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North Carolina Survivors Union 


NCSU Staff, NCSU Health Team, NCSU Board, and Advisory Circle. 

Louise Vincent

Executive Director

Louise is the Executive Director of NC Survivors Union and is a human rights activist and educator whose work and expertise in drug user health, and social justice have driven the expansion and acceptance of harm reduction. She holds a Masters in Public Health from University of North Carolina Greensboro and was the inaugural recipient of the Any Positive Change award established in honor of Dan Bigg at the 2018 National Harm Reduction Coalition conference. Louise’s passion and expertise have created opportunities for systems change and movement building locally, nationally, and internationally.

Don Alan Jackson

SSP Director

Don is the Syringe Service Program Director and has a degree in graphic design. He leads NCSU’s onsite drug checking and testing program working to ensure a safer supply for our community. He oversees the day to day operations of the exchange, from direct services to training and coordinating volunteers and health team members. Don is the life of NCSU. His extensive knowledge as a drug user human rights activist and artistic talent play a central part in who NCSU is as a community led organization.

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Zach Salazar

Director of Research

Zach serves as NCSU's Research Director. He earned his undergraduate degree in Health Education at the University of Florida in 2018 and his Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2020. He is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. He is passionate about harm reduction and finds tremendous meaning in serving NCSU's community

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Summer Benton

Communications Coordinator

Summer assists with Communications for North Carolina Survivors Union. Her responsibilities include designing our website and helping out with our social media. She currently is a student at She just completed her associates degree in arts at Greensboro Technical Community College. She is very passionate about harm reduction and activism. Summer finds happiness by being connected to the community through her involvement with NCSU.

Health Team Members

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Tanya Russell

Harm Reduction Specialist

Tanya joined NCSU as a volunteer in 2017 and through the Low Threshold Employment and education program, joined NCSU’s health team, as a Harm Reduction Specialist. She provides safe supplies, education and support to those in our community through direct services. Tanya has been involved in many programs and projects at NCSU including planning and participating in Overdose Awareness Day events, BIGG LOVE WV, and the National convening.


Ryann Koval

Harm Reduction Specialist

Ryann joined our Health Team at NCSU as a volunteer in 2021 and through our Low Threshold Employment program, Ryann joined NCSU as a Health Team member. She completed her Undergraduate Degree in Art Education and completed her Master's of Counseling 

and Art Therapy in 2013. She is an Art Therapist and a LMHCA (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor) with training in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), and is a CMCC (Clinical Military Counselor Certified).

NCSU Board

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Dinah Ortiz

Board Co-Chair
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 Nick Voyles

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Robert Suarez

Board Co-Chair
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 Marilyn Reyes

Board Member

Advisory Circle

Jennifer J. Carroll, PhD MPH

 Is a medical anthropologist specializing in drug use, drug policy, and overdose prevention. She is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at North Carolina State University, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University, and a subject matter expert advising the Division of Overdose Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has been working in harm reduction in the United States and researching the implementation and impacts of harm reduction efforts in the United States and in Ukraine for nearly 2 decades

Mary Figgatt, MPH

 Is an epidemiologist at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on understanding and improving health outcomes among people who use drugs through community partnerships. She works in close collaboration with the North Carolina Survivors Union on their drug checking program, as well as other community-driven research projects. Mary received her MPH in epidemiology from Drexel University and is currently completing her PhD in epidemiology from UNC Gillings School of Global Health. Prior to beginning her doctoral training, she worked as an epidemiologist in local and state government where she led several community-based projects, including a partnership with syringe services programs to increase hepatitis testing and vaccination capacity.

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Nabarun Dasgupta, MPH, PhD

 Tells true stories about health, with numbers. He is a senior epidemiologist and Innovation Fellow at the University of North Carolina. He has a 2-decade track record of reducing drug harms through applied science. He works closely with people who use drugs and patients with chronic pain. He has served as an advisor to the US FDA, CDC, and the World Health Organization. He collaborates with NCSU on drug checking, medication assisted therapy, surveys, qualitative research, and other areas of shared scientific interest. His team’s work can be found at

Roxanne Saucier, MPH

 Is a consultant who focuses on promoting harm reduction and the health and human rights of people who use drugs. For the past 14 years, she has worked with Open Society Foundations’ International Harm Reduction Development Program on efforts to introduce harm reduction interventions to new settings, call attention to abuses committed in the name of drug treatment, and push for an end to drug war policies. She also provides technical assistance and capacity building to harm reduction groups, especially in the areas of advocacy, communications, and program planning. 

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Dr. Taleed El-Sabawi

is an interdisciplinary scholar, with a JD and a PhD in Public Health, Health Services Management and Policy with a doctoral cognate in Political Science. She specializes in the use of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze texts, including congressional hearing testimony, regulations, legislation, news media, political speeches and interview transcripts.Her area of expertise is in addiction and mental health policy, politics and law. Dr. El-Sabawi has studied and written extensively on narrative discourse surrounding opioid overdose deaths; federal administrative regulation of potentially habit-forming substances; and health insurance parity. Recently, Dr. El-Sabawi co-authored a model law that creates non-police behavioral health crisis response teams.

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