Austin Eubanks is an expert in the addiction treatment industry and a nationally recognized professional speaker and media contributor on topics surrounding drug policy, behavioral health, addiction, and trauma.
An injured survivor of the Columbine shooting, Austin’s traumatic experience as a teen was the catalyst to his painful journey through addiction. Now in long-term recovery, he has devoted his career to helping those who have turned to substances as a result of trauma. Austin has spoken to millions across the country regarding strategies for addressing the issues around substance abuse that are plaguing the nation. His work and personal story has garnered the interest of countless major media outlets including the BBC, People Magazine, and the New York Times. Austin has provided expert commentary for Face The Nation, Vice News, CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.
Sheriff Nocco is a newly appointed member of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. There are 15 members of the council and is chaired by Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody. The Council on Human Trafficking works to identify and develop strategies to stop trafficking and help survivors heal. Its duties include developing recommendations for comprehensive programs and services including recommendations for certification of safe houses and safe foster homes; making recommendations for apprehending and prosecuting traffickers and enhancing coordination of responses; hosting an annual statewide policy summit with an institution of higher learning; working with the Department of Children and Families to create and maintain an inventory of human trafficking programs and services in our state; and developing overall policy recommendations.
Gail Ryder is responsible for the continuum of services across the five counties of Tampa Bay for BayCare Behavioral Health. The programs include acute inpatient, residential, detox, rehabilitation and outpatient services.
Unique to this service is the behavioral health integration with primary care, a novel coaching and navigation initiative for patients with mental illness, and a broad array of EAP services; targeted to distinct employer types such as schools, colleges and churches.
In 2013, Gail was responsible for the establishment of the Neuroscience Service Line at BayCare. This service line encompasses neurology and neurosurgery. Current efforts include work in stroke and memory care. She has devoted 35 years of her career to caring for the mentally ill.
Rod Cunningham is the Community Outreach Manager for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s DEA 360 Tampa Bay Initiative. The DEA 360 strategy is a comprehensive approach tackling the cycle of violence and addiction generated by the link between drug cartels, violent gangs, and the rising problem of prescription opioid, heroin and fentanyl abuse in U.S. cities. The DEA 360 involves coordinated Law Enforcement operations partnered with diversion control. Rod engages in community outreach and partnerships with local organizations, equipping and empowering communities to fight the opioid epidemic. Rod retired from the Air Force after 29 years of dedicated service to our country at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, representing the Top 1% of the USAF’s enlisted corps. He has developed curriculum for the Department of Juvenile Justice and multiple youth organizations and serves as a member of multiple boards across the Tampa Bay area.
Melanie Snow Waxler is the Associate Dean of Marketing, Communications and Media Relations for Pasco-Hernando State College. Originally from East Tennessee, she began her career as a television news reporter. Working as a reporter and anchor, she moved from Knoxville to Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville and then finally settled in the Tampa Bay area. Over the years, she has covered all types of news and was awarded an Associated Press Award for Live TV News Coverage, among other awards. Her husband is currently a reporter for ABC Action News in Tampa and they have two sons, ages 12 and 7. After the birth of their second son, she left television and worked as a Public Information Officer for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office before joining the faculty of PHSC. She is currently working on her doctoral degree in educational leadership and is a published novelist. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing CrossFit, running, and writing her next novel.