Who We Are

April Young, PhD (University of Kentucky)

April Young

Dr. Young completed her Ph.D. at Emory University in Fall 2013, after which she began her career as a professor at the University of Kentucky. Prior to attending Emory, she received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Transylvania University and completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Kentucky with concentrations in health behavior and epidemiology. Her research experiences to date have been diverse, including studies on HCV, HIV, substance abuse, sexual risk behavior, and vaccine acceptance. The settings for this research have been equally varied, including Appalachia, Atlanta, the Philippines, and Nairobi, Kenya. She has been doing research in Eastern Kentucky since 2009. For more information, visit Dr. Young’s profile here.

Hannah Cooper, ScD (Emory University)

Hannah Cooper

Dr. Cooper is currently the Vice Chair for Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Co-Director of the Prevention Sciences Core for Emory University’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Director of the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) Program on the Social Determinants of Health and of the RSPH Certificate Program in the Sociocontextual Determinants of Health at Emory University. Her research expertise includes studying the social determinants of health, with a particular focus on the social determinants of drug use, drug users’ health, and health disparities. She applies multilevel, geospatial, and qualitative methods to explore these topics. For more information, visit Dr. Cooper’s profile here.

Veronica Jones

Project Coordinator for CARE2Hope, Veronica has an undergraduate degree in Advanced Science. She has spent the past 10 years dedicated to making an impact in Eastern, KY with the drug epidemic that has effected every family. She has always had a strong desire to help others and her community. Veronica’s focus has been working with those who suffer from addiction themselves, as well as the impact it has made on their families, communities, and economics.  Veronica is eager to be a part of the research that will help to gather information, to supply to the community that will allow a forward approach in addressing, and providing resources to best address the crises of opioid addiction.

Travis Green

Travis Green

Travis Green is a community researcher who works out of the Morehead, KY office. Travis graduated with his BSW from Morehead State University in December 2015. Travis has an interest in human behavior, specifically how environmental factors effect risk behavior in vulnerable and suppressed populations. Travis has focused his professional career on working with individuals who experience substance use disorders and the effects of substance abuse on the individual, the family, and the community.

Rhonda Alexander

CRhonda is currently a Retention Coordinator for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate work at Morehead State University with a Bachelor Degree in Sociology. She completed her Masters in the Art of Criminology at Morehead State University as well and completed her thesis on Substance Abuse and Hope Theory.  Rhonda presented her findings at the ASC in San Francisco, CA.  As a graduate assistant at MSU, Rhonda assisted in the research study of Hope Theory through qualitative and quantitative interviews of clients in rehabilitation.  Rhonda is interested in the impact the opioid epidemic has had on families in Eastern KY and the trends of how the drug of choice has changed as state laws have restricted the prescribing of opioids.   


Amanda is currently a Community Researcher for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate work at Morehead State University with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2013. She has a passion to help families that are in need. Seeing how the drug epidemic has affecting families and children she wants to help and make a difference in the growing epidemic of opioid addiction. Amanda has worked in many roles to help have an impact of the drug epidemic.

Connor VanMeter

Connor VanMeter is a research assistant for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. He graduated from UK in May 2018 with a B.S. in Biotechology and a B.S. in Computer Science. During his undergraduate, he focused on nutrition education and community-based hunger relief efforts. He is interested in understanding community networks and their impact on individual and community long-term well-being.

Mary Beth Lawson

Beth Lawson

Mary Beth, consultant for CARE2HOPE, grew up in the rural community of Elliott County and graduated from Morehead State University with a degree in social sciences. She has served the residents of Appalachia in the fields of college access and children’s mental health for nearly 20 years. Her familial experience with substance abuse and its long reaching effects on rural communities serves as the driving force behind her desire to address the opioid epidemic with a systematic yet community-based response approach. She previously served as Project Coordinator for CARE2HOPE.

Cindy Jolly

Cindy Jolly

Cindy previously was a Community Researcher for the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University with a University Studies Degree in Social Sciences. She completed her Masters in the Art of Teaching in Social Studies from Morehead State University in 2012 and is currently completing the counseling component of her MAT. Cindy is interested on the impact of substance abuse and addiction related to the family structure and its effect on children and adolescents.