Beyond Substance Podcast

The Beyond Substance podcast deepens the understanding of our listeners about substance use in Marion County, specifically the problems and solutions to address these issues and to highlight that there is hope and share what can be done to foster and support recovery in our community.

The first episode of Beyond Substance will be released on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify in late August 2022.

Listen to “Beyond Substance” on Speaker.

Episode 1: When Tragedy Sparks Hope

The fact is overdoses have increased. In today’s episode, we’re going to take a look at two sides of the same coin and what substance use and overdose look like from those who are working in the field and what we experience when we are personally affected by substance use.

  • Dr. Dan O’Donnell is the Chief of the Indianapolis Emergency Medical Service, an Associate Clinical Professor at the Indiana University Department of Emergency Medicine and a practicing physician at Eskenazi Hospital.

  • Dr. Leslie Hulvershorn, Chair of Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Riley Hospital, and serves as the contracted Medical Director for Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction

  • Kim Manlove, a father who lost his son to a substance use-related death. Kim will share his story and how this incredible tragedy sparked hope for others through pioneering peer recovery coaching in Indiana. 

Episode 2: On the Front Line, Part 1
For this episode of Beyond Substance we are focusing our attention on those people who work on the frontline helping people with substance use disorder in the community. 
  • Cynthia Schwomeyer, Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) Member 

  • Shane HardwickEmergency Medical Technician IEMS

  • Rebekah Gorrell, Indiana Recovery Network

Episode 3: On The Front Line, Part 2 

For this episode of Beyond Substance we are focusing our attention on those people who work on the frontline helping persons with substance use disorder in an emergency department setting.

  • Dr. Tyler Stepsis, Eskenazi Health Emergency Department

  • Dee Oliphant, RN, Eskenazi Health Emergency Department

  • Diane Buxton, Midwestern Regional Coordinator Contractor for PAL (Parents of Addicted Loved Ones)

Episode 4: Bringing Light to Law and Recovery

  • Judge David Certo was appointed to the Marion Superior Court in 2007.  He is currently assigned to a busy criminal court and hears low level felony and misdemeanor cases.  He also leads the Indianapolis Veterans Court. Judge Certo regularly teaches other judges and lawyers about mental illness and substance abuse.

  • Gina Fears – Director of Recovery Community Organizations and Community Organizations at PACE. Gina maintains a special focus on women’s recovery services through the creation of Esther’s Place, a women’s counseling center, and as a former Executive Director of Dove Recovery House for Women. Gina has trained Peer to Peer Recovery Coaches across the state of Indiana for certification, including in IDOC therapeutic communities. Additionally, Gina serves as the Quality of Life Neighborhood engagement Director for the Indy East Promise Zone’s Martindale Brightwood Neighborhood.

  • Public Action in Correctional Effort (PACE) is an organization based in Indianapolis that ensures that people returning to the community from incarceration have the tools and resources to successfully re-enter; to promote public safety through effective re-entry; and to enhance community stabilization through reduced crime and increased productivity. Learn more about PACE and get connected at

  • Horizon House supports our neighbors experiencing homelessness with integrated, comprehensive services so they can secure and maintain housing. Learn more here:

  • Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Centerprovides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services for many emotional and behavioral problems.

  • Safe Syringe Assess and Support (SSAS) provides harm reduction supplies, peer recovery support, and so much more. Visit their website to learn where you can access the services anonymously:

  • The Assessment & Intervention Center provides 24/7 assistance navigating mental health, addiction, homelessness and other socio-economic issues influencing an individual’s overall health and well-being. The AIC is FREE and can be utilized by any Marion County resident

Episode 5: What’s Stigma Got to Do With It?
For this episode of Beyond Substance we will taking a deeper dive into the stigma that complicates the journey to treatment and recovery for people with substance use disorder. We will discuss the importance of using person-first language and learn about one person’s journey to long-term recovery.
  • Kimberly Sharp RN – Director of Pain Management with Community Health Network. Kimberly works within her organization and with groups such as the Indianapolis Patient Safety Coalition on improving pain management care as it intersects with the disease of substance use disorder.  She passionately advocates for people who are stigmatized because of their disease in hopes that one day they can simply be seen as people first. Kimberly also serves as the chairman of the executive board for the Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug Free Coalition.

  • Kati Muller is in long-term recovery and is a stay-at-home mother to her 4 ½ year old daughter. She has been part of a stigma training program and hopes to do more training in the future. Kati and her daughter enjoy tie dying and have an online store on Etsy.

Episode 6: Difficult Discussions: Your Teen and Substance Use Disorder 

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will focus on substance use disorder in adolescent populations and hear about one family’s journey to recovery.

