Thomas E. Freese, PhD


Thomas E. Freese (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, 1995) is currently the Director of Training for UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) and the Principal Investigator and Director of the Pacific Southwest Addictions Technology Transfer Center (PSATTC). Dr. Freese is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence on Racial/ Ethnic Minority Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Other Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations.  Dr. Freese has served as Principal Investigator on training projects funded by the SAMHSA, the California Department of Health Care Services and various county agencies and foundations.  He has conducted trainings on a wide variety of topics including implementing integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), medication assisted treatment, and common medical issues in patients with substance use disorders, and culturally responsive treatment for LGBT clients.  Dr. Freese has been a featured presenter at conferences and meetings nationally and internationally.  He has worked in the addiction field since 1983, and has developed and conducted trainings in 46 US states and internationally.

Anne Helene Skinstad, PhD


Dr. Anne Helene Skinstad is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Community & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa. She is the Project Director of the first National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to her new project, she directed the Prairielands ATTC, serving, IA, NE, ND, SD, WI, & MN, also funded by SAMHSA. Before immigrating to the US, Dr. Skinstad was the chief psychologist for the first in-patient treatment unit for alcoholic women at the Hjellestad-Clinic in Bergen, the first of its kind in Norway based on cognitive behavioral treatment principles. Her research and clinical interests continues to be on assessment and treatment of women with substance use disorders and the treatment and assessment of clients with co-existing psychiatric disorders and substance dependence. As the director of an ATTC she has overseen the center’s workforce development initiatives, the development of training curriculums for substance abuse treatment of different special populations, including women, clients identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, clients with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, and American Indians with substance use disorders. She has also overseen the development of videos addressing the needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives: Sucker Punched, and Nagi Kacopi, and Finding Purpose: Recruiting American Indian and Alaska Native into the Behavioral Health Workforce. Dr. Skinstad received both her Ph.D. and her Cand.Psychol. degree (equivalent to Psy.D.) from the College of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway.



Michael Chaple, PhD


Dr. Chaple was appointed as Executive Director of NDRI-USA in July 2014 assuming responsibility for strategic planning, finance, and operations. In his 15 years at NDRI, Dr. Chaple has accumulated vast expertise in applied research consisting of efficacy and effectiveness trials, including implementation science, as well as large-scale training and technical assistance initiatives designed to disseminate evidence-based and promising practices. This diverse body of work reflects the growing need to “bridge the gap” between research and practice by developing research studies relevant to emerging issues in the field and by translating findings into practical guidelines for immediate clinical application. His work has been focused on behavioral health issues and co-morbid conditions, including substance abuse, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, with a special focus on criminal justice populations. Dr. Chaple received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University and currently holds an Adjunct Faculty position at St. John’s University.



Brandy T. Oeser, MPH

Project Director

Mrs. Oeser began her career in the field of substance abuse and addiction in 1997.  She is currently Project Director of the SAMHSA funded project Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center of Excellence (YMSM+LBGT CoE). She has been with the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (UCLA-ISAP) since 2004 and she previously worked on the Evaluation, Training, and Technical Assistance (ETTA) for Substance Use Service Activities project which focused on both qualitative and quantitative research/evaluation efforts as well as training and technical assistance focused on SUD service delivery and integration activities. She has a background in substance use disorder treatment research, and training and technical assistance activities aimed at educating and further developing the substance use disorder treatment workforce. Mrs. Oeser received her Master of Public Health degree, with an emphasis in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


Matt Ignacio, MSSW

(Tohono O’odham)

Prior to his work with the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC, Matt worked for the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC) as Project Manager overseeing four federally funded training, education and capacity-building assistance programs. In this role, he also served as a national trainer, working with tribal communities, tribal health departments, state health departments, federally qualified health centers and community based organizations.

Additionally, Matt also served as lead author for a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded publication titled: Action, Compassion and Healing: Working with Injection Drug Users in Native Communities. The publication aimed to address the public health needs of Native American/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian injection drug users in rural/reservation and urban communities. Prior to NNAAPC, Matt worked in the Michael Palm Center for AIDS Care and Support at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). GMHC is the world’s first and largest AIDS service organization located in New York City.

