Board of Directors
Joanne Peterson is the Founder and Executive Director of Learn to Cope, a non-profit peer-led support organization that was started in 2004 for families dealing with addiction. Joanne is also a parent of a son in long term recovery from opioid addiction which all began with OxyContin. Learn to Cope (LTC) is a unique solutions-based support, advocacy and educational organization for family members and loved ones of those addicted to opioids and other drugs. Learn to Cope has a website which provides a private support forum with over 9,000 registered families locally and nationally, as well as 27 chapters throughout Massachusetts, 2 chapters in Florida and 1 in Idaho which hold weekly meetings. LTC provides peer support and education with the focus on coping with the danger, stress and emotions related to this crisis. LTC provides informational resources regarding the disease of addiction and realistic strategies for treatment and recovery based on the real-world experiences of members. LTC provides training on overdose prevention, including how to recognize the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of opioid overdose, and how to save the lives of family members if they should see these symptoms. When LTC became included in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Narcan Pilot Program, it was the first parent network in the nation to provide the overdose reversal antidote, Narcan (nasal Naloxone) to its members. Of the over 200 volunteer parent facilitators, more than 80 are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to train members on overdose prevention, narcan administration, and enrollment in the Narcan pilot program. Since LTC became a pilot site in Massachusetts in December of 2011, over 120 members have saved a life using Narcan. LTC has been successful in getting many young people off the street and into the treatment they need, while also helping families find their own recovery.
Learn to Cope has been recognized both locally and nationally through many media outlets including: Time Magazine, the New York Times, Renew Magazine, A&E’S Intervention, NPR Radio, Cape Cod Times, the Brockton Enterpriss “Wasted Youth” series, Geraldo at Large, FOX News, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, WCVB TV’s Chronicle. LTC has also participated in a follow up documentary for the Emmy Award winning Current TV’s “OxyContin Express” which aired in May 2011. Joanne and LTC members were interviewed on the Katie Couric show and NBC Nightly News with Kate Snow. Joanne has testified numerous times at the State House in Boston, before Congress in Washington D.C., and at several FDA meetings. Joanne is a member of the expert panel for Brandeis University Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Center of Excellence, a committee member for the nation FED UP Coalition, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Recovery Research Institute and the RIZE Board, a statewide private-sector effort formed to battle the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. On behalf of Learn to Cope, Joanne has received numerous awards for her advocacy efforts regarding the dangers of prescription drugs in communities throughout Massachusetts.
Koren Cappiello, CPS, MPA, MSW, LICSW
Koren Cappiello is the Director of Community and Social Services for the Office of the Mayor in the City of Brockton. In her role, Ms. Cappiello oversees and manages over $2.5 million in city grants related to social service programs targeting homeless prevention and assistance, gang prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, and elder services. She also serves as the Mayor’s representative on numerous committees and coalitions, and collaborates with community partners to pursue additional grant funding. In addition, Ms. Cappiello oversees programs for youth including: Brockton After Dark, and the annual Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, along with supervising the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow assigned to the Mayor’s Office.
A graduate of Stonehill College, Ms. Cappiello also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Bridgewater State University. She is a licensed social worker in the State of Massachusetts. Ms. Cappiello is a former Peace Corps volunteer, having served in Cape Verde, West Africa for two and a half years. She is the former coordinator of the Brockton Mayor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition where she performed overdose awareness and prevention work throughout the community. In addition to her duties with the Mayor’s Office, Ms. Cappiello works per-diem as a therapist at Northeast Health Services, and as a clinician at High Point Treatment Center. Along with serving as clerk on the Learn to Cope Board, she also serves on the area Board of the Department of Children and Families.
Diane Hickey possesses a vast amount of experience working with addiction, and her passion for helping those suffering is innate. her journey began in the early 1980’s when she and her former husband moved to Florida to find recovery. However, it wasn’t easy for her husband who had early bouts with relapse, thus she began attending Alanon. It was there that Diane learned that addiction was an inherited disease, recognizing the obstacles that arise when caring for someone who struggles with a substance abuse disorder.
Diane became a critical care nurse in a large hospital, and after a few years moved up to a management position. She worked alongside other managers, learned policies and procedures, mentored other nurses, and became an advocate for patients. Diane earned the honor of employee of the year, and in 1991 she and another woman opened up a women’s halfway house. At the time, there were very few places in Fort Lauderdale that provided a safe environment for those dealing with addiction to build self-esteem and recover from substance abuse disorders. When, after 25 years in recovery, her husband relapsed and eventually passed away, Diane’s determination to help others only grew.
