Meet the 2015-2017 CSAP Prevention Fellow: Dan Fitzgerald


Dan Fitzgerald, 2015-2017 CSAP Prevention Fellow

Could you tell me a little bit about your position?
My official title is the SAMHSA Prevention Fellow 2015-2017. I am working in the Prevention Unit at BHDDH and my mentor is Elizabeth Kretchman. In my first month on the job, I have focused on coming up to speed on all our different grants, committees, and subcommittees. I have also been helping with website updates and other tasks as they come up.

The Prevention Fellow Program aims to grow prevention professionals for tomorrow through experience, certification, and networking. The 2015-2017 cohort consists of fifteen individuals nationwide – thirteen in the continental US, one in the Pacific Mariner Islands, and one in Alaska. Over the next few years, we will have several opportunities to be together in Washington, DC.

Prior to BHDDH, where did you work?
I volunteered for five years at the Chariho Task Force—a community coalition—where I really got to see the community perspective. At the task force, I started as a student, became their intern, and was eventually part of their board of directors. I also assisted the task force’s financial coordinator, which was fantastic because I was working on a business degree at the time.

Prevention is very passion driven for me. My mother was part of the foster care system and adopted at age 12 – all due to substance-related issues with her biological family. I found it crushing that someone didn’t have as wonderful of a childhood as I did. I think that was what really sparked my interest – along with losing two high school classmates to substance use. And, as a result, I am very dedicated to the state of Rhode Island and my community.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am the advisor for our Chariho Student’s Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). It’s amazing to see the youth working so hard– I was in their shoes just a couple years ago. We’re a very active group.

I also enjoying baking. For the past three years, I worked as an event baker at FreshGround Garden Café in Richmond baking primarily for weddings. It was a great experience. Some of our cupcakes even won the Martha Stewart “Bake-the-Cake” contest!