Board of Directors

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John J. Coppola, MSW


In addition to serving as President of the Board for the Alliance, John J. Coppola, MSW, is Executive Director of the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP) and has been serving in that capacity for twenty-six years.

Prior to that, John worked for Catholic Charities Diocese of Albany for fifteen years as the Executive Director of their office in Montgomery County and as Program Director for their Substance Abuse Program.

John has served in leadership roles on a national and state level for multiple government task forces and committees, providing leadership on service provider/association boards and committees. John has received numerous awards, primarily for his service in the SUD field in NYS and nationally. John has also served on a number of Boards of Directors for community-based and other organizations.


Joe Yetto

Vice President

Joe Yetto has served as a Board Member for the Alliance for Positive Health since 2020 and enjoys working to help the organization reduce the impact and incidence of serious medical and social conditions.

Joe is the President of Cyberstone, a cybersecurity consulting firm company that specializes in mitigating cyber threats and vulnerabilities for organizations across the United States.

He has worked in the information technology and cybersecurity industries for over 15 years and is passionate about helping business executives understand information security risks and exposure so that they can build effective cybersecurity programs and protective control frameworks.

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Joan Regan Hayner


Joan is a seasoned healthcare executive, and accounting and finance professional. She is known for strategic decision-making, transformational leadership, and translating mission into action. As a healthcare executive, Joan has amassed an exemplary record of leading innovative change, growing market share, and developing high-performing teams. During her tenure as a key executive, Joan has executed several strategic initiatives including mergers and acquisitions which led to the largest independent multi-specialty physician group in the Capital Region and was the first in the region to transform into a value-based model of care delivery successfully. Joan was also instrumental in the formation of several successful joint ventures which served to benefit the health and well-being of the community.

Joan has been recognized with many awards, including the Albany Business Review Inaugural list of 50 Most Influential People in Capital Region Business, the Albany Business Review 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame, Capital Region Chamber Women of Excellence, Capital Region YWCA Resourceful Women, Albany Business Review Women Who Mean Business. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount University and holds certificates in management and public health from Northwestern University and Harvard School of Public Health, respectively.

Another passion of Joan's is competitive ballroom dancing. She has successfully competed at many regional and national competitions, winning numerous titles. She attributes ballroom dance and her two wonderful children, Elizabeth and Greg, with "keeping her sane" in the midst of a remarkably busy life!

Following her passion for helping those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other chronic issues, Joan has served three terms as president and three terms as treasurer for the Alliance for Positive Health.

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Yvette Kelly, LMHC


Yvette Kelly, LMHC, is the Director of Children Services and Healthcare Innovation at the McSilver Institute. She has over 25 years of experience working with children and families and has been a licensed mental health counselor for 17 years. She has served as an instructor and field placement supervisor in a graduate-level counseling program for the past 15 years.Yvette has extensive clinical and supervisory experience working in a variety of settings. She also has experience developing effective business strategies to contain costs while ensuring quality services. Yvette has served in a variety of roles over the years, including Clinician, Supervisor, Quality Improvement Coordinator, and Director of Children’s Mental Health Services. Bridging clinical and business practices, Yvette assists clinical and peer service providers throughout New York in developing competencies for enhancing organizational efficiencies while delivering high-quality services.  Her areas of expertise include clinical services for youth and families, mental health documentation, strategies for effective supervision, quality improvement, revenue cycle management, and managed care. Yvette received a Master of Science in Education degree from The College of Saint Rose.

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Kandis Backus, PharmD, MS, AAHIVP

Kandis V. Backus, MS, PharmD, AAHIVP is a Medical Scientist for Gilead Sciences. Previously she was Assistant Professor of Population Health Sciences at the University of MS Medical Center and served as a preceptor for pharmacy students and residents. Kandis was also a member of the faculty for the Southeast AIDS Education Training Center and the clinical pharmacist for Mississippi’s largest Ryan White clinic (~2200 patients). Her clinical responsibilities included caring for the primary care needs of people living with HIV and at risk of contracting HIV. She was grant funded for implementation science projects such as a pharmacist-led rapid PrEP initiation program, a telePrEP program, a telePrimaryCare program, and a relinkage to HIV care program in rural MS. She also co-led a support group for transgender women living in Jackson, MS.

Kandis obtained her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. She spent several years in a research laboratory studying breast cancer. In this lab, she tested pre-clinical drugs on animal models and cell lines searching for a treatment for a rare form of breast cancer that disproportionately impacts African Americans and Latinos. During that time she obtained her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences and was accepted into pharmacy school. In 2017, she obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of MS. She completed a residency with Open Arms Healthcare Center and Walgreens. Her residency was focused on cultural competency, HIV treatment and prevention, and qualitative research techniques.


