Dr. Ron Abrahams is the founding Medical Director of the FIR (Families In Recovery) Rooming in program at BCWH-the first of its kind in North America. The unit has been named a “leading practice” by the Canadian Council of Health Accreditation, cited in the 2007 Kroeger Award for maintaining a high quality of care and recently demonstrated peer reviewed improved outcomes. Since its inception 15 years ago, more than 1,500 women, their babies and families have benefited from this program. For his work during the last 30 years, he has been recognized as an invited speaker nationally and internationally for his role in developing evidenced based Harm Reduction guidelines and protocols for women with problematic substance use in pregnancy.
Karen D’Apolito, PhD, NNP-BC, FAAN, is a Professor and Program Director of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She has made national and international contributions to the care of drug-exposed infants through both education and research. In 2011 Dr. D’Apolito became a Fellow in American Academy of Nursing for her work with substance exposed infants. She developed a unique inter-observer reliability program to train healthcare professionals in assessing infants for signs of withdrawal. She has published numerous articles related to the effects of intra-uterine drug exposure on neonatal abstinence and has been an invited speaker to many local, national, and international conferences to speak on this topic. Dr. D’Apolito has participated in two large multi-site clinical trials associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome and she recently completed a grant received from the Tennessee Department of Health to identify the common treatment practices of infants with NAS within the state of Tennessee.
Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH, holds a joint appointment with the Northeastern University School of Law and Bouvé College of Health Sciences. His expertise is on the use of law to improve health, with focus on drug policy, reducing the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, and the role of the criminal justice system in shaping public health outcomes. By melding legal and scientific knowledge, he designs and evaluates interventions such as laws intended to curb opioid overdose and police trainings to align enforcement practices with public health policies and goals. Throughout his career, Professor Beletsky has applied his skills and expertise in service to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations, US Department of Justice, and the City of New York. Prior to joining the Northeastern community, Professor Beletsky was on the faculty of the Division of Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, where he retains an adjunct appointment.
A registered psychiatric nurse, Dana Clifford has worked in medical detoxification centers, substance use day treatment programs, a concurrent disorders day program and for the last 23 years at Sheway. During her first 19 years at Sheway, Dana served in the role of concurrent disorders counselor. The last three she has been the clinical coordinator. Dana has been a member of CanFASD Nat- a national group which meets to support research, knowledge translation and develop best practices in working with marginalized women with substance use issues. She has presented on the Sheway Model of Care at many conferences. Dana has advocated strongly for social services and health care systems to reduce the barrier to care that the clients face. Dana values working with an integrated, multidisciplinary team to provide client centered, harm reduction, trauma informed and culturally competent services to the women and children in the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver- infamous for being the poorest postal code in Canada.
Lisa Cleveland, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, IBCLC, is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Health Systems at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing, and STAR fellow at the Texas Center for Health Disparities. She is a practicing board certified pediatric nurse practitioner and an international board certified lactation consultant. She serves as the NICU research consultant for the University Health System in San Antonio. Dr. Cleveland has published numerous research articles on high-risk neonates and her most recent publication, "Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Experiences of Mothers of Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," appeared in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing this spring. She is currently conducting research on neonatal abstinence syndrome with a focus on improving nursing care for these infants while reducing cost and length of hospital stays.
Jeanne Flavin, PhD, MA, Professor of Sociology at Fordham University, is the author of the award-winning book, Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction in America (NYU Press, 2009) and more than two dozen other scholarly publications. Dr. Flavin serves on the board of directors of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a reproductive justice organization which defends the rights of pregnant and parenting women, particularly those whose race, poverty, drug use, or mental health makes them vulnerable to arrest and prosecution. She is the recipient of a 2009 Fulbright research award and the 2013 Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Activism Award.
Dr. Meggan Hartman’s research for her doctorate in clinical psychology focused on the effects of culture on the development of the maternal identity. Through her pioneering fieldwork she found that for some mothers, the culturally prescribed way to parent can have a shaming effect on her, thus having the unintended effect of lowering her self-confidence in her parenting abilities. This can have a negative impact on how she defines herself as a mother and how she tends and cares for herself, and it can potentially limit her ability to creatively and spontaneously care for her child. Dr. Hartman’s graduate work has been augmented by first completing her master’s in transpersonal psychology. She attended subsequent trainings including a two-year personal training with Angelique Millette (founder of the Millette Method), a year-long personal training with Angeles Arrien in the Four-Fold Way, and a year-long training in psychosynethesis. In addition to these certificate trainings, Meggan has had intensive training and studies in somatic therapy, expressive arts therapy, sand tray therapy, play therapy, and Jungian therapy.
