Special Guest

Amy Aparicio Clark

Executive Director of the Aetna Foundation

As the Executive Director of the Aetna Foundation, one of two independent and charitable affiliates of CVS Health. In this role, she leads enterprise-wide philanthropic efforts to address the social determinants of health. She is passionate about community-led social change and has championed a number of innovative service delivery models that prioritize the lived experience of community residents.

Amy began her career as a middle school teacher in Metro Boston public schools, and has dedicated her professional efforts to increasing opportunity for underserved populations. She led numerous research projects at Education Development Center in Massachusetts, and established a new research and development function at a state education agency in Connecticut. Amy is bilingual and bicultural, having spent her childhood in Lima, Peru.

William L. White

Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute

William L. White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a streetworker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 20 books.

His book, Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery. Bill was featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS special “Close To Home: Addiction in America” and Showtime’s documentary “Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century.” Bill’s sustained contributions to the field have been acknowledged by awards from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NAADAC: The Association of Addiction Professionals, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Native American Wellbriety Movement. Bill’s widely read papers on recovery advocacy have been published by the Johnson Institute in a book entitled Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement.

Tom Coderre

Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

With decades of public, private, and non-profit service, Mr. Coderre is the first person in recovery to lead SAMHSA. Mr. Coderre’s career has been significantly influenced by his personal journey and a philosophy that acknowledges the essential role peer recovery support services play in helping people with mental and substance use disorders rebuild their lives.

In his role as SAMHSA’s Region 1 Administrator, Mr. Coderre led the prioritization of prevention, treatment and recovery services under the strain of COVID-19.

He reconvened the Federal Interagency Workgroup on Opioids and as overdoses spiked throughout 2020, he brought the region together to identify programmatic and policy solutions to respond. He also formed a collaborative to unite federal agencies on serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbance to leverage partnerships to increase services and provide hope for people suffering. In an effort to address structural racism, Mr. Coderre launched the Diversity Inclusion Project Showcase to ensure equity in the distribution of resources across New England by introducing organizations who work in BIPOC communities to funders. He has supported federally recognized tribes and has been working with tribal leaders to open the first indigenous wellness center east of the Mississippi River.

While Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Mr. Coderre led the team that produced Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. He built strong relationships with Capitol Hill and the behavioral health stakeholder community and worked on the 21st Century Cures Act, which reauthorized SAMHSA, contained important mental health reform provisions, and included a $1 billion expansion for treatment to stem the opioid crisis and overdose epidemic. As a senior political appointee, he represented SAMHSA at the White House and other HHS offices and operating divisions. He took part in many cross-agency partnerships such as the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council and the Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Underage Drinking. Mr. Coderre was also the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Federal Liaison to Unite to Face Addiction, the first rally for addiction treatment, recovery, and policy change, which attracted tens of thousands to the National Mall and joined together 650 partner organizations, a star-studded lineup of music performances and speeches from celebrities, policymakers, and healthcare experts.

As Senior Advisor to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Mr. Coderre co-chaired a task force that coordinated a multi-layered strategy to address the opioid crisis. Under his guidance, the state built more treatment capacity, reduced prescribing, scaled prevention efforts, expanded resources for recovery support services as well as harm reduction programs, and broadened access to medication-assisted treatment and naloxone. He helped increase street-based outreach, community support, and linkages between critical services. Mr. Coderre worked on mental health policy and helped draft an Executive Order to improve access to treatment by enforcing parity laws. He served as acting Director of the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. Mr. Coderre’s legacy includes establishing the Governor’s Recovery-Friendly Workplace Initiative to change workplace culture and encourage a healthy and safe environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction. He also worked with the State Police to establish the Hope Initiative, the first statewide program that engages law enforcement personnel in a proactive outreach strategy to combat the opioid overdose epidemic.

Mr. Coderre is the former National Field Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery and appeared in the documentary film The Anonymous People. He managed Recovery Voices Count, a non-partisan civic engagement campaign to mobilize the recovery community in 12 targeted states, and managed HBO’s Addiction education and outreach campaign, which included premieres in 30 major media markets, 500 house parties, 70 town hall meetings, and other public events. Mr. Coderre partnered with A&E Television on The Recovery Project where 5,000 people from the recovery community rallied and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge together in September 2008. He served as a member of the Rhode Island Senate from 1995 to 2003 and as Chief of Staff to the Senate President from 2009 to 2014. He has been recognized on numerous occasions for his dedication and advocacy efforts. Mr. Coderre is a graduate of both the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.

Event Facilitators

Neil Campbell, MS

Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse

Neil Campbell, MS is the executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and supporting community alliances to increase the impact of recovery through education, advocacy and training. She is a passionate advocate, using her own lived recovery experience to reach others who are struggling. Ms. Campbell’s current emphasis is to influence public policy through a recovery-positive legislative agenda, to promote recovery-oriented systems of care and to increase the peer recovery workforce.

