Our Team

Dan Harper is a senior software engineer with 25 years of experience building web applications and supporting IT infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has owned and operated a restaurant, a computer consulting company and built applications for the iPhone and Apple Watch. He is a member of Learn to Cope, the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region and sits on Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy’s Family Advisory Committee on OUD. His daughter, Eliza, died of an opioid overdose in 2018 and is the inspiration behind Eliza’s Watch. Dan is Founder and Director of Eliza’s Watch.

Dr. William Soares, MD, MS is an Emergency Medicine physician and Director of Harm Reduction Services at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield Massachusetts. He is also an NIH funded researcher who has worked on multiple qualitative projects evaluating the impact of state legislation and medication and harm reduction treatment strategies for people with OUD. Dr. Soares will serve as the principal investigator for all research related activities.

Jim Ayres has over 30 years of experience in research administration at the University of Massachusetts, University of Toronto, and Harvard Medical School. He most recently served as Director of The Office of Pre-Award Services at UMass Amherst. Jim will oversee the budget.

Jeff Olmstead is the Assistant Fire Chief at the Amherst Massachusetts Fire Department. He oversees emergency Medical Services operations and has been a paramedic for over 26 years. Jeff has expertise in first responder healthcare delivery issues and alert system standards and compliance. Jeff will direct the communications between Eliza’s Watch and the EMS systems so a call or text for help is accurately and promptly delivered.

Businesswoman Kelly Minton has over 8 years of experience as an executive consultant and co-founded the Innovation Accelerator in Springfield Mass. Kelly joins the team as Operations Manager and keeps the team on track.

Dr. Ruth Potee, MD is a board-certified family physician and addiction medicine physician in western Massachusetts. She is the Medical Director for the Franklin County House of Corrections, the Director of Addiction Services for Behavioral Health Network, the Medical Director for the Pioneer Valley Regional School District as well as the Co-Chair of the Healthcare Solutions Committee of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region. Dr. Potee has extensive relationships with legislative groups that would help to support, promote, and expand Eliza’s Watch. Dr. Potee has been involved in Eliza’s Watch since its inception. She will remain as an advisor to the project, a mentor to the team and a champion for Eliza’s Watch.

Dr. Dane Scantling, DO, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine and a trauma and acute care surgeon at Boston Medical Center, a hospital at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic in Boston. He has developed opioid minimizing surgical programs and has additional research interest in healthcare outcomes, access to care and interpersonal violence. Dr. Scantling has worked as a paramedic and firefighter in multiple underserved communities since 2005 and is familiar with technologies associated with first responder alert systems.

Liz Whynott, MPH, is the Director of Harm Reduction at Tapestry Health Systems in Western Massachusetts. She directs several programs with the goal of improving the health of people who use drugs, which includes reducing fatal and non-fatal overdoses. She is deeply connected to the drug using community who will be invited to participate in the study. Liz will not only serve in a distribution advisory capacity, but also in an advocacy role. She will help facilitate peer
research groups and one-on-one interviews.