Join us at the…

Building Rural Recovery Ecosystems Summit


As part of its mission to expand the capacity and effectiveness of Recovery Housing in rural America, the Fletcher Group Rural Center of Excellence will host the 2022 “Building Rural Recovery Ecosystems Summit” this June 8, 9 and 10 at the Hilton Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Whether you attend in person or virtually through our online app, you’ll gain valuable insight into the latest innovations and best practices that are rapidly reshaping our industry. You’ll also benefit from connecting and networking with a wide range of colleagues eager to share their experiences and expertise. We look forward to your support and participation.


“Home of the Blues” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll”

Located on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, Memphis is famous for the blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll that originated there. Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash recorded albums at the city’s legendary Sun Studio and Presley’s Graceland mansion is nearby as are the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.


Supported by HRSA

The “Building Rural Recovery Ecosystems Summit” is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through a $13.7 million grant over three years to the Fletcher Group Rural Center of Excellence, a multi-state resource focused entirely on rural recovery.


You Can Still Attend Virtually!

We’re no longer accepting in-person registrations, but you can still attend virtually—at no charge—by clicking the button to the right.

General Info

Who Should Attend?

All advocates for rural recovery including:

  • Recovery residence owners and operators
  • Recovery treatment providers
  • Peer support personnel
  • People with Substance Use Disorder “lived experience”
  • Legal and correctional workers
  • Public health and medical workers
  • Community stakeholders
  • Organizations and individuals contributing to recovery ecosystems

Events and Activities

  • 4 Highlighted Speakers
  • 24 Breakout sessions to choose from
  • Interactive workshops
  • Networking and social activities
  • Resource and Information Booths

Highlighted Speakers

Dona M. Dmitrovic, MHS
Senior Advisor for Recovery, Office of the Assistant Secretary at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Ms. Dmitrovic is an experienced addiction and recovery specialist who’s worked for over 36 years in the substance use field, raising public awareness and supporting program development for individuals with substance use disorders through advocacy, policy and program development, and the creation of peer products and tools that support individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders. Prior to her current position, she served as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, spearheading federal efforts to improve the nation’s behavioral health through evidence-based prevention efforts. Before joining SAMHSA, she served as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Recovery in Las Vegas where she led the organization’s growth into a statewide agency by developing and implementing peer recovery support programs and other education and training programs. Before that, Ms. Dmitrovic served as Director of the National Office of Consumer Affairs for Optum Behavioral Health and as Chief Operating Officer for the RASE Project in Pennsylvania where she helped launch the Buprenorphine Coordinator program serving opioid-dependent individuals, a cutting-edge program that received two national awards for innovation.

Peter Gaumond
Senior Policy Analyst, Office of National Drug Control Policy

Peter has over 30 years’ experience in the substance use disorder treatment and recovery field.  He joined the Office of National Drug Control (ONDCP) in October 2010 as the Chief of the Recovery Branch and currently serves as a Senior Policy Analyst supporting the ONDCP Office of Public Health. In this capacity, Peter provides expertise on a wide range of public health policy and regulatory issues, including in relation to harm reduction, recovery support services, and employment for people in recovery. As Chief of the Recovery Branch, Peter helped frame the federal government’s approach to improving long-term recovery outcomes, assisting in the development of national policy goals and objectives and creating and implementing plans to achieve them. While providing expertise on a broad range of policy topics, he continues to lead policy and initiatives with a recovery nexus, including the development of recovery support services infrastructure and efforts to reduce stigma, discrimination, and barrier to recovery and community reintegration.

Dr. John Kelly, PhD, ABPP
Harvard’s first endowed professor in addiction medicine

Dr. John Kelly is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard’s first endowed professor in addiction medicine. He is also the Founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH, and the Program Director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS). Dr. Kelly is a former President of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology and is a Fellow of the APA as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies and non-federal institutions as well as foreign governments and the United Nations. Dr. Kelly has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, chapters, and books in the field of addiction medicine and was an author of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. His clinical and research work has focused on addiction treatment and the recovery process, mechanisms of behavior change, and reducing stigma and discrimination among individuals suffering from addiction.

Dr. Ernie Fletcher
Fletcher Group Founder and Chief Medical Officer

Fighter pilot, board-certified physician, statesman, and healthcare visionary, Ernie Fletcher was elected in 1998 to the first of three consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives. In 2003 he was elected the 60th Governor of Kentucky. As Founder of the Fletcher Group, Ernie continues a legacy of innovative public service that promises to extend the company's unique model of "Recovery Ecosystems" to states across the country.

Jonathan Rapping
President, Gideon’s Promise

Founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, a non-profit organization of public defenders dedicated to ensuring equal justice for marginalized communities, Rapping also serves as Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Rapping has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant for his cutting-edge approach to justice transformation and has been featured in numerous media outlets as a thought leader on criminal justice reform, including a TEDx presentation in Atlanta. He recently authored the book, “Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice” and co-hosts “Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast’ with his wife, Ilham Askia, who serves as the podcast’s Executive Director. Rapping was also the inspiration for the award-winning HBO documentary “Gideon’s Army.” Rapping received a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University, an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a BA from the University of Chicago.

Breakout Presentations

  • Finance and Development Principles for Successful and Sustainable Recovery Housing: Ernie Fletcher, Fletcher Group Founder and Chief Medical Officer; and Grant Meyer, Fletcher Group Vice President of Project Development
  • Recovery Housing and The Peer-Led Social Model of Recovery: Expanding Rural Access: Tony White, Fletcher Group National Outreach and Engagement Specialist
  • Building Evidence for Recovery Housing and Improving Feedback for Residents: Dave Johnson, Fletcher Group Chief Executive Officer; and Robin Thompson, Fletcher Group Director of Research and Evaluation
  • Got Questions? Need Solutions? Ask Expert Recovery House Owners and Operators: Jay Phillips, Executive Director of Seed Sower, Inc.; Susan Binns, NARR Board Member and YANA House and TN-ARR Founder and President; Dave Sheridan, President and Co-Founder of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences and National Advisor to the Fletcher Group; Melissa Estep, Program Director of the SKYHope Recovery Program for Women; and Ron Springel, MD, Executive Director of Maine Association of Recovery Residences
  • Creating a Culture For Change: Motivational Interviewing in Recovery Housing: Milena Stott, Fletcher Group Outreach and Engagement Specialist
  • NIMBY: Overcoming NIMBYism (“Not In My Backyard”)—Challenges in Expanding Recovery Housing in Rural Communities: Tony White, Fletcher Group National Outreach and Engagement Specialist; and Nate Conklin, Fletcher Group Outreach and Engagement Specialist
  • Recovery, Set, Go! Meaningful Employment and Fair Chance Opportunities: Lori Baier, Fletcher Group Director of Employment Services
  • Supporting Veterans and First Responders Within the Recovery Community: Mike Hooper, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, United States Army Veteran 2nd/113th 42nd ID Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Rural Public Defender Challenges in Accessing Recovery Services for Clients: Lori James-Townes, Executive Director of the National Association for Public Defense; Jonathan Rapping, President of Gideon’s Promise; Mallory Thompson, Title IVe Coordinator, West Virginia Public Defender Services; Kentucky Chief Circuit Court Judge Jamie Jameson: and Damon Preston, Public Advocate for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy
  • SMART Recovery Life Skills and Motivational Incentives in Recovery Housing: Wayne State University Professor Dr. David Ledgerwood and Brad Glaser of SMART Recovery
  • Recovery Allies: Understanding Recovery Capital and Building Recovery-Friendly Communities: Alison Webb, Recovery Coach, Public Health Specialist, and Certified Presentation Specialist
  • Beginning Your Rural Grant-Seeking Journey. It’s Not About Writing Grants!—A Rural Primer: Allen Smart, Founder of the PhilanthropywoRx Consulting Firm
  • Faith-Based Personal Connections—Clients, Resources, and Supporters: Josh Torbich, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Recovery Centers; and Tyler Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Christian Recovery Centers
  • The Intersectionality of Women, Substance Use Disorder, Trauma, and the Criminal Legal System: Stephanne Thornton, Clinical Director, West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program
  • Substance Use Disorders and the Legal and Correctional System: Lori James-Townes, Executive Director of the National Association for Public Defense; Stephanne Thornton, Clinical Director, West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program: and Kathy Taylor, Fletcher Group Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives
  • Ecosystem of Recovery—Creating a Rural SUD System of Care: Michele Lawrence, AVP Business Development, University of Rochester; and Gloria Baciewicz, Senior Medical Director, Strong Recovery, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Rochester
  • Innovative Interventions for Adults with Opioid Use Disorders: Kelly Peck, Director of Clinical Operations for the University of Vermont Center on Rural Addiction
  • Peer Support in Rural Areas: Reaching for Their Dreams—Growing Recovery Capital: Sharon Hesseltine, Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response
  • Treatment, Parenting, and Recovery Supports for Pregnant and Parenting Families: Sharon Hesseltine, Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response
  • The Language of Recovery: How to Share the Reality of Recovery in Professional Settings: Mike Barry,  Chief Operating Officer of People Advocating Recovery; and Tara Hyde, Vice President of Programs for Young People in Recovery
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences Predict Opioid Relapse During Treatment among Rural Adults: Daniel Sumrok, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee
  • Recovery Community Organizations 101: Mike Barry, People Advocating Recovery, CEI; and Tara Hyde, VP of Programs for Young People in Recovery
  • Rural LGBTQIA2S+: Trauma-Informed and Culturally Affirming Best Practices When Addressing Stigma: Jacqueline Adams, Georgia Culture Therapy, Director of Education, Training, and Evaluation and Kacey Long, Georgia Culture Therapy, Director of Programs
  • Bridging the Racial Divide….For Those Left Behind!: Rodney Brannon, Sr., Counselor and Consultant with Training and Coaching Specialists
  • Wellbriety—An Introduction to The Medicine Wheel and 12-Step Native American Peer-Driven Recovery Program: Albert Titman, Counselor and Trainer, White Bison Wellbriety Training Institute

Some Edutainment, Too

We will also be screening the documentary film “Tipping the Pain Scale” produced by Fletcher Group National Advisor Greg Williams. Greg will be on hand to introduce the film and answer any questions you may have in a Q&A session after the screening. To watch the trailer go to