Diane now has over 32 years experience working families in all stages of crisis, as well as with adults dealing with co-occurring and substance abuse disorders. Her extensive background includes work with men and women in detox, drug and alcohol treatment, outpatient treatment, aftercare, sober living, and recovery. She knows first-hand what it takes to build and operate an effective drug addiction treatment center, and continues to use her own understanding of the disease of addiction to help others. Diane currently works at Cornerstone Recovery Center in as the Chief Operating Officer.
Lori Long is the Director of Community Relations at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, MA, where she oversees the Medical Center’s Community Benefit Programming. In this role she has been instrumental in assuring that substance abuse remains a top priority. When a community health needs assessment identified family support for parents of young opiate addicts was a critical need on the North Shore, she led the charge to bring Learn To Cope to Salem.
Prior to her community role, Ms. Long served 20 years as an attorney in the health care and non-profit field, working for state government, a large Boston law firm, and then as general counsel to a hospital organization.
Peggy Murphy is a member of Learn to Cope who attributes her son’s long term recovery to the learnings gained in meetings. She is a founding member of Rally 2 Recovery (R2R), a series of fundraising and educational events for Learn to Cope. Responsible for fundraising and sponsor relations and sits on the executive committee responsible for planning, marketing and outreach (appeared on Worcester Cable Network TV and WTAG radio speaking on the resource Learn to Cope and the Rally). Conceptualized and organizing the first conference on addiction for families and loved ones suffering from SUD supporting LTC. Peggy was the Co-founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Education Foundation (WEF). Instrumental in obtaining the Foundation’s non-profit 501c3 status. Responsible for community-based fundraising including an annual appeal, fundraising galas, and the solicitation of local businesses. Peggy was also the Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Rectory School Parent’s Association, an Independent, co-educational, junior boarding (Grades 5-9) and Day School (early childhood). Formed to improve the interaction between students and families, and the school’s administration, faculty and staff in an effort to facilitate student and family acclimation to the school community. Co-founder and Board President of The Children’s Center responsible for establishing the Center’s non-profit 501c3 status under the umbrella of The First Congregational Church of Woodstock, CT. Anchored financial support from Crabtree and Evelyn, Inc. as a corporate sponsor, was responsible for all aspects of licensing and accreditation with the state of Connecticut, hiring a program director, purchasing all necessary equipment and supplies, coordinating insurance policies, and subsequent fundraising efforts to provide scholarships for families in need. Instrumental in obtaining the prestigious National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. Outreach Manager for The Last Green Valley, Inc. for the National Heritage Corridor. Partner, Aging Well Partners and Certified Aging in Place Specialist providing guidance and resources for geriatric care management, offering a wide range of services designed to assist families with senior loved ones, at every stage of the aging spectrum.
As a mother of a college-aged young woman who fell into addiction to OxyContin then heroin, Mary attended the very first meeting of Learn to Cope with her husband. In the years that followed, Mary was active in the growing organization by establishing its non-profit status, and working on the Fundraising Committee and the Family Overdose Prevention initiative. She also helped create an anti-drug coalition in her community with outreach to the schools, a cable TV show, and community awareness meetings. She is also a Certified Narcan Trainer where she trains Learn to Cope members on overdose education and administration of nasal naloxone. Today Mary is the part-time website communication specialist for Learn to Cope. Mary spends countless hours providing support and resources to those individuals that email our website and monitors our discussion board. Mary is a Certified Medical Assistant on the South Shore. She and her husband live in Abington with their children. Her daughter is in long-term recovery today.
Carol Kowalski, RN, MSN, CADAC
Carol Kowalski is the Site Director for High Point’s Meadowbrook Campus, a 184 bed in-patient addiction treatment center in Brockton serving men, women and adolescents. She is a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) and has worked in the field of addictions for over thirty years. She is currently a committee member of the Board of Registration in Nursing’s Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, which monitors nurses in their recovery. She is also a member of the International Nurses Society on Addictions and the Brockton Mayor Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition.
Marguerite Egan Roberts, RNC, MS, NP
Marguerite Roberts is Director of the Family Resource Center in Behavioral Health at the MassGeneral for Children’s Hospital at North Shore Medical Center in Salem. She co-founded the Pediatric Behavioral Health Resource Center in 2003 for families and professionals, and helped to establish the North Shore Chapter of Learn to Cope in 2007.
Ms. Roberts has extensive experience in co-developing family education programs, including: Grief After Substance Passing North Shore, Sibshop Collaborative of the Northeast, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher for Teens and Adults at the acclaimed North Shore Recovery High School and community, as well as a researcher on MBSR in Teens.
She has been a Member of the Clinical Advisory Board at MassGeneral for Children at NSMC, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Board Member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Greater North Shore, a Pediatric Health representative for Danvers CARES; and has served on the drug prevention coalition, the Lynn Overdose Prevention Committee, and the Hamilton-Wenham Drug Prevention Coalition.