Team/Staff

Program Coordinator

Jamie Besaw

University of Maryland Extension

ROTA Program Coordinator

Jamie Besaw

Jamie is the program coordinator for University of Maryland Extension Maryland ROTA grant. She is a masters student in the Clinical Psychology MPS program at the University of Maryland. While going to Ohio State University for her BS degree in Psychology, she was committed to working with underserved populations such as the refugee and asylum seeker population.

Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, Ph.D.

Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor
University of Maryland Extension,
Western Maryland Cluster

ROTA Educator

Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, Ph.D.

Prior to joining the University of Maryland Extension as an educator in early 2020, Dr. Hutter-Thomas served as program manager for the AmeriCorps Program Conquering Opioid Abuse Together (COAT) at Frostburg State University from 2017-2020. In that role, she worked alongside a team of national service members, many of which were in sustained recovery from opioid use disorder, providing trainings to Western Maryland communities impacted by the opioid crisis. In 2019, Dr. Hutter-Thomas also took on the role of Research Program Coordinator for the BeSuRe West pilot project by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, organizing data collection efforts in order to examine socio-behavioral determinants of HIV, HCV, and overdose risk among people who inject drugs in Western Maryland. At the conclusion of the BeSure West pilot study, she went on to serve as a project researcher in Western Maryland for the Statewide Ethnographic Assessment of Drug Use and Services study known as SEADS. SEADS was a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland aimed at characterizing the lived experience of people who use drugs in Maryland.

Dr. Hutter-Thomas has worked with people who use drugs and the recovery community since 2016. As a seasoned Mental Health First Aid instructor, Dr. Hutter-Thomas has provided over 40 workshops since becoming an instructor in December of 2018, certifying more than 360 Mental Health First Aiders. She remains an active contributor to mountain Maryland community efforts through her affiliation with various groups including the Healing Allegany Consortium of Allegany County and the Stand Together Against Drug Abuse consortium of Garrett County. Dr. Hutter-Thomas serves as chair for the education subcommittee of the Healing Allegany Consortium and as a member of the Frostburg State University Institutional Review Board.

Courtney Richardson

University of Maryland Extension

ROTA Educator

Courtney Richardson

Courtney Richardson is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BS in Public Health Science, where she also served as a Substance Use Peer Educator and an intern for Maryland ROTA. As an intern, she assisted with the delivery of the Botvin LifeSkills program and developed materials for data collection, marketing, and education. Now a ROTA educator, Courtney is certified to deliver Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid, Botvin Life Skills, and This is NOT About Drugs.

Julie Slivka

University of Maryland Extension, Eastern Shore

ROTA Educator

Julie Slivka

Julie Slivka is a two-time AmeriCorps alumni and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she received a BA in Sociocultural Anthropology. A transplant from Colorado, Julie formerly worked as a Director of Population Wellness and with the City of Colorado Springs, where she developed upstream strategies with community partners, healthcare systems, and government agencies to address systemic health disparities throughout the region. Julie has been in the behavioral health field for over a decade, working towards a global understanding and destigmatization of mental health issues. She is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor, and also owns her own small business selling handmade goods with a portion of proceeds going towards bringing mental health services for underserved communities.

Project Team

Jinhee Kim, Ph.D.

Professor and Assistant Director
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland

Project Director

Jinhee Kim, Ph.D.

Dr. Kim is a Professor and the Assistant Director with the University of Maryland Extension (UME). Dr. Kim has led the development, delivery, and evaluation of extension education programs for diverse audiences. She has provided training to over 2,000 Extension educators and professionals, published 3 book chapters, 50+ refereed journal articles and made 100+ invited and refereed presentations on finance, family, and health topics. She has successfully secured and managed grant projects exceeding over $4 million as Principal Investigator (PI) and obtained $600,000+ in cost recovery for Extension programs.

