NCHRC Staff + Key Contractors
Jesse Bennett, GED, MSW, LCAS, Harm Reduction Programs Manager, Raleigh and statewide
Jesse Bennett MSW, LCAS is a former drug user and a formerly incarcerated person. He works as a harm reduction programs manager, along with his coworker Loftin, for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. He participates in the implementation of harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina through leadership, advocacy, resource and policy development, and education. Jesse has a master’s in social work from North Carolina State University and is a certified in integrated harm reduction psychotherapy.
Jesse-lee Dunlap, Overdose Prevention Specialist - Waynesville
Jesse-lee is a transgender community organizer who lives in Waynesville, NC with their partner Becca and furbaby Samson Galaxy. Their interest in Harm Reduction stems from losing a cousin in 2009 to an overdose, having a good friend working within the Dutch Harm Reduction model for the last twenty years and personal experience as a societal outcast that gives them a deep empathy for people who use drugs. Jesse-lee does post overdose outreach, overdose prevention training and mobile syringe access in Haywood County.
Upon moving to Asheville, Jesse-lee engaged in racial justice movements spear-headed by various queer anarchists and they started a summer day camp for queer kids in Haywood County to teach wilderness survival skills + environmental stewardship + social justice. Noticing that food insecurity was a major problem in their neck of the woods, Jesse-lee started a give-what-you-can, take-what-you-need food pantry at their house, and opened up their living space to LGBTQ+ folks in need of temporary housing.
Certified in yoga, Jesse-lee offers free lessons to the community and is currently putting together a workshop called “decolonize your yoga practice.” They are also a licensed private pilot but never have made any use of that skill. Jesse-lee’s greatest passion outside of Harm Reduction is travel (most notably hitchhiking from Scotland to Russia in the winter of 2014) and specifically traveling to see their godchild in southern France.
Jesse-lee’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Reid Getty, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker - Durham
Reid is a non-binary harm reduction advocate who hails from Carteret County, North Carolina. They are a former drug user who currently lives and works in Durham. Reid started as a volunteer at NCHRC after completing an Associate’s in Substance Abuse Counseling and realizing that the traditional forms of treatment taught were not reacting to the diverse populations and experiences that exist.
Reid offers overdose reversal trainings, distributes naloxone and information at local events, and works on the Durham mobile exchange as well as operates the Friday fixed site in Durham. They are excited to begin phlebotomy training and be able to provide HIV/HepC testing for participants. Reid is a proud believer in harm reduction, prison abolition, and securing rights for sex workers and drug users.
Reid’s email is: email@example.com
Melissia Larson, Law Enforcement Programs Manager - Statewide
Melissia Larson manages the development and implementation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) sites across North Carolina and provides training to law enforcement on harm reduction topics.Her professional interests include increasing awareness among law enforcement on how harm reduction plays a critical role in their response along with creating understanding of the intersection of co-occurring disorders within the justice system.
She is an experienced public safety project director with over 19 years within the area of criminal justice and public safety initiatives. Melissia has directed numerous collaborative initiatives including preventing and responding to human trafficking, domestic violence homicide prevention and diversion of justice involved people with mental illness. During her career, Melissia has provided technical assistance on a variety of issues and was on the forefront for North Carolina law enforcement agencies implementing permanent drop-off boxes for unwanted prescription pills and for law enforcement’s deployment of naloxone. Melissia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Melissia’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 252-341-5102
Karen Lowe, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Outreach Specialist - Statesville
Karen is a Certified Peer Support Specialist with over 10 years of harm reduction experience. She has served communities affected by HIV/AIDS , homelessness, substance use disorder and mental illness. She has a long history of social justice advocacy including meeting with elected officials on the local, statewide and national level in order to affect policy change.
Karen is also the co-founder of a faith-based harm reduction organization in western North Carolina. She currently serves as a subject matter expert for the NC DHHS Injury and Violence Prevention Branch’s Syringe Exchange Academy.
Karen’s email is: email@example.com
Shelisa Howard-Martinez, MPA, EHRD, Executive Director – Statewide
Shelisa started as NCHRC’s new Executive Director in July 2019. She brings more than 15 years of experience of working at the local and state levels to advance health equity for people who have been historically marginalized and excluded. This includes developing local networks that provide access to healthcare and social resources for uninsured people, local and state-level reproductive justice advocacy for Black youth and women and the scaling-up of domestic violence services for women of color, immigrant women and women with disabilities. She’s managed a community-based English as a Second Language program for adult immigrants in Durham as well.
Shelisa believes the key to addressing complex community issues begins with the people who are the most directly impacted. They are the experts. Throughout her career, she has sought-out opportunities to foster leadership development, including designing programs for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities, convening state and national peer learning exchanges and providing strategic guidance to non-profit boards in rural communities. Shelisa is a state and national-level speaker having presented several talks on the topics of health equity, intersectionality, reproductive justice, rural health and facilitating youth leadership development.
She is fellow of the Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Program and was recently named a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. She is honored to be a member of NCHRC.
Shelisa’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 336-543-8050
Kayla Moore MSCCJ, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program Case Manager – Statesville
Kayla currently serves as NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Case Manager (LEAD) for the Statesville location. She provides intensive case management, develops individualized intervention plans and connects participants to comprehensive services.
