The leadership team is committed to supporting adult allies who are facilitate youth-led programs that prepare Ohio’s youth to be active, critically aware and contributing members of their communities.
The team consists of representatives from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and Prevention Action Alliance.
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ (OhioMHAS) Office of Prevention and Wellness provides statewide leadership for Ohio’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services/Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAMHS/ADAS) Boards. OhioMHAS provides funding for the Ohio Adult Allies Initiative.
Valerie Connolly-Leach, OCPS
Mrs. Valerie Leach is a Prevention Administrator with the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Office of Prevention & Wellness. She currently leads and facilitates the advancement of BH Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Supports utilizing the public health approach related to substance abuse, suicide, depression/anxiety, youth empowerment and for the State of Ohio. Mrs. Leach has been with the department since March 2007. She has worked in the field of behavioral health providing direct care services in correctional settings and also has experience in providing services to individuals in the community with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Mrs. Leach graduated from Ohio University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and has been working in the field Behavioral Health for over 15 years.
Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
Faculty, professional staff and students from Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs provide training and technical assistance to Ohio’s Adult Allies, as well as evaluation services for the statewide initiative.
Jessica Collura, PhD
Dr. Collura is a Research Associate at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. She earned her doctorate degree from the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work focuses on youth engagement in community networks, youth organizing, and positive youth development. Jessica has also published on the topics of youth organizing for school and community reform, youth violence prevention and youth development.
Holly Raffle, PhD, MCHES
Holly Raffle, Lead Evaluator, is an Associate Professor at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Dr. Raffle works primarily in the disciplines of K-12 education, post-secondary education, and public health. Dr. Raffle is the lead evaluator for Ohio's Partnerships for Success (PFS) project and has worked on a wide variety of AOD prevention initiatives across Ohio, including the Ohio SPF-SIG. In 2014, Dr. Raffle was the recipient of the Ohio MHAS Prevention Champion Award.
Prevention Action Alliance
Prevention Action Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing substance misuse and promoting mental health in order to build healthier communities in Ohio. They support the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network and facilitate OYLPN’s Youth Council.
Evi joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2018 to bring her advocacy efforts to the statewide level. She coordinates the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network, including the Youth Council, and conducts trainings across the state. Before coming to Columbus, she worked for Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery, completed internships at America’s Essential Hospitals in Washington, DC and the OhioMHAS Prevention Bureau, and earned her Master of Public Administration from the Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs at Ohio University.
Fran joined Prevention Action Alliance as its Assistant Executive Director in 2017. At Prevention Action Alliance, Fran supervises staff, assists in program and grant development, and represents the agency at various state and local committees, boards, and coalitions. She serves on the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio Board of Directors and the Ohio Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Steering Committee, and she is a member of the Coalition for Healthy Communities and the Ohio Prevention Roundtable. Previously, Fran worked as the Health and Wellness Manager for Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery in Canton, Ohio, where she coordinated Drug Free Stark County, a Drug Free Communities-funded substance misuse prevention coalition. Fran has earned a bachelor’s degree in child and family ecology from the University of Akron in Ohio and a master of public health in health planning and administration from the University of Tennessee, and she is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant.