Leadership Team

Executive Director

Miles Hamlin

Born in Northern California, Miles Hamlin’s life was impacted by opioids from a very young age. The child of a teenage mother beginning her own lifelong journey with opiate use, he felt the consequences of that use throughout his childhood. He bounced between his mother, various family members, foster homes, and other settings across multiple states until, at the age of 16 in 1990, he ran away to San Francisco.

His experiences in San Francisco would influence and impact him for the rest of his life: the trauma of losing so many friends in the early years of the AIDS epidemic  and testing positive for HIV, his discovery of IV drug use and meth, Hollywood jails, involuntary mental health commitments, near death experiences, and the early life of a radical new harm reduction response to keeping people who use drugs safe.

Having family in the Twin Cities, Miles relocated to Minneapolis in 2003, hoping for a fresh start, but by 2006, his health was deteriorating, he was dealing meth to support severe use and was soon criminally charged for sales and possession. In March of 2007, Miles lost his mom after her own long battle with substance use.

Released from prison in 2010, Miles took his new lease on life, and started working to make a difference in the lives of people who use drugs and their loved ones – and he has been an agent for change ever since. One of the founding members of Minnesota Overdose Awareness in 2010, he volunteered his time and energy to hosting and organizing an annual event honoring loved ones lost to overdose and raising awareness of the impacts of the opioid crisis on Minnesotans. His work is inspired by, and in loving memory of, his mom, Chelley McCormick, and in the spirit of the many friends and loved ones no longer with us due to substance use.

Board Chair

Paula DeSanto, MS, LSW

Paula DeSanto, MS, LSW, has developed programs that serve people with mental illness and/or substance use issues for over 40 years. She has dedicated her career to advocating for person-centered, common sense, compassionate care.

She has provided both leadership and clinical services in a variety of settings that include case management, community support, recovery community organizations. intensive residential/outpatient treatment, and the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center. She also taught for 4 years at the U of M Master Level Integrated Behavioral Health Program.

She is the founder of Minnesota Alternatives (outpatient treatment for both mental health and substance use), which was acquired by Mental Health Resources in 2018. She is currently a co-owner of Expanse MN, a state-of-the-art mental health clinic that opened in January 2022. She has a master’s degree from Boston University in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling and is a licensed social worker.

Treasurer

Chuck Hilger, MSW, LADC

Charles Hilger, MSW, LADC is President of Hilger Behavioral Health Consultants. He is a graduate of St. Thomas University’s Master of Social Work program and former adjunct faculty member of Argosy University’s Master of Clinical Psychology program. He has 20 years of counseling and administrative experience leading behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment organizations. Over the last twenty years, Mr. Hilger has specialized in developing integrated Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP) for the largest providers in the state. He presents regularly at conferences, workshops and academic institutions and collabo//rates with community groups and providers to educate about MAT and Opioid Use Disorders. Mr. Hilger serves as board member and Vice President for MARRCH and as a board member and treasurer for the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery). Mr. Hilger is the former Vice Chair of the Veterans Mental Health Advisory Committee at the VA hospital Mpls. and is appointed by the Governor to serve on his Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research. He has experience working with state advisory committees, national advocacy boards and has served as a board member for several behavioral health organizations. 

 

Secretary

Takesha Deadwyler, CPRSR-S

My name is Takesha Deadwyler. CPRSR-S. 

I am an Onboarding & Training Peer Recovery Specialist Supervisor. I started as a Peer Recovery Specialist assisting my clients in their recovery journey by mentoring, advocating, and and promoting self empowerment as well as self care/wellness. I am a loving and intelligent God fearing woman that wants to see everyone grow and prosper in life.

I worked as a Human Resources Specialist for over 20 years but my whole life changed a few years ago, And since then, I have dedicated my life to assisting people battling substance abuse and domestic violence. 

I am also the Executive Director of FAME, which aids families faced with Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence by providing programming and services that aid in self sufficiency, stabilization, and essential human and health service.

I am also a participant of the EBC Cohort, which is an 18 month journey of learning, building relationships, and innovating real dismantling systemic racism strategies in the areas of health, economics, safety and life essential resources (i.e. housing and food). 

Board Members

John Roder

My name is John Roder. I recently returned to professional aviation, based half-time in Tampa, after a 20-year stint as a landlord of multifamily properties across the Midwest, serving primarily disadvantaged populations. My objective is to balance my love of buildings and airplanes and to continue to support those who provide essential services to the community. My early aviation career involved some years in Mozambique, a Portuguese speaking country, and I am actively improving my Portuguese language skills with the intent of eventually taking a one-way trip to Brazil! Estou planejando viver minha vida futura no Brasil. (I am planning to live out my future life in Brazil).

Emanuel Roberts

Emanuel Roberts, founder of Anything Helps, has steadfastly forged a path in the realm of recovery services. His nonprofit organization delicately intertwines Peer Recovery, Sober Events, and Outreach initiatives, providing a safe harbor for those on their journey to sobriety. Roberts’ approach, while pragmatic, maintains an underlying subtlety, gently transforming the traditional recovery landscape. His innovative sober-focused activities combined with resourceful outreach initiatives remind the recovery community of the invaluable network of support that exists for their journey. In essence, his work is a gentle testament to resilience, recovery, and the power of community connection.

Terry Tauger, MSW, LICSW

Terry Tauger has lived experience with mental illness, substance use disorder, and co-occurring HIV/Hep C infection.  He has been a consumer advocate for person-centered health services, equitable low-barrier housing, and harm reduction strategies for over 25 years.  As part of the National Association of Social Workers HIV/AIDS Spectrum: Mental Health Training and Education of Social Workers Project, Terry participated as an advisory committee member and trainer from 2001-2014.  Holding a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies from Cal State, and an MSW from Gallaudet University, much of Terry’s work has been serving Deaf and hard of hearing with mental health and substance use in community based organizations and at the MN Department of Human Services.  Currently, Terry works at Hennepin County HSPH Adult Behavioral Health Division as a social worker.   

Josh Drew

I worked for eighteen years at People Incorporated Mental Health Services. Fifteen of those years at Northside Community Support Program, as a Mental Health Practitioner/Housing Specialist. And three years as Case Manager and Supervisor for the Behavioral Health Home Services.

Brian Warden

Brian Warden is a Harm Reduction Specialist, Program Coordinator and Overdose Prevention and Reversal Trainer who credits access to Harm Reduction Services with saving his life. From 2010- 2015, Brian was the SEP Coordinator for the Minnesota AIDS Project MAINLINE Syringe Exchange Program, then Harm Reduction Specialist and Naloxone Educator with Access Points Syringe Services Program at Valhalla Place. During the COVID Pandemic Brian provided outreach to clients who were otherwise unable to access Harm Reduction Services. Brian is an Ibogaine and Medically Assisted Treatment Advocate and is one of a handful of Harm Reduction Specialists whose career spans the full breath of the current Overdose Epidemic beginning in 2010.