Dr. Macdonald has been a practicing physician, public health administrator, and corporation chairman. He is a nationally recognized authority on alcohol and drug policy. He served as Administrator of the U.S. Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration, as Director of the White House Drug Abuse Policy Office, and as Acting Assistant Secretary of Health. He authored numerous articles in peer journals and the landmark book Drugs, Drinking, and Adolescents. More recently he wrote A Pediatrician’s Blueprint – Raising, Happy, Healthy, Moral, and Successful Children aimed at prevention of many of the problems facing today’s youth.
Dr. Weiss is one of the nation’s leading experts in integrative medicine, in addition to being internationally recognized for diagnosing complex and obscure conditions that have confounded patients and their doctors. While highly trained in the specialty of neurology, Dr. Weiss believes the best medicine is a holistic approach to the whole person. The culmination of Dr. Weiss’ work is the personalized, integrative medical approach utilized at Next Step® Institute in Colorado. Together, with his colleagues at Next Step® Institute, Dr. Weiss expanded this tradition, utilizing the best of ground-breaking Western medicine alongside time-tested, holistic treatments such as the Native American Sweat Lodge. Since the start of his career, Dr. Weiss has been on the cutting edge of integrative treatment approaches. In 1988, he started the first treatment center for those suffering from the triad of addiction, codependency and childhood trauma. He created the first 12-step treatment center for addiction in France, and the first integrative 12-step treatment center for chronic pain in the U.S. Named one of “America’s Top Physicians” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America in 2006, 2007, and 2013. He has served on the Practice Parameter Committee for the State of Florida and was appointed ombudsman for Central Florida by the governor. In addition to working with Next Step Institute, he has also been involved and served on the Board of Directors of NACoA and international ASAM in the 1990s. He is the founder of two non-profit organizations which target helping high risk youth. The Wings to Fly/Weiss Foundation organization treated over 2,000 juvenile offenders using 12 step-based treatment for individuals in jail, as outpatients, and inpatients before merging with the Center for Drug Free Living. Along with his wife, Cathleen Brooks-Weiss, they founded Action For Children which has supported many varied children’s causes locally, nationally, and internationally.
Peter Palanca is executive vice president and chief operating officer of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC, Inc.). Mr. Palanca oversees TASC’s statewide service delivery as well as strategic planning, training, and revenue development. Mr. Palanca serves as a member of the board of directors of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) and was immediate past chairman. Mr. Palanca was appointed to the Children’s Mental Health Partnership, the policy guiding group for children’s mental health issues in Illinois. He is vice-chair of the board of directors of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and a member of both the board of directors and advisory board of Prevention Partnership, a non-profit prevention and health promotion agency located in Chicago. Mr. Palanca is a member of the board of directors of Prevention First, an Illinois nonprofit resource center specializing in preventing teen alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Mr. Palanca also serves as the chairman of the Governors State University Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health Advisory Council and holds a faculty appointment as senior lecturer of Addiction Studies in the College of Health and Human Services. He is also a newly elected board member to the National Association of Addiction Professionals.
Robert Denniston has recently retired as Deputy Associate Director for the Office of Research and Data Analysis at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), where he was responsible for monitoring prevention research and Federal agency data collection efforts stemming from the National Drug Control Strategy, and served as project officer for several research studies. He previously served as director of the ONDCP’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, and directed the HHS Secretary’s Initiative on Youth Substance Abuse Prevention. He headed SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s division of prevention application and education, served as director of prevention and education at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and chief of information projects at the National Cancer Institute. He now volunteers his time on various social justice projects, including climate justice.
As a retired judge, he devotes his time to solve the problems of substance misuse, health deficiencies, fairness and justice in our juvenile and criminal justice systems. He is committed to achieving true equality for every person based on his or her inner person and values as a human being.
Karen M. Carpenter Palumbo is President and CEO of Vanderheyden, Inc., a multi-service organization serving over 500 individuals and families each day in 50 locations throughout the Capital Region. Prior to accepting the position at Vanderheyden, Karen served as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Ms. Carpenter Palumbo has served more than 30 years in both the public and private sectors, appointed by four Governors, and has expertise in the areas of health, mental health, substance abuse, disability-related issues and managed care.
Dr. Adger is Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Director of Adolescent Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which he joined in 1984. Since that time, he has served as Director of the Substance Abuse Assessment/Intervention Team at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Adolescent Program and as Director of the Johns Hopkins Substance Abuse Faculty Development Programs. In February 1997, Dr. Adger was selected to fill the position of Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In July 1998, he returned to Johns Hopkins to resume his duties as a full-time faculty member. Dr. Adger is certified by and serves as the Pediatrics Discipline Director for the American Board of Addiction Medicine. From 1999-2005, he served as Co-Director of the federally funded Strategic Planning Initiative funded by HRSA and SAMHSA/CSAT to advise the federal government and others on improving and expanding interdisciplinary education and training of health professionals in substance use disorders. He currently serves as principal investigator and project director of the HRSA-funded Leadership & Education in Adolescent Health project at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and as the faculty leader of the Florence Sabin College in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Adger also is a past president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse and a past president of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.
