Alex Bennett, Ph.D., M.P.A.
National Development & Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI)
Principal Investigator, Institute for Special Populations Research
Dr. Alex Bennett is a Principal Investigator with NDRI’s Institute for Special Populations Research. His current work focuses on overdose prevention and response, drug use and misuse, and contemporary and historical interpretations of drug use and policy. An overarching theme of his work has been research centered on understanding the impact of drug policy on historically marginalized populations and using this knowledge to help produce positive policy change. Dr. Bennett received his Ph.D. in History and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.P.A. in Policy Research and Analysis from the University of Pittsburgh.
Allen Kwabena Frimpong
BCT Partners, Project Manager
Allen Kwabena Frimpong has a solid background of participatory research, program development, project management, capacity building, technical assistance, and community organizing. Currently, he is a Program Manager for Strong Healthy Communities Initiative (an intermediary of Living Cities) in Newark, where he is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the strategies, activities, and research that has been identified by key stakeholders in that city. Before Living Cities, he engaged in opportunities as national capacity-building advisor with the Harm Reduction Coalition, providing technical assistance with community-based organizations whose focus was on providing HIV prevention services. Frimpong is passionate about issues impacting the health and well-being of families in poverty in U.S. urban communities. His articles have been published in several academic journals, such as the International Journal of Drug Policy, and he has been featured on National Public Radio. He is currently a candidate for an M.S. in Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, City University of New York.
Daliah Heller, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Center for Health Media and Policy, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, CUNY
Dr. Daliah Heller works on public health approaches to substance use. Her interests include health care integration, social program innovations, surveillance methods, and policy research on drug and alcohol use. Over the past two decades, Dr. Heller has served in leadership roles in both the governmental and not-for-profit sectors in New York City. She holds a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and a Doctor of Philosophy from City University of New York.
Rafael Torruella, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Intercambios Puerto Rico
Dr. Torruella earned his doctorate in social-personality psychology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2010. His dissertation was titled “¿Allá en Nueva York Todo es Mejor?: A Qualitative Study on the Relocation of Drug Users from Puerto Rico to the United States.” From 2007 to 2011, he was a NIDA-funded Behavioral Science Training pre- and post-doctoral fellow at the National Development Research Institute (NDRI) in New York City. He has presented his research at several conferences, published articles, was an active member of the Graduate Center’s (CUNY) Institutional Review Board, and is currently on the board of directors of a community-based harm reduction organization. Currently, he is a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute (IRTI) on Hispanic Drug Abuse, and Executive Director of CAIM, a community-based organization that offers harm reduction services in Puerto Rico.
Michael A. Tikili
National Field Organizer
Health GAP (Global Access Project), New York, NY
Mr. Tikili is a manger with Health GAP (Global Access Project), building capacity with national and international allies and assisting with creative action planning and execution. He has been active as a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in New York, a board member of Queerocracy, also in New York and a Co-Chair of the Center for Race Relations in Durham North Carolina. Mr. Tikili has a Master Degree in Management Studies from the DUKE UNIVERSITY, Fuqua School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology also from Duke.
Open Society Foundations, Public Health Programs
Senior Program Officer, International Harm Reduction Development
Ms. Evans is an experienced harm reduction program manager, community organizer and grant-maker, with proven abilities in strategy development, service design and implementation, fundraising and training. She is committed to promoting the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use, and the full realization of health and human rights for people most affected by the war on drugs.
She has worked around the world to advance access to injecting equipment, naloxone, and methadone/buprenorphine; to develop alternatives to incarceration and forced treatment, including housing & employment programs for active drug use; and to empower and include drug users in decisions around their health, and in defending their human rights. She has been responsible for program operations at North America's only legal supervised injection site (lnsite); and related "wrap-around" services, designed as a continuum to decrease gaps in access to health services for people who use drugs. Ms. Evans has a Master of Arts from the University of British Colombia, Department of Educational Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.