  • Chris and Sarah Platt share their family’s journey of a father and daughter relationship dealing with the challenges of substance use disorder in adolescence. 

  • Dr. Zachary Adams is a clinical psychologist and works for Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. He also works as a psychologist with IU Health Riley Hospital for the adolescent dual diagnosis program, where they take care of adolescents and families with co-occurring substance use and mental health concerns. 

Episode 7: Harm Reduction and the Safe Syringe Access and Support Program

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will focus on what harm reduction efforts look like in Marion County. 

  • Madison Weintraut is the Assistant Administrator of Infectious Disease at Marion County Public Health Department. Madison’s passion for the intersect of hepatitis C and substance use disorder placed her at the forefront of efforts to establish Indianapolis’ first legal syringe services program in 2018. The Safe Syringe Access and Support program has since served nearly 2000 unique clients on their path to health and wellness.   

  • John Lee is credentialed as a CAPRC II-FS/GS, CCHW, and is currently continuing his education in Addiction Studies through Ivy Tech Community College. As a person in long term recovery from Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder, John works to promote Recovery and advocates for others suffering from the same stigma-related issues he dealt with in his journey. His personal experiences are what motivate him and his work in the recovery field.  

Episode 8: The Power of a Mother’s Love

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will hear from two inspirational women who each lost a son to a drug overdose event. Justin and Alfie have channeled their pain into helping people with substance use disorder and their families resulting in additional programs, resources, and advocacy.

  • Justin Phillips, MA and White House Champion of Change for Advocacy, Prevention and Treatment is the Founder and Executive Director of Overdose Lifeline, Inc. (ODL) ODL is a non-profit dedicated to reducing the stigma of substance use disorder and preventing deaths resulting from opioid overdose. Justin holds a Master’s in Clinical Addition Counseling and a Master’s degree in philanthropic studies and nonprofit management. Justin is also certified in the Grief Recovery Method.® Justin is a featured speaker on the national, regional, and local circuit.

  • Alfarena T. McGinty, MBA (Alfie) has been with the Marion County Coroner’s Office for over 25 years and has served as Chief Deputy for 17 years.  As Chief Deputy Coroner, she is responsible for the agency operations, including overseeing over 4000 death investigations annually.  Alfie was responsible for alerting officials at the start of the opioid epidemic and has maintained a passion for identifying the ever-changing unfortunate trends and working to decrease deaths by working with various agencies to address prevention efforts.  Alfie serves on the board or directors of Overdose Lifeline, Mental Health America, Indianapolis, and the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.  Alfie is an adjunct faculty member at IUPUI, teaching Death Investigations.  Alfie is married with 5 children. Alfie lost her son Jimmy in July 2021 of a fentanyl overdose.

Episode 9: Health Disparities in Context

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will hear from two people who are working daily to combat health inequities by promoting public health and wellness.
  • Virginia A. Caine, MD is the Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine Infectious Diseases Division. She served as a Past President for American Public Health Association, the nation’s oldest and largest public health organization. She received the BioCrossroads “2017 August M. Watanabe Life Sciences Champion of the Year” Award. In 2020, the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) named her as one of 40 Influential People of the past 40 years, as they celebrated 40 Years of Progress in Indianapolis. She was awarded Governor Holcomb’s 2021 Circle of Corydon Award.

Dr. Caine works tirelessly to promote and advance public health through innovative programs and unprecedented collaborations. Her boundless energy, vision, and drive to serve people, especially disadvantaged areas, have led Dr. Caine to have her fingerprints on numerous projects.   Indianapolis has had the dubious distinction of many firsts.  The highest black infant mortality and syphilis rates in the country are just two issues she has tackled.  She reduced the black infant mortality to the lowest rate in the history of Indianapolis as well as lowering syphilis numbers in three years, ranked 32nd by working with the Stamp Out Syphilis Coalition.  She helped set up the first HIV/AIDS healthcare delivery system in Indianapolis. She was also instrumental in helping to establish the safety precautions in 2021 for March Madness, the Final Four NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the Indy 500.  During the COVID‐19 pandemic, she continues to be responsible for the overall safety and protection of the Marion County residents.

She is Chair of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute External Advisory Board and member of Regenstrief Institute.  She is a founding member of the Indiana Health Information Exchange. She is Chair of the National Medical Association Infectious Diseases Section, Co‐Chair of the NMA HIV/AIDS Section, and member of the National Medical Association COVID‐19 Task Force.  She is a member of the Indiana COVID Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Workgroup and board member of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Editorial Board. She is the Chair of the Indiana University Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center Community Advisory Committee.

She chairs the Managed Emergency Surge of Healthcare (MESH) Coalition, a nonprofit public‐private partnership addressing emergency preparedness in Marion County, Indiana.  She is the Chair of ‘Jump IN for Healthy Kids’, which addresses childhood obesity.  She is a past member of the National Biodefense Science Board, which provides guidance to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness.   She is currently a member of the CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases (BSC, DDID); one of CDC’s 19 federal advisory committees.

  • Natasha “Tasha Marie” Cheatham is a Social Entrepreneur from Nap (Indianapolis, IN), who specializes in embracing the simplicity of life through her businesses, Intimate Oasis and Minority Recovery Collective Inc.  (MRCI, “mercy”). With over 15 years of life and work experience, Natasha focuses on addressing cultural and family dynamics along with systemic barriers to address the root cause(s) of addiction, mental illness, and mindless violence in Black communities.

Through her work, Natasha aims to bridge the sectors of harm reduction, prevention, and recovery together to provide culturally curated programs and services that support and affirm traditionally exploited groups. Natasha leads as an advocate for the recovery of Black people, Black families, and Black communities from colonialism and white supremacy. She currently serves as the President of MRCI.

Episode 10: Solving the Puzzle of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will be learning about dual diagnosis also known as co-occurring conditions, which is the diagnosis of both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder. This can be tricky to navigate since the symptoms of one can often worsen the other condition, but comprehensive treatment is available. Check out the episode to learn more. 

  • Andy Chambers is an associate professor of psychiatry at IU School of Medicine where he is director of the Addiction Psychiatry Program at IU. His NIH-funded research has focused on understanding the biological connections between mental illness, adolescent neurodevelopment and addiction, and the discovery and delivery of novel integrative treatments for addictions and dual diagnosis disorders.

  • Sarah Gunther studied social work at IUPUI. She began her career with KEY in 2008 as a part-time warmline operator. She eventually became the Office Manager, and in March of 2019 was hired as Executive Director. Sarah strongly believes that recovery is not only possible but should be expected. She is inspired by the people she talked with on the warmline, by their strength and courage to reach out for help. Sarah works every day to reduce the shame and stigma of mental health conditions, and help people take charge of their wellness.

    • The Indiana Consultations for Healthcare providers in Addiction, Mental Health, and Perinatal (CHAMP) Psychiatry Program within Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry is an innovative adult and perinatal psychiatry access program for any provider of adult healthcare. CHAMP offers a free statewide provider-to-provider phone consultation line, referral service and educational opportunities. The program is intended for use by any healthcare provider in Indiana who sees adult or perinatal patients experiencing mental health concerns and substance use disorders to directly speak with a psychiatrist about a specific patient case or general questions. Visit the link to enroll in CHAMP:

    • Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers (Indiana Council) is a professional trade association that serves the interests of 24 community-based mental health providers in Indiana. Their member agencies offer a full range of health services such as adult, child and adolescent behavioral, addiction treatment and other programs aimed at improving the lives of citizens in their home communities. Learn more at:
    • KEY Consumer Organization is a mental health consumer-run organization based in Indianapolis, IN. KEY’s mission is to empower others to find their resiliency, mental health, and wellness through education, advocacy, and support. Learn more at:
    • 988 is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Learn more at:
    • NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Learn more at:
    • Infographic on the Comorbidity: Substance Use and Other Mental Disorders from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (

Episode 11: Why Advocacy Matters 

For this episode of Beyond Substance we will be learning about Mental Health America of Indiana (MHAI) and how this organization is working to improve mental health care for Hoosiers through advocacy efforts. 

  • Stephen McCaffrey earned his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, and been with Mental Health America of Indiana since 1991. McCaffrey is a recipient of the Webster-Kipfer Award for special achievement in public policy advocacy, former vice chairman for public affairs at the National Mental Health Association, former member of the board of directors at the National Mental Health Association, and former board member at the American Society of Mental Health Association Professionals. McCaffrey was named to the national directory of Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals and by the Indiana Business Journal as a member of Who’s Who in Indiana Health Care. McCaffrey received gubernatorial appointments to the Indiana Mental Health Commission and the Medicaid Quality Advisory Committee. McCaffrey served as chair of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Committee.

  • Stephanie L. Anderson, LCSW is the Chief Operating Officer for MHAI.  Stephanie holds bachelor’s degrees in both Criminal Justice and Ballet from Indiana University.  She received her Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in working with at-risk, delinquent youth and their families. As the Deputy Director of Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services at DMHA she was responsible for leading Division initiatives related to Adult Forensic Populations, Serious Mental Illness, Addiction Treatment, State Opioid Treatment Programs, Services for Homeless Populations and Veterans, and Emergency Preparedness.  In her role as the Executive Director of Addiction Recovery Services for the IDOC, Stephanie and her team led the transformation of Addiction Recovery Services in all State-run correctional facilities and was responsible for ongoing clinical addiction treatment, addiction recovery programming, and the integration of addiction treatment with mental health and physical health services for the Department. 