She will provide oversight of the project and work with Agriculture and Food Systems, FCS, Environment and Natural Resources, and 4H programs of UME. Dr. Kim will also work with collaborators, Shannon Dill (Agriculture) in Talbot county and Crystal Terhune (FCS, Social Worker) in Caroline county.

Ghaffar Ali Hurtado, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Family Science
School of Public Health
University of Maryland

Project Co-Director

Ghaffar Ali Hurtado, Ph.D.

Dr. Hurtado is an assistant professor and extension specialist at the Department of Family Science. He has led the development, implementation and evaluation of several health promotion interventions at the family and community levels.  He is currently leading a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) funded longitudinal study focusing on strengthening parenting skills for immigrant families. He is a collaborator of the Padres Informados (Padres) project, an NIH (National Institutes of Health)-funded community-based participatory research project that aims to prevent tobacco and other substance use among immigrant families. He is the lead investigator at UMD collaborating in the initiative ‘Well-Connected Communities’ funded by RWJF (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). His team is also engaged in parent-school engagement programs to increase youth academic performance and is conducting impact studies of school-based nutrition/health education programs.

Dr. Hurtado will provide oversight of the project with Dr. Kim.

Min Qi Wang, Ph.D.

Professor
Behavioral and Community Health,
School of Public Health
University of Maryland

Project Co-Director

Min Qi Wang, Ph.D.

Dr. Wang is a professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health (SPH), UMD. Dr. Wang has obtained over 100 grants and over 270 publications over his career. He has extensive experience in applying information technology to public health, which has been his focus for the past 15 years. 

Dr. Wang will work with two IT staff on the development of website content management for the ROTA grant.

Eric D. Wish, Ph.D.

Director
Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR)
University of Maryland

Project Co-Director

Eric Wish, Ph.D.

Since 1990, Dr. Wish has been Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Wish is also a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Wish received his Ph.D. in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. He subsequently completed a NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine. Between 1986 and 1990, Dr. Wish served as a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Justice in the Department of Justice, where he supervised the development and launching of the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF, later ADAM) program. As Director of CESAR, he has served as PI for many projects in Maryland and across the United States. Maryland projects he developed and ran include treatment needs assessments, treatment and prevention program evaluations, household and student surveys and epidemiological workgroups focused on opioids and other drugs. In 2013, Dr. Wish developed the Community Drug Early Warning System (CDEWS), a new system for detecting emerging drugs by expanded testing of urine specimens obtained from criminal justice and public health programs. In 2014, Dr. Wish received a 5-year award from NIH/NIDA and established the Coordinating Center for the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) which CESAR managed until mid-2020. Currently, Dr. Wish is leading the national expansion of the Emergency Department Drug Surveillance (EDDS) project piloted by CESAR with 7 hospitals in Maryland. Dr. Wish has published numerous articles and spoken widely about such issues as synthetic cannabinoids and other new psychoactive substances, recent increases in heroin and fentanyl use in the U.S. and Maryland, the identification of drug use in offenders, relapse to heroin use by Vietnam veterans, and the validity of self-reports of drug use.

Erin Artigiani, M.A.

Deputy Director for Policy
Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR)
University of Maryland

Project Co-Director

Erin Artigiani, M.A.

Ms. Eleanor (Erin) Artigiani has more than twenty years of experience managing epidemiological workgroups and early warning systems, conducting prevention program evaluations, and managing epidemiological workgroups, substance abuse research, and policy development. From 2014-2020, she provided day-to-day project management and coordination of efforts among National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) project staff and agencies which included coordinating the NDEWS Scientific Advisory Group and local epidemiologists and planning and facilitating NDEWS webinars. She has managed a number of epidemiological workgroups for Maryland and Washington, DC, most recently as a part of the SAMHSA funded Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) and currently manages a local evaluation of prevention efforts implemented as part of the Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) and Block Grant (SABG) in western Maryland. Other Maryland initiatives she has supported include evaluating substance abuse and HIV prevention strategies launched by Bowie State University and school-based drug prevention efforts in Montgomery and other counties. Currently, Ms. Artigiani is leading the recruitment of new sites as part of the national expansion of the Emergency Department Drug Surveillance (EDDS) project and moderating the CESAResearch virtual community. Ms. Artigiani received her Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology & Psychology from Wellesley College. She is now Deputy Director for Policy at the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) where she has worked since 1997.