Beth Rutkowski, M.P.H.

Ms. Rutkowski received her Master of Public Health degree, with an emphasis on epidemiology and quantitative methods, from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Public Health in 2000. She has been associated with UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) since December 2000, and currently serves as the Associate Director of Training. The majority of Ms. Rutkowski’s time is devoted to the SAMHSA-supported Pacific Southwest Addiction Technology Training Center (Pacific Southwest ATTC, HHS Region 9), where she assists in the development of rollout training packages based on evidence-based substance abuse research and targeted to the community at large. In addition, she organizes and conducts conferences and trainings throughout the Pacific Southwest ATTC region (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau) on scientifically validated interventions and topics, such as substance abuse research and policy, methamphetamine abuse, process improvement strategies to improve client engagement and retention in treatment, screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment, HIV and drug abuse, substance abuse epidemiology, medication-assisted treatment, and best practices in addiction treatment. Ms. Rutkowski is also the Evaluator of the Vietnam HIV-Addiction Technology Transfer Center, a three-year SAMHSA-supported program aimed at adapting the strategies utilized by the U.S.-based ATTC Network in Vietnam.

Lena Thompson, MPH

After graduating from Drake University with a BA in International Relations, Lena worked as a Community Support Staff, assisting women with cognitive disabilities in reaching goals and living healthy lifestyles in Iowa City. She was able to blend her interests in human rights, global health, and community building as a Master of Public Health student at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. While at the College of Public Health, Lena worked on various health communications campaigns, including a Safe Teen Driving social media campaign and a video campaign in Lima, Peru. She graduated with her MPH in August 2014 and began working at the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC in November 2014. At the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC, Lena assists with curriculum development and manages technical assistance projects.

Kate Thrams, BA

Kate Thrams is a Research Support Coordinator for the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC, and oversees the marketing and design for the program by developing culturally appropriate logos and branding, as well as managing webinar series and editing publications such as the Center’s newsletter. Her communication strengths have added value to the instructional and promotional materials of the National American Indian & Alaska Native ATTC, giving them a distinct and recognizable look, and recognizing the particular needs of the target population. Kate has previously worked as a program coordinator both at Michigan State University and Seattle Pacific University, and also draws from her background as a graphic artist for GEAR for Sports, and as a freelance illustrator. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design at Grand Valley State University in 2005.

ThankGod C. Ugwumba, BS

After graduating from Imo State University, owerri, Nigeria with a B.Sc in Microbiology, ThankGod worked with Population Council as a referral officer providing HIV/Sexual Reproductive Health counseling and outreach services to at risk population specifically youths and their sexual partners. He is  now pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of Iowa in the College of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health.  He has been able to work with Free Medical Clinic on a Living with Diabetes Program which entails helping clients set small health improving goals and providing the required support that will lead to achieving these goals. He is now working at the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Paul Warren, LMSW

Mr. Warren is the Deputy Executive Director for NDRI–USA’s Training Institute. During his 25-year career in public health education he has provided training and technical assistance as well as developed and facilitated curricula on a wide range of topics nationally. Mr. Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker and was previously the Clinical Coordinator of Group Services for people living with HIV/AIDS. He currently manages the On-Line Training Center for the NYS AIDS Institute and is the Training Director for the Northeast & Caribbean Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network. He has a BFA in Undergraduate Drama from New York University and an MSW specializing in group work from Hunter College School of Social Work.


Charlotte Bullen, BS

Charlotte Bullen received her Bachelors of Science in Health Care Administration from California State University, Long Beach in 2010. With a background in health care administration she began her career with UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and the Pacific Southwest ATTC in the fall of 2011. She currently serves as Training Coordinator for the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs Training Department and the Pacific Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center (Pacific Southwest ATTC, HHS Region 9). Ms. Bullen provides comprehensive administrative support to the Training Department as well as serves as lead coordinator of training workshops, conferences, and meetings throughout the Pacific Southwest ATTC region (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau) on scientifically validated interventions and topics.