And to learn more about Greg’s work go to

Breakout Speakers

Tara Moseley Hyde, MPAP
Policy Analyst, Programs Vice President, Young People in Recovery (YPR)

Tara Moseley Hyde graduated from American University School of Public Health with a dual focus on public administration and policy. Herself in long-term recovery since 2011, she began working with Young People in Recovery In May of 2014 and established a Young People in Recovery (YPR) chapter within her Louisville, Kentucky community. She has since become the Programs Vice President and is working to develop new Young People in Recovery chapters and programs across the country. Tara has also worked with universities throughout the United States to develop recovery support services for young adults on college campuses. She has helped develop human resource polices and procedures designed to assist employers and others who wish to help those with a Substance Use Disorder return to the work force. She has worked with SAMSHA, BRAS TACS, departments of corrections and behavioral health providers to establish peer support services and standards for youth, young adults, and the justice-involved while working to heighten public awareness of recovery throughout the country.  

Jay Phillips, MBA
Executive Director of Seed Sower, Inc.

James Phillips launched Seed Sower, Inc. after a diverse professional history spanning over 25 years.  He served for 10 years in the U.S. Army.  He served the first half of his military career as a Russian linguist and signals intelligence specialist in a Military Intelligence unit. He spent the last 5 years of his military service assigned to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, working in support of international chemical and biological arms control and weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation programs. He completed his military service as an instructor and Non‐Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Russian Arms Control Speaking Proficiency Course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey,  Ca. Following his military career, Jay completed his MBA at West Virginia University in 2013.  His graduate work focused on computational data extraction modeling and strategic planning. He has utilized these skills in civilian career paths within the Department of Defense, The Department of Veterans Affairs, and most recently as a senior financial management analyst with the Internal Revenue Service where he focused on internal auditing, and program and process improvement initiatives.  Jay has a deep passion for service to others, particularly marginalized and stigmatized populations suffering from substance use disorder.  This passion led him to resign from federal service in 2021 and devote the rest of his professional career to developing Seed Sower into a positive force in the fight against substance use disorder in West Virginia.  Seed Sower operates an 11-bed recovery residence in rural Greenbrier county, WV and is preparing their second location to open in summer, 2022 in Fayette county.  He believes that recovery only happens in community, and is wholly devoted to developing strong partnerships within functioning recovery ecosystems. Jay lives in Beckley, WV and he is married to his wife Paige, and has 3 sons: Sam (23), Caeden (17) and Cooper (16). He is active as a deacon in his church and as part of his church’s music ministry.

Mike Hooper
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, United States Army Veteran 2nd/113th 42nd ID Operation Enduring Freedom

Nobody gets to recovery from a good place and Mike Hooper was no exception. “I reached out to the VA crisis line because my addiction to alcohol had reached a point of total destruction of my life.” Hooper, a veteran who is now SMART Recovery’s Ohio Outreach Director, says he hadn’t connected with any type of recovery program and felt like he was out of options and headed for more trouble. Then he unexpectedly stumbled onto SMART Recovery. At first, he was cynical and skeptical about whether it could help, but it turns out he was completely wrong. One big reason it worked for him was that he had never come across a self-empowering pathway like SMART that put the participant in the driver’s seat while providing practical tools and mutual support. SMART, says Hooper, “began my road to self-management, acceptance and forgiveness.” Hooper is now a SMART employee and spends his days connecting people and organizations. His best reward is “paying it forward” by helping to save his fellows from addiction and maladaptive behavior.

NARR Board Member and Tennessee ARR Founder and President

A nationally-certified alcohol counselor and recovery specialist, Susan has developed and implemented recovery and prevention programs for over 40 years and has held numerous leadership positions with both nationwide and Nashville-based programs. Currently the Executive Director of YANA, a safe house for women, she also serves on the Board of the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR) and as President of the Tennessee Association for Recovery Residences (TN-ARR). Past positions include President of the Music City Recovery Resources Foundation and President of the Association of Halfway House Alcoholism Programs of North America (AHHAP).

Lori James-Townes, LCSW-C
Executive Director of the National Association for Public Defense

Lori James-Townes is Executive Director of the National Association for Public Defense (NAPD) and President and CEO of Expand-Now which helps organizations, communities, and individuals develop leadership skills. She is driven to help others through public speaking, training, development activities, coaching, and consulting. Her 27-plus years in teaching, forensic social work, juvenile justice and mental health includes serving as Director Social Work, Leadership, and Program Development with the Maryland Office of Public Defender. Other positions include adjunct clinical instructor at Towson University’s Department of Family Studies and Community Development; President of the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work Alumni Board of Directors; and Co-Director of Training and Development for the Black Public Defender Association. She has previously served as Chair of the National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists. Lori has developed programs that are now national models for other agencies. In 2015, The Daily Record Newspaper named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. She received an “Alumni on the Move Award” from the Morgan State University School of Social Work (March 2015) and was earlier honored by Morgan State University with a “Presidential Award” in recognition of her outstanding achievements and accomplishments. She has also been awarded the “National Gideon’s Heroes Award” and a “Mitigation Lifetime Achievement Award” by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

Dr. David Ledgerwood, PhD
Wayne State University Professor and Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Ledgerwood is a clinical psychologist and professor currently serving as Director of the Nicotine and Tobacco Research Division in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. He has conducted several substance use disorder treatment studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and has published numerous articles on the same subject, including research showing the effectiveness of motivational incentives in promoting abstinence from cocaine, opioids, tobacco and other substances.