In 2009, she co-founded the Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES) Academy that to date has prepared over 575 people in recovery to deliver support services in Georgia’s behavioral health system. Additional recovery initiatives include community listening sessions in partnership with the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and the annual Addiction Recovery Awareness Day at the capitol.

Ms. Campbell has extensive experience working in criminal justice agencies, including law enforcement, adult corrections and juvenile justice. She served as the single state authority for addiction services funding in Georgia. In her current role as a recovery advocate, Ms. Campbell frequently goes to jails and prisons, domestic violence and homeless shelters to carry the message of hope for recovery. Her passion is to ensure voices of lived recovery experience are heard and stories of hope are used as a basis for changing the way addiction is perceived.

In 2015, Neil was honored with the 2015 SAMHSA Voice Award for Peer Leadership. The Voice Awards program honors consumer/peer leaders and television and film professionals who educate the public about behavioral health. Through their work and personal stories of resilience, both groups of leaders demonstrate that people with mental and/or substance use disorders can and do recover and lead meaningful lives. Ms. Campbell is dedicated to growing communities that support recovery.

Emily Ribblett

Grants and Contracts Manager

Emily Ribblett is the Grants and Contracts Manager for the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.  Prior to that role, she served as the Project Director from 2017-2020 for a Federal SAMHSA Grant called Building Communities of Recovery, where six recovery communities in Georgia received specialized training and mentorship to help them build capacity and expand peer recovery support services. Ms. Ribblett is a person in long term recovery with almost six years free from using mind- or mood-altering substances. She received her CARES (CPS-AD) certification in 2017 

and her CPS (Mental Health) certification in 2019.  She has a BA in Management and Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and an MBA from Shorter University. Emily is a proud mother, sister, and grandmother. She strongly believes that physical activity, especially hiking, helps support her recovery and overall wellness.

Brian Kite

RCO Development Project Coordinator

Brian Kite is the Project Coordinator for Recovery Community Organization Development at the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse (GCSA). He is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES, CPS-AD Certified Peer Specialist – Addictive Diseases) and has been trained in IPS (Intentional Peer Support), MATS (Medicated Assisted Treatment Specialist), and as a WHAM (Whole Health Action Management) facilitator.

Brian continues to develop professionally through various training and leadership opportunities, as well as pursuing higher education through Bard College. In his role at GCSA, Brian has helped numerous communities around the state organize focused conversations around recovery and plan for and host local recovery symposiums to create Recovery Community Organizations. He provides technical assistance and coordinates continued training opportunities for the existing RCO Network and facilitates a monthly learning collaborative for all organizations within the network. Most importantly, Brian is a person in long-term recovery with over 6 years in recovery and a father. Brian and his son Henry reside in Grant Park in the City of Atlanta.

Recovery Movement Messages

Ryan Hampton

A prominent advocate, speaker, author, and media commentator, Ryan Hampton travels coast-to-coast to add solutions to our national addiction crisis. In recovery from a decade-long opioid addiction, Hampton has rocketed to the center of America’s rising addiction recovery advocacy movement. An alumnus of the Clinton White House, he’s worked with multiple non-profits and national recovery advocacy campaigns. He is now a prominent, leading face and voice of recovery advocacy and is changing the national conversation about addiction.

With content that reaches millions each month, Ryan breaks down cultural barriers that have kept people suffering in silence and is inspiring a new generation of people recovering out loud through his Voices Project.

He was part of the core team that released the first-ever U.S. Surgeon General’s report on addiction in 2016 and was singled out by Forbes as a top social entrepreneur in the recovery movement. Ryan connects a vast network of people who are passionate about ending the overdose crisis in America. He has been featured by—and is a contributor to—media outlets such as USA Today, MSNBC, Fox and Friends, the New York Times, NPR, HLN, Vice, Forbes, Slate, HuffPost, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal, and others.

Ryan has received praise from Democrats and Republicans alike for addressing addiction as a trans-political issue—crossing the political spectrum to build an inclusive coalition focused on solutions. He worked closely with the White House, Senate Democrats, Republicans, and U.S. House leadership, helping craft portions of the historic H.R. 6, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, signed into law in October 2018.

In 2016, he created the web series Addiction Across America, documenting his 30-day, 28 state, 8,000-mile cross-country trip visiting areas hit hardest by the addiction crisis. His first book, “American Fix — Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis and How to End It,” was released by St. Martin’s Press in August 2018.

In 2019, Ryan was named by Facebook as an inaugural leadership fellow and created the national advocacy initiative, Mobilize Recovery. Since its inception, Mobilize Recovery has recruited and trained over 2,000 new advocates from all 50 states focused on community-based solutions to end the addiction crisis.

