Corey Davis, JD, MSPH (Board President)
Corey Davis’s research focuses on the effects of law, policy and practice on the health, rights and dignity of drug users and other stigmatized people. As a researcher, he has published on the effects of law, policy and policing on the health of drug users as well as the legality of public health interventions such as SIFs, and was presented by the International AIDS Society with the Young Investigator Award for work on the effects of a police crackdown on Philadelphia’s syringe exchange program. As an attorney, he has litigated civil rights cases before administrative agencies and in the state and federal courts. He directed the Harm Reduction Legal Project at Prevention Point Philadelphia from 2005 through 2008 and has worked with the University of Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the Center for Health Law, Policy and Practice. Corey is currently Staff Attorney at the National Health Law Program, where he focuses on public health and health reform.
William (Bill) Zule, DrPH
Since 1989 William (Bill) Zule has been involved in research to reduce the spread and progression of HIV and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) among people who use drugs. He obtained his doctor of public health (Dr.P.H.) degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health in 1996. He was an Instructor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio prior to joining RTI International in 1999. His current research focuses on how different types of syringes influence HIV transmission among people who inject drugs and on the development of low intensity computer tailored HIV/HCV prevention interventions. His activities also involve initiating campaigns to translate research findings into wide- spread practice in order to broaden the impact of his research. He has been a member of the Board of NCHRC since 2006.
Lisa de Saxe Zerden, Ph.D (Secretary)
Lisa de Saxe Zerden received her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Social Work and Sociology program at Boston University in 2009. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS risk-related behaviors, substance abuse, and cross-cultural prevention efforts particularly among Puerto Rican injec- tion drug users. Currently, Dr. Zerden is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Social Work where she teaches foundation and advanced policy, research methods, and human behavior and the social environment courses.
Michelle Mathis is the co-founder of The Olive Branch Ministry, an interfaith harm reduction ministry in western North Carolina. She has worked in harm reduction, focusing on HIV/AIDS education and prevention for over 5 years. She also ministers to those in recovery from addiction, those previously incarcerated and the homeless population in her area. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for ALFA, the local AIDS service organization. She and her wife reside in Hickory, North Carolina, where they enjoy spending time working in the community and spending time with their children, Buddha Jayne and Saraiah.
Erica Nelson, MSPH
Erica Nelson is Director of Health Policy at the North Carolina Hospital Association. She focuses on behavioral health policy and advocacy outreach, with an emphasis on coalition building. Erica works with private and nonprofit health systems to draft and implement legislative strategies. She collaborates with doctors, law enforcement, local behavioral health management entities, and allied health professionals to develop policies that make it easier for all North Carolinians -- including those living with mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and addiction disorders -- to get the high-quality, affordable health care they need. To make all of this collaboration, planning, and drafting a reality, Erica also advocates on behalf of hospitals and health systems before legislators, committee staff, and agency officials. For the last year, Erica has been focused on reducing emergency room stays for behavioral health patients by increasing access to community mental health resources.
Amy Griffith, MS, LPC
Amy is a Program Manager focusing on Jail Diversion and Re-Entry Services at the Asheville Detention Center in Buncombe County. Amy relocated to Western NC in 2010, after working in Alaska for 10 years. Before accepting the position at the Detention Facility in Asheville, she worked in Madison County at an alpaca farm and trained as a river guide on the French Broad. Her current projects at Asheville Detention Center include Adult Drug Treatment Court, Jail Diversion Services, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Re-Entry Services, Family Treatment Court, Public Sex Worker Outreach, and Crisis Intervention Team training for Buncombe County. Amy earned a MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Montana State University in 1998 and has provided direct services in remote villages in Alaska and rural Montana, before relocating to Asheville, NC.
Lucas Vrbsky, GED, MSW
Lucas is a grateful husband and father. He was awarded a GED in 1998; a bachelors degree with a triple major in African American Studies, History, and Peace & Conflict Studies; and obtained a Master of Social Work in 2009. He currently is employed by the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center as the Substance Use Disorder Specialist with the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Team. He has worked and volunteered in a variety of settings both behind the walls and in the street: with youth residing in level three group homes; with incarcerated men in a residential substance use treatment center in NCDOC; with folks on federal parole/probation; with incarcerated men studying pre-GED skills; with undergraduate students on academic probation; with a Congregational Nursing Program; and tutoring youth at a family homeless shelter. Lucas has served as a representative with the National Association of Social Workers-NC Chapter and as a member of both the Guilford College Anti-Racism Team and the Greensboro Undoing Racism Alliance, he remains actively involved in the community.
Anna Pfaff, MPH
Anna Pfaff has her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has spent most of the last decade working in Asheville, NC in public health specifically focusing on Latino outreach, safety net health access, and case management for under served populations. Currently she is a OB Care Manager working with high risk pregnant individuals to improve maternal and infant birth outcomes. Outside of work, she is a co-coordinator, volunteer, and trainer with Open Umbrella Collective, a full spectrum doula collective providing abortion doula services. Anna is fluent in Spanish and spent several years living abroad in Costa Rica after college. In her spare time enjoys running, reading young adult literature, and crafting.
Kumi Smith, MPH
Kumi has been on the board of NCHRC since August 2010. Her harm reduction background is rooted in her public health background in HIV/HCV prevention among IDUs in developing countries. As a doctoral student in epidemiology at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill she focuses on prevention of blood borne diseases in rural China.