Josh Torbich
Chief Executive Officer, Christian Recovery Centers

In addition to being CEO of Christian Recovery Centers, Torbich also serves as Director of the Ocean Isle Beach Celebrate Recovery and Chairman of the Brunswick County Opioid Task force. His ambition and creativity have helped Christian Recovery Centers grow from a small facility serving 12 individuals on a single location into a million-dollar nonprofit serving over 70 individuals on four different campuses. His eight years in the field of substance abuse and nonprofit management and his own personal “lived experience” as someone in recovery from opioid alcoholic addiction have made him a respected authority often called upon by traditional educational institutions and community groups to help raise awareness assist in education. Driven by the need to create hope for others, his mission in life is to reach people who have been ravaged by the illness of addiction and show them a new path to freedom.

Dave Sheridan
President and Co-Founder of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences

Sheridan has been active in the recovery field for over 15 years, serving on numerous recovery housing boards, including his role as National Advisor to the Fletcher Group. Under his leadership, the National Alliance of Recovery Residencies has proven adept at providing Technical Assistance and statewide recovery housing certifications. In addition to helping develop oversight and legislation of recovery housing, he is also a nationally known speaker and writer on addiction recovery.

Alison Jones Webb, MA, MPH
Recovery coach, Public Health Specialist, and Certified Presentation Specialist

Webb is a trained recovery coach, public health specialist, certified prevention specialist, and an official “Recovery Ambassador” with “Faces and Voices of Recovery”—the nation's leading recovery advocacy organization. She is also a member of the Virginia Recovery Advocacy Project and president of the Maine Association of Recovery Residences. Webb has more than 20 years of experience in public speaking, policy development and advocacy, data-driven decision-making, nonprofit strategic planning, community outreach and organization; and the connecting of community members with adequate healthcare. A passionate advocate for people in recovery, Webb has written extensively about recovery and harm reduction and has a new book, “Recovery Allies: How to Support Addiction Recovery and Build Recovery-Friendly Communities,” coming out in September in which she lays out practical ways that communities can help support people in recovery. Through in-depth interviews with those in recovery as well as researchers, thought leaders and advocates, the book shows that there is real hope for people with addiction and that we all have an important role in helping support and sustain their recovery. Webb holds a masters degree in public health with a focus on overdose prevention from the University of New England as well as a masters degree in economic history from Johns Hopkins University.

Allen Smart, MA MPH
Founder of the PhilanthropywoRx Consulting Firm

Allen is a national spokesperson and advocate dedicated to improving philanthropic practices. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Rural Resource Hub at The University of North Dakota and is on the board of directors for both “Healthy Communities by Design” and the North Carolina Healthcare Association Foundation. Before founding PhilanthropywoRx, he served the Health Care Division at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, a $700 million statewide North Carolina funder, as Interim President, Vice President of Programs, and Director. Before that, he served as Programs Vice President at the Rapides Foundation, a healthcare conversion funder in Alexandria, Louisiana. He has also served as Director of Community Development for a midwestern Catholic Hospital System; as Grants Administrator for the City of Santa Monica, California; and as selection committee chairman for the “Culture of Health Prize” awarded annually by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Allen writes regularly for philanthropy-related websites such as The Daily Yonder, Inside Philanthropy, Grantcraft, and Giving Compass and makes regular presentations to national and regional organizations such as Grantmakers in Health, the Southeastern Council of Foundations, the National Rural Assembly, and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Allen received his Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, his Master of Arts in Telecommunication Arts from the University of Michigan, and his Bachelors in Arts in Philosophy from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tyler Smith
Christian Recovery Centers Chief Operating Officer

Smith’s primary goal in life is to introduce those who are struggling with substance use to a better way of life. He has worked tirelessly with a select team of talented and experienced colleagues to grow Christian Recovery Centers, Inc. from the ground up to what it is today. In doing so, Smith has worn a number of hats—teacher, counselor, trainer, executive, and sponsor, among others—and devoted an incalculable amount of time and energy to developing and refining CRC’s highly respected residential programs. Smith particularly enjoys imparting to others the techniques he learned during his own recovery and witnessing the “light bulb moment” when staff and residents realize in their own lives the value of selfless dedication and service to others. Smith’s greatest joy remains helping men and women win their battle for wellness, personal integrity, and a self-sustaining lifestyle.

Stephanne Thornton, MDiv, MSW, LICSW, MAC, CCTP, CSOTP
Clinical Director, West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program

Stephanne Cline Thornton is a licensed, independent clinical social worker and master addiction counselor with twenty years of experience working in the criminal legal field where she has worked to build programs that serve clients by addressing their underlying treatment needs relating to trauma and substance use disorder. Stephanne has successfully written grants to support and develop programs towards holistic representation in public defense. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Emory University Candler School of Theology and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Georgia. She has been clinically licensed as a social worker and addictions counselor since 2004 and also licensed as a Certified Addiction Counselor Level III, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider. With a clinical training background in trauma, she serves on the Trauma-Informed Care Network Speakers Bureau and speaks at conferences across the country on the topics of trauma, substance use, and self-care. 

