About Zero Overdose

Home / About

MISSION STATEMENT:

Zero Overdose is dedicated to the expansion of overdose safety planning and preventing unintentional overdose deaths.

History of Zero Overdose

A Shared Vision

Zero Overdose was founded in 2020 by Tom McCarry and Dr. Virna Little with a shared vision to reduce unintentional overdose deaths locally and nationally through overdose safety planning.

The concept of overdose safety planning originated from their work with a local correctional facility, where they connected individuals reentering the community with opioid treatment and resources. Tragically, many early participants died from unintentional overdoses due to relapse after release or even after periods of abstinence. This underscored the urgent need for a more effective system to prevent such tragedies. Motivated by their goal of saving lives, Tom and Virna developed a plan to educate and inform newly released individuals about the risks of relapse. Their efforts successfully prevented unintentional overdoses. Recognizing its potential impact, they formalized the comprehensive Overdose Risk Questionnaire and Safety Plan Template© in 2018, piloting it in New York, New Jersey, and Montana.

By 2020, the plan was finalized along with training, guidelines, and support materials, poised to save countless lives. Zero Overdose was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the same year, focusing on expanding overdose safety planning across healthcare systems and communities. The Zero Overdose Board was established, coinciding with the adoption of the Overdose Safety Plan by all substance use treatment programs certified by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (NYS OASAS).

In 2023, Zero Overdose launched its first learning community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, through the Healthy Minds Policy Initiative. A meaningful partnership with Levon Helm Studios was also formed to raise awareness among musicians, a community profoundly affected by the opioid crisis.

Looking forward, Zero Overdose is excited to collaborate with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to expand overdose safety planning to Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and Community Behavioral Health Organizations (CBHOs).

Team

Meet Our Team

Tom McCarry, LMHC, NCC

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Virna Little, PsyD, LCSW-R, SAP, CCM

Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer
Board

Meet Our Board

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Tom McCarry,
LMHC, NCC

Thomas (Tom) McCarry is a mental health clinician who is passionate about recovery in and out of work. In 2018, he co-founded Zero Overdose, a non-profit with the mission of improving clinical tools and training for health professionals who work with individuals at risk of overdose. Awarded the Organizational Excellence Award from the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved in 2019, Tom has been published in both the Journal of Psychiatry Research and the Journal of Developmental Science.

Tom also serves as the Director of Substance Abuse Prevention at the Institute for Family Health, one of the largest FQHCs in New York, and oversees the Institute’s SAMHSA Improving Access to Overdose Treatment grant activities.

He graduated from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University and considers his opportunity to return as an associate professor teaching Substance Use Treatment a professional highlight. When joining Tom in a Zoom meeting, you will likely meet at least one of his three cats.

Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer

Virna Little,
PsyD, LCSW-R, SAP, CCM

Dr. Virna Little is currently the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Zero Overdose, as well as the co-founder of Concert Health, a national organization providing behavioral health services to primary care providers. Prior, Dr. Little worked for 22 years as the Senior Vice President of a large FQHC network in New York, overseeing over 300 behavioral health and community staff, and for New York City Health and Hospitals as a citywide family violence coordinator. She holds a Doctoral degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Social Work, a Master’s in Business Administration and Healthcare, is a Certified Care Manager (CCM), and a recognized Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

Dr. Little is a nationally and internationally known speaker for her work in integrating primary care and behavioral health, developing sustainable integrated delivery systems, and suicide prevention. She was a member of the University of Washington AIMS Center and the National Council for Community Behavioral Health consulting teams. She is also a faculty member for the national and international Zero Suicide initiatives and has spoken on national suicide prevention strategies at the White House.

Dr. Little is a consultant providing technical assistance to organizations and states around the country integrating primary care and behavioral health, as well as an expert on the implementation of depression care programs and the Collaborative Care model. Dr. Little has been recognized with awards from organizations such as the Society for Social Work Leaders in HealthCare, the National Association of Social Workers, the Community Health Center Network of New York, and the New York Suicide Prevention Committee, among others. She has served on numerous boards, including the New York Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association and the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved.

Medical Director

Julian Mitton,
MD, MPH

Dr. Julian Mitton is a healthcare innovation leader and public health champion committed to advocating for the improved and equitable care of traditionally underserved populations. With a diverse clinical background in population health and behavioral health, and advanced training in health services research and implementation science, he has been able to leverage research, leadership, strategic partnerships and health policy to advocate for underserved communities through clinical innovations and policy change.

Dr. Mitton has collaborated with several leading healthcare organizations, including Harvard Medical School, CommonSpirit Health, Concert Health and Redesign Health. He is a general internist and addiction medicine physician and now serves as Medical Director at Zero Overdose. He completed medical school at SUNY Stony Brook and his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mitton also received an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in implementation science at Harvard Medical School. He is a published author and researcher, with work appearing in such reputable journals as NEJM Catalyst and the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Mitton’s recent efforts have focused on tech-enabled population health and clinical innovations, including integrated behavioral health and programs to promote access to evidence-based medications for addiction treatment (MAT).

Vice President of Marketing

Lauren Burke

With over 16 years of expertise in marketing, branding, and strategic leadership, Lauren Burke is a seasoned professional well-versed in navigating the complexities of both Fortune Global 500 companies and the ever-evolving landscape of startups. Lauren is a dynamic force, showcasing a wealth of expertise in driving sales, crafting compelling content, and orchestrating impactful events, all while maintaining an unwavering commitment to excellence.

During her tenure at Underwriter Laboratories, a leader in applied safety science, Lauren steered global teams, driving substantial growth in the healthcare sector. At naviHealth (subsequently acquired by Optum), she pioneered transformative value-based care initiatives, collaborating strategically with hospitals nationwide, significantly impacting the healthcare delivery landscape.

Embracing the dynamic nature of the healthcare sector, Lauren continually thrives on challenges, skillfully employing diverse techniques to position businesses for unparalleled success. Lauren earned her BA from the University of Mississippi and furthered her academic journey with an MBA from Lipscomb University. Beyond her corporate achievements, Lauren values quality time spent with her family amidst the captivating outdoors of Tennessee.

Director of Operations

Jian Joyner,
LSW

Born and raised on the culturally diverse island of Saipan, Jian Joyner brings a unique perspective shaped by her multicultural heritage. Her experience with advocacy, support services, and crisis counseling has fueled her passion for advancing social justice, improving resource accessibility, and reducing stigma, particularly for those experiencing social and behavioral health challenges.

With a focus on comprehensive healthcare and human services, Jian strives to seamlessly integrate her cultural background with her professional training. Her goal is to leverage this distinct blend to connect with and empower various individuals and communities alike, guiding them through adversity and fostering their holistic development. Jian’s commitment to the helping professions stems from a core belief that every person deserves compassionate and unwavering support, ensuring they receive the quality care they deserve.

Jian earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Studies from Temple University’s Japan Campus and continued her academic journey with a Master of Social Work from Temple University’s Main Campus. Beyond her professional achievements, Jian enjoys spending quality time with her family, delving into true crime podcasts, and embarking on a lifelong journey of learning.

Director of Research and Education

Alissa Mallow,
DSW, LCSW-R

Dr. Alissa Mallow received her MSW and DSW from Adelphi University, School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Mallow is currently the Director of Research and Education for Zero Overdose, where she is responsible for identifying research initiatives, conducting research, manuscript preparation, co-authoring of position papers, developing and maintaining strategic partnerships for research, and creating a respectful reputation for Zero Overdose. In addition, Dr. Mallow oversees the Internship Program partnering with graduate schools of Social Work and Public Health in training the next generation of professionals in community practice. Dr. Mallow maintains a small private practice and is part-time faculty in the MSW programs at Regis College, Adelphi University, and Boise State University.

Previously, Dr. Mallow was the Director of Research and Education for Concert Health, a national organization providing behavioral health services in primary care practices. At Concert Health, Dr. Mallow developed and oversaw the internship program, partnering with over 15 schools across the country in providing BSW/MSW field placement opportunities; co-led the research initiatives with the Chief Clinical Officer exploring among other areas the effectiveness of collaborative care in treating individuals with anxiety and depression and the impact of social determinants of health and mental health on depression and anxiety; and was part of a grant-writing team.

Dr. Mallow is a former board member of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, is a member of the Clinical Social Work Association, and Collaborative Family Healthcare Association where she is a member of the Research and Evaluation Committee.

Strategy and Development Advisor

Jorge Petit,
MD

Board-certified psychiatrist with over three decades in the public healthcare sector. Throughout my journey, I have steered progressively intricate systems of care, orchestrating the achievement of enduring and systemic enhancements in essential service accessibility and provision. I am inherently results-oriented, driven by a relentless pursuit of innovation, and bring a bilingual and bicultural dimension to my leadership. My experience includes navigating and guiding organizational expansion and transformation, consistently yielding positive outcomes.

A hallmark of my expertise lies in developing and implementing high-caliber, quality-driven programs that crystallize into a cohesive, person-centric model of care, deeply embedded within the community fabric. I stand as testament to my ability to produce outcomes that transcend the boundaries of conventional care, fostering an environment where integration is paramount and the individual is at the heart of every endeavor.

Project Director

Tej Carbone,
LCSW

Tej Carbone is a licensed clinical social worker with over 15 years of experience in behavioral health, primary care, and acute care. She has a demonstrated passion for ensuring that all people have access to quality care, utilizing measurement-based outcomes to drive both operational and clinical decision-making. Tej is a Primary Care/Behavioral Health Integration Consultant with clinical specialization in the areas of addiction, suicide prevention, and pediatric ADHD.

Project Director

Stacy Agosto,
LCSW, CADC

Stacy Agosto is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) with a profound commitment to serving diverse and vulnerable populations in behavioral health and primary care settings. Stacy specializes in building and leading programs in non-profit, primary care, federally qualified health centers and start-up environments. Her expertise lies in strategic thinking, process optimization favoring excellent patient care, and removing barriers for frontline clinical teams to deliver care. As a practicing clinician, Stacy has deep clinical knowledge and experience working with people who identify as LGBTQ, people living in rural communities, people who use drugs and trauma.

Stacy received her Master’s degree from University of Chicago and served as a Mayoral Fellow for the City of Chicago under Mayor Rahm Emanual. During her time at Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest organizations serving the LGBTQ community, Stacy led the “Recovering with Pride” team focused on delivering substance use disorder services. At Shawnee Health Service in rural Southern Illinois, she led the build of integrated behavioral health in primary care focused on support for clients impacted by the opioid epidemic. Stacy has also led a team of Community Health Workers working to address patient social determinants of health. She is a published author with work appearing in AIDS Care, Relias Continuing Education, and Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Health and Aging by Springer Publishing.

India Fordham

India is a seasoned program development professional with a strong commitment to nonprofit work and social impact. With 6 years of experience, she has excelled in designing and implementing initiatives focused on STEM education, entrepreneurial sustainability and business development.

Transitioning her skills in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, India has led transformative projects advocating for youth STEM education, social justice, and sustainability. Her approach and hands-on dedication have amplified voices and driven systemic change and enhances organizational capacity and outreach impact.

India is passionate about causes that transcend individual interests, driven by a vision of a more inclusive and compassionate world.

India holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Baylor University, and continues to seek educational opportunities aligned with her values of integrity, empathy, and social responsibility.
Grants Manager

Ohshue Gatanaga,
MPH, MS

Ohshue Gatanaga is currently a graduate student studying social work and public health at Columbia University. His research focuses on infusing syndemics and intersectionality theories to examine how multiple marginalized identities impact behavioral health and substance use outcomes. In particular, he is interested in exploring historically under-researched communities, such as Asian American subgroups and LGBTQ+ communities.

Other current related research projects include partnering on NIH grants addressing intersectional stigma among men who have sex with men, the HIV/AIDS intervention BRIDGE (Improving HIV Service Delivery for People who Inject Drugs in Kazakhstan), and gender-based violence studies for Project E-Worth (Multimedia HIV/STI Intervention for Black Drug-Involved women on Probation in New York City).

As an inspiring practitioner-scholar, Gatanaga hopes to conduct research at the forefront of clinical implementation. He is currently a member of the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work, the American Public Health Association LGBTQ Health Caucus, and the American Public Health Association Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health.

Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator

Kate Gal

Kate Gal, a native of upstate New York, has dedicated her professional journey to the service of others, driven by a fundamental belief in the importance of caring for one another. Her varied career path reflects this commitment, spanning roles that have contributed to the well-being of diverse groups.