He lives in Nevada with his fiancé, Sean, and their dog, Dollar.

Robin Peyson

RLP Consulting

Robin has spent her professional career developing, managing, advocating for and integrating public health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment programs and policy.  In 2013, Robin started RLP Consulting, providing results-driven strategic solutions to achieve organizational, business and policy goals. 

Robin is the former Executive Director of Communities for Recovery, a community based non-profit that provides peer based recovery services and supports to individuals in recovery from substance use or substance use and mental illness.

 In July, 2018 CforR was awarded the Joel Hernandez Voice of Recovery from the Association of Recovery Community Organizations, a national organization that represents recovery community organizations. Communities for Recovery was the first recovery community organization in the country to be JACHO accredited. In addition, in 2018, CforR was also accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Peer Recovery Supports and Services (CAPRSS) at the exemplary level.

Prior to Communities for Recovery, she served as Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas for 7.5 years. Ms. Peyson also spent over seven years as a Service Systems Development Specialist and Assistant Director for the Children’s Services Department of the Community Mental Health division of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

She is also a family member and has several individuals in her family who are impacted by substance use and mental illness, some of whom are in recovery. She has found healing through a variety of paths on her recovery journey.

Ms. Peyson received her BA in Psychology and Biology cum laude from Williams College and her Masters in Health Services Administration (MHSA) from the School of Public Health of the University of Michigan. She also received her Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Texas, as well as attending the Strategic Management Program at the RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin.

Event Panelists

Dona M. Dmitrovic, MHS

Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

Ms. Dmitrovic provides executive leadership for federal efforts to improve the nation’s behavioral health through evidence-based prevention approaches. Ms. Dmitrovic is an experienced Executive Addiction Specialist with over 34 years in the addiction field. She has extensive experience in raising public awareness and supporting program development for individuals with substance use disorder through advocacy, policy and program development.

Prior to her arrival at SAMHSA, she served as the Executive Director for Foundation for Recovery in Las Vegas, NV, where she developed and implemented peer recovery programs and training on stigma and discrimination related to substance use disorders. Ms. Dmitrovic also held the position of Director of the National Office of Consumer Affairs for Optum Behavioral Health, United Healthcare. There she used her vast experience to develop peer products and tools to support individuals with substance use disorders. As the Chief Operating Officer for the Recovery – Advocacy – Service –Empowerment (RASE) Project in Pennsylvania, Ms. Dmitrovic assisted the CEO and maintained relationships with policy makers, physicians, providers and other community-based programs. During her six years with RASE, Ms. Dmitrovic launched the Buprenorphine Coordinator program serving opioid dependent individuals with recovery support services in medication assisted treatment (MAT) one of the first in the country that received two national awards for innovation.

Patty McCarthy, M.S

Chief Executive Officer of Faces & Voices of Recovery

Prior to joining Faces & Voices, she was a senior associate with the Center for Social Innovation (C4), where she served as a deputy director of SAMHSA’s BRSS TACS initiative.  Patty served for a decade as the director of Friends of Recovery-Vermont (FOR-VT), a statewide recovery community organization conducting training, advocacy and public awareness activities.  In addition to public policy and education, her work has focused on community mobilizing, peer-based recovery support services, and peer workforce development and was instrumental in the development of a national accreditation standards for peer recovery support service providers.

She holds a master’s degree in community counseling and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and has been in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction since 1989.

Wesley Evans

Statewide Coordinator of Integration and Recovery Services

Wes leads a statewide effort to transform Florida’s behavioral health system; using his lived experience and professional experience, to shift its culture and service delivery approach, to become a Recovery-Oriented System of Care (ROSC). He was among Florida’s first class of Certified Recovery Peer Specialists in 2007. His professional experience spans multiple roles, including: criminal justice specialty courts, programs for individuals experiencing homelessness, residential treatment, and psychosocial programs. 

Wes served as Co-Chair of Disability Rights Florida’s Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness for two years, and as an Advisory Board member for Northeast Florida State Hospital for nine years. In 2014, he received an award from the Jacksonville Mayors Disability Council, in recognition of excellence exhibited by a person with a disability within the Jacksonville workforce. In 2019, Wes was awarded the state’s Champion of Recovery Award, by the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Florida, for his outstanding efforts to promote recovery. He believes that all individuals have the capacity to recover from behavioral health conditions, and that self-directed care, community inclusion, and multiple pathways play a critical role in one’s own vision for their recovery. Wes prefers to take the extra step in staying unique in his approach to system-change and envisions a system of care in which recovery is expected and achieved through meaningful partnerships of and shared decision making with individuals, communities and systems.

Dr. Haner Hernández

Dr. Haner 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.