  • Mental Health America of Indiana 

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  • 988 is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Learn more at:

  • Crisis Now provide all communities a roadmap to safe, effective crisis care that diverts people in distress from the emergency department and jail by developing a continuum of crisis care services that match people’s clinical needs. 

Episode 12: Stigma Can Be Deadly 

Dr. Melissa Cyders earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2009. She has been a faculty member in Psychology at IUPUI since 2009 and is the Director of Clinical Training for Clinical Psychology PhD program at IUPUI. Her research focuses on how impulsivity and its neurocognitive functions underlie risk-taking, with a special focus on alcohol and substance use disorder. 

Dr. Melissa Fry is Director of the Applied Research and Education Center (AREC) and Associate Professor of Sociology at IU Southeast. At the AREC, Dr. Fry and a team of research assistants conduct community-based research and evaluation, including several projects in prevention and treatment of substance use disorder, and integration of primary and behavioral health care services with treatment for substance use disorders. Dr. Fry worked as a behavioral health case manager in a community mental health center and wrote her dissertation on case management in behavioral health and aging services. Her work focuses on identifying and pursuing leverage points for systems change.  

Danielle Burkett has been a Certified Peer Recovery Coach since the end of 2016 and is in long term recovery herself. Since March of 2022 she has been recovering from a stroke but decided to finish school and got her Master’s in social work in April 2023. Danielle’s passion lies with youth and the incarcerated. Danielle has worked inside 3 county jails and 1 work release since she has become a Peer Recovery Coach. This year marks 8 years that she has been out of the justice system. From 12 years old to 35 she struggled with staying out of the justice system because of her addiction to substances. Since the stroke, she didn’t have the internal barriers from her trauma, so she founded the non-profit, Unlikely Journeys, Inc, in August 2022 to help youth in the justice system with their trauma. 

Episode 13: Beyond the Show: Looking Back on Season 1 

In this episode, the entire podcast team (Dean, Jodi, Shawn, Angela, and Mandy) share their perspectives and highlights from the first season of Beyond Substance Podcast. Listeners will learn more about each podcast team member’s inspiration for working in the substance use disorder field and their favorite takeaways from the first 12 episodes. 


Dean Babcock, LCSW, LCAC has a 30-year history of working in the Indianapolis community advancing the creation and improvement of professional treatment for addictive and mental health disorders. He retired from Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health Center in 2018, where he served the community for 22 years in clinical and administrative executive leadership. Additionally, during that time he served as the Site Principal Investigator for the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Clinical Trials Network, assisting in the design and implementation of research studies for drug abuse treatment. He is a published author on numerous articles related to the implementation of evidence practices for addiction treatment. Prior to his time at Eskenazi Health, he served in a clinical and leadership role in the Department of Psychiatry for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center here in Indianapolis. In addition to his employment, he has been instrumental on many community-based projects and boards in the area. He is both a local and national speaker on the topic of addiction.



Jodi Miller is the Deputy Director and Manager of Peer Supports for the Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition with Mental Health America of Indiana. She is a Certified Addictions Peer Recovery Coach Level II and a Certified Health & Wellness Coach with a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University. Her work experience includes Women’s Coordinator at Fairbanks Supportive Living Program where she completed her internship in Women’s Recovery Management. Jodi does peer recovery coaching with women in the Hamilton County Jail where she introduced her own wellness program teaching guided meditations and vision building. She serves on SAMHSA’s Recovery Community Services Program – Statewide Networks Advisory Board, DMHA’s Recovery Support Workgroup and Indiana’s Recovery Council. Jodi is a person in long term recovery dedicating her life to statewide advocacy and carrying the message of peace, love and hope for the recovery community.



Mandy Billman, MPH, works as the Quality Improvement & Special Projects Manager on the Overdose Data to Action Grant for the Marion County Public Health Department. She is working on projects to innovate overdose data dissemination, reduce stigma towards substance use disorder, and identify sustainability opportunities for grant funded initiatives. Mandy graduated from Purdue University with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in 2011 and has spent the past 11 years working at the state and local level to improve public health in Indiana. Her passion for public health became focused on helping people with substance use disorder after losing her brother to a drug overdose in 2015. Mandy lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is looking forward to becoming a foster parent soon.



How to get involved

Do you have suggestions on future topic to cover on this podcast? Do you want to share your story with substance use disorder? If so, e-mail us at: