Announcing the 2024 New England PTTC Research & Design (RAD) Fellows

 Prevention Product Development for the New England Region

The 2024 priority area is Workforce Development: Recruiting, Training, Retaining Diverse Professionals across the Career Lattice.


This program will support a seven-month term, during which the fellows will each create a tool or product around a central, priority subject area, and at the end of the program, the fellows will present their products to the workforce in a symposium meant to demonstrate how the products should and can be used. The term will begin in February of 2024 and will complete after the symposium, scheduled for September 2024. Read about the application process and program.


Dan Fitzgerald

2021 and 2022 Fellow, 2024 Fellowship Mentor: Dan Fitzgerald MPH, ICPS

In our fourth term of the RAD Fellowship, we are pleased to continue to have Dan serve as a program Mentor. The mentor is someone who has been through the program and can provide one-on-one support to the current fellows on all aspects of the program from what to expect, to research support, to the design of a product that can be useful to the workforce. Dan earned a Fellowship in 2021 under the priority subject area Diversity and Intentional Inclusion in Prevention in New England, through which he created a state-by-state guide on understanding and working with LGTBQIA+ Youth for prevention specialists. In 2022, Dan earned a spot in the program as a Senior Fellow under the priority subject area The Changing Landscape of Cannabis in New England with a focus on the IC&RC Prevention Domains. Dan focused his work here on publishing an alternative to suspension program he piloted in his service area for students found to be using cannabis.

Dan is the Executive Director of the Chariho Youth Task Force, a substance use prevention and mental health promotion coalition in southern Rhode Island. Dan also serves as the Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in RI and MA. Dan’s educational background is in prevention science, social marketing, nonprofit management, and public health. Dan has worked at the state, local, and national level with nonprofits and state and federal agencies. In his career, Dan has served as a lead activism trainer and has traveled coast to coast delivering training and technical assistance to hundreds of thousands of students, educators, and medical professionals.  Recently, Dan was recognized for his impact in the world of tobacco control and received the C. Everette Koop Unsung Hero Award in honor of the late United States Surgeon General. The Rhode Island General Assembly named Dan the “Advocate of the Year” while he was in high school and as the state’s “Champion for Children and Youth” in 2018. Dan volunteers his time with a variety of nonprofits including serving as the National Board Chair of SADD, Vice Chair of his local YMCA, Vice Chair of Wood River Health Services, Treasurer of the Rhode Island Certification Board, and as a community advisor to Brown University's School of Public Health.



Christina Mancebo-Torres

Christina Mancebo-Torres, MPH, Senior Fellow, Massachusetts

Christina Mancebo-Torres, MPH is the Assistant Director and Co-Founder of the Centro de Ayuda y Esperanza Latina, Inc. (Latin Center for Help and Hope), located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Christina is a bilingual prevention professional with experience in program delivery in the United States and the Dominican Republic. She is located in Southeastern Massachusetts where she previously worked on a number of prevention initiatives, including one of the only Hispanic and Latino-led opioid prevention programs in the state of Massachusetts. Christina is a current doctoral student in Health Sciences with a concentration in Trauma Informed Care, and also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and Graduate Certificates in Epidemiology and Global Health.


PRODUCT: The development of a training curriculum on trauma, mental health, and substance misuse for Hispanic and Latino residents interested in entering the field of behavioral health. This resource will take a community-based approach because many are interested in entering the field but do not have access to the same educational and employment opportunities as others do. This project expands on her previous work in the last fellowship, which was a guide on trauma for Hispanic and Latino churches. Utilizing the faith community as a trusted partner, this training curriculum would focus on education community members on the foundational aspects of trauma, mental health, and substance misuse, as well as the different pathways to enter the field. With a training offering specific to partner sites, information on barrier reduction will also be offered. It is expected that this product will be made available in both Spanish and English. This project aims to increase the bilingual and bicultural behavioral health workforce because this product has the potential to not only give community members a foundation for entering the field, but it also has the potential to reduce long-standing stigma in the Hispanic and Latino community.


Mariah Flynn

Mariah Flynn, Senior Fellow, Vermont

Mariah Flynn is a Certified Prevention Specialist who has worked in the substance misuse field in Vermont for 20+ years as a counselor, a case manager, and for the last 16 years as the Director of the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community, a substance misuse prevention coalition serving Burlington, Vermont. She is a founding member of Prevention Works! VT, the Chittenden Prevention Network, and the Northwest Regional Prevention Network; statewide and regional efforts to coordinate substance use prevention resources and strategies for the areas, and she serves on the Steering Committee of Prevention Works! VT. Mariah previously served as the Coordinator of the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative for the state of Vermont, and has completed two Fellowships with the New England PTTC. In her personal time she supports local initiatives that help youth thrive, including her own two teenagers, in her hometown of Essex Junction. Mariah is passionate about building communities that provide youth and families with the skills and environment that supports healthy choices.


PRODUCT: An orientation checklist and materials to support early learning/training and connection to organizations and resources in the field for those entering the substance use prevention field in Vermont. Additionally, an assessment and the development of a plan to provide supervision for Certified Prevention Specialists in Vermont.



FJ PerfasFJ Perfas, B.S.B.A., CPS, Senior Fellow, Massachusetts

FJ Perfas, B.S.B.A., CPS is a person of faith, a son, a brother, a husband, and a father. FJ serves the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a prevention professional, coordinating youth substance misuse prevention efforts at the Department of Public Health. He believes prevention work is the most meaningful way our systems of health and care can improve the quality of life for everyone. He embraces restorative and strength-based approaches as foundational to his work, believing deeper relationships are the key to thriving individuals and communities. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys spending his free time in the mountains and on the ocean.


PRODUCT: I'm working on a product that redefines Workforce Development as it is traditionally understood in our field. It acknowledges the intimate connection between personal growth and professional development, merging the two to create a blueprint for organizational environments that more meaningfully fosters the growth and diversity of our prevention workforce. The long-term goal is to standardize this practice within our systems, organizations, and staff development frameworks. Additionally, I intend to build off of the "Restorative Prevention Practices" framework and products I've previously created through the RAD fellowship program.



Em DelaneyEm Delaney, Vermont

Em Delaney serves as the Communications Coordinator for Healthy Lamoille Valley, a coalition and program of the Lamoille Family Center in Vermont. She has worked in Vermont nonprofits as a technical communicator, information designer, and project coordinator for over a decade as well as spending several years in collective management. She believes the presence of equity in the workplace leads to a sense of belonging and provides an environment where expression and thought are encouraged. Em is a certified prevention specialist and currently serves on the Vermont CPS Board. She holds an MA in education and an MFA in interdisciplinary art and is working on a certificate in technical communication.



PRODUCT: A handbook on equitable, inclusive, and collaborative meetings designed for practical use by prevention organizations. Employers can use the handbook to help create a workplace culture and structure which enables a diverse workforce to feel invested, involved and listened to. The handbook will include information, forms and templates, and discuss assessment, ensuring that meetings are evaluated for effectiveness by those participating in them.



Alissa CannonAlissa Cannon, CPS, Senior Fellow, New Hampshire

Alissa Cannon is a Certified Prevention Specialist working in the field of Juvenile Justice and Prevention for the New Hampshire Juvenile Court Diversion Network, a statewide Nonprofit Organization coordinating screening for substance use and mental health in juvenile court diversion programs. She has worked in the areas of prevention and community/school-based health education for nearly 15 years and has enjoyed every moment of it. She also proudly serves on the Prevention Taskforce of the NH Governor’s Commission on Prevention, Treatment & Recovery, the Alcohol & Other Drug Policy Advisory Committee for New Futures and is actively working with the NH Service to Science Expert Panel to designate the NH Juvenile Court Diversion Model as Evidence-Based. Alissa is originally from south Louisiana, but now resides in New Hampshire with her wife and their two rescue dogs, Conrad and Gronk.


PRODUCT: A guide that will help start the conversation among employers on ways that they could be more inclusive, but also that they could be welcoming to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Through research and best practices, I aim to provide a basic training that employers can present to their staff, a checklist that could be utilized internally, and also an infographic that talks about the importance of an inclusive workspace.



Michael AwadMichael Awad, PhD, Senior Fellow, Connecticut

Michael Awad, PhD is a licensed psychologist that has worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years focusing on improving access, utilization, and outcomes of prevention and treatment services for youth and families. Michael led the New Haven Prevention Council, a community coalition of youth and parents, healthcare providers, school, civic and government leaders, law enforcement professionals dedicated to preventing and reducing the incidence and impact of substance use on youth in New Haven, Connecticut. He also developed the OneStep Program, a comprehensive school-based prevention and health promotion program that uses social media and positive youth development to address multiple social ecological influences implicated in adolescent substance use. Michael earned his doctorate in counseling psychology from Columbia University and completed a National Institute of Drug Abuse postdoctoral fellowship in substance abuse prevention at the Yale School of Medicine.


PRODUCT: A product that will focus on supporting prevention organizations and coalitions to a) identify how micro and macroaggressions commonly occur in prevention work; b) increase personal insight into micro and macroaggressions that might be perpetuated within their prevention communities, c) identify areas for implementation and improvement of various prevention workforce diversity strategies in leadership, recruitment, onboarding, retention, communication, and partnership, and d) provide prevention professionals with micro and macrointervention strategies for addressing implicit bias in their individual- and systems-level practices.


View the 2023 products.



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