Call Us: 419.402.4270

2017 Sessions and Speakers

2017 ECS Coalition Retreat Sessions and Speakers


Mobile Take Back Panel

One of the most effective ways to help decrease the misuse of prescription drugs is to ensure that communities have access to dispose of their prescription drugs properly. While permanent drop boxes are a great first step, some organizations have chosen to increase access to disposal services by going directly to their community members through mobile take backs. Our panel on mobile take backs will highlight the work of three coalitions implementing mobile take backs in innovative ways: Take Back Road Trip (Riverhead), Brown Bag Initiatives (ADAPT), and through a Door-to-Door Rx Drug Collection program at the housing authority (Arlington).

Over the last 3 years, the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth has worked with key community partners to develop multiple strategies to reduce barriers to medication disposal for members of their community. Holding at least 5 take back events per year, including their Drive Through Drug Drop Offs and Medication Take Back Road Trip events, the coalition strategically targets community members in order to increase participation in each take back. Since 2014, the coalition has collected over 3,000 lbs. of medication and help contribute to a decrease in 30-day use of other narcotics among 12th grade students from 7.5% in 2008 to 1.9% in 2016. In addition to these successes, they were also recognized by the DEA as collecting more medication than any other site on Long Island during the April 2016 DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

In addition to implementing a 24-hour prescription drug disposal kiosk at the police station and hosting bi-annual National DEA Drug Take Back Days, the Arlington Youth Health & Safety Coalition coordinates a door-to-door prescription drug collection program during the summer at residences of low-income Arlington seniors over the age of 65, and persons with a disability under the age of 60 who might have a difficult time accessing other disposal methods in town. The Coalition partners with the police department, local housing authority, Council on Aging and public health department to provide this door-to-door collection of unwanted, unused prescriptions, and provide simultaneous nurse wellness checks with residents they meet.

Felicia Scocozza
Executive Director, Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth
Riverhead, NY

Felicia Scocozza earned a Master of Social Work Degree in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1991, with a major in psychology, both from Stony Brook University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She graduated from CADCA’s National Coalition Academy in 2015. She is a NY State Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and has worked as the Executive Director of Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP) since 1999. Prior to that she worked in the fields of community mental health, both as a direct service provider and as an administrator. As Executive Director of Riverhead CAP, she provides oversight to the nonprofit community-based drug and alcohol prevention organization and supervises a staff of six, including three social workers that provide school-based prevention counseling and evidence-based programming, and two community prevention specialists that coordinate coalition initiatives, environmental strategies, and volunteer recruitment and training. In 2013 CAP applied for and received a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Grant on behalf of the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth, for which she also serves as the Program Director, and in 2016 CAP was awarded a STOP Act Grant. She collaborates with school districts, local governments, stakeholders, other organizations and individuals in the Riverhead community, and utilizes these partnerships toward the sustainability of CAP and the coalition. She received the NYS OASAS Making a Difference Award in 2016, the Kiwanis of Greater Riverhead Star of the Community Award in 2015, and proclamations from the Riverhead Town Board (2004 and 2015) and the Suffolk County Legislature (2015). She is also a certified TIPS trainer, a SAMHSA Peer Reviewer, and certified in Teen Intervene. Felicia presented at the ECS 2016 Coalition Retreat on the topic of local medical marijuana dispensaries in NY.


Kelly Miloski
Project Coordinator, Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth
Riverhead, NY

Kelly Miloski has been the Project Coordinator of the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth since 2014. She grew up in Riverhead, New York and holds a Masters degree in Public Health focused in Health Services Administration. As part of her role as coordinator, she provides strong support for the planning and implementing of environmental strategies and has successfully increased engagement in all 12 sectors of the coalition. Kelly was instrumental in developing the Riverhead Youth Coalition. She is also a certified TIPS trainer and oversees a Life Skills Training program that is delivered 5th and 6th grade students by community members and students in CAP’s peer leadership program. Kelly played a key role working with the Town of Riverhead and other important stakeholders to create safer alcohol use at local festivals through the town’s first ever comprehensive alcohol policy. She was selected as the lead presenter at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum in 2017 to present her coalition’s accomplishments related to reducing youth access to alcohol at fairs and festivals. She has also been successful in building partnerships with law enforcement and other key sectors to implement unique Medication Take Back events. These events, in addition to the community’s Medication Drop Box that was installed in the Riverhead Police Department in 2014, have resulted in the collection of over 3,000 lbs. of unwanted medication. Kelly was a presenter at Epiphany Community Services’ Coalition Retreat last year, where she discussed her coalition’s success with relocating a marijuana dispensary within their community. Prior to her work with the coalition, she worked for other public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.”


Ivy Schmalzried
Director, Arlington Youth Health & Safety Coalition
Arlington, MA

Ivy Schmalzried has been employed as the Director of the Arlington Youth Health & Safety Coalition in Arlington, MA since November 2014. Ivy holds her Masters degree in Public Health from Boston University and has enjoyed working with the Arlington community to prevent and reduce youth substance use for the past three years. In 2016, the Coalition was awarded the CADCA Chairman’s Award in recognition of its exemplary approach and application of core competencies and essential processes to comprehensive work in the community. Ivy recently moved to the community she works in, and enjoys rock climbing and biking with her new husband.

Comprehensive School Curriculum Intervention

Schools can play an integral role in the delivery of prevention interventions to youth in a community. Schools cannot and should not attempt to address these issues on their own. A community coalition approach is vital to addressing youth substance abuse as well as other issues regarding the health and wellness of their students and the community. Every member of the school and greater community can build assets in young people and multiple sectors of a community engaged in multiple strategies can make a difference for young people. Curriculum and evidence based practices that span all grades and engage all sectors of the community can achieve measurable community level outcomes.

This session will highlight the Talawanda Health Coordinating Council, whose structure and process is based on the Center for Disease Control’s Coordinated School Health Model. Their mission is to minimize the non-academic barriers to learning for all students through policy, practice and program, ensure all proposals align with their K-12 District adopted health curriculum, and reinforce consistent messages.

Campbell County Drug Free Alliance is piloting an integrated lesson plan project. This project integrates substance use education into key subject areas of English, Science, Math and Social Studies. Through 36 lessons, teachers are able to infuse specific substance abuse prevention lessons into their current curriculum maps, without losing class time for “drop in” lessons or outside speakers. Developed by seasoned teachers and curriculum writers over 3 years, this session will highlight initial lessons learned, how lessons are integrated and overview of the current pilot testing.

Amy Macechko
Project Coordinator, Coalition for Healthy Community – Oxford Area
Oxford, OH

Amy Macechko has been with the Coalition for a Healthy Community – Oxford Area for the past 10 years and has served as Project Coordinator since 2010. A former high school teacher, Amy serves as the Health & Wellness Coordinator for the Talawanda School District. In this capacity she oversees the prevention and health promotion initiatives for both students and staff within school district, engaging many community partners in this critical work. The partnership between Talawanda School District and the Coalition is one of the many that has been instrumental in the sustainability of the Coalition’s work in the Oxford Area. The community’s commitment to addressing the issues of substance abuse prevention, mental health, healthy eating and active living at the community level fuel her passion for this work.


Sarah White
Project Coordinator, Campbell County Drug Free Alliance
Campbell County, KY

Sarah White joined the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance as the Project Coordinator in December of 2015. She oversees the daily functions of the coalition and the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant for the Alliance. She also maintains all internal and external community relations for the group.

Prior to joining the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance, she worked as a Prevention Specialist at NorthKey Community Care Regional Prevention Center in Kentucky. She has worked in the field of substance abuse prevention for the past 13 years. She earned her B.S. in Mental Health/Human Services from Northern Kentucky University. She is certified as a Prevention Specialist.

Incorporating Vaping and ENDS in School and Local Policies

The Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County will share their experiences on how they worked with their school system and local businesses to include and implement a no vaping/e-cigarette policy. A key factor was partnering with youth and utilizing personal stories as evidence for the need to change policy. This presentation will provide the steps on how to change current school policy to include vaping and e-cigarettes and how to partner with local businesses to establish a no vaping policy. There will also be discussion on how the Coalition encouraged the school to provide cessation programs in lieu of suspension. Examples of policies and signage will be provided.

Jenni Irwin
Director, Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County
Cherokee County, NC

Jenni is currently the Director for the Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County. She has been working in the prevention field since 2003. She has a BA in Nursing and found her love to be working with youth and families. She began her career in the mental health field working with at-risk youth and families. Many of the youth and families she worked with had substance abuse and misuse in common. In 2008, Jenni began working for Cherokee County Schools as the Tobacco prevention coordinator working with youth and was promoted to Director of the Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County in 2009. The Coalition is in their 8th year of the Drug Free Communities Grant program. The Coalition has seen many successes in regards to policy creation, change and implementation. Jenni and the Coalition have paired with the local hospital to change certain policies and procedures including their emergency department policies. The school policy changes include the addition of vaping/e-cigarettes, no vaping signage, he athletic drug testing policy for middle and high school students, creating the drug testing policy for student drivers, adding a diversion program as an option to the athletic drug testing policy, removal of smoking from government steps and assisting the law enforcement agencies in creating policy adding naloxone to their safety policy. The Coalition has been successful in attaining and placing five medication drop boxes in the area, including one placed at a local pharmacy. The Coalition currently has a peer led group in all middle schools which includes approximately 140 students. These peer led groups have been instrumental in changing tobacco policies on the campus and in the community. The Coalition continues to chip away at the problems Cherokee County’s young people face.


Hope Burch
School Health Educator, Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Cherokee County
Cherokee County, NC

Hope R. Burch, M.H.S., is a Health Educator for Cherokee County School in Murphy, N.C. where she works to promote environmental and policy change through safer/drug-free venues for youth activity and working with local government officials. Hope also works with community agencies, organizations, media, and parent groups to link school safety and drug prevention activities with community activities. Her experience includes over seventeen years working in public health to encourage healthy lifestyles and wellness through educating individuals in the community about behaviors that promote healthy living and prevent diseases and other health problems.

Before joining Cherokee County Schools, she was a Program Consultant with Public Health Preparedness and Response Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHP&R) is the branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health that monitors and strengthens the abilities of our public health and healthcare systems to protect the public health in disaster situations such as disease epidemics, chemical and radiological releases, severe weather and natural disasters.

Hope is currently a member of the Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Cherokee County. She previously has been a member of NC Public Health Association, Public Outreach & Information Network Team, Local Emergency Planning Committee, and School Health Advisory Committee and served as a Public Information Officer.

SPF Beyond Substance Prevention

Be Well Buffalo County utilized Epiphany’s Strategic Prevention Framework for their work in community wellness. The coalition created a community change model as a foundation upon which they can build to address the health of the county and promote healthy lifestyles by all residents. The coalition coordinator will share their experience including the successes they encountered, the challenges they overcame, the adaptations they had to make and where they hope to take their work going forward.

Becky Squiers
Wellness Coordinator, Buffalo County Community Partners
Buffalo County, Nebraska

Becky Squiers has been the Wellness Coordinator at Buffalo County Community Partners since 2016. She facilitates the coalitions that focus on one of the organization’s strategic directions, healthy eating and acting living. Becky joined the team just as they began their work with Epiphany, so she has been tasked with seeing the framework through from problem analysis to implementation.


Becky earned her Masters of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a concentration in health communication and social marketing. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University in mass communication and biology.


Becky lives in Kearney, Neb., working to help further improve the health and well-being of the community in which she grew up and graduated high school years ago. She enjoys live music, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Effective Social Media

During this interactive presentation, the presenter and participants will focus on why substance abuse issues exist in our community at large, speak to influence and infusion of culture in prevention and education, and identify existing strategies and discuss using social media to collaboratively enhance and trend prevention messaging.

Aisha Alayande
Director, Drug Free Highlands
Highlands County, FL

Aisha Alayande currently serves as the executive director of Drug Free Highlands and has been with the coalition since 2011. She is also a Strengthening Families facilitator, certified safe server trainer and doula. Aisha has previously held positions at the School of Visual Arts, Financial Network and Company Des Trois (a Public Relations and Marketing Firm). Aisha began her service in prevention over two decades ago at the Holly Center in Hackensack NJ, volunteering with youth from substance abuse and domestic violence homes. Shortly after that she volunteered at the Bergen County Jail doing art therapy with female inmates. Aisha’s current service efforts include founding The Blissful Expectations Doula Project in Highlands County FL, which provides doula services, serving on the Children’s Service Council, chairing the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance of Highlands County and serving on the Fetal Infant Mortality Review committee for the Healthy Start Coalition of Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties.

Most recently, Aisha has done a social media webinar for the Florida Coalition Alliance, was a presenter at the CADCA Mid-Year in Atlanta and was greenlit to do a social media management pilot for four coalitions in the sun-coast region of Florida.

Coalition Engagement

Session Description Coming Soon

Deacon Dzierzawski
President, Epiphany Community Services
Swanton, OH

Deacon, a name not a title. President of ECS Deacon Dzierzawski has been in the field of public health since 1991. He holds a degree in public health from Ohio University, where he was on the water ski team and a Masters from Lourdes University, where he learned all about the uses of different fonts to irritate professors. Deacon has been recognized as an expert in coalitions, public health and evaluation by many organizations including the National Institutes of Health, Community AntiDrug Coalitions of America and the State of Ohio. He is sought after for his humor, expertise and general good looks by those working in public health nationwide. His favorite poem is “A Man Said to the Universe” by Robert Crane, which guides his thoughts and interactions in his life. Deacon is a big fan of cured meat and cheeses.

Unique Stories from the Field: A Conversation with Sara McGregor-Okroi and Aerielle Waters

Aerielle and Sara will share their experiences during this conversation.

Aerielle Waters, MPH, CHES

Prevention Manager,Holcomb Prevention Department 
Delaware County, PA 

Sara McGregor-Okroi

Executive Director, Aliive-Roberts County
Sisseton, South Dakota

Sara McGregor-Okroi is the Executive Director of Aliive-Roberts County. Aliive-Roberts County is a state accredited prevention agency that serves Roberts County and the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. Her duties include: to ensure effective and professional program facilitation to community youth and families, to provide adult supervision and guidance during program implementation, to empower youth and community members to make healthy life choices, to oversee development, implementation and evaluation of various prevention programs, to facilitate research based programming to “at-risk” community youth and families with program fidelity, develop, maintain and analyze local data to direct agency efforts and resources,  oversee the development of documents and reports, organize and provide presentations to community agencies, schools or businesses on prevention issues and to uphold the overall mission and goals of Aliive-Roberts County, Inc. 
Back to Top