Initially, Kate engaged in full-time church ministry, focusing on children and teens, where she honed her skills in guiding and supporting young individuals. After a decade in this rewarding field, she transitioned to become a Physical Therapist Assistant, dedicating 12 years to serving older adults in skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities. Her compassionate approach and expertise played a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for those under her care. 

A move from Texas to South Carolina three years ago marked a new chapter in Kate’s career as she joined Concert Health. In her role as a Billing and Revenue Specialist, she diligently works to ensure seamless coordination and communication across multiple practices, navigating the complexities of insurance coverage and facilitating accurate billing for patients. 

Kate’s recent venture into the nonprofit sector with Zero Overdose is driven by a deeply personal connection to the cause. Having witnessed the devastating impact of addiction and overdose on too many friends, she is passionately committed to contributing to a solution. Kate firmly believes in the transformative potential of Zero Overdose to bring about positive change and save lives, recognizing the profound and painful impact of these issues on individuals and communities. Her unique blend of skills, empathy, and dedication positions her as a valuable asset in the mission to address the urgent need for solutions in the realm of addiction and overdose prevention.

Event Planner

Jayme Butcher

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus scelerisque nulla et justo commodo, a placerat ante rhoncus. Nullam nec vulputate ligula. Duis lorem odio, iaculis eget lacinia ac, commodo sit amet est. 

Trainer

Leah Harris,
MA

Leah Harris, M.A. possesses over two decades of experience writing, speaking, and training on trauma, mental health, addiction, harm reduction, suicide prevention, and resilience. Leah’s work is heavily informed by her lived experiences, and she is especially passionate about the integration of peer support, trauma-informed care, and person-centered approaches into all aspects of public health, human services, educational settings, and community programs. She has provided training, curriculum development, and technical assistance with the National Empowerment Center, SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC), and the National Association for State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD).

Consulting with the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, Leah developed a pilot curriculum for suicide attempt survivors to share their stories using an effective public health framework, and helped author The Way Forward: Pathways to Hope, Recovery, and Wellness with Insights from Lived Experience for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. She is a faculty member with the Zero Suicide Institute and the Institute for Development of Human Arts, and is thrilled to join the Zero Overdose team as a trainer.

Administrative Assistant

Blayne Bonfoco

Blayne Bonfoco has a variety of experience in multiple industries, spanning a career of almost 30 years. Throughout her career, Blayne has explored Tourism, Hospitality, Wine Country, Food and Beverage, Fitness, Wellness, Retail, Service, and most recently Personal Development and Education.

At first, a step into Hospitality and tourism landed Blayne in Niagara Falls, as Concierge at a Renaissance hotel; there, she was able to apply her passion for languages, improving her French and Japanese communication skills with clients, while simultaneously serving people who had questions about the local area.

After several seasons at Niagara Falls, Niagara Wine Country called, as this was where she grew up; Blayne transitioned into a role at a local winery in the Retail shop, which soon turned into taking on a lead role in developing the Home Delivery program and growing that to almost 1000 participants monthly over 6 years. She continued to use her language skills to serve the winery and thrived in the team environment.

After a decision with her husband to open their own business, Blayne worked at a local women’s only fitness facility to gain experience before investing and opening one herself. Subsequently, Blayne and her husband opened a Martial Arts Academy, which they successfully operated for 15 years. Blayne’s focus on personal development lead her to dedicate her energy towards supporting, growing and serving their various programs. Her success in positively impacting her students fuelled her desire to expand her professional experience and motivated her to pursue a path with the Canadian National Kickboxing team, serving as Assistant Coach then Head Coach for six years.

Blayne is passionate about teamwork and the pursuit of growth, believing that every person should be encouraged and respected to thrive in their lives.

In 2020, Blayne and her husband closed their Martial Arts Programs and relocated to Belize with their first-born son; this change in location has provided her and her family with time to experience life in new ways while raising their son.

Blayne’s recent entry into the non-for-profit sector, in particular working in addition support and rehabilitation, is an inspiring one for her; she is passionate about her support role with Zero Overdose, and is looking forward to helping the entire team make a difference in addiction prevention.

