Stop Stigma Now Board of Directors


Executive Board Members


Sy Demsky

Sy Demsky is also President of the Board of National Development Research Inc. (NDRI-USA.) He collaborated on eight grants and studies with NDRI. Sy 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.

He is the owner and President of Sy Demsky & Associates, a Health Care & Consulting Company. Sy was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, and the founder and first President of the New York State Committee of Methadone Program Administrators (COMPA.) He has received many distinguished awards, including the Dole/Nyswander Award for outstanding lifetime service to the addiction field, and the Unsung Hero Award from the notable Carron Foundation.

John Phillips

John F. Phillips is the Co-Founder of Creative Socio-Medics Corp. (now Netsmart Technologies) the leading patient information company in Behavioral Health and Addictions. Started in 1968 it is one of the oldest software companies in the world. John was responsible for hundreds of information systems projects over the forty years before his retirement, and is now responsible for systems and automation in SSN.


Robert Sage, PhD
Vice President

Dr. 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. Dr.Sage 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, presented, and published 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.


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 Adjunct Professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work and has presented at local, national 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.

Joycelyn Woods, MA, CMA

Joycelyn Sue Woods has a degree in neuroscience and did some of the early work on opiate receptor mapping. A methadone patient advocate for over thirty years working with the Committee of Concerned Methadone Patients (CCMP), she helped to establish the Association of ex-Drug Addicts for Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) and the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery). She has served on policy making committees including patient representative for methadone and buprenorphine regulations. She is a recipient of the Richard Lane-William Holden Patient Advocacy Award, and the Drug Information Association (DIA) Fellowship. Joycelyn is the Project Coordinator for the MARS Project and Executive Director of NAMA Recovery where she serves as liaison to SSN.

Board Members

  • Kathleen E. Coughlin
  • Brenda Davis
  • John Galea
  • Herman Joseph, PhD
  • Robert Krauss
  • David Lichtenstein
  • Robert Lubran
  • Dan McGill
  • Joseph Neuberger
  • Philip Paris, MD
  • Steve Rabinowitz
  • Desire Renaud, EdD

Advisory Committee

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