Rev. Michelle Mathis (President)
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 serves as an associate minister at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, where 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.
Lisa de Saxe Zerden, Ph.D (Vice President and Secretary)
Lisa de Saxe Zerden is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Social Work. She primarily teaches in the Community, Management and Policy Practice for Masters in Social Work Students. She received her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Social Work and Sociology program at Boston University in 2009 and a Masters in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, policy practice, and cross-cultural prevention efforts particularly among Puerto Rican injection drug users. Prior to moving to North Carolina, she worked as a researcher at the Center for Addictions Research and Services in Boston, Massachusetts.
Erica Nelson, MSPH (Treasurer)
Erica Nelson is a yoga instructor and wellness coach dedicated to integrating holistic well care. She has spent more than twenty years improving care in North Carolina through direct care, education, health policy development and advocacy outreach, with an emphasis on coalition building. Erica collaborates with doctors, hospitals, elected officials, law enforcement, local behavioral health management entities, and allied health professionals to develop policies, systems and personalized programs 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.
Roberto Hess, MSW, LCWSA
Roberto is a Adult Copestone Psychiatric Social Worker at Mission Health Systems. He received an Associates in Human Services from Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College with a Substance Abuse Studies concentration and has a Social Work degree from Western Carolina University. Roberto comes from an Air Force family in Eastern NC and currently resides in Asheville, NC. Roberto Hess has worked professionally with criminal offenders, survivors of sexual assault, veterans and the active duty members of the U.S. military, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, people who use drugs and the elderly. Roberto enjoys playing drums, writing poetry, reading, relaxing on the beach, hiking, flying in airplanes, going out to eat and drinking coffee (soy vanilla lattes).
Ronald Martin works part-time 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 conducting street level buy and sell operations and warrant executions. Furthermore, he managed 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 a safer communities.
Research Advisory Board
Diannee Carden Glenn
Diannee Carden Glenn became an advocate for harm reduction and treatment for Hepatitis C following the overdose death of her son Michael who was a well respected pioneer in the harm reduction movement. Diannee has a background in law enforcement and the medical field including substance use treatment. She is the founder of ekiM For Change LLC (a syringe exchange), on the Advisory Council of Mental Health America of Eastern Carolina, Harm Reduction Consultant to Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Board President of North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, a member of Florida Health Department’s Viral Hepatitis Planning Group, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing) web site supervisor, facilitates a local GRASP chapter, and Safe Communities Opiate Planning Group. In addition she has served on the Executive Board of Pitt County Coalition on Substance use.
Diannee has served on committees and task forces for several state and federal initiatives focusing on domestic violence, mental health diversion, and deployment of naloxone. She has served on various boards focusing on public health issues such as sex work, overdose prevention, HIV and Hepatitis C, child fatality prevention, substance use and misuse, and the homeless. She continues her professional training as a frequent attendee at seminars and conferences. Diannee is an invited speaker on addiction and dealing with the death of children from overdose.
Corey Davis, JD, MSPH
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.