Barbara T. Kerr, B.A.

Digital Media Manager
Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR)

Project Co-Director

Barbara Kerr, B.A.

Barbara has worked in digital media as a producer, project manager, and digital strategist for over 20 years. As part of the staff at the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), she is responsible for CESAR’s websites, social media presence, and media awareness initiatives. She is currently collaborating with the research team to launch data visualizations for the Emergency Department Drug Surveillance (EDDS) project. From 2016 to 2020, she was a member of the Coordinating Center staff for the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) based at CESAR. In that role, she managed the initiative’s website, developed the NDEWS Network online community, and provided technical and editing expertise for the NDEWS Presents webinar series. Barbara performs in a similar role for Maryland ROTA, guiding the web content strategy, and advising the team about digital best practices. She manages the ROTA Network and the ROTA webinars. She has a B.A. from the University of Miami.

Suzanne Randolph Cunningham, Ph.D.

Evaluator
MayaTech

Project Co-Director

Suzanne Randolph Cunningham, Ph.D.

Dr. Randolph Cunningham has directed several evaluations similar in scope and complexity (35+ years’ experience). She will oversee the operation of MayaTech for the proposed project in meeting SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) requirements for data collection, performance measurements, and performance assessment.

MayaTech is an applied social science research firm providing public health research and evaluation, policy and legislative analysis, and program and technical support to Federal health agencies, state and local government agencies, academic institutions, and community-based organizations.  It has worked extensively with SAMHSA and SAMHSA-funded grantees in the areas of evaluation, training, and technical assistance, including the community-level evaluation of the first cohort of Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grants; evaluation training and TA (Technical Assistance) for SAMHSA’s Pregnant and Postpartum Women  Program Evaluation.

Alexander Chan, Ph.D., LMFT

Mental and Behavioral Health Specialist
University of Maryland Extension

Mental and Behavioral Health Specialist

Alexander Chan, Ph.D., LMFT

Alex Chan is the mental and behavioral health specialist for University of Maryland Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Program. He brings specialized knowledge and experience in the fields of mental health, family relations, and adolescent development. Prior to taking on the FCS Specialist role, Alex worked as the 4-H Youth Development Agent for Prince George's County, where he gained a reputation for his work promoting healthy dating and relationship behaviors for adolescents. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University. Alex is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the District of Columbia, where he maintains an active clinical practice outside of his work with UME. 

Juliana Muñoz, M.A.

Ph.D Student
Behavioral and Community Health
University of Maryland

Graduate Assistant

Juliana Muñoz, M.A.

Juliana is a PhD student in the Behavioral and Community Health program at the University of Maryland. While completing her MA in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she focused on health and development in Latin America. Since then, she has worked in the field of research from an academic; public sector and community standpoints. Throughout her professional career she has engaged in a wide array of quantitative and qualitative research methods including developing data collection tools, recruiting, interviewing, engaging with community partners, analyzing data and developing policy recommendations. Before starting her Ph.D, she was working for the Colombian government coordinating the creation of the Colombian National Action Plan for Mental Health.

Jee Hun (Mike) Yoo

Ph.D Student
Behavioral and Community Health
University of Maryland

Graduate Assistant

Jee Hun (Mike) Yoo

Jee Hun (Mike) Yoo is a PhD student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. He received his BA in public health studies and psychology at Johns Hopkins University and MHS in environmental health science at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research interest is around better understanding the various ways that cultural factors affect the mental health of minority and marginalized populations. In particular, he is interested in how people manage and cope with different stressors in their lives, and how various cultural factors help or hinder people in achieving healthy management of their mental health.

