzehner recently served as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health from 2011-2019, leading a team of over 3,500 individuals and a budget of over $600 million. During his tenure, he led Tennessee’s preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks, including the national fungal meningitis outbreak, Ebola, Zika, and outbreaks of hepatitis A and C.  He also led the public health preparedness and response activities to natural disasters including severe winter storms, tornados, flooding, and a major rural-to-urban wildfire in Gatlinburg and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. His agency was the lead responder for local disasters and his response teams provided direct aid to other states.  He has testified before the U.S. Congress as an expert on preparedness and response issues.

Prior to becoming Commissioner, Dr. Dreyzehner served as the District Director for the Cumberland Plateau Health District in the Appalachian region of Virginia from 2002-2011 where he also led numerous local and regional public health responses.  He was among the first in the nation to describe the opioid crisis ravaging the region in the early 2000’s as a public health epidemic.  His community-focused approach to that response led him to become a DATA-waived physician and to practice addiction medicine in a local non-profit community clinic.  Dr. Dreyzehner also served as a Flight Surgeon in the United States Air Force practicing and directing primary care, outpatient services, public health and aeromedical programs while stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Following his military service, he was residency trained and board certified in Occupational Medicine and established a new occupational health clinic for regional business and industry as the Director of Blue Ridge Occupational Health in Lebanon, Virginia.

Throughout his career Dr. Dreyzehner has consistently demonstrated emergency preparedness and response leadership. At the local level, he was especially instrumental in establishing a new public health emergency preparedness office and a local multi-state preparedness council that not only responded to emergencies, but also prepared the community and region for potential threats from naturally occurring and human-related sources.  He has achieved substantial public health impact in each of his positions; his records of accomplishment and ability to develop and foster relationships with government and academia will allow him to provide dynamic, collaborative and visionary leadership for CPR.


 

Robert L. DuPont, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine

For 50 years, Robert L. DuPont has been a leader in drug abuse prevention and treatment. He was the first Director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (1973-1978) and the second White House Drug Chief (1973-1977). From 1968-1970 he was Director of Community Services for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. From 1970-1973, he served as Administrator of the District of Columbia Narcotics Treatment Administration. In 1978 he became the founding President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., a nonprofit research and policy organization that identifies and promotes powerful new ideas to reduce drug use and addiction. A graduate of Emory University, DuPont received a medical degree in 1963 from the Harvard Medical School. He completed his psychiatric training at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. DuPont maintains an active practice of psychiatry specializing in addiction and the anxiety disorders and has been Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine since 1980. He is the author of Chemical Slavery: Understanding Addiction and Stopping the Drug Epidemic.

John L. Eadie, MPA
Coordinator, Public Health and Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Project, National Emerging Threats Initiative, National HIDTA Assistance Center

John Eadie is the Public Health & Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Project Coordinator for the National Emerging Threat Initiative of the National HIDTA Assistance Center. He previously served as Director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Center of Excellence at Brandeis University (2010-15). For 44 years, Mr. Eadie has served in management, executive and consulting capacities in the field of public health. As Director of the Division of Public Health Protection in the New York State Department of Health (1985-95), he directed the state’s pharmaceutical diversion program, including the PDMP. He co-founded both the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs (ASPMP) and the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities (NASCSA), served as President for both organizations and held other posts. Since leaving New York state service in 2001, Mr. Eadie has served as a consultant on PDMPs, including serving as the Administrative Reviewer for the Massachusetts PDMP. Mr. Eadie has published multiple articles, made numerous presentations, and served in many different arenas as an expert.

Douglas J. Edwards, C-ATM
Director, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network, HMP Global

Douglas J. Edwards, C-ATM, is the director of the HMP Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network, the behavioral healthcare field’s largest media and event producer. Its signature events include Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, PsychCongress, National Conference on Addiction Disorders, and Treatment Center Investment & Valuation Retreat. He has been serving the behavioral healthcare community since 2000, and previously served as editor-in-chief of Behavioral Healthcare and Addiction Professional magazines. Edwards has moderated high-level panel discussions at conferences across the country with VIPs such as members of Congress and the White House. He presents on marketing best practices for the field and in 2018 earned the Behavioral Health Association of Providers’ Certificate in Addiction Treatment Marketing (C-ATM). He earned an MBA from Franklin University and his undergraduate degree in English and Sociology from the University of Akron.