Lucas Hill, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. He provides patient care and precepts learners at the CommUnityCare Southeast Health & Wellness Center. While he spends most of his time helping patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes, he is also passionate about the integration of behavioral health and addiction treatment in primary care. He leads local and national initiatives to increase access to naloxone for opioid overdose reversal and co-directs the Foundations for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice course established by UT Pharmacy, Nursing, Social Work, and Medicine. Dr. Hill promotes evidence-based medicine and clinical pharmacy as social media editor for iForumRx and faculty advisor for the Student College of Clinical Pharmacy.
Lori Holleran-Steiker, PhD, ACSW, became a researcher in 1996 for an extensive multidisciplinary project called the Drug Resistance Strategies Project in Arizona, which has touched the lives of approximately 8000 students since 1997. She completed her federally funded K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse during which she received training and continued her research in culturally grounded substance use disorder prevention with high-risk youth. She facilitated the adaptation and evaluation of the keepin’ it REAL (kiR) project for youth in community settings including low income housing youth at YMCA and LifeWorks Homeless Youth Shelter. She is presently leading community efforts to create the first university-based Recovery (sober) High School in Austin.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Yamile Jackson, PhD, PE, PMP, immigrated to the US in 1988 to pursue her doctorate in industrial engineering with concentration in ergonomics and human factors engineering. Since 2001 she has applied ergonomics, engineering and technology, and parental intervention to develop products and services to provide newborns with proper development and maturation, and to ensure their effective inclusion into the family. She is a global leader and a strong advocate for humanizing the care of preemies with evidence-based developmentally supportive care, family-centered care, and Kangaroo Care. All her work is on behalf of Zachary, her son, loving inspiration, and a survivor of extreme prematurity. For her work and designs she has won over 17 awards and has been featured in international and domestic media.
Mark Kinzly has worked in the field of harm reduction and public health for the past 25 years bringing innovative prevention/interventions to the drug using and recovery community. He is currently a national trainer and consultant on the issues of substance use disorder ranging from HIV/AIDS, Hep C interventions to the development of appropriate responses to syringe exchange and overdose prevention. Mark is a trainer for the National Harm Reduction Training Institute in New York City and serves on the advisory boards for the North American Syringe Exchange Network as well as a former board member for A Better Way Foundation. He is also a co-founder of the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative which brings overdose awareness and trainings to Texas. He currently is on the curriculum development team for overdose prevention/education for SAMHSA, and sits on the board of directors for the National Harm Reduction Coalition.
Shannon Marteney works at Serenity Foundation of Texas, where she has been employed for six years. She also presents workshops on social work at Midwestern State University three to five times per semester and hosts student social workers every semester. Shannon is an advocate for syringe exchange programs, and currently provides outreach in the community as a member of TONI which includes naloxone distribution and education, HIV/HCV education, and community referrals including housing and health services. She hosts an annual walk for overdose
Recently hire as a trainer for Harm Reduction Coalition, Tanagra Melgarejo Pulido came from the University of Puerto Rico where she was an adjunct instructor. In her role at the university, Tanagra developed curriculum and facilitated the master’s degree class in diversity, oppression and social justice offered through the social work master’s program. She also supported and guided students enrolled in the courses, as well as developed exams and additional course material relevant to the student’s educational experience.
Lynn Paltrow, JD, founded National Advocates for Pregnant Women in 2001 and is the executive director. She is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well as cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. Lynn has served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, as director of Special Litigation at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, and as vice president for Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of New York City.
Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS, is an assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an attending neonatologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dr. Patrick joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 2013. His research focuses on improving outcomes for opioid-exposed infants and women with substance use disorder and evaluating state and federal drug control policies. He previously served as senior science policy advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and has testified before Congress on the rising numbers of newborns being diagnosed with opioid withdrawal after birth. He currently serves as an expert consultant for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s development of a guide to the management of opioid-dependent pregnant and parenting women and their children, as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse and as a board member on the US Office of Personnel Management’s Multi-State Plan Program Advisory Board.
