Our Staff

The people who work at Prevention Action Alliance share in our mission of leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness. We’re dedicated professionals who are passionate about prevention, and we’re excited to get to know you.

PAA Staff

Executive Director Fran Gerbig

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Fran joined Prevention Action Alliance as Assistant Executive Director in 2017 after enjoying a long-standing relationship with our agency, which included serving on our committees and participating in our learning collaborative. In July 2020, she took the position of Executive Director.

At Prevention Action Alliance, Fran supervises staff, assists in program and grant development, and represents our agency at various state and local committees, boards, and coalitions. She is a member of ADAPAO (the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio) and the Ohio Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Steering Committee as well as a member of the Coalition for Healthy Communities and the Ohio Prevention Advocacy Network.

Previously, Fran worked as the Health and Wellness Manager for Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery in Canton, Ohio, where she coordinated Drug Free Stark County, a Drug Free Communities-funded substance misuse prevention coalition. Fran has earned a bachelor’s degree in child and family ecology from the University of Akron in Ohio and a Master of Public Health in health planning and administration from the University of Tennessee, and she is an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant.

Deputy Executive Director Bobby Persinger

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Bobby joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2019 as the director of the Ohio College Initiative and The G.A.P. Network. Now, Bobby serves as the deputy executive director of Prevention Action Alliance.

With nearly 25 years in prevention, Bobby has had the privilege of leading environmental campaigns, collegiate wellness initiatives, youth-led projects, and local coalition development. Prior to joining PAA, he has worked in non-profit and educational institutions most recently serving as the Director of the Center for Prevention Services at Pathways of Central Ohio in Newark, Ohio.

Bobby is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University and is a certified prevention consultant (OCPC), bullying prevention specialist (BPS), and mental health specialist (MHS). In his spare time, Bobby enjoys traveling, coffee shops, new restaurants, and spending time with people who make him laugh.

Community Prevention Manager James Syphax

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James serves Prevention Action Alliance as community prevention manager. James’ background in prevention includes serving as the coalition coordinator for a county-wide coalition as well as several years serving as a primary prevention provider in schools across two counties. While providing direct service, James worked with school administrators to implement programs such as Botvin LifeSkills, S.S. Grin, and Signs of Suicide. James also served as an administrator, working in human resources, for one of the largest treatment centers in the State of Ohio.

James joined the Prevention Action Alliance team in 2019 and is excited to use his skill set to serve all areas of Ohio.

Advocacy and Public Policy Liaison Jean-Philippe Dorval

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Jean-Philippe Dorval serves Prevention Action Alliance as the Advocacy and Public Policy Liaison with plans to continue his journey toward being an advocate for improved, equitable health outcomes in Ohio’s most vulnerable communities.

Originally from Upstate New York, Jean-Philippe’s Haitian heritage and experiences growing up sparked an early interest in public service. This interest has guided him through all of the opportunities and positions he has held thus far and continues to inspire him today. Through his role as Manager of Legislative Affairs and Administrative Services, Jean-Philippe aims to use his experience and love for public service to help increase Prevention Action Alliance’s impact and reach.

Prior to joining PAA, he served as the Senior Legislative Aide to the Ohio Senate’s Assistant Minority Leader, Senator Charleta B. Tavares of the 15th District. In his role as Senior Legislative Aide, he was responsible for numerous administrative and legislative duties, including but not limited to legislative research, bill tracking, constituent relations, and stakeholder organization.

Jean-Philippe has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Chicago and has done work in the Chicago Public Schools System, the Office of Presidential Correspondence under the Obama administration, and 270 Strategies, a Chicago-based management consulting firm. He enjoys playing basketball, listening to and making music, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Youth-Led Prevention Coordinator Evi Roberts

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Evi joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2018 to bring her advocacy efforts to the statewide level. She transitioned from Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery where she coordinated the Stark County Youth-Led Prevention Coalition. Before that, she earned her Master of Public Administration from the Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs at Ohio University and completed internships at America’s Essential Hospitals in Washington, D.C. and the OhioMHAS Prevention Bureau.

Now, Evi coordinates youth-led prevention, supports its expansion across the state, and represents the organization at several statewide committees: the OhioMHAS Planning Council, the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success Evidence-Based Practices Workgroup, and ADAPAO’s Young Prevention Professional’s Project (YP³).

Education and Events Coordinator Brittany Koza

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Brittany joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2018 and serves as the Education and Events Coordinator to combine her skill in planning events with her passion for helping others.  She focuses her time on planning the details of and coordinating the logistics for the various trainings, summits, conferences, rallies, and other events that Prevention Action Alliance hosts. She also coordinates the use of the Matthew B. Schoonover Educational Center. Brittany has a degree in English from The Ohio State University and spends her free time going to concerts, watching movies, reading books, and spending time with her dog, Max.

Project Assistant Lauren Marshall

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Lauren joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2019 after graduating from The Ohio State University. She came on to work in a support role for all PAA staff, helping where necessary and learning along the way. Lauren hopes to gain experience in nonprofit work and to use that knowledge to make an impactful difference in the world around her, as well as employing the skills learned to further her career in the field. When not at work, Lauren enjoys biking, visiting national parks, and spending time with loved ones (and their pets).

Accountant Sondra Mellott

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Sondra joined Prevention Action Alliance in 2019 to serve as the agency’s accountant. In addition to running financial reports and looking over balance sheets, she ensures that the agency’s operations continue by drawing down grants, preparing for audits, and paying vendors. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is currently working to complete her master’s at Strayer University. She enjoys spending time with her family in Kentucky, listening to music and traveling.

Communications Officer Nathan Kraatz

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Nathan left the newspaper business to become Prevention Action Alliance’s communications officer in 2016. He handles media requests and social media and supports staff members and their programs. Previously, he worked as a reporter in Ohio and Mississippi, where he reported on several topics, including substance misuse. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Intermont College.