Michele Lawrence, MPH, MBA, FACHE
AVP Business Development, University of Rochester

Michele is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health Sciences and a Co-Principal Investigator at the University of Rochester Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence. A nationally known thought leader, she has over 25 years of experience advising executive leadership on healthcare strategy, clinical transformation, innovation, and rural health. She has worked closely with rural Appalachian communities for over 18 years, creating financially viable hospitals, primary care facilities, and behavioral health programs that work together to improve resident and community health. She has also led development of the “Ecosystem of Recovery”—a multi-faceted, community-wide, system-level change management approach to reducing morbidity and mortality from substance use disorders.

Kelly Peck, PhD
Director of Clinical Operations at the University of Vermont Center on Rural Addiction

A licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor with joint appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychological Sciences at the University of Vermont, Kelly serves as the Director of Clinical Operations for the University of Vermont Center on Rural Addiction (UVM CORA), one of three national Rural Centers Of Excellence funded by the Health and Human Resources Administration to help those with Substance Use Disorders. Kelly conducts research focused on the development and evaluation of novel treatments for Opioid Use Disorders (OUDs), including randomized clinical trials evaluating a novel interim buprenorphine treatment to reduce illicit opioid use and other high-risk behaviors among adults with untreated OUD. He also works extensively to address co-occurring PTSD in individuals with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), particularly around the delivery and evaluation of cognitive-behavioral treatments for PTSD.

Lori Baier, RN
Fletcher Group Director of Employment Services

Twenty-eight years as a Registered Nurse have given Lori a keen understanding of healthcare’s diverse population base. In the five years before joining the Fletcher Group, Lori devoted herself to creating second-chance career opportunities for the most vulnerable by developing and teaching AOKY/GED+ (Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky/General Educational Development) programs at Ashland Community and Technical College in Kentucky. Her ability to reduce barriers and bridge gaps in education plays a key role in the Fletcher Group’s promotion of recovery through the kind of meaningful employment that rebuilds lives, restores families, and revitalizes local communities.

Tony White
Fletcher Group National Outreach and Engagement Specialist

Tony has been committed to long-term recovery since 2003 with a foundation built at The Healing Place in Louisville, KY. He came to the Fletcher Group in 2020 with over 12 years of experience as a social model recovery Program Director of two rural centers. These 100 bed, residential, long-term, peer-led, peer-driven recovery house programs served men seeking recovery who were homeless or marginally housed, and most were criminal justice involved. Tony’s previous work with fortune 500 companies such as Motorola, DuPont, and Bell South, provided in-depth knowledge of systems sequences and flow, which taught him to value the importance of processes, environment, and empowerment. Over the years, these learned values, in conjunction with the application and practice of recovery principles, have been central in his facilitating a recovery-first, peer-focused process. In which, residents are taught their substance use disorder does not define who they are. His ability to facilitate an individuals’ social reintegration and gain tangible recovery capital through the Social Model is critical in expanding Recovery Housing in rural communities nationwide. As Fletcher Groups National Outreach and Engagement Specialist, Tony partners with internal and external colleagues to facilitate tours and virtual presentations to educate groups from around the country interested in replicating the long-term, residential, Recovery Kentucky peer-led, social model in rural areas of their state. Tony also works with national partners and conducts social model training for rural recovery house owners, operators, and peer recovery staff. His endeavors assist with expanding the effectiveness and quality of recovery housing while highlighting its critical role in a recovery ecosystem and providing a pathway for residents to achieve long-term recovery and lives of independence.

Robin Thompson
Fletcher Group Director of Research and Evaluation

Driven by the desire to ensure equal access for all to care, treatment, and healthy environments, Robin earned both her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Epidemiology and Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Between and during her educational programs, she had the opportunity to serve in a variety of research roles supporting research aimed at reducing health disparities for a wide-range of public health issues. These experiences enabled her to develop an understanding and appreciation of the importance of all aspects of the research process. Post-MPH, she served as the research coordinator for the University of Kentucky Department of Otolaryngology where she worked with an interdisciplinary team to support the coordination of several studies focused on reducing hearing healthcare disparities among Kentuckians. During her time as a doctoral student, Robin served as a fellow within the occupational epidemiology core of the NIOSH/CDC-funded Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC). She also worked on projects assessing health insurance literacy needs among Kentuckians and determining barriers to syringe exchange uptake among rural Kentucky residents with substance use disorder. Her dissertation, Occupational Opioid Surveillance and Intervention Evaluation: A Mixed Methods Collaborative Project Among Southeast First Responders, grew out of two studies she led assessing and addressing occupational opioid exposure among first responders. Her research experiences have set her up for success in her current role at Fletcher Group, as Director of Research and Evaluation. In this role, she’s responsible for leading a research team focused on a variety of projects related to the expansion and/or improvement of recovery housing and other recovery support services for individuals with substance use disorders. Examples of the research team's current project include conducting a scoping review of the predictors of recovery housing retention, surveying recovery housing owners/operators to understand the impact of COVID-19 on recovery housing, validating recovery-related measures for the context of recovery housing, development of a recovery housing resident-level outcomes protocol, evaluating a non-secular mutual aid group within rural recovery housing, and surveying primary care providers regarding barriers to serving patients with substance use and others.