Mariama Lukulay

Undergraduate Student
Behavioral and Community Health
University of Maryland

Undergraduate Assistant

Mariama Lukulay

Mariama is a third-year undergraduate public health science student at the University of Maryland. She is originally from Germantown, MD in Montgomery County and her family is originally from Sierra Leone. She joined ROTA as an undergraduate research intern during the Spring 2020 semester. She has plans after graduation to attend medical school and she is still exploring many fields of medicine. Outside of academics, she is on the executive board for the student leadership advisory council for the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education and she is a tutor for refugee students at the International Rescue Committee.

Community Partners

Lara D. Wilson, M.S.

Executive Director
Maryland Rural Health Association

Lara D. Wilson, M.S.

Mrs. Wilson will serve on the advisory group, create the collaborative network, disseminate resources and information, and provide webinars and trainings specific for rural counties. The Maryland Rural Health Association (MRHA) will help enhance communication and information sharing in rural Maryland and connect with primary care and other rural health care providers.

MRHA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the optimal health and wellness of rural communities and their residents. MRHA is a membership organization comprised of local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, area health education centers, health and behavioral health professionals, and community members in rural areas throughout Maryland. MRHA’s membership includes over sixty organizational members, and over 10,000 individuals across the state.

Mrs. Wilson joined MRHA as Executive Director in 2015. She was previously the Senior Director of Grant Development and Administrator for Hospital Owned Physician Practices for Garrett Regional Medical Center in Garrett County. Lara received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Master’s Degree in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University. Lara feels strongly about advocating for improved health and wellness of rural communities and works diligently to help increase access to care for vulnerable populations.

Jennifer Treger, M.S.

Director
Mental Health First Aid Maryland

Jennifer Treger, M.S.

Jennifer Treger is the Director of Mental Health First Aid Maryland at the Mental Health Association of Maryland.  She has over 20 years of experience in the field of health promotion.  Prior to joining the Mental Health Association, she worked at UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) with students of concern as well as substance abuse and sexual assault prevention.  She has worked in many diverse settings conducting a variety of health promotion and education programs including correctional facilities, drug treatment facilities, schools and community groups.  She holds a master’s degree in Health Education.

For more than 100 years, MHAMD has addressed the mental health needs of Marylanders of all ages. We offer programs that educate the public to increase understanding of mental health and addiction and provide resources, advance public policy to improve care and outcomes, and monitor the quality of services received by individuals living with mental illness and substance use disorders. Over the past 10 years, MHAMD has trained reached over 375,000 Marylanders in Mental Health First Aid, an 8-hour public education course that teaches how to recognize and respond to a person with a mental health or substance use concern or in crisis and connect them to the appropriate care. As such, the Mental Health Association of Maryland has a breadth of expertise and resources to support this important initiative.

Crystal Terhune, MSW

Family and Consumer Sciences Educator
University of Maryland Extension

Crystal Terhune, MSW

Crystal Terhune is the Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for University of Maryland Extension in Maryland's Mid-Shore region (Caroline, Talbot, and Dorchester Counties). In this role, she provides community-based education and outreach across a spectrum of topics, with a primary focus on financial capability.  She obtained a master’s degree in social work.

Shannon Dill, M.S.

Agriculture Extension Educator
University of Maryland Extension

Shannon Dill, M.S.

Shannon Dill is the Agriculture Extension Educator for University of Maryland Extension in Talbot County.  She has been a faculty member of the University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources since 2001. She graduated from the University of Wyoming receiving a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics.  Shannon provides outreach and education to agriculture producers of Talbot and neighboring counties in farm business planning, small farm enterprises, marketing and livestock management.  Educational programs have included QuickBooks for Farm Business Planning, Agricultural Tourism, Equine and Pasture Management and Grain Marketing.

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