Maureen Buckley

Ms. Buckley, former Chairman, President and CEO of RiverSource Life Insurance Co. of New York, an insurance arm of Ameriprise Financial, Inc., is a seasoned insurance professional with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Serving in a variety of senior leadership positions leading the operations of multi-product, multi-channel businesses, she has broad and deep expertise in the complexities of insurance laws and regulations in a highly regulated state.

Ms. Buckley attained both her BS in Accounting and an MBA in Accounting from Siena College, Loudonville, New York. Since retiring from Ameriprise Financial, she has been engaged in consulting, specializing in human resource and performance management, finance and budget management, and business operations management. Additionally, from 2016 to 2021, Ms. Buckley served as a Director for Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York and Intramerica Life Insurance Company.

Fulfilling a lifelong passion, in 2020 Ms. Buckley opened MBellish Boutique, a retail store offering women’s fashion apparel and accessories. She remains active in giving back to her community and is an active volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation as well as former board member and Treasurer for The Community Hospice of the Capital District.

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Sharon J. Butler

Sharon J. Butler is an executive leader of human resources. She oversaw all people strategies in publicly held healthcare companies, including organization design and development, talent management, and learning strategies. Sharon believes in people and the powerful force that comes when they are energized and enabled to solve complex human and societal needs by allowing each other’s voices to be heard, respected, and celebrated.

Prior to her career in human resources, Sharon was employed in public service as an employee in multiple NYS agencies focused on higher education, social services, addiction, and recovery. She recently returned to the Albany area and is very excited to support and serve the employees and benefactors of the Alliance for Positive Health.

Kim Irish

Kimberly J. Irish, Ph.D.

Dr. Kim Irish is a trained research scientist and veteran medical strategist with more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical advertising and medical communications. Beyond her second-to-none research abilities, she is astute at translating complex scientific information into easy-to-follow messaging for physician, patient, and payer audiences. During her prolific career, Kim has worked on more than 50 pharmaceutical products and 20 product launches (both US and worldwide).

Kim is well-versed in cell and gene therapy and has expertise in many therapeutic areas, including rare diseases, neurology, mental health, oncology, respiratory diseases, and women’s health. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a doctorate in physiology and cell biology from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. Kim completed her post-doctoral training in genetics at the New York State Department of Health.

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Keira O'Brien

Keira O’Brien is a healthcare executive who leads operations and strategic execution of complex and highly regulated pharmacy benefit programs. An expert in the administration of contracts for government Medicaid Fee for Service, State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs and with extensive experience in Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM), she creates and retains critical partnerships to ensure successful contract implementation and ongoing growth.

Known for her ability to understand complex and complicated business and healthcare related challenges, she quickly identifies gaps and solutions to ensure alignment with business objectives while achieving the best member experience.

As a former employee of the Alliance, then known as the AIDS Council of NENY, her service to the organization has come full circle.


Eric Simonds, CCIM

Eric Simonds has been involved with the Alliance since 2006 and is currently serving his second term as a member of the board. Eric also serves on the Alliance’s finance committee.

Eric has been working in commercial real estate since 2002. He currently works at CBRE-Albany, representing tenants and buyers, as well as providing consulting services to his clients, including law firms, colleges and universities, government, corporations, hospitals, and associations.

As a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), Eric is a recognized expert in the commercial and investment real estate industry. There are less than 15,000 active CCIM’s worldwide and less than 3% of the professionals in the industry ever attain the CCIM designation.


Robert A. Stout Jr., Esq

Rob is a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP. He advises clients on all aspects of environmental law, including representing local Town, Planning and Zoning Boards of Appeal on diverse municipal, planning, zoning and land use matters. Rob has been identified as a Rising Star by Super Lawyer magazine in New York and New Jersey.

Rob is an active leader in the American Bar Association, serving as the Group Chair of the Land Use and Environmental Group of the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and is the author of a regular column on DEC Administrative decisions appearing in The New York Environmental Lawyer.

Rob enjoys being involved in the local community. In addition to his work with the Alliance, has served as a Board member of the Historic Albany Foundation.


Lawrence Waite, PhD

Lawrence Waite, PhD, started his career as a special education teacher, followed by over three decades in leadership positions at the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). At NYSED, he engaged in policy and program development impacting children and young adults with disabilities, ages birth to 21. At NYSUT, Larry led its Educational Services Department in dealing with preschool through higher education issues.

At NYSED and NYSUT, Larry interacted with governmental officials and other constituents at all levels of the educational community. As a member of Our Brothers’ Keepers, he helped raise money for agencies supporting individuals living with AIDS/HIV and their loved ones. Larry finds it very rewarding helping the Alliance achieve its vision and mission. After 42 years in the field of education, Larry retired in 2016 and is living with his partner in Kinderhook, New York.


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