About Us


Josiah “Jody” Rich, MD, MPH

Deputy Director
Traci Green, PhD, MSc

Gayle Fraser
Administrative Coordinator

The COBRE on Opioids and Overdose is thankful and fortunate for all the people on our team devoted and committed to making an impact on the opioid epidemic. We would like to introduce you to the team.


Josiah “Jody” Rich, MD, MPH
Director, COBRE on Opioids and Overdose

dr-richDr. Rich is the principal investigator and director of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose. He is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is a leader in the fields of opioid use disorder and infectious diseases in incarcerated populations. Dr. Rich has nearly 25 years of experience conducting clinical research related to substance use and infectious diseases among marginalized populations. Dr. Rich continues to provide care to incarcerated patients with HIV and opioid use disorder. For the past year he has served as an expert advisor, along with COBRE deputy director Dr. Traci Green to the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, and has been instrumental in instituting a radical change in the approach to opioid use disorder at the RI Department of Corrections, in which all prisoners with opioid use disorder are offered medication-assisted therapy.

Traci Green, PhD, MSc
Deputy Director, COBRE on Opioids and Overdose

dr-greenDr. Green is the deputy director of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose and is an associate professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She has carried out epidemiologic studies of illicit drug and nonmedical prescription drug use, sexual and drug-use risk behaviors, and health service utilization of vulnerable populations for over 18 years. She has conducted prescription opioid overdose “outbreak” investigations in three New England communities as part of a CDC-funded research study, and reviewed 13 years of medical examiner cases of opioid overdoses in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Dr. Green is currently involved as Co-I on several NIDA- and CDC-funded studies to design and implement overdose prevention intervention in HIV clinics and the trauma service. Dr. Green and Dr. Rich have multiple prior successful collaborations, including the NIDA-funded study Project SOON (R21), the first federally-funded study to explore the feasibility of intranasal naloxone use by ex-prisoners. She co-founded PrescribetoPrevent.org, which has trained over 30,000 clinicians in overdose prevention and naloxone prescribing. She currently serves as a consultant to the CDC and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas on responses to the fentanyl crisis.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee (EC) of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose is the management team for the COBRE and will monitor overall progress, productivity, finances and Core usage. The EC provides and facilitates additional mentorship for the COBRE Project Leaders. This includes development of mentoring plan, encouraging funding opportunity applications and general support of the COBRE mission. The EC is comprised of the Director, Deputy Director, Core Directors and Core Deputy Directors.

Josiah “Jody” Rich, MD, MPH
COBRE PI/Director

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Brown University
Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
Attending Physician, The Miriam Hospital

Traci Green, PhD, MSc
COBRE Deputy Director
Translation and Transformation Core Director

Deputy Director, Boston Medical Center Injury Prevention Center
Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology
The Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University
Rhode Island Hospital

Susan Ramsey, PhD
Deputy Director, Translation and Transformation Core
Rhode Island Hospital
Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Medicine
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Rhode Island Hospital

dr-ramseySusan Ramsey, PhD is the Director of Research for the Division of General Internal Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and is an Associate Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the Department of Medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her research focuses primarily on the development and testing of behavioral interventions to address substance use, HIV medication adherence, and HIV prevention. Dr. Ramsey is currently the PI on an NIH-funded grant aimed at developing and testing an intervention to promote the uptake of PrEP among at-risk women during incarceration, followed by linkage to community-based care upon release from incarceration. Dr. Ramsey has a grant from Gilead to provide the medication for that study. She also served as PI on a recently completed NIH-funded study that examined the efficacy of a smartphone app to improve HIV medication adherence. In addition, Dr. Ramsey is a member of the Executive Committee and Deputy Director of the Translational and Transformative Core of the COBRE Center on Opioids and Overdose. She serves as the primary mentor for a CTR award, K award, and COBRE project for Kirsten Langdon, PhD, all of which focus on using technology to keep patients with opioid use disorder engaged in medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Ramsey is a Co-Investigator on grants aimed at increasing naloxone and buprenorphine prescribing among HIV care providers and examining the impact of peer navigation in the Emergency Department following opioid overdose. She is also a standing member of the NIH HIV/AIDS Intra-and Inter-personal Determinants and Behavioral Interventions Study Section.

Brandon DL Marshall, PhD
Director, Data and Research Methods Core
Department of Epidemiology
Brown University School of Public Health

dr-marshallDr. Marshall is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health. Broadly, Dr. Marshall’s research focuses on substance use epidemiology, infectious diseases, and the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health of drug-using populations. He also serves as an expert advisor to Governor Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, and is the Scientific Director of PreventOverdoseRI, Rhode Island’s drug overdose dashboard.

Curt Beckwith, MD
Director, Special Populations Core
Associate Professor of Medicine
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Department of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
The Miriam Hospital

dr-beckwithDr. Beckwith is an Associate Professor of Medicine with a research and mentoring portfolio focused on improving the diagnosis, treatment and longitudinal care of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among substance users and persons involved with the criminal justice system. His work has investigated the use of Seek, Test, Treat and Retain strategies for HIV and HCV, and he has conducted research to develop and implement mobile health (mHealth) technology tools to facilitate and support linkage to care. Previous grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse include a K23 Career Development Award (Comprehensive HIV Testing Strategies for Jails) and a multi-site R01 (CARE Corrections: Technology for Jail HIV/HCV Testing, Linkage, and Care). Dr. Beckwith has a successful track record of disseminating the results of his research at national meetings and within the peer-reviewed literature, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and extensive experience in mentoring junior scientists at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and junior faculty levels.

Tim Flanigan, MD
Deputy Director, Special Populations Core
The Miriam Hospital
Division of Infectious Diseases

dr-flaniganTimothy P. Flanigan, MD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Infectious Diseases Division of The Miriam and Rhode Island Hospitals and Brown Medical School. He received a BA from Dartmouth College and an MD from Cornell University medical School. In 1991, he came to join Dr. Charles Carpenter to lead the HIV and AIDS program and was subsequently appointed Chief of Infectious Diseases in 1999 until stepping down in 2012. He spearheaded the HIV Care Program at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections and has received NIH funding to develop improved treatments for HIV infection. He has received recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and from the HIV Medicine Association for his community-based work with HIV-infected men and women that are in prison and jail, and for providing educational support for their children. He developed an integrated care program of substance-abuse treatment with buprenorphine for opiate use disorders among HIV infected individuals at the Immunology Center. He currently overseas medication assisted therapy for opiate use disorders among HIV-positive persons for the Ryan White Care Program. In 2014, he spent two months in Monrovia, Liberia helping the Catholic Medical Clinics and hospitals respond to the Ebola epidemic.

Internal Advisory Committee

The Internal Advisory Committee (IAC) of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose provides additional insight on COBRE development and implementation. The IAC members represent different areas of expertise relevant to COBRE themes and operations, and are committed to the development of the Center and the mentoring of junior investigators. The primary role of the IAC has been to support the Executive Committee during COBRE implementation with four main advisory goals: 1) providing operational feedback based on lessons learned from other Phase 1 COBRE Centers; 2) ensuring that the EC is aware of relevant initiatives across COBRES/Cores/institutions and opportunities for collaboration; 3) identifying cross-institutional and community-based resources to enhance COBRE investigator projects, mentorship, and translation/dissemination; and 4) guiding implementation with an eye toward a Phase II application and a potential business plan for future core services.

James Padbury, PhD
Department of Pediatrics
Women & Infants Hospital

Dr. James Padbury is the William and Mary Oh/William and Elsa Zopfi Professor of Pediatrics and Perinatal Research at Brown University and Pediatrician-In-Chief at Women and Infants’ Hospital. Dr. Padbury received his BS in biology from the UC Irvine and his MD degree from UCLA. His postgraduate training in pediatrics and neonatology was taken at UCSF and Boston Children’s Hospital. He was recruited to Brown University from UCLA in 1995. He has long-standing research interests in cardiovascular and placental developmental biology and perinatal genetics. Among the awards since coming to Brown University are three Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Awards, two grants from the March of Dimes to study the genetics of prematurity and NIH support to study the genetics of preeclampsia. He serves as a reviewer for NIH, NSF, the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. He is past Chair of the NIH Pregnancy and Neonatology Study Section. He is Principal Investigator of the IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Award, Advance-CTR. This is a state-wide, $19.5M translational research award from NIGMS, based at Brown University, involving the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Quality Institute and all three of the affiliated hospital systems.

David Savitz, PhD
Brown University
Vice President for Research

David A. Savitz is Professor of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health, with joint appointments in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics in the Alpert Medical School. His epidemiological research has addressed a wide range of many important public health issues including environmental hazards in the workplace and community, reproductive health outcomes, and environmental influences on cancer. He has done extensive work on health effects of nonionizing radiation, pesticides, drinking water treatment by-products, and perfluorinated compounds.

He has directed 30 doctoral dissertations and 15 master’s theses. He is the author of nearly 350 papers in professional journals and editor or author of three books. He has served as editor at the American Journal of Epidemiology and and as a member of the Epidemiology and Disease Control-1 study section of the National Institutes of Health. He was President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research and North American Regional Councilor for the International Epidemiological Association. Dr. Savitz is an elected member of the National Academy Medicine. From 2013-2017 he served as Vice President for Research at Brown University and he currently serves as Associate Dean for Research in the School of Public Health.

He came to Brown in 2010 from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he had served as the Charles W. Bluhdorn Professor of Community and Preventive Medicine and Director of Disease Prevention and Public Health Institute since 2006. Earlier, he taught and conducted research at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health and at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Savitz received his undergraduate training in Psychology at Brandeis University, a Master’s degree in Preventive Medicine at Ohio State University in 1978, and the PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 1982.

David Rand, PhD
Brown University
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

David Rand joined the Brown faculty in 1991 after receiving a B.A. at Harvard and a PhD at Yale in Biology, and postdoctoral training in population genetics at Harvard. He is the Stephen T. Olney Professor of Natural History in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where he is Chair of the Department. He teaches undergraduate courses in evolutionary biology, evolutionary genetics, and graduate seminars on ecological, evolutionary and population genetics. His research focuses on the coevolution of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, the role of mitochondrial mutations in fitness, aging and disease, and the environmental genomics of adaptation in marine organisms, with funding from the NIH and NSF. He was the principal investigator of an NSF IGERT Training Grant in Reverse Ecology bridging graduate programs in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, Applied Math and the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole. He is currently Principal Investigator of an NIH COBRE award focusing on the Computational Biology of Human Disease. He is past president of the American Genetic Association and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

External Advisory Committee

The External Advisory Committee (EAC) of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose’s primary role is to participate in COBRE evaluation, including an evaluation of the Project Leaders’ progress, the effectiveness of the COBRE mentorship, and the usefulness of Core services. EAC members have been chosen for their robust backgrounds as investigators and mentors, their expertise in addiction medicine, and areas of expertise that are complementary to the COBRE projects and underrepresented among Executive Committee and Internal Advisory Committee members. EAC members serve three year-long terms.

Robert Schwartz, MD
Chair, Friends Research Institute

Dr. Schwartz is a psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Friends Research Institute. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he served as the Director of its Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. He is Co-Principal Investigator of the Mid-Atlantic Node of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN). Through numerous National Institute on Drug Abuse grant awards, he has studied pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder in the community and in correctional settings. He recently served as the Chair of the SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP 63) on Medications for Opioid Use Disorder. Many of Dr Schwartz’s over 160 scientific publications are focused on substance use in primary care and on the treatment of OUD.

Jennifer Havens, PhD, MPH
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Department of Behavioral Science
Center on Drug and Alcohol Research

Jennifer Havens received her Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Master’s of Public Health (M.P.H.) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Havens has been on faculty in the Department of Behavioral Science and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine since 2004.

During that time she has maintained an active research agenda examining the medical consequences of the opioid epidemic. Dr. Havens and colleagues published some of the earliest reports in the scientific literature on the opioid crisis in rural Appalachia, and the infectious complications (hepatitis C) that followed. She has been continuously funded by NIH since 2008, and was recently awarded $15 million dollars from NIH to conduct a hepatitis C treatment study in Perry County.

Josh Sharfstein, MD
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Department of Health Policy and Management

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, is the Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement for the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He oversees the Office of Public Health Practice and Training, the General Preventive Medicine Residency and major practice activities, including collaboration with public health agencies. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

Dr. Sharfstein is also the Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative overseeing implementation of its key components. Previously, he served as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City, and health policy advisor for Congressman Henry A. Waxman.

Chinazo Cunningham, MD, MS
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore Medical Center
Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Chinazo Cunningham is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System. She has spent over 20 years providing care, developing programs, and conducting research with people who use drugs with or at-risk for HIV. Her research has focused on improving access to care, utilization of health care services, and health outcomes, particularly around opioid use disorder and medical cannabis. Dr. Cunningham has been the principal investigator on numerous grants funded by the NIH, CDC, HRSA, foundations, and local and state Departments of Health. She has mentored scores of trainees, and has been recognized by local and national mentoring awards. Dr. Cunningham has also served on numerous grant-review study sections, guideline committees, and local and national advisory committees. She and her work have been featured on several major media outlets including the NY Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, NBC, and National Public Radio.

Mishka Terplan, MD, MPH, FACOG, DFASAM
Adjunct Faculty
University of California San Francisco
Clinical Consultation Center

Mishka Terplan is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and in addiction medicine. His primary clinical, research and advocacy interests lie along the intersections of reproductive and behavioral health. He is currently Professor in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry and the Associate Director of Addiction Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the Addiction Medicine Consultant for DMAS (Department of Medicaid Services, VA) and a consultant for the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare as well as Pew Charitable Trust. Dr. Terplan has active grant funding and has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles with emphasis on health disparities, stigma, and access to treatment. He has spoken before the Virginia General Assembly and the United States Congress and has participated in expert panels at CDC, SAMHSA, ONDCP, OWH, FDA and NIH primarily on issues related to gender and addiction.


Gayle Fraser
Administrative Coordinator, COBRE on Opioids and Overdose

Ms. Fraser is the Administrative Coordinator of the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose and oversees the daily administrative operations. In this role, she coordinates an entire range of activities including marketing communications, event organization, fiscal and operational prioritization, reporting to the NIH, coordination of the annual retreat and symposium and administrative support of all things COBRE.