Board President

Jeff Capobianco,
PhD, LLP

Dr. Capobianco has over 30 years of clinical, administrative, and healthcare research experience. He has an extensive background in strategic planning to design and implement primary, substance use disorder, and mental health care integration models for children and adults. With expertise in evidence-based practice implementation, Lean Six Sigma methodologies, Adaptive Leadership, and learning community approaches to organizational change he focuses on developing sustainable, efficient, and effective approaches to healthcare integration. He has consulted with dozens of healthcare organizations, including state departments of Medicaid, hospital systems, and county health departments. Prior to joining the National Council for Mental Wellbeing where he is a Senior Consultant, he held positions as a Research Investigator at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, where continues to teach part-time and as the Director of Research and New Program Development for a behavioral health managed care organization. He holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and a Doctorate in Program Evaluation.

Vice President

Lee Ruszczyk,
LCSW, CCS, ACS

Lee Ruszczyk, LCSW, ACS, has been in the position of Senior Director of Behavioral Health at Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC) since December 2014. He was tasked with developing and expanding Behavioral Health in an Integrated Care setting. During his tenure, behavioral health services have expanded to adults, pediatrics, patients with opioid use disorder, and school-based services. He actively participates in multiple community committees related to expanding medication-assisted treatment services. Lee has been employed in a supervisory and director role for the past 20 years. He has extensive clinical experience with a wide scope of behavioral health topics and works with various client populations. Lee has spent a large part of his clinical work in non-profit settings, integrating mental health and substance use into practice. Lee obtained his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has been working with an underserved population in different capacities throughout his career. He is currently serving on the Inaugural Board of Directors of The Center for Health Equity, A New Jersey Public Health Institute as well as a member of the board of the Trenton Health Team.

Board Secretary

Jennifer Erasime,
LCSW-S

With over a decade of clinical experience in community and inpatient behavioral health settings, Jennifer Erasime, LCSW-S, has focused on program development and service expansion to broaden access to behavioral health care. Her work has prioritized providing care for underserved, unhoused, and indigent populations in Texas communities. Jennifer has been dedicated to incorporating recovery-oriented and person-centered care in her supervisory and clinical roles, particularly in high acute clinical settings for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness, co-occurring substance use disorders, and complex medical conditions. In her current role at The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, she focuses on policy implementation to transform local and national behavioral health systems. Jennifer also chairs the Mental Health America of Greater Dallas’ board and provides clinical supervision to social work students in the behavioral health field.

Board Member

Sarah Bernes,
LMSW, MPH

Sarah Bernes is the Lead Clinical Training and Implementation Specialist at PRISM in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. PRISM partners with health systems and payers, providing individualized consultation and training to implement the psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM). Previously, Ms. Bernes served as the Director of Training at Concert Health. In addition to integrated care, Ms. Bernes is passionate about suicide prevention. She served as the Director of Suicide Prevention at a network of federally qualified health centers in New York and was instrumental in founding the Zero Suicide Institute at the Education Development Center.

Board Member

Michael Hogan,
PhD

Dr. Hogan served as New York State Commissioner of Mental Health (2007-2012) and now operates a consulting practice in health and behavioral health care and served as Special Master in U.S. v Miss., a federal case focused on improvements in the Mississippi mental health system. Previously, Dr. Hogan served as Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health (DMH). Dr. Hogan chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, and he was appointed as the first behavioral health representative on the board of The Joint Commission and as a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. With the Action Alliance, he co-chaired task forces on Clinical Care (leading to Zero Suicide in Healthcare) and Crisis Care (producing the Crisis Now framework). He served two terms on the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) National Advisory Mental Health Council, as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and as Board President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Research Institute. His awards for national leadership include recognition by the National Governor’s Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Campaign for Mental Health Reform, the American College of Mental Health Administration, and the American Psychiatric Association. He is a graduate of Cornell University and earned an MS from the State University College in Brockport, New York and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Board Member

Lauren Reed,
LCSW, CPRP

Lauren Reed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and obtained her master’s degree of Social Work from Arizona State University. Lauren has spent most of her career working in the mental health and substance use field providing direct care, and program development. Lauren is a peer in recovery and considers her past a tool to help guide her approach and desire to make an impact on the system. In her career, Lauren oversaw several women and children’s programs including working with women who were survivors of sex trafficking and pregnant women with substance use disorder. Lauren now works for Mercy Care, a Medicaid health plan in Arizona and oversees federal grants that help individuals who are uninsured or underinsured access care for substance use treatment. Lauren also works part time in private practice providing counseling to adults, teens, and couples. Lauren considers herself a pragmatic social worker that enjoys implementing innovative ideas and practices to make quality and dignifying care more accessible to those that need it the most.