Dave Johnson
Fletcher Group Chief Executive Officer

Dave has over 35 years of experience leading program development with a specific focus on holistic service models that address physical health, mental health, substance abuse, and social determinants of health. His successful grant writing experiences include being awarded over $20 million in funding from Federal and State Agencies and Private Foundations.

Grant Meyer
Fletcher Group Vice President of Project Development

As Vice President of Project Development, Grant applies a unique and extensive blend of experience ideally suited to developing sustainable Recovery Ecosystems. Both a city planner and an economic developer, he is highly adept at building consensus, finding solutions, and advancing innovation. He serves as the Fletcher Group’s lead advisor on a wide range of issues, from finance and housing to product development and real estate. His education includes a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Harvard University with a concentration in Real Estate Development and Finance.

Nate Conklin
Fletcher Group Outreach and Engagement Specialist

A Certified Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor (both CADC II and NCAC II) as well as a Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA), Nathaniel comes to the Fletcher Group from Baker House, a residential substance abuse facility in his hometown of Baker City, Oregon where he served as Program Director. Currently the Eastern Oregon Regional Director of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, Nathaniel is well versed in conflict resolution, crisis management, mediation, negotiation, public relations, diversity issues, and age, race, and socio-economic determinants. In a number of previous counseling and supervisory positions, Nathaniel gained first-hand experience regarding co-occurring disorders; trauma-informed and medication-assisted treatment; ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) training and hiring; risk and needs assessment; clinical, detox and floor staff supervision; clinical mentorship; treatment planning; employment training; the maintenance of state and federal standards; and the establishment of evidence-based protocols, policies, and procedures. He has worked closely with healthcare professionals, medical institutions, non-profit organizations, and the criminal justice system, including probation and parole departments, drug courts, STOP courts, federal judges and prosecutors, federally mandated clients, the DHS, and Oregon’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program. Nathaniel gained his Associates Degree at Portland Community College, his Bachelor of Science Degree in Non-Profit Management at Bellevue University in Washington, and is currently working on an MBA in Healthcare through Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Milena Stott, LICSW, SUDP, CMHS
Fletcher Group Outreach and Engagement Specialist

Since 2019, Milena has been working as an outreach and engagement specialist on behalf of the Fletcher Group’s HRSA funded Rural Recovery Housing initiative, assisting rural communities to create affordable and sustainable housing for those who are newly in recovery. A healthcare systems expert and community organizer, Milena has held numerous titles within the industry, including Chief of Strategy, Chief of Transformation and Innovation, and Director of Healthcare Integration.  In each role, she designed and implemented programs with the goal of creating relationships and service networks across systems to support access to care for individuals in need.  She also has served as an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Washington's School of Social Work where she taught advanced practices regarding policy and reform.  When Milena isn’t building recovery housing, you will find her working as a consultant to support the development of program and payment models that align clinical and financial incentives

Sharon Hesseltine
Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response Network

Sharon is passionate about developing the capacity of communities, organizations, and individuals to better meet the needs of those with substance use disorders and has worked for over 35 years  in public health, specializing in early childhood development, women’s health, substance use disorders, and recovery from addiction. She has managed two sober living residences while applying her skills in public policy, strategic planning, cross-sector collaboration, program assessment and marketing to design and facilitate a wide range of local and statewide collaborative initiatives. Sharon currently serves both as an Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response Network and as the Executive Director of Intentional Beginnings, a small non-profit providing consultation, facilitation, and training to assist pregnant and parenting families who have substance use disorders, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and/or trauma. Sharon has also served as a national trainer, a technology transfer specialist, a recovery consultant, and a facilitator for multiple organizations including the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the National Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network. In 2018, she took the lead in developing SUD-specific training with the Peer Support Specialists and Supervisors of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a project that has since expanded to include recovery planning and a training-of-trainers component. In 2020 she was named chairperson of the Peer-Led Steering Committee for the SAMHSA-funded National Training and Technical Assistance Center of Excellence. Sharon received her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Southern Illinois University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health from the University of Minnesota.

Mike Barry, BS
Chief Operating Officer of People Advocating Recovery

Mike Barry is the Chief Executive Officer of People Advocating Recovery, a statewide advocacy organization in Kentucky with over 5,000 members and six chapters. He previously served as a founding member and chairman of the board of directors at Faces and Voices in Washington, D.C., as a founding board member of Addiction Recovery Advocates of Kentuckiana (ARAK), and as Executive Director of Beacon House, a transitional living recovery program for 45 men. Barry has been awarded the Kentucky School’s 2005 Advocate of the Year Award, the Vernon Johnson Award from Faces and Voices of Recovery, and the Hazelden Foundation’s Center for Public Advocacy in 2011 award. More recently, the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health and the Kentucky School of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies created a yearly award in Barry’s name called the Recovery Champion Award.

