Board of Directors

Alex Bennett, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Board Treasurer
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.


Daliah Heller, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Board Chair
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.

Board Member
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

Board Member
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.