All projects and staff members are categorized into a portfolio area, functional group, or additional group as noted below. The portfolio groups implement, evaluate, and/or research evidence-informed programs. Functional groups serve as specialized internal consulting teams for all projects, and additional groups ensure the project activities are technically applied by functional groups and align with the PERU values.

  • Portfolio areas: Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI), Community Health Initiatives (CHI)
  • Functional groups: Data Analytics and Informatics (DAI), Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement (EQI), Training and Communications (T&C)
  • Additional groups: Administration, Equity, System Transformation Support (STS), Research Science
Lori Abbott
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Lori Abbott, MA LPC, is the Senior Program Implementation Specialist in the Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy. Within PERU, Ms. Abbot has worked across several programs providing technical assistance in establishing both SBIRT and Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) in primary care and single county authority (SCA) settings. Additionally, Ms. Abbott has provided over 50 trainings to both PERU staff and stakeholders. Ms. Abbott has worked for over 25 years in mental health and substance use treatment services.
About Me
NameCoach
Poonam Alaigh
Director of Innovation
Poonam Alaigh, MS, MD, is the Director of Innovation for PERU. Poonam has worked in a variety of high-level healthcare administration and policy roles. Most notably: Acting Under Secretary of Health and Senior Advisor for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Director for GlaxoSmithKline and Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and as Commissioner for the Commission of Health and Senior Services for New Jersey. As PERU’s Director of Innovation, Poonam identifies best practices and emerging healthcare trends. Poonam works with healthcare leaders in both the government and private sector to enhance PERU’s capabilities and offerings and ensure its growth. Poonam earned her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management from Stony Brook University. Poonam is a Six Sigma Black Belt and mom.
About Me
Autumn Altieri
Program Manager, IHSI
Autumn serves as the Program Manager for Capacity Development, IHSI. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Anthropology and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education. Prior to working for PERU, she spent a decade employed by UPMC, with her latest roles focused on project management and healthcare operations. She also has experience providing home-based and school-based behavioral health treatment to youth throughout Western PA. Autumn enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her husband and two children. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
About Me
Toluwanimi Babarinde
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Toluwanimi Babarinde MB; BS, MPH, MS is passionate about Public Health, Child Development, and Transformative Creativity. He is a Nigerian-trained physician and has a keen interest in health promotion and education, mental health, and human development and has worked in the health and education fields, researching and developing effective behavioral interventions using evidence-based methods. He is an AmeriCorps alum, builds libraries for underserved children in Nigeria through the Great Minds Library nonprofit, and writes and publishes transformative stories for children.
About Me
Fran Baisden
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Fran (they/them), MID, began their journey as an Associate Implementation Specialist at PERU in April 2021 and carries over one and a half years of experience as a substance use disorder (SUD) counselor. They are passionate about gender and educational reformation policies, and strive to destigmatize SUD in their professional and personal life. Fran enjoys reading, anime, dancing, and most importantly, spending time with their cat and best companion, Artemis.
About Me
Sima Bajpayee
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Sima Bajpayee (she/her), Pharm D is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for PERU’s Pharmacy and Treatment Integration. She received her Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh. She has 24 years of experience in pharmacy. Her background includes retail, hospital, ambulatory care as well as Medicare Part D Decisioning. Her hobbies include reading, walking and spending time with her 4 children..
About Me
Shiryl Barto
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Shiryl Barto, M.Ed. (she/her) is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for Criminal Justice in the Community Health Initiatives(CHI) portfolio at PERU. She provides training and technical assistance to funders and community stakeholders engaged in evidence-based program implementation. Prior to her arrival at Pitt, she provided public health-driven leadership to prevention efforts addressing school-based health, community violence, and child sexual abuse prevention and intervention. Shiryl enjoys traveling, golf, Pitt football & spending time with her husband and their four children.
About Me
Katherine (Katie) Bedford
Deputy Director, CHI
Katherine (Katie) Bedford, MA, is a Deputy Director for PERU overseeing the state opioid Centers of Excellence in Pennsylvania (COE). She also works with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine to spearhead the project management of the Omnibus IV, which is a substantial task order-driven opportunity. Previously, Katie held the role of Program Manager for VA which assisted VA Community Engagement and Partnerships Coordinators (CEPCs) in the implementation of initiatives to reduce Veteran suicides. When she is not facilitating PERU’s vision, she is a contemporary abstract artist and mom..
About Me
Sarah Bittner
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Julie Brewer
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Julie (she/her) is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist for the Centers of Excellence within the Community Health Initiatives (CHI). She has worked in various settings including substance use, mental health, and criminal justice. Julie earned her Masters' of Social Work and Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh.
About Me
NameCoach
Maria Boki
Associate Program Evaluation Specialist, EQI
Maria Boki (she/her), M.A., is an Associate Program Evaluation Specialist for PERU's EQI. She has earned her master's in Program Evaluation and Research from West Virginia University and has experience in Program Evaluation and Psychometrics with a focus on community outreach programs. Maria has studied and worked in the USA, UK, and Greece, loves travelling, trying ethnic cuisines, spending quality time with loved ones and reading historical and mystery fiction.
About Me
LaWanda Brown
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
LaWanda A. Brown, PhD, is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist within the Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI) team. Dr. Brown specializes in program implementation and policy research. Prior to joining Pitt, LaWanda worked in Clark County, Nevada providing advocacy and program leadership for the District Attorney’s office and 8th Judicial District Court. She brings more than 15 years of experience in public health and public policy, including work with the Illinois Bureau of Comprehensive Health as an Executive II.
About Me
Rachel Carpenter
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Rachel is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for the Opioid Use Disorder Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC). She earned a Master of Science in Global Health from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to Pitt, she was a Disease Investigator for the Health Department and has managed health education teams in Nigeria and Kenya. She has over two years of experience teaching infection control to displaced populations in Pittsburgh. Rachel's passions are working with underserved communities, maternal and infant health, and those struggling with substance use disorders.
About Me
NameCoach
Chris Chirdon
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Chris Chirdon, MEd (he/him) is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist in the Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center. Though his credentials lie in education policy and community engagement, he also has significant experience in information technology and project management. As such, he tends to use online collaboration tools and technology to innovate solutions to his projects and new problems he encounters. Outside of PERU, Chris works to improve bike and pedestrian mobility equity through his nonprofit. He enjoys dystopian stories, absurdist comedy, and hacker/maker tinkering.
About Me
Renee Cloutier
Scientific Director
Dr. Renee Cloutier joined PERU in 2021 after completing a series of NIDA funded pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at the University of North Texas and Pennsylvania State University. Renee brings 10+ years of experience to assist the PERU Director in running a research unit focused on public health programs related to substance use disorders and mental health prevention initiatives. This includes identifying and operationalizing evidence-based practices to inform implementation, disseminating findings, developing funding proposals, as well as establishing community and academic partnerships.
About Me
Jacqueline Cohen
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Jacqueline Cohen, MPH, is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist for the Care Coordination team within Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI). She is responsible for developing and implementing programs that improve care pathways for individuals with substance use disorder. She is responsible for creating educational materials, facilitating trainings, developing implementation materials, and strengthening relationships with grant partners. Prior to joining Pitt, she interned at the CDC Genomics and Precision Health, where she helped communicate genetic health information to the public.
About Me
Sarah Cook
Director of Special Projects
Sarah Cook is the Director of Special Projects at PERU. Prior to joining Pitt, Sarah led a human services agency in Massachusetts and worked in publicly-funded healthcare in Central Texas. Sarah's professional interests focus on the intersection of health, social, and human services, with an emphasis on ensuring participant dignity, voice, and choice.
About Me
Abby Cotton
Deputy Director, IHSI
Abby is a Deputy Director for the Innovative Health Services Initiatives portfolio at PERU. Abby manages the design, implementation, and evaluating of several evidence-based public health programs within various healthcare settings spanning the state of Pennsylvania.
About Me
Kyle Craig
Program Manager, CHI
Kyle is currently serving in a program manager role for Community Health Initiatives (CHI), Criminal Justice program. He earned a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of South Carolina and has over 12 years of experience in Public Health and Community Engagement. Kyle spent the last 9 years with the Allegheny County Health Dept. as a Program and Operations Director for the Community and Family Health Bureau. He successfully implemented programs in Violence Prevention, MCH and WIC, Chronic Disease Prevention and Pediatric Dental. Kyle also has extensive experience in Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI).
About Me
Kate Cridlebaugh
Associate Instructional Designer, T&C
Kate is an Associate Instructional Designer for all PERU projects. In this role, she focuses on developing interactive e-learning modules, audiovisual materials, trainings, supporting any design needs, and managing PERU's internal Learning Management System (LMS). Kate joined PERU in 2018 as a Program Implementation Specialist with CHI and transitioned her focus to instructional design in 2020. Before joining PERU, Kate educated college students and families on health insurance and facilitated access to LGBTQ+ resources in Portland, Oregon. Kate can usually be found drinking a single origin coffee with her cats Ira and Miso.
About Me
Christine Crowell
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Christine Crowell, LPC, serves as an Associate Program Implementation Specialist with the Community Health Initiatives team. Christine has worked as a mental health therapist in various settings, with a focus on integrating behavioral health into primary healthcare. Working from this social determinants of health lens has highlighted the connected factors across well-being. Christine has developed a passion and expertise in reducing disparities within services. She aims to use her clinical and data analytics skills to ensure everyone has access to quality services needed to thrive.
About Me
Monique Davis
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Mindy Dawson
Executive Assistant
Mindy has more than 15 years of experience in various administrative roles. She joined the University in January 2022 as the Executive Assistant. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, being outdoors, and especially enjoys trips to the beach.
About Me
Jesse Dubin
Senior Program Evaluation Specialist, EQI
Jesse Dubin (they/them) is a Senior Program Evaluation Specialist. They specialize in social justice work, emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary and intersectional analyses at the structural and systemic level. Jesse has over 6 years of public health research experience, working in both Spanish and English. Jesse is an abolitionist who believes true freedom will come from our collective liberation. They are originally from Central Jersey and have run 2 marathons, the most recent of which was the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2019.
About Me
Susan Fisher
Associate Communications Specialist, T&C
Susan is an Associate Communications Specialist with Training and Communications. She edits project documents, compiles a monthly report to the state, and creates a monthly internal newsletter. She has more than 20 years of project management experience.
About Me
Kat Fieser
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Kat Fieser, LMSW, (she/her) has over 11 years' experience in advocating for individuals and families impacted by substance use disorder. Her experience has been in direct service, curriculum development, and training service providers. She currently works as an Senior Program Implementation Specialist with the SCOPE project to strategize ways to implement Recovery Oriented Systems of Care across our Commonwealth while assisting in diminishing the stigma and bias commonly associated with treating Overdose Survivors and their loved ones.
About Me
Kiandra Foster
Program Manager, CHI
Kiandra Foster, MPIA, manages the team that guides coalitions implementing evidence-based initiatives to prevent overdoses. Prior to this work, Kiandra directed intervention-focused human services for low-income individuals, families, and veterans, and she engaged schools, businesses, health systems, and community groups to prevent and address sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Kiandra is passionate about demonstrating and strengthening relationships between key institutions (nonprofit, governmental, educational, and health-related) to improve the wellbeing of communities in need.
About Me
Charles Franklin
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Chip is the Senior Program Implementation Specialist responsible for the SCOPE Statewide program in Pennsylvania. He has over 30 years of experience in Emergency Medical Services and has been involved in the Mobile Integrated Health movement as a Community Paramedic. Prior to coming to Pitt, he was a Community Paramedic at the Allegheny Health Network. He works continuously to elevate the standard for out of hospital medicine by challenging the way we've always done it.
About Me
Kate Glass
Senior Instructional Designer, T&C
Kate holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design for Online Education and is all but dissertation (ABD) for her PhD. She has twelve years' teaching experience as an instructional designer in higher education and the corporate sector. Prior to her life as an instructional designer, Kate was an elementary school teacher.
About Me
William Gorsuch
Assistant Training Coordinator, CHI
Will is an Associate Training Coordinator working with PERUs Strategies to Coordinate Overdose Prevention Efforts (SCOPE) Statewide First Responder Training. He brings over a decade of marketing, public relations, and social media experience to PERU along with his Master of Arts (MA): in Journalism and Mass Communications background. A pop culture and video game enthusiast, Will also enjoys building computers and listening to audiobooks on various subjects. Currently, Will is working on his goal to collect all 6 of the Infinity Stones.
About Me
Greg Elvis Griffith
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Greg (he/him) is a Senior Implementation Specialist with IHSI. He provides site consultation, training presentations, and technical assistance for stakeholders on behalf of the NWPA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program. Greg earned an MSL from Pitt School of Law and is a Navy and Reserve Veteran. He has 20 years working on healthcare & criminal justice reform, lobbying at both the state and federal level for change in unequal sentencing laws. Greg admits that he may be a professional Jedi, but he’s just a Padawan to his daughter Lali, who always reminds him that his training is not complete.
About Me
Brenda Hall Sciulli
Deputy Director, CHI
Brenda Hall Sciulli, BA, OCPC, is the Deputy Director for the Community Health Initiative Portfolio working with the Strategies for Coordinating Overdose Prevention Efforts (SCOPE) and Pennsylvania Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC) Coalition projects. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Individual Family Studies from Kent State University and has her certification as an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant. Brenda has 24 years of extensive experience working in the field of Prevention and Coalition Building. She enjoys spending time with her family and 3 dogs.
About Me
Danielle Hamilton
Research Project Director
Danielle is a Research Project Director at PERU. She is passionate about STEM. Danielle earned her bachelor degree in biology from Rutgers University and her masters in biotechnology from Kean University in New Jersey. Her background includes diverse roles in research and laboratory management at Princeton University and Jefferson Health University. Outside of work, Danielle is an avid traveler and vegetarian. She enjoys spending time with her dogs, playing tennis and making crystal jewelry.
About Me
Lois Hilty
Operations Manager
Katie Holler
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Katie Holler, MPH, is a Senior Project Implementation Specialist who has worked for PERU’s Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC) since 2021. She provides technical assistance to county and neighborhood-based coalitions across Pennsylvania to help them fulfill their visions and work towards reducing overdoses in their communities. Katie earned her Master of Public Health in 2016, and has been working in the Pittsburgh region since then in roles dedicated to reducing health disparities, improving health access, and empowering communities to achieve positive change.
About Me
Grace (Ming-Yi) Hsieh
Manager, PEQI
Grace (Ming-Yi) Hsieh, PhD, is a Manager for PEQI. She has a background in Educational Psychology focusing on the reading and learning patterns of second-language learners (ELLs). With over a decade of experience in social science research, Dr. Hsieh implements mixed methods in her research and program evaluation. Her expertise includes narrative reading using eye-tracking technology, vocabulary acquisition, and collaborative small-group discussions. Beyond her professional pursuits, Dr. Hsieh lives on a farm where she cares for 13 chickens, a horse, and an Australian Cattle Dog (blue heeler)..
About Me
Name Coach
Christy Huebner
Project Liaison
Christy is joining PERU as a Project Liaison working across projects. She has 16 years experience in Payroll and Administration. Christy loves the beach and spending time with her family.
About Me
Brian R. Issi
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Brian R. Issi, MSW, CRS is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for the Centers of Excellence (COE) project in the Community Health Initiative (CHI). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Master of Social Work from Penn West California. Brian brings with him five years of front-line experience working for, and later supervising, a successful COE in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He has been a person in recovery since 2014 and is passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding opioid usage.
About Me
Marla B. Johnson
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Marla B. Johnson, EdD is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist for Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC). Dr. Johnson provides technical assistance and consulting services to funded grantees and coalitions in implementing overdose reduction projects through the delivery of strategic projects, and coordinate data, and evaluation needs. Prior to joining Pitt, Marla spent over 20 years working with non-profits, HIV/AIDS, teaching in religious and secular settings and as a co-occurring therapist. Marla is an educational and beauty consultant, artist, and an ordained minister.
About Me
Joseph Kerley
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Joseph Kerley, BA, CRS, CCHW, is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for Innovative Health Systems Initiatives. He earned his Bachelor's in Liberal Arts from Penn West California, Joseph has over ten years of experience working within both the mental health and drug and alcohol recovery fields. Prior to coming to Pitt, he was a Certified Peer Specialist at AMI Inc, of Washington County and a Certified Recovery Specialist at the Washington Drug and Alcohol Commission. He has been a person in long-term recovery since 2010. 
About Me
Lara Konefal-Shaer
Senior Data Scientist, DAI
Lara Konefal-Shaer, MS, is a senior data scientist with PERU's data and informatics team. She is the primary data analyst assigned to several projects across both portfolios within PERU, providing analysis, reporting, data collection assistance and other data related program and stakeholder support. Lara was formerly the Data Analyst for 2-1-1 and other program areas with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
About Me
Martha Landolina
Senior Training Coordinator, T&C
Martha Landolina, MEd, is a Senior Training Coordinator serving multiple PERU projects. Marty provides support for projects training healthcare professional students to address harmful substance use and is a member of the Training and Communications functional team. Marty has over 35 years of experience in training related to behavior change, trauma-informed care, health and wellness, and program improvement. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her Master of Education in Health Education from the Pennsylvania State University.
About Me
Latonya Latamore
Senior Equity Specialist
Latonya Latamore, PhD, serves as the inaugural Senior Equity Specialist at PERU. She has over 20 years of experience working in local government, specializing in federal and private grant funding in the areas of financial/program monitoring, contract administration, and workforce development. Dr. Latamore provides consultation and facilitates conversations on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in government and faith-based and community organizations. She has an interest in health equity research that focuses on structural racism and discrimination and disparities affecting BIPOC.
About Me
Lori Lawrence
Deputy Director, CHI
Lori Lawrence, MBA, MS, LPC, is a Deputy Director within the Community Health Initiatives portfolio. She earned a Bachelors of Arts: Psychology from Ohio University, Master of Science: Psychology from Chatham University and a Master in Business Administration: Strategic Leadership and Globalization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has over a decade of leadership, management and direct service experience in the healthcare industry with a focus on individual, organizational and system change.
About Me
David Loveland
Senior Operations Director
David Loveland, PhD, is the Senior Director of Operations at PERU. Previously, Dr. Loveland was the Senior Program Director at Community Care in Pittsburgh, PA with a focus on improving addiction treatment. His research has included implementing effective behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques in applied settings. Dr. Loveland has overseen several quality improvement projects at Community Care designed to improve engagement, retention, and the continuum of care for individuals seeking behavioral health services.
About Me
Kayla McCormick
Associate Implementation Specialist, CHI
Kayla McCormick (she/they), MA, is an Associate Implementation Specialist for the Overdose Prevention Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC). Kayla has prior experience working on grants where they served as Program Manager for an Interprofessional Teamwork and Collaboration HRSA grant and assisted with the SAMHSA funded Suicide Prevention grant at WVU.
About Me
Brianna McDonough
Manager of Training and Instructional Design, T&C
Brianna McDonough, MPH, CPH provides support and oversight on both internal and external training and instructional design efforts at PERU. Brianna has more than eight years of experience in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health initiatives. She has researched strategies for effective stakeholder communication and engagement. She has also implemented user-centered design processes in the development of educational tools and trainings. Her areas of interest include behavioral health, health equity, emergency preparedness/response, and philosophy of science.
About Me
Joseph McNeill
Associate Program Evaluation Specialist, EQI
Joseph McNeill. M.A, is an Associate Program Evaluation Specialist focused on Community Health Initiative projects. He earned an Associate Degree in General Studies from Potomac State University of West Virginia, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from West Virginia University, and a Masters of Arts in Program Evaluation and Research from West Virginia University. Joseph has three plus years of evaluation experience working on projects involving research apprenticeship programs, collegiate recovery programs, and government-funded health programs and projects. Joseph also has a research background in educational psychology, life-span developmental psychology, machine learning, and harm reduction. Joseph is a competitive powerlifter. Pronouns: he/him/his
About Me
Anne Meals
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Anne Meals, Masters in the Art of Teaching (MaT) (she/her) is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for the Capacity Development team within Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI). She is responsible for developing and implementing programs that improve care pathways for individuals in the health care system. Prior to joining Pitt, she worked in Learning and Development for the Ohio Consortium for Child and Adult Services (OUCCAS) as an Instructional Designer creating programs in Social Work that are implemented within a group of Ohio Universities. She enjoys tent camping, reading, music, and art.
About Me
Samantha Mears
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Samantha is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for the Centers of Excellence within the Community Health Initiatives (CHI). Prior to Pitt, Samantha was the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) Technician for Allegheny Health Network's Community Paramedic program and worked as an EMT for the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She earned her Masters in Health Administration from Mount St. Mary's University. Samantha is passionate about helping underserved communities and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse.
About Me
Annette Mich
Director, System Transformation Support (STS)
Annette Mich, MS, is Director of System Transformation Support across all PERU projects. Annette earned a Master of Science from Rush University and a Bachelor of Science from The Pennsylvania State University. Annette has devoted her career to system design and improvement as a means to helping people succeed at work that has meaning to them. Annette met her husband at and sent her children to Penn State. She Hails to Pitt except when the Nittany Lions take on the Pitt Panthers in football. Pronouns: She/Her
About Me
John Miller
Manager of Technical Writing, T&C
John and the Technical Writing and Communications team ensure PERUs message is clear, consistent, and has a positive impact on the people and communities served. His past roles at the University include grant writing at the Graduate School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he led grantee and public communications, helped launch the Giving Pledge, and managed local sponsorship grants around the Pacific Northwest.
About Me
Shannon Miller
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Shannon (she/her) has worked with Medicare and Medicaid populations focusing on addressing social determinants of health and behavioral health interventions. Shannon has her MSW and MPPM degrees, both from the University of Pittsburgh.
About Me
Debra Moore
Director, EQI
Debra Moore, PhD, has over 15 years experience as a psychometrician, evaluator, data analyst, and methodologist. Prior to PERU, she directed the statewide assessment for students with cognitive disabilities, developed competency-based curricula and assessments for university degree-granting programs, and was psychometrician, evaluator, and data analyst for federal, state, and privately funded programs seeking to improve STEM education or increase opportunities for minoritized populations. A NBPTS-certified music teacher, she has taught courses in research methods, assessment, and statistics.
About Me
Violetta J. Mumford
Fiscal and Grants Manager
Violetta J. Mumford is a Fiscal and Grants Manager. Prior to joining Pitt, she served as Assistant Grants Coordinator for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Grant at the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Director of Administrative Services at the YWCA OKC. Violetta received her Masters' of Arts in Leadership with an emphasis in Public Administration from Mid-America Christian University. Vi is a "Puma-head" or sneaker conesiour with over 60 pairs of Puma tennis shoes.
About Me
Jessica Northcott
Program Manager, IHSI
Jessica (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is currently working in a program manager role within the Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI). Jessica supports the pharmacy and treatment integration teams, focusing on increasing access to MOUD in the community and implementing SBIRT in pharmacy settings. Prior to coming to Pitt, Jessica was providing substance use treatment services in a jail-based setting to a variety of patient populations. Jessica loves spending her free time with her two dachshunds, Oscar and Fenway.
About Me
Joshua O'Malley
Associate Program Evaluation Specialist, EQI
Riley O'Neill
Assistant Informatics Scientist, DAI
Jennifer Palmquist
Senior Training Coordinator, T&C
Jennifer Palmquist (she/her), M.Ed., is a Senior Training Coordinator with PERU. She currently works with the Strategies for Coordinating Overdose Prevention Efforts (SCOPE) project within Community Health Initiatives (CHI). Jennifer has nearly 10 years of experience developing, facilitating, and evaluating curriculum and programming including professional development for diverse groups of individuals. She is passionate about learning opportunities for all and believes that it is a lifelong endeavor.
About Me
Dylan Pieper
Senior Data Scientist, DAI
Dylan (he/him) is a Senior Data Scientist in the Data, Analytics, and Informatics functional group. He is responsible for developing data pipelines and reports, running statistical analyses, co-authoring manuscripts, and training staff. He earned a Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. Dylan works remotely and lives in Wisconsin.
About Me
Susan Price
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Susan Price is an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for the Innovative Health System Initiatives (IHSI) Team. Over the past 30+ years, she has had the pleasure of holding several roles (I especially enjoy working with people). Susan started working at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy right out of high school, being the youngest member of the staff. Now, to say she went from being single, to married, to a proud mom of twin boys, and now a proud "Grandma” and is still HERE but not the youngest member anymore. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
About Me
Sierra Raby
Associate Data Scientist, DAI
Sierra (she/they) is an Associate Data Scientist at PERU. She recently graduated with an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from UCLA. Sierra has experience with GIS, data analysis, and community-based environmental health initiatives. She previously worked as a Peace Corps environment volunteer in Mexico, and has contributed geospatial research to public and planetary health labs at UCLA. In her free time she loves to surf and rock climb!
About Me
Rachel Rock
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Rachel Rock, MA, is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist within Community Health Initiatives (CHI). She provides technical assistance for the Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center (ORTAC) and Strategies for Coordinating Overdose Prevention Efforts (SCOPE). Rachel has 12 years of experience working in allied healthcare as a medical assistant and medical coder, and over 14 years working in post-secondary education as faculty and corporate registrar.
About Me
Bobby Ryan
Program Manager, IHSI
Bobby is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC) serving as a Program Manager within the IHSI portfolio. Additionally, he is a private practitioner at Associates in Behavioral Diagnostics and Treatment (AIBDT) focusing on trauma therapy. He entered the field of behavioral health in 2012 and joined the Pitt community in April 2021. Bobby stays civically engaged as a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2006. Joining him in many virtual meetings are his two dogs Milo and Luna.
About Me
Kristy Rzepecki
Program Manager, CHI
Kristy Rzepecki, BS, is the Program Manager for SCOPE within Community Health Initatives. She earned a BS from West Liberty University in Criminal Justice with a minor in social work. Kristy joined the University in 2013 as the Sr. Title IX and Diversity Specialist. In her position, she addressed harassment and discrimination complaints; providing Title IX and diversity trainings; collaborating with students, staff, and faculty as well as the regional campuses on Title IX and diversity issues. She enjoys watching Pittsburgh sports and spending time with her daughter, Kylee. Pronouns: She/Her
About Me
Heather Santa
Deputy Director, IHSI
Heather Santa, MS, MA is a Deputy Director for the Innovative Health Services Initiative (IHSI) portfolio. Heather supports PERU’s vision by overseeing design and implementation of evidence-based substance use prevention and treatment programs in various healthcare settings as well as supporting evaluation and reporting efforts. She has been a part of PERU since September 2016. Heather earned both a Master of Science: Biology and a Master of Arts: Psychology from Chatham University. She enjoys relaxing with her six cats and playing pickleball in her spare time. Pronouns: She/Her
About Me
Ellie Schneier
Associate Technical Writer, T&C
Ellie Schneier, MS, serves as associate technical writer on PERUs Training and Communication team. She is responsible for writing, editing, and proofreading grant proposals, contract proposals, manuscripts, website copy, and other scientific written and visual deliverables for external stakeholders. Prior to her position as a technical writer, she worked as a research specialist providing technical assistance and technical writing expertise on projects related to opioid overdose prevention, veteran suicide prevention, and opioid use disorder-related community-based care management.
About Me
Elizabeth Schrage
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Elizabeth Schrage, MA, MPP, LCSW, is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist for the Centers of Excellence (COE) project. She provides technical assistance to COE sites, collaborates with MCOs, and works on other specialized projects. Prior to joining Pitt, Elizabeth spent decades working for various entities using clinical, quality, and program monitoring skills to improve clients behavioral health and services received. She enjoys helping others, traveling, cooking, golfing, attending theater productions, and watching Pittsburgh sports.
About Me
Georgie Scott
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Georgie (she/her) has spent over 3 years at PERU integrating Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) programs into many healthcare settings. She currently works on improving Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) programs in various healthcare settings. Georgie received her MPH in microbiology from the Graduate School of Public Health at Pitt prior to joining as a staff member.
About Me
Erin Seger
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, CHI
Erin Seger, MPH (she/her), is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist with the Centers of Excellence team. She is responsible for providing technical assistance to healthcare providers across Pennsylvania who serve people with opioid use disorder. Prior to joining PERU, she worked for the University of Pittsburgh's Health Sciences Library System, where she focused on increasing access to trustworthy health information for clinicians and public health practitioners.
About Me
Lisa Sipusic
Director, T&C
Lisa Sipusic, MPPM, is the Director of Training and Communications and works across PERU projects. She earned a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from The Pennsylvania State University. Lisa has more than 18 years of experience working in the health care industry in areas such as marketing and communications, project management, and strategic planning. Lisa enjoys being active outdoors, running, and traveling with her daughter.
About Me
Kristy Smith
Program Manager, IHSI
Kristy is the IHSI Injury and Violence Prevention Program Manager. Prior to joining Pitt, Kristy spent more than a decade in human services management roles serving various populations from children to adults, focusing on person centered treatment and planning. Kristy also enjoys construction as her hobby as this includes refinishing furniture.
About Me
Deborah Sprowls
Associate Data Manager, DAI
Deborah Sprowls, BS, is an Associate Data Manager for PERU. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Penn State University. Prior to working for Pitt, she was the Database Technician at a public school district, worked at an accounting firm and was the Finance Director at some non-profit organizations. Deb lives in Berlin, PA with her husband Tom and they love to spend time with family, hike and travel, especially taking groups to Israel!
About Me
J.R. Stover
Associate Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
J.R. has more than 20 years of experience working with substance use in residential, in-patient, and legal settings. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Addictions Counselor, he helped develop an SBIRT program for Charleston Area Medical Center's Trauma Services and to expand the Kanawha County Drug Court (West Virginia). He is a husband, father and not a very good fly fisherman.
About Me
Sharon Sumansky
Director, IHSI
Sharon Sumansky is a twenty plus year veteran in the fields of behavioral & integrated health and working with vulnerable populations. She joined PERU in 2020 working as a Deputy Director in the Innovative Health Systems Initiatives (IHSI) Portfolio within PERU. Currently, Sharon is the director of the IHSI portfolio. She oversees overall portfolio and project operations, development, management, and strategic positioning.
About Me
Britney Tangeman
Associate Program Implementation Specialist,, CHI
Britney Tangeman, MS, MSHI, serves as an Associate Program Implementation Specialist for SCOPE Ohio. Previously, she performed clinical research for the All of Us research program at Pitt. Britney is originally from Oregon and relocated to PA in 2019. She enjoys baking bread and traveling to historical sites on the weekend.
About Me
Patti Tanner
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Patti Tanner, MA is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist for the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program (NWPAVSPP). In her role, Patti provides technical assistance, site consultation and mentorship, and program implementation to community partners and stakeholders. Prior to joining Pitt, Patti served in the U.S. Navy as an AEGIS radar operator on the USS Gettysburg. Patti's civilian career has focused on community development, community organizing, advocacy work, program development and applied research.
About Me
Erh-Hsuan (Reina) Wang
Director, DAI
Erh-Hsuan (Reina) Wang, PhD, is the Director of Data, Analytics and Informatics Functional Group. Dr. Wang’s areas of expertise include healthcare informatics, data architects, data analytics, and eHealth. One of her particular strengths is in bridging the gap between IT and clinical practice in various multidisciplinary environments. She has over 10 years’ experience working with healthcare professionals and public health communities to design data-driven optimization strategies to support decision making and continuous quality improvement.
About Me
Annette Werner
Associate Data Manager, DAI
Annette Werner is an Associate Data Manager for PERU. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy of Science from University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to PERU, Annette worked as a Research Data Manager for the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics for nearly 12 years and as a Research Assistant for the Department of Biostatistics for 6 years.
About Me
Audrey Wong
Assistant Program Evaluation Specialist, EQI
Audrey is an assistant program evaluation specialist for the Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement (PEQI) team. She started as an all-temps employee since June 2021, providing support for various health initiative groups such as SCOPE, ORTAC, and COE with report writing, survey generation, interviews, data analysis, and other related tasks. She attended Pitt in 2019 focusing on the applied developmental psychology field, with interest in behavioral and community health. Prior to Pitt, she supported research projects at NYU through data collection, coding, transcription, and paper review.
About Me
Katie Wooten
Senior Program Implementation Specialist, IHSI
Katie, MPH, serves as Senior Program Implementation Specialist, working with programs to improve the quality of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) treatment. She is a collaborator and partners with physical and behavioral health providers to implement programs that will improve outcomes for patients with OUD. For more than 12 years, she has developed expertise in areas such as clinical quality of care, access, and utilization of preventative services, performance measurement, and community engagement.
About Me
Laura Zurowski
Senior Technical Writer, T&C
Laura Zurowski, EdM, is an Senior Technical Writer with the Training and Communications functional group. Laura earned a Masters of Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy, from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Emerson College, and a Professional Certificate in Clinical Research Administration from Emmanuel College. Laura has worked in higher education writing and communications since 2001. Laura is originally from Providence, RI and moved to Pittsburgh in 2012.
About Me

Join Us!

Interested in joining our team? We’re seeking research-oriented individuals looking to make an impact in communities across Pennsylvania. View Current Opportunities.