Nancy Hale, MA
President and CEO, Operation UNITE

Following 34 years as a teacher, career counselor, and administrative coordinator, Nancy Hale retired from public education in 2012 and joined Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education) as Co-Program Director for the UNITE Service Corps (AmeriCorps) Program. In February 2015, she was named UNITE’s third President & CEO. Very involved in her community, Ms. Hale has served as an Executive Board Member and volunteer with the Rockcastle County (KY) UNITE Coalition for the last 11 years, with the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association for 26 years, as well as a current Board Member and twice-elected President of the Kentucky Association of Professional Educators.

As a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Pi Chapter, Ms. Hale was named "Kentucky Volunteer of the Year" four times (1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004). She received the "Golden Apple Achiever Award" from Ashland Oil, Inc. in 2000 as one of Kentucky's outstanding educators. In 2001, she was chosen as the "Kentucky YMCA Champion," and was the first inductee into the Kentucky YMCA Youth Advisor Hall of Fame in 2010.

David Hamby
National Coordinator, National Emerging Threats Initiative

David Hamby was appointed National Coordinator, National Emerging Threats Initiative (NETI) in January 2017. Before his current appointment, he was the Deputy Coordinator of NETI, previously known as the National Methamphetamine and Pharmaceuticals Initiative (NMPI)/Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA. A member of the National HIDTA program since March 2008, Mr. Hamby serves as principle emerging threats advisor to the HIDTA program as well as State and local entities. He oversees specialized training, current trends, analytical support, best practices, innovative programs, and strategic planning for the program’s national approach to combat emerging drug threats. Mr. Hamby retired from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Chattanooga Tennessee as Captain after a distinguished 30-year career in law enforcement, serving 18 years in the field of narcotics enforcement. Mr. Hamby served five years as Director of the SE Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force. He has received numerous awards and citations, including the Appreciation Award as Project Coordinator in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing (CISD) for law enforcement officers in the State of Mississippi.

Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, MPH
Senior Advisor and Director of Strategy and Innovation
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Christopher Jones, PharmD, MPH, currently serves as Senior Advisor and Director of Strategy and Innovation in the CDC Injury Center. As Senior Advisor, he provides strategic policy and scientific direction and coordination on a broad range of injury and violence topics including drug overdose, suicide and adverse childhood experiences. As the Director of Strategy and Innovation, he leads strategic planning efforts and the development of innovations across Injury Center programs and topics; leads a team of scientist and public health practitioners to advance innovative approaches to using data to inform prevention efforts, building partnerships to advance public health data and surveillance, and strengthening interagency and nongovernmental collaborations on injury and violence prevention; and serves as a senior scientist to conduct epidemiological and policy research. Prior to joining CDC, he served as the first Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During his career, Jones has served as Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Data Policy and Director of the Division of Science Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, senior advisor in the Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and led the CDC’s drug abuse and overdose activities, among other assignments as a U.S. Public Health Service commissioned corps officer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Reinhardt College, his doctorate of pharmacy degree from Mercer University and his master of public health degree from New York Medical College, and he is currently completing his doctorate of public health in heath policy at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

J. Kevin Massey
CEO, Arlington Consulting Group

J. Kevin Massey is CEO of the Arlington Consulting Group which provides healthcare technology innovation, quality improvement, strategy and program development/support. Massey has been a member of the advisory board for the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit since 2013 and has co-published articles and presents at numerous conferences as an expert. For over 25 years, Massey has served in management, executive and consulting capacities in the fields of public health, healthcare and financial services.

Prior to the Arlington Consulting Group, he served as the Health Services & Court Compliance Administrator for Wellpath, which is a leading, national contracted provider of correctional healthcare services in the US. He lead an integrated clinical team of more than 100 professionals that served over 1,300 patients located onsite at the New Orleans Parrish Jail. Previously, as the Director of Strategic Business Development at the Community Health Center, Inc., he co-lead the development of clinical innovations that improved specialty healthcare access amongst underserved primary care patients across the US. Prior leadership roles include: Director of Violence and Injury Prevention in the State of Delaware, Department of Health where he lead health policy, clinical practice and executed broad-based prevention/population health programs, to include analyzing the PDMP; Chief Operating Officer at the Kent Community Health Center, a $20M outpatient primary care health center and Interim Director of Marketing/Community Engagement for United Healthcare, Delaware Community Medicaid Plan.