Board Member

Mark Wenneker,
MD, MPH

Dr. Wenneker is a Principal with Chartis, the nation’s largest independent healthcare advisory firm. He has over 30 years of experience in healthcare as a practicing general internist and healthcare executive and consultant. He has held leadership positions at both an academic health system and a large regional managed care organization.

Dr. Wenneker leads Chartis’ Behavioral Health Service Line segment in its Strategy Practice Area and brings extensive experience with behavioral health planning in academic and community settings, pediatric and adult behavioral healthcare, and the role of partnerships of health systems with community-based and larger not-for-profit and for-profit (including private equity-backed) behavioral health organizations. He has worked with clients to design and implement innovative yet practical solutions to behavioral health care delivery and management issues, including developing new care models to address the need for a more integrated delivery approach across primary care and specialty care, ED/crisis management, inpatient psychiatric units, substance use, rural health and population health management.

For ten years Dr. Wenneker was a member of an innovative clinical practice, Boston’s Community Medical Group (BCMG), that cared for patients with severe physical disabilities including spinal cord injury. The practice was organized around a team-based model with general internists, nurse practitioners, clinical social workers, a physiatrist and a psychiatrist as members of the team.

Dr. Wenneker received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in health services administration. Dr. Wenneker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Science from Harvard College.

Board Member

Christopher Stowers

When I reflect on my life’s journey and the path that has led me to my unwavering passion for mental health, I am deeply aware of the profound influence of my family’s past experiences. Our shared history of mental health issues has shaped my perspective, ignited my empathy, and fueled my commitment to making a difference.

Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the impact of mental health challenges within my family. I saw the struggles, the resilience, and the profound strength that it takes to navigate such turbulent waters. These experiences opened my eyes to the realities faced by individuals dealing with mental health issues and their loved ones. They instilled in me a deep sense of empathy and compassion, compelling me to break the silence surrounding mental health and strive for change.

As I delved deeper into understanding mental health, I realized the widespread stigma and misconceptions that surrounded it. I saw how fear and lack of understanding often prevented individuals from seeking the help and support they desperately needed. This realization ignited a fire within me — a passion to challenge the status quo, raise awareness, and advocate for a world that embraces mental health as a vital aspect of overall well-being.

Board Member

Cameron Romer, LCSW

Cameron Romer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with deep knowledge of and experience within the public and private sectors. Cameron has dedicated her career working with various populations in the Criminal Justice and Education System. Cameron provides clinical evaluations. comprehensive drug and alcohol assessments, and therapeutic services to her clients. She is an outspoken advocate for individuals who have lost a loved one to an overdose, as she had that experience herself. Throughout her tenure, Cameron has presented to members of Congress concerning the effect of the Zero Tolerance Policy on behalf of the Education Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, she served as a member of the Models for Change Initiative for Aftercare Reform sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, and has been the recipient of several awards for her tireless effort in assisting individuals with overcoming challenges and improving their overall quality of life.

Board Member

Sarah Smith,
LMSW

Sarah is a dedicated and social justice-minded Licensed Macro Social Worker with specific expertise in policy and community organizing and extensive diversified experience in serving veterans, individuals, and families experiencing mental health and housing crises. Ending overdose-related deaths is personal for her. During her time operating a homeless shelter in New York, she navigated the effects of substance use disorder in under-resourced communities firsthand. Sarah has also lost loved ones to overdose deaths, and she is passionate about utilizing her professional expertise and personal passion to uplift the mission of Zero Overdose.

Board Member

Cathy Skulnik,
MBA, MPH

Cathy Skulnik (MBA/MPH) brings over ten years of experience in healthcare to Zero Overdose. As a Partner at Sandbox Advisors, and previously at Strategy& (PwC), Cathy leads strategy, transformation, and innovative partnerships for health plans. Cathy started her career in the behavioral health sector, first at Columbia University Medical Center, then at the Institute for Family Health, a large Federally Qualified Health Center network, where she focused on primary care and behavioral health integration. As a board member, Cathy is excited to bring her experience in healthcare strategy, behavioral health, and cross-sector collaboration to further Zero Overdose’s mission of eliminating drug overdose deaths through safety planning.