Mallory Thompson, WVCBAPP, PRSS, BS
Title IVe Coordinator, West Virginia Public Defender Services

Mallory currently serves in West Virginia’s Public Defender Services as a Title IV-e Coordinator. In long-term recovery herself, Mallory is currently in the process of adding a masters degree in psychology to her bachelors degree in psychology. She obtained her Peer Recovery Support Specialist Certification through the State of West Virginia while serving as a Recovery Coach for the 25th Judicial Circuit in Madison, West Virginia.

Gloria Baciewicz, MD, FAPA, FASAM
Senior Medical Director of Strong Recovery

Dr. Baciewicz teaches clinical psychiatry at the University of Rochester where she also serves as Medical Director of Strong Recovery in the University of Rochester’s Department of Psychiatry and as Co-Principal Investigator for the University of Rochester Medicine Recovery Center of Excellence. Dr. Baciewicz has specialized in the treatment of addiction since 1986 and is certified in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and board-certified in Psychiatry with Added Qualifications in Addiction Psychiatry. 

Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee

Dr. Sumrok’s four-decade career treating the devastating consequences of substance abuse has taken him from Connecticut to California; from Appalachia to Navajo, Apache, Sioux and Hopi reservations; and from Eskimos in Alaska to the Shuar people in the Amazon jungles. An early and active voice in addiction medicine reform, Sumrock currently serves patients from rural west Tennessee to Memphis as medical director of the Cornerstone of Recovery organization in Knoxville, Tennessee. He also provides medication-assisted treatments at Cedar Recovery in Mount Juliet, Tennessee and teaches at the University of Tennessee where he also serves as Director of the College of Medicine’s Center for Addiction Science. Sumrock’s 30-year family medical practice included work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He received his medical degree from Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntingdon, West Virginia and did his residency in rural community obstetrics and family practice in West Virginia.  He is one of the first 106 doctors in North America to be recognized as a diplomate in addiction medicine, a distinction that came even before addiction medicine was recognized as a sub-specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Judge Jamie Jameson
Kentucky Chief Circuit Court Judge

In addition to being Kentucky’s Chief Circuit Court Judge, James T. “Jamie” Jameson serves as the Purchase Region Representative for the Legislative Committee of the Kentucky Circuit Judge’s Association and is a member of both the Circuit Judge’s Education Committee and the Supreme Court’s Continuing Judicial Education Commission. Judge Jameson graduated magna cum laude from Murray State University, received his law degree at the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, and served as Director of Consumer Protection and Education within the Kentucky Department of Insurance before joining the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. He later worked in western Kentucky as a deferred prosecution agreement attorney representing clients in Marshall and Calloway county courts. Judge Jameson has helped edit the Criminal Law section of the Kentucky Circuit Judge’s Bench Book, has published two papers on criminal law topics, and writes a regular column titled, “Justice and Grace” for the Murray Ledger and Times newspaper to promote a better understanding addiction problems and SUD treatments.

Michael Fallahkhair, MPH
Principal Advisor, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Impact and Planning

Fallahkhair serves as the Principal Advisor for Impact and Planning for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) within the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where he advises the Secretary of HHS on rural health issues and how best to improve the delivery of rural health care.  Fallahkhair previously served as the Executive Officer in the HHS Immediate Office of the Secretary and as Deputy Director of the Community-Based Division in FORHP.  Before that, he worked in the Office of Budget of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources at HHS and the Office of Management and Budget.  He obtained his an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology and Physiology from the University of Maryland and his Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy from George Washington University.

Kathy Taylor, MS
Fletcher Group Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives

Kathy launched her 30-year Department of Corrections career as an Adult Institutions Corrections Officer and Case Manager, then worked with Kentucky’s Division of Probation and Parole to develop and implement a Substance Use Disorder Program to treat and guide justice-involved adults. As a Program Administrator and Branch Manager, Kathy managed community counselors while expanding the state’s community-based SUD program. She served as liaison between the Kentucky Department of Corrections and the Recovery Kentucky recovery housing program established by then-governor Ernie Fletcher and also oversaw the SUD therapeutic communities inside DOC prisons and jails. Kathy received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Kentucky Wesleyan University, a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University, and served for several years as a Corrections and Community Representative for the Institutional Research Board of the University of Kentucky’s Office of Research Integrity.

Melissa Estep, MS
Program Director, SKYHope Recovery Program for Women

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University, Melissa worked for Child Protection Services in rural Appalachia for nearly 15 years, processing domestic violence cases and investigating child abuse and neglect. She then moved to the Kentucky Department of Corrections’ Probation and Parole department, eventually serving a liaison between the Morehead Inspiration Center and the Department of Corrections. Following over 20 years with the Department of Corrections, Melissa became program director position of the Hickory Hill men’s program before taking a similar position at the SKYHope women’s program in Somerset before joining Adanta, a private, non-profit organization providing community-based mental health including substance use treatments and services.

Damon Preston
Kentucky Public Advocate, Department of Public Advocacy

Rural Public Defender Challenges in Accessing Recovery Services for Clients Preston has worked as a public defender for 28 years and currently serves as Kentucky’s Public Advocate. A graduate of Transylvania University and Harvard Law School, Damon began his legal career as a public defender in New York City with the Legal Aid Society. He returned to Kentucky to join the Department of Public Advocacy where he led the statewide Appeals Branch, eventually representing clients in 21 Kentucky counties, including before Kentucky’s Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. As a part of DPA’s Leadership Team, he directed DPA’s largest division and served as General Counsel and Deputy Public Advocate before being appointed Public Advocate in 2017. Active in the Bar, Damon has served on the Evidence Rules Commission, the Chief Justice’s e-Courts Program Management Committee, and the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council. He is on the boards of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund. He has served as chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Kentucky Bar Association.