Michael Meit, MPH
Senior Fellow, NORC, and Director of Research and Programs, Center for Rural Health Research, East Tennesee State Univeristy

Michael Meit serves as Director of Research and Programs for the East Tennessee State University Center for Rural Health Research and as a Senior Fellow in NORC at the University of Chicago’s Public Health Research Department. Michael currently leads studies focused on the evaluation of rural health programs, health equity, opioid misuse, and food insecurity, among others. Recently, he led development of an Appalachian Regional Commission study, exploring Diseases of Despair in Appalachia, a companion Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool, and the national expansion of that tool, the Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool. Michael has also recently conducted work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explore declining overdose rates in eastern Kentucky, and formative research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore community assets to improve health and equity in rural communities. He is one of the co-investigators for ETSU’s recently funded Rural Health Research Center, the Center for Substance Misuse in Rural America, for which he will serve in a leadership role.

Patrick J. Morrison
Assistant to the General President, International Association of Fire Fighters

Patrick Morrison is the Assistant to the General President for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in the Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine. The IAFF is an International Labor Union representing over 310,000 professional fire fighters in the United States and Canada. The Division of Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine provides IAFF affiliates with a comprehensive array of services addressing the occupational health and safety of fire fighters and emergency medical personnel. He is responsible for the daily operations of the Division as well as the development and implementation of fire service occupational health and safety standards, including those promulgated by federal, state and provincial governments, including crucial health and safety issues published by National Fire Protection Association, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and IAFF Wellness Fitness Labor/ Management Task Force. Mr. Morrison’s expertise is in the design and implementation of health, safety and wellness programs to improve fire fighters’ overall physical and mental health, address their medical needs and increase protections from the hazardous elements of firefighting. Prior to joining the IAFF, Mr. Morrison was a career fire fighter for 21 years with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Fairfax, Virginia.

Chauncey Parker, JD
Director, New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Chauncey Parker serves as the Director of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA (High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area), a federally-funded program that invests in public safety and public health partnerships designed to reduce drug abuse and its consequences. Mr. Parker also serves as Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. A veteran of more than 27 years in criminal justice, Mr. Parker began his career in the District Attorney’s Office in 1986, where he served for five years. Mr. Parker next served for 10 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 2002, Governor George Pataki appointed Mr. Parker to serve as the Director of Criminal Justice for New York State, where for five years he oversaw all state criminal justice agencies.

Karen H. Perry
Co-Founder & Executive Director, NOPE Task Force

Following the loss of her oldest son, Richard, to a drug overdose, Karen H. Perry co-founded Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) Task Force. She has served in a voluntary capacity as Executive Director since its inception in 2004. Mrs. Perry’s major initiatives include the co-development and implementation of the NOPE Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, as well as the Program Training Curriculum. Other initiatives created and led by Mrs. Perry include the NOPE’s Annual National Candle Light Vigil, NOPE Treatment Fund and the NOPE Support Group. In addition to her commitments to NOPE, Mrs. Perry serves on numerous organizational boards and councils. She has been recognized for her achievements in the substance abuse field on the local and national levels. Additionally, she has been a leading advocate for numerous legislative initiatives on the State and Federal levels in the area of substance abuse. Mrs. Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rosemont College.

Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP
Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health

Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, was honored to join Governor Bill Lee’s cabinet upon his inauguration in January 2019, as the 14th commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. Preceding her public service, Dr. Piercey spent a decade in health systems operations, most recently as Executive Vice President of West Tennessee Healthcare, a public, not-for-profit health system with over 7,000 employees servicing 22 counties. Dr. Piercey is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both General Pediatrics and in the specialty field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. She has remained active in evaluating children for suspected abuse and neglect and serves in a volunteer capacity as Medical Director for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center and faculty member at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Professional awards include Senior Healthcare Executive of the Year (2016), Rural Healthcare Executive of the Year (2017), and the WestStar Make-a-Difference Award (2018). 

She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Lipscomb University, her M.D. degree and Pediatrics residency training from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, and her M.B.A. from Bethel University. Both Dr. Piercey and her husband, David, an industrial safety specialist, are west Tennessee natives and have four children. In her personal time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, drumming, and competing in triathlons. 

In addition to volunteering on multiple community and non-profit boards, Dr. Piercey has served on the American Hospital Association’s Small and Rural Hospital Governance Council, the Joint Commission Critical Access Hospital Advisory Group, and the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development Board, as well as was appointed by Governor Haslam in 2017 to the State of Tennessee Healthcare Facilities Licensing Board. Professional awards include Senior Healthcare Executive of the Year (2016), Rural Healthcare Executive of the Year (2017), and the WestStar Make-a-Difference Award (2018). 

She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Lipscomb University, her M.D. degree and Pediatrics residency training from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, and her M.B.A. from Bethel University. Both Dr. Piercey and her husband, David, an industrial safety specialist, are west Tennessee natives and have four children.

Carla Worley Saunders, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC
Founder and CEO, Transformational Wellness Initiative

Carla Worley Saunders has been a board-certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner since 1991 and received her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2017. Dr. Saunders has a dedicated passion in her work advocating for mothers and babies; which led her to her doctoral work that has now created a larger vision for improving communities and public health through empowering women. This passion was the inspiration behind the formation of the Transformational Wellness Initiative and the fulfillment of a promise to the mothers and babies she cared for who have been affected by the opioid crisis. Her mission is to inspire others to elevate the expectations of healthcare among individuals and organizations and initiate a movement that goes beyond healthcare reform to transformative healthcare.

In 2010, Dr. Saunders gathered a multidisciplinary team in response to the alarming rise in number of babies being admitted to the NICU suffering from the physical withdrawal of maternal opiate exposure, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The work done by her team is receiving local, state, national, and international attention, including: CNN Headline News, Anderson Cooper, ABC Nightline, and ABC affiliate Australia, and NPR StoryCorps. The focus of their work has work has gone beyond the bedside into community awareness, education, and prevention strategies with the Tennessee Department of Health. She is involved extensively in research surrounding Intrauterine Drug Exposure and NAS.

In 2014, Saunders attended the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) where she lobbied on behalf of the nursing community on multiple issues, including Rx substance use among women of childbearing age. She has provided expert testimony before the Tennessee State Senate Health, Welfare Committee in support of the Safe Harbor Act promoting addiction treatment and prenatal care in pregnant women with substance abuse. Dr. Saunders was summoned by the Tennessee Department of Health to be a member of the Opioid Prescribing Task Force responsible for writing Chronic Pain Guidelines for Tennessee and co-authored sections on Special Considerations for Women of Childbearing Age and Pregnant Women. Dr. Saunders and her colleagues published their work in an original research article in the Journal of Neonatal and Perinatal Nursing: Special Edition on Addiction. In 2017, Dr. Saunders was invited to co-author a chapter on NAS for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, “A Pharmacists Guide to Opioid Use Disorders”.

Dr. Saunders is a member of multiple community and professional organizations including: Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC), Tennessee Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (TADEC), Tennessee Recovery Coalition, Inc. (TRC), East TN Prescription Drug Task Force and is on the Advisory Board for TDOH Chronic Pain Guidelines. She has served as an Advisory Board member for the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit since 2011.

Dr. Saunders has received multiple awards for her leadership in quality improvement and patient advocacy, including: 2010 Advanced Practitioner of the Year and 2013 Margaret Steinbach Excellence in Leadership Award for Pediatrix Medical Group, 2016 Medical Staff Award for Outstanding APN East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and has been honored as a Hometown Hero by Great American Country Television’s Great American Heroes. In 2017, she and her colleague E. Kyle Cook, MSN, APRN, NNP-BC, were featured on NPR StoryCorps which chronicled their transformational personal and professional journey and has been logged in the Library of Congress.

Cecelia “Cece” M. Spitznas, PhD
Senior Science Policy Advisor, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Cecelia “Cece” McNamara Spitznas (Cece) has been Senior Science Policy Advisor in the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a component of the Executive Office of the President and is now a Senior Policy Analyst for the ONDCP’s National Opioids and Synthetics Coordination Group (NOSCG). She provides policy analysis and scientific advice to the ONDCP Director and Chief of Staff and on special matters concerning public health related issues. She is ONDCP’s subject matter expert on Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, decreasing barriers to Medication Assisted Treatment for opioids, policies to reduce the negative consequences of prescribed and illicit opioids including those to address neonatal abstinence syndrome, overprescription, alternatives to opioids for pain management and messaging to user populations on overdose prevention. She also helps to develop legislative responses to problems of national scope, particularly on Rx drugs, heroin and fentanyl and provides advice concerning regulatory matters having to do with public health and opioids. From 2000-2012, Dr. Spitznas was a program official at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where her research portfolio concerned developing and testing new screening, brief interventions and treatments for people with substance use disorders, including pregnant women, and all forms of illicit drug use by adults, and developing provider training. She received her clinical and research training in psychology at the University of New Mexico and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. She worked as a research professor at UAB, conducting research on relapse and treatment for crack cocaine use in homeless cocaine users prior to joining the NIH.

David A. Tapp, JD
Judge, U.S. Court of Federal Claims

David A. Tapp serves as Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Until November 22, 2019, he served as Judge of the 28th Judicial Circuit and District of the Kentucky Court of Justice, positions which he held for 15 years. Judge Tapp has devoted a substantial portion of his judicial career to the development of effective substance abuse and community treatment programs.

In 2015, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) awarded Judge Tapp’s drug court with the Community Transformation Award. Out of 2,500 worldwide treatment courts, only 15 had received this recognition. In 2011, he received the All Rise award from the NADCP for his efforts involving funding issues for substance abuse courts. In addition, Judge Tapp is responsible for Kentucky’s successful implementation of both a high-risk probation supervision program modeled on Hawaii’s HOPE probation and for implementing Kentucky’s first use of medically assisted treatment within the Commonwealth’s drug courts.

Until 2019, Judge Tapp served as the Chairperson of Kentucky’s Circuit Judges Education Committee. In that capacity, Judge Tapp was responsible for the education of all general jurisdiction and family court judges. Until 2017, Judge Tapp served as Co-Chairperson of the Judicial Child Fatality Task Force which focused on the safety of children within the judicial and child protective system. He has also served as a member of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council and the U.S. Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Judge Tapp is a frequent speaker and author on a wide variety of justice related issues.

Judge Tapp received his J.D. in 1993 from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, a M.S. in Criminal Justice Administration from Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1991, and a B.A. from Morehead State University in 1983.

Robert Valuck, PhD, RPh, FNAP
Director, Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Aurora, CO

Robert J. Valuck is a Professor in the Departments of Clinical Pharmacy, Epidemiology, and Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Schools of Pharmacy, Public Health, and Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Dr. Valuck is Director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, created by Governor Hickenlooper to address the prescription drug abuse problem with a collaborative, statewide approach. The Consortium has evolved over the past four years to include ten work groups, with over 575 members across the state, focusing on key areas relating to education, prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. The Consortium has gained recognition as a model for the development of collaborative, coordinated responses to the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States.

Marie Williams, LCSW
Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Marie Williams, LCSW, was reappointed Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) by Governor Bill Lee on January 19, 2019. Ms. Williams was initially appointed to the position by Gov. Bill Haslam, effective October 22, 2016. 

As Commissioner, Ms. Williams oversees and leads the department in its role as the state’s public mental health and substance abuse authority with an annual budget of more than $380 million. She provides leadership and oversight to 1,846 full-time positions that assist individuals to secure treatment and recovery services for serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbances, and substance abuse disorders. In all, the department serves approximately 350,000 Tennesseans annually. In her role as Commissioner, Ms. Williams has served as a leader in addressing several essential issues facing Tennessee including the opioid crisis, emergency psychiatric services, and criminal justice reform. 

Commissioner Williams is the recipient of numerous professional and community awards from national and state groups including the Excellence in Advocacy Individual Achievement Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health, the George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney National Social Work Award from Mental Health America, the Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, the Voice of Recovery Award from the Tennessee Association of Alcohol Drug and other Addiction Services, and the Tipper Gore Legacy Award from Tennessee Voices for Children. Ms. Williams lives in Nashville, and she is the mother of Nicole Williams.