Daniel Raymond has worked in the field of harm reduction for nearly two decades. His extensive experience spans direct service in syringe access to advocacy for drug user health and hepatitis C treatment access. Currently, Mr. Raymond works in collaboration with a broad range of local, state, and national coalitions and advocacy groups to ensure syringe access expansion, the advancement of viral hepatitis treatments, and the effectiveness of HIV prevention and care programming through sound public health policy. He serves on the steering committee of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable and has authored articles and numerous report and resources for a national community of providers. Mr. Raymond is a frequent speaker on issues involving drug user health, policy, harm reduction, and innovations in hepatitis C and HIV prevention and treatment.
Emma Roberts serves as the Harm Reduction Coalition’s Director of Capacity Building Services. In this capacity, she manages and supervises the Capacity Building Services Team to provide education and services to community-based organizations and health departments across the United States working to establish and expand harm reduction programming and services that promote drug user health and dignity.
After graduating with a degree in social work, Kari Stout began working as a child protection social worker in British Columbia. As a child protection worker, she has worked in a variety of rural and urban settings in the capacity as a social worker and as well as an acting team leader. The majority of her work has been with First Nations families. Kari has also worked as a casual perinatal social worker at BC Women’s hospital where she spent time covering the FIR Square, a unit for pregnant women with substance use issues. For the past six years, Kari has provided advocacy and support for women with substance use issues at the clinic. Her role at Sheway is important in liasing with the child welfare system and supporting moms in their decisions about their children. Her passion lies with being able to work creatively and proactively in supporting Sheway moms and their children in meeting their goals in recovery and in parenting.
Patrisha Taylor, MFT, PhD (candidate), is the supervising children’s social worker with Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Patrisha has facilitated training LA County child welfare social workers, supervising social workers, and public health nurses on strategies to assess for safety and risk factors associated with maternal depression for mothers who are being investigated for child abuse and neglect.
Charles Thibodeaux has been a licensed chemical dependency counselor since 1992 and has worked in the substance use disorder field for over 25 years. During that time, he worked in residential treatment settings for adults as well as adolescents. He worked at a community based MHMR where he supervised an HIV prevention street outreach program for 12 years whose target population was active IV drug users and sex industry workers. Charles worked for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for 10 years - in the HIV division for one year and the substance use disorder/mental health division for nine years. He also presented on harm reduction topics including overdose awareness and prevention at the statewide HIV Street Outreach Conference as well as the Texas Behavioral Health Institute Conference. He is currently a co-founder of the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative which brings overdose awareness and trainings to Texas.
Gale Touger, BSN, FNP-BC, IBCLC, CHT, is the first HUG Your Baby trainer. She has worked professionally with families in primary care in a rural setting, at the workplace and in a pediatric private practice. Gale studied at Boston University, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill. She was honored as the NC Nurse Practitioner of the Year, received the Barbara Bennett Peer Assistance Award, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Ms. Touger is certified in Brazelton’s Touchpoints and the Brazelton Center’s CLNBAS teaching exam (now known as the NBO) and integrates The HUG into her work as a lactation consultant in private practice in Beaufort, SC. As a HUG trainer, Gale teaches local professionals, helps to study and develop the HUG curriculum, and joins in “Giving a HUG” to parents and professionals across the USA and in the Dominican Republic. She has completed research on the impact of teaching The HUG to professionals in outpatient settings.
Tricia Wright, MD, MS, is an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and women's health at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and is the founder, former medical director, and now women's health liaison of the PATH Clinic, an outreach clinic of Waikiki Health Center, which provides prenatal, postpartum, and family planning to women with a history of substance use disorders. She has been waivered to provide buprenorphine since 2009, and has treated both pregnant and non-pregnant women. She won funding approval in 2006 from the Hawaii legislature to start a perinatal clinic for women with substance use disorder, the first in the state. The Path Clinic opened in 2007, and has seen over 400 pregnant women since that time. Her research interests include substance use disorders among pregnant women, including barriers to family planning, screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), best practices for treatment, and the effects of methamphetamine, marijuana, and tobacco on the placenta.