Kayla has a Master of Science Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and has 6 years of case management experience in corrections. During her work in corrections, she has helped over 60 offenders receive their High School Equivalency Diploma and implemented a Combating Hunger Program inside the prison. Kayla has personal experience with addiction and is dedicated to helping those affected by substance use.
Kayla’s email is: email@example.com
Becca Rose, Health Hub Coordinator – Wilmington
Becca Rose has been a volunteer for NCHRC since 2014, before syringe exchange became legalized, sorting files, holding Naloxone kit parties and occasionally managing the underground office.
In 2018 Becca came back in full force to become NCHRC’s best and brightest Outreach Worker for New Hanover and surrounding counties. Becca manages the fixed site Syringe Exchange in Wilmington, runs our Mobile Delivery program, leads our Overdose Prevention class in the New Hanover County Jail for women, conducts several Naloxone trainings for various organizations around town, and provides resources to participants who need housing, food, clothing, medical, MAT, and employment referrals.
Becca has been a guest speaker on several local podcasts to speak about Harm Reduction in an effort to build Community Partnerships and continues to grow the attendance in our Naloxone kit making parties more and more each month through the use of these partnerships as well as social media. Becca is also passionate about perinatal participants. Having been directly impacted, Becca knows exactly how to navigate the various healthcare systems for women who use drugs before, during, and after their pregnancies, and offers a great deal of support throughout that time. Becca has also spoken on panels relating to breastfeeding and childcare for women who use drugs and how healthcare systems can better empower women despite drug use.
Becca’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brandi Tanner, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker - Henderson
Brandi provides harm reduction services and naloxone to people who use drugs, do sex work and/or take bupe/methadone in the northeastern rural counties.
Brandi’s email is: email@example.com
Loftin Wilson, Harm Reduction Programs Manager – Durham and statewide
Loftin Wilson is a Harm Reduction Programs Manager at NCHRC. He started as a volunteer in 2010 and then worked part-time as an outreach worker for five years, before starting as full-time staff in the fall of 2015.
Loftin now divides his time between providing direct services and doing program management and development for NCHRC’s harm reduction programs. His areas of focus include making harm reduction accessible for people who are transgender, people who live in rural communities and people who are incarcerated. Loftin grew up in Alamance County and now lives in Durham.
Loftin's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gariann Yochym, LEAD Case Manager - Waynesville
Gariann provides harm reduction services throughout Haywood County and case management services for the Waynesville LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) Program. Prior to her current work, she taught high school English for 8 years. During her tenure, she was involved in a number of social justice campaigns and, ultimately, decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work to further her efforts to effect change, with specific interest in drug policy and criminal justice reform.
She has worked as a jail and prison re-entry case manager and was instrumental in launching a successful Ban the Box campaign in Asheville-Buncombe County. Gariann’s personal and professional experiences have enhanced her understanding of the ways in which the War on Drugs has impacted individuals, families, and communities, as well as, the limitations of the dominant abstinence-based treatment paradigm. Consequently, she has sought work that advances trauma-informed, evidence-based practices; that advances progressive public health policies and that aligns more closely with her values and principles - work as a harm reductionist.
Gariann’s email is email@example.com.
Dr. Logan Graddy, Medical Director, Durham, NC
Dr. Graddy attended medical school at the University of South Florida, psychiatric residency at Duke University, and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at West Virginia University. He is board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. At NCHRC Dr. Graddy directs the overdose prevention program and assists in NCHRC's education and advocacy work.
Donnie Varnell, Special Law Enforcement Projects Consultant
Donnie helped implement NCHRC’s first Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program and currently works as law enforcement trainings consultant. Previously, he was the Special Agent In-Charge for the NC SBI Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit (DECU) where he developed policies, conducted and supervised investigations dealing with prescription narcotics and environmental violations. He was with the SBI from 1991 through 2015. Donnie received his BS in Criminal Justice from Texas State University in 1985. Prior to joining the SBI he served as a Field Artillery Officer in the US Army and worked for the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and Wilson Police Department. Donnie is also a long-time high school and club soccer coach.
Captain Lars Paul, Special Law Enforcement Projects Consultant - Fayetteville
Captain Lars Paul has served with the Fayetteville Police Department for 21 years. He is currently assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit. His past assignments include Emergency Response Team (ERT) (SWAT), Homicide, Traffic, Technical Services, and Patrol. He has attended numerous tactical and leadership schools during his time with the Department. Prior to joining the Fayetteville Police Department, Captain Paul served in the United States Marine Corps for four years. He has a bachelor’s degree in History from Fayetteville State University and is a graduate of the of the 247th session of the FBI’s National Academy.
Detective Sergeant Ronald Martin, Harm Reduction Policing Consultant - Raleigh
Ronald Martin works pa as one of NCHRC’s Law Enforcement Safety Advocates. He is a former Detective Sergeant and is a dedicated, committed Law Enforcement Professional with over 20 years of experience in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). At the NYPD, he trained officers to a highly proficient level of community patrol, enforcement and public security. He supervised narcotics teams and mid to high-level narcotic cases involving pen wires leading to extensive criminal prosecution. Ronald also consulted directly with the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New York City on issues of internal misconduct. He has also conducted and investigated various criminal offenses while working as a team member in conjunction with the Secret Service, DEA, ATF, and FBI. At NCHRC, he advocates for needlestick and overdose prevention measures for officers in North Carolina and for more dialogue between drug users, sex workers and law enforcement to create safer communities.