Stop Stigma Now
Board of Directors

Executive Board Members

Sy Demsky

11130155_1407065882943935_5262599834459276307_nSy was the Director of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Narcotics Rehabilitation Center from 1970 to 2001 when he retired. From 1975 to 1999 he was the President and CEO of Auto Assess, Inc., a computerized testing company in the field of addiction. Presently, he is the Owner/President of Sy Demsky & Associates, a Health Care & Consulting Company.

In 2013 he was elected President of the Board of National Development Research Inc. USA. (NDRI-USA). In 2014 he assumed the Presidency of the Board of Stop Stigma Now (SSN), a 501(C) (3) organization whose goal is to eradicate the stigma attached to (MAT) for Substance Abuse patients.

Sy has been a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, and Founder and first President of the New York State Committee of methadone Program Administrators (COMPA). Sy has received many prestigious awards including the Dole/Nyswander Award for outstanding lifetime service to the addiction field, as well as the Unsung Hero Award from the Carron Foundation. He has collaborated and co-investigated eight grants and studies with NDRI.

John Phillips

img_4308John F. Phillips has been Co-Founder of Creative Socio-Medics Corp. since 1968. Mr. Phillips served as the President of Creative Socio-Medics Corp. since June 1994. Mr. Phillips served as Vice President of Netsmart Technologies Inc. from June 1994 until April 2004. In 1965, Mr. Phillips worked at Control Data Corporation as the Marketing Manager. Prior to this Marketing position, he served as a salesman at Honeywell.

Mr. Phillips business philosophy and focus is on excellent service. Mr. Phillips has been a Director of Netsmart Technologies Inc. since June 1994. Mr. Phillips attended United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, where he earned his BS degree. Mr. Phillips later attended Saint John’s University in New York where he received his MBA.

Robert Sage, PhD
Vice President

bob_sage_cropDr. Sage has worked in the field of chemical dependency since 1973. His work with the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC) included serving as a clinician, trainer, and researcher; Coordinator of Mental Health Services; Vice President of Treatment Services; and Senior Vice President. He was responsible for program development and implementation, clinic operations, treatment services, staff training, and compliance issues for ARTC’s seven methadone maintenance treatment programs and two medically supervised drug-free programs, serving more than 3,000 patients.

Dr. Sage has also been responsible for facilitating the implementation of psychosocial research conducted by ARTC’s Research Division. In exercising similar administrative responsibilities for programs managed by ARTC’s affiliated agency, the Urban Resource Institute (URI), he also supervised research and evaluation studies for URI’s alcoholism treatment program and domestic violence shelters. He also served as a Program  Surveyor for CARF, the agency that provides  national accreditation for medication assisted treatment programs throughout the United States and assisted with programs to meet optimal medication assisted  treatment standards for opiate addiction treatment. Dr. Sage has presented at numerous local and national conferences and conducts, presents, and publishes research and evaluation studies.


Stephen W. Paul, CPA

Mr. Paul has a professional background in corporate and not-for-profit organizations. The first twenty years of his career were shaped in Accounting and Finance roles at BDO, Pepsico, NBC and GE Capital. He moved to the not-for-profit realm twelve years ago taking leadership roles at Edison Schools (charter school management), Columbia University, Natural Resources Defense Council, and is currently the Chief Financial Officer at the Center for Jewish History.

Steve, his wife and their 18 year old daughter live in New Rochelle, NY.


Joycelyn Woods

Joycelyn Woods brings a solid history in research and psychological methods for private and governmental funds, including project development, supervision of volunteers and staff, collection of data, statistical analysis using SPSS or microcomputers and manuscript preparation for publication or presentation to Stop Stigma Now. Her experience is in life sciences, biological psychology, psychopharmacology with an emphasis on methodology, research and treatment of substance use.

She is Project Coordinator for the MARS Project and Executive Director of NAMA Recovery.She graduated from Hunter College, CUNY.


Ellen Friedman, PhD, LCSW, CASAC

Dr. Friedman’s background includes serving as Associate Director of Support Services at Beth Israel MMTP, directing substance abuse programs at St Barnabas Hospital and Greenwich House and most recently implementing and overseeing The New York State OASAS HOPEline for Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling. Dr. Friedman is an Associate Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work and has presented at ;pcal, natiomal and international conferences and contributed four book chapters on clinical issues. Dr. Friedman was awarded The Make a Difference Award by the Commissioner of OASAS, is a consultant/supervisor at LESC and maintains a private practice.

Dr. Friedman graduated from Brooklyn College. Hunter Silberman School of Social Work, Metropolitan Institute and New York University.


Herman Joseph, PhD

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Herman Joseph, PhD worked for over 50 years as a social research scientist in the interrelated fields of addiction, treatment, criminal justice, street studies, homelessness, basic research and program development at the NYC Office of Probation, the Rockefeller University and the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

In OASAS he organized the Crack Cocaine Research Working Group, later known as the Chemical Dependency Research Working Group. With the support of Aaron Diamond Grants he organized a series of symposia and conferences covering major aspects of addiction, research and treatment, including a consortium of major medical centers to study neonates exposed to cocaine/crack in utero.   Other projects and studies included addressing the HIV epidemic in NYC: the need for harm reduction services and the spread of HIV, HBV and HCV among street/homeless population who used shelters, soup kitchens and medical vans; developing a statewide network of medical maintenance clinics, still in existence; presenting the first conference on chemical dependency and disability as well as the first conference on hepatitis C and the chemically dependent patient; assisting mentally ill homeless to obtain housing; studies of the biology of crack cocaine, pain management and chemically dependent patients, and medical maintenance by private physicians. He also authored a major study on social stigma targeting the methadone program and patients and worked at introducing the use of the buprenorphine-naloxone combination in harm reduction and at Rikers Island jail.

Dr. Joseph authored or co-authored about 125 published papers and government reports and has also given numerous presentations on addiction and other issues at national and international conferences.

Additional Board Members

  • John Galea
  • Brenda Davis
  • Robert Krauss
  • David Lichtenstein
  • Dan McGill
  • Joseph Neuberger
  • Yngvild Olsen, MD
  • Philip Paris, MD
  • Steve Rabinowitz
  • Desire Renaud, EdD
  • Kathleen Yee, Esq.

Advisory Committee

  • Melissa Freeman, MD
  • David Hutson
  • Elizabeth Khuri, MD (2002-2017)
  • Denise McIntee
  • Robert Newman, MD
  • Beny Primm, MD (2002-2015)
  • Andrew Rosenblum, PhD
  • Barry Stimmel, MD (2002–2015)
  • Alex Wodak, MD