Dr. Eigen is the Chairman and owner of BEA Enterprises, Inc., which provides every aspect of state of the art Web communications from design with Content Management Systems to hosting the web sites from their own data center. Dr. Eigen was formally President and CEO of Social & Health Services, Ltd. of Rockville, Maryland, one of the nation’s leading health communications companies. In that capacity, he was corporate monitor of the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, a major conduit of information on addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Mr. Fedor was Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Masco Machine, Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio, company that developed custom machine tools and systems. He is active in the industry’s trade association, the Association for Manufacturing Technology which he served as a Board member for 11 years and Chairman for one year. In that capacity, he traveled to 30 countries representing the machine tool industry. He also served as an industry adviser to the United States Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Energy. He has been active in community service including work as a corporate sponsor of an inner-city school and several committees of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. John Fedor served as Chairman of the NACoA Board from 2006-2008.
Stephanie Loebs has devoted her life’s work to the field of Addiction Medicine. She has served as Chief Executive Officer, Director of Medical Services as well as Director of Nursing Services. She currently holds the position of Quality Assurance Coordinator for Liberation Behavioral Health. She believes that treatment works and recovery is possible. Her heart is devoted to those who suffer the most and don’t even drink: the children.
Marina (Mimi) Hair is Senior Vice President for Leading Authorities in Colorado. She has been with the company since 1993, assisting corporate and association clients in securing speakers and entertainment at a variety of events. After her first five years working in the D.C. headquarters of Leading Authorities, Mimi moved to Colorado to open a satellite office in the Rocky Mountains, where she says she has “a big city job in a picturesque location.”
Fred Sansone is recently retired as the Director of the office of Gift and Estate Planning at Xavier University. Fred has taught at the university level, has twenty years experience with two national multibillion-dollar financial institutions many of which were devoted to teaching and mentoring financial planners. He has conducted numerous workshops on topics ranging from personal financial planning to pension and business planning. Mr. Sansone joined the NACoA Board at the beginning of 2012.
Celeste Wolter is a founding partner of Bedford Grove, a political consulting firm based in New York City and San Francisco. Prior to co-founding Bedford Grove in 2010, Celeste served as the Finance Director for Governor David A. Paterson’s gubernatorial campaign, worked as a financial advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), and was the Northeast Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She was a member of the New York Board for Women’s Initiative, the largest micro-enterprise organization in the United States . She has also served as the New York State Democratic Committee’s Finance Director and as the New York City Finance Director for Eliot Spitzer’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
Andrew Fois is an attorney who has had a thirty-year career in public service, the non-profit sector and private practice. He is presently employed as an attorney advisor in the Office of Legislative Affairs in the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. Prior to that position, he was the Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety for Washington, D.C. He has worked for the National Crime Prevention Council, as a solo practitioner and as a partner in the Venable law firm. He has served in the Department of Justice on two occasions: as the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District. He served on Capitol Hill as the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime. Mr. Fois serves on the board of directors of the Catholic Coalition for Special Education and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program. He served as Chairman of the D.C. Commission on Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and the D.C. Coalition against Drugs and Violence. A frequent commentator on television and radio, including as a contributor to the Fox News Channel, Mr. Fois has published widely on legal and political issues. He earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from Georgetown University. He also has a master’s degree in American government from the University of Essex in the U.K.
Art Mellor brings over 30 years of experience working with families on issues related to substance abuse and recovery. He began his career as a family therapist and extended support through the school system to high school students with special needs. He has designed and implemented programs for social services, probation departments and health care providers, as well as family recovery programs for treatment centers. For over 30 years he has provided training and support to clergy, with the last three years managing the United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV).
Judge Diana Epps is an experienced adjudicator and form Magistrate Judge. Judge Epps worked for the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia in the Juvenile Section. While with the Corporation Counsel, she volunteered as a mentor-tutor to local high school students and served on a city wide-multi-agency committee whose goal was to design and develop alternative community based programs for the District’s juvenile offenders. Judge Epps joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in 1991, where she had a high-visibility role presiding over urban civil, criminal, and family trial calendars issuing complex written orders, legal findings, conclusions of law and thousands of verbal rulings.
As a community prosecutor, Judge Epps worked closely with local and federal Law Enforcement, local community groups and various local government agencies to forge partnerships between those agencies and the residents of the southeast, Anacostia region of the city. A Ward 5 resident, Judge Epps graduated from Cornell University and received her Juris Doctor from the State University of New York.
Liaison from the Board of Scientific Advisors
Dr. Jeannette Johnson is the Deputy Chief of the Scientific Review Branch of the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. Her many publications and dedication to the NIH purpose “To make the world a healthier place for ourselves and future generations” have profoundly benefitted NACoA in countless ways. Dr. Johnson is our “In-house Scientist” and she contributed significantly to the professional, evidence-based orientation which is NACoA’s foundation. Dr. Johnson also engineered the 1994 landmark conference “The Role of Resilience in Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness” which helped to anchor NACoA as a solid and respectable organization in the national arena. Co-sponsors were NIDA, NIAAA, NIH NIMH, SAMHSA, and NACoA, the originator of the conference. She co-edited the resulting book RESILIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT – Positive Life Adaptations