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Project

Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative

Sheri Doyle

Associate Manager

Sheri Doyle is an associate manager with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. She works on actions to reduce the inappropriate use of prescription drugs and advance federal and state reforms that expand access to effective treatment for alcohol and opioid use disorders. In this role, Doyle researches evidence-based practices that support improving state prescription drug monitoring programs while also researching strategies to improve the safety of prescribing methadone as a treatment for chronic pain. Additionally, she leads state-level work that addresses challenges with access to medication-assisted treatment. Before joining Pew, Doyle worked for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, where she provided technical assistance to local health departments on injury and violence prevention topics. She received a bachelor’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University and a master of public health in behavioral sciences and health education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Andrew Whitacre

Associate Manager

Andrew Whitacre is a principal associate with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. He is part of a policy team that partners with states to advance reforms that expand access to effective treatment for opioid use disorders. He also contributes to Pew’s substance use disorder research and helps develop publications that respond to state needs. Before coming to Pew, he worked on building healthier counties at the National Association of Counties and supporting state leaders on substance use disorders at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. He holds a master’s degree in American government from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware.

Alaina McBournie

Officer

Alaina McBournie is an officer with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. She works with states to identify and advance solutions that enhance access to substance use disorder treatment. She also oversees research and engagement on the state and federal level to ensure that programs are in place to facilitate patient access to necessary care. Additionally, she worked on the project’s prevention goals specific to increasing prescriber use of prescription drug monitoring programs. She is co-author of “Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: Evidence-Based Practices to Optimize Prescriber Use,” which Pew released in December 2016 in conjunction with Brandeis University. Before coming to Pew, she was a journalist, and she holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University.

Leslie Paulson

Officer

Leslie Paulson is an officer with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative, playing a central role in developing a new line of community-focused work. She oversees the evaluation of promising community-based models addressing the opioid epidemic, specifically the Community Opioid Response and Evaluation (CORE) Project. Before joining Pew, Paulson focused primarily on behavioral health integration, practice-based research, and community engagement. She began her career serving in the National Community HealthCorps, launching years of work with community health centers, including roles at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. Paulson holds master’s degrees in public health policy from the University of Minnesota and community health social work from the University of Michigan.

Kristen Pendergrass

Officer

Kristen Pendergrass is an officer with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. She previously worked with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to help state and local governments incorporate evidence-based policymaking into the budget and policy decision-making processes. Before joining Pew in November 2015, she worked as a policy adviser for the House Majority Caucus in the Oregon Legislature, as chief of staff to the Oregon majority whip, and as a legislative assistant in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She has experience in a wide array of policy areas, including health care, human services, workforce, transportation, and economic development. Pendergrass holds a master’s degree in social welfare policy from the Boston University School of Social Work and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

Christopher Lipson

Senior Associate

Christopher Lipson is a senior associate with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. He helps to provide states with technical assistance in developing policy solutions to expand access to substance use treatment and reduce overdose deaths. Lipson has worked in state public policy for over eight years with a focus on health care in the public and nonprofit sectors. While at Pew, he has also led campaigns in several states to increase access to dental care, especially in underserved communities. Previously, Lipson was a director of state government affairs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association, where he developed legislative and grassroots strategies in a seven-state region to help in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes and support those living with the disease. Lipson holds a master’s degree in applied American politics and policy and a bachelor’s degree in criminology, both from Florida State University.

Frances McGaffey

Senior Associate

Frances McGaffey is a senior associate with Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative. She is part of a policy team that partners with states to advance reforms that expand access to effective treatment for opioid use disorders. She also contributes to Pew’s substance use disorder research and helps develop publications that respond to state needs. Before joining the initiative, she worked with other Pew teams on state fiscal health and prison health care. McGaffey holds a master’s degree in public policy from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College.