Jacqueline Adams, MA, MSW
Director of Education, Training, and Evaluation, Georgia Culture Therapy

Jacqueline Adams is a social worker, educator, and researcher who works with diverse LGBTQIA2S+ populations to address systemic homophobia, transphobia, racism, cissexism, and systems of oppressions. As a southern, out pansexual queer person in a lesbian marriage, Jacqueline has herself survived sexual violence and child abuse and is in long-term recovery. Jacquiline offers therapeutic and diversity education services to develop trauma-informed and culturally affirming workplaces. She also serves the Divas Who Win Freedom Center (an Athens, Georgia nonprofit) as their contracted Data and Development Specialist serving women, including transwomen and femme persons, who have struggled with a substance use disorder and sexual violence. She has supported LGBTQIA2S+ populations in K-12 schools, social services nonprofits, and higher education facilities as a LGBTQ Resource Center Senior Coordinator at the University of Georgia, and as the Education and Training Coordinator at Bowling Green State University. She holds a B.A. in History and Women's Studies and an M.A. in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies from Western Kentucky University, a Master of Social Work and a Substance Use Counseling Graduate Certificate from the University of Georgia, and is currently completing her dissertation for a Ph.D. in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University.

Kacey Long, MSW
Director of Programs, Georgia Culture Therapy

Kacey has worked in the sexual violence field for sexual assault centers, research institutions, state agencies, and the child welfare system. She currently serves as Program Director for the Army of Survivors, a national organization addressing sexual violence within sport. She has worked with global human trafficking researchers and led projects on the intersections of sexual violence and LGBTQIA2S+ populations. She has also served as a member of Georgia's Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force and board member of several local nonprofits. She currently serves as co-chair of the North Georgia Sex Trafficking Awareness and Response Task Force and chairs the Survivor Advocacy Subcommittee. Kacey holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Rodney Brannon Brannon, Sr., MSSW, CEAP, SAP
Counselor and Consultant with Training and Coaching Specialists

During his two-plus decades in the behavioral health industry, Brannon has worked with a wide range of clients—individuals, couples and families; veterans; the homeless; individuals living with substance use disorders; and those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. His expertise in organizational development, communications, conflict resolution and emotional Intelligence has enabled him to provide training programs to a variety of industries addressing specific compliance issues such as harassment prevention, diversity and inclusion, workplace violence, and how to maintain a drug-free workplace. Rodney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky and a graduate degree from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. He is an EAP Professional as well as a Department of Transportation-qualified Substance Abuse Professional.

Brad Glaser
SMART Recovery Life Skills and Motivational Incentives in Recovery Housing

A SMART Recovery facilitator in the New Orleans area since 2019, Glaser currently serves as Project Coordinator for the organization’s new partnership with the Fletcher Group that will bring SMART's successful Life Skills curriculum to rural recovery homes across the country. Glaser began his professional career in digital marketing where he worked for over 20 years. He then launched an entirely new career by doing volunteer work for local mental health and addiction recovery organizations and becoming a Louisiana-certified peer support specialist. That led to a position as HUD housing program manager for the Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority serving un-housed persons with mental health disabilities. He joined SMART In 2021 to coordinate SMART’s exciting new partnership with the Fletcher Group.

Albert Titman, CADC II

A board-certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor and registered addiction specialist through the Breining Institute of California, Titman serves as the lead addiction counselor for the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians in California. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Native Dads Network. His work involves assessing, diagnosing, and treating individuals, couples, families, and groups to help them achieve more satisfying and productive lives, often incorpating the culturally-sensitive application of Native American wellness modalities. He is currently a trainer for White Bison’s Wellbriety Training Institute and has over 12 years of experience implementing the Medicine Wheel and 12-Step Program. Titman derives great enjoyment from Miwok traditions such as ceremonial singing and dancing.

Ron Springel, MD
Executive Director, Maine Association of Recovery Residences

A retired physician specializing in addiction medicine as it relates to industrial and occupational medicine, Dr. Springel currently serves as Executive Director of MARR, the Maine Association of Recovery Residences, a Maine non-profit that inspects and certifies recovery residences throughout the state. He was also recently appointed to the Maine Overdose Death Review Panel that was formed to examine accidental drug overdoses and make policy recommendations to reduce the tragic toll of the epidemic.  Before retiring as a physician in 2014, Springel was founder and CEO of the Cascade Medical Group of Companies and worked with Dr. Robert L. Dupont in developing the science of workplace analysis of hair testing for drugs of misuse. He also served for ten years as editor and publisher of MRO Practice, a newsletter for Medical Review Officers

Building Rural Recovery Ecosystem Summit Itinerary 2022

Did You Know?

The original meaning of the ancient Egyptian city “Memphis” was “Place of Good Abode”—an appropriate name to our calling of creating safe, sustainable housing for all those in need.

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