By
Holly Jespersen

 

Jennnifer G. Velez

January 4, 2021 – Today Jennifer Velez joined Shatterproof as Chief Impact Officer, a newly created role within the national nonprofit organization to focus on the transformation of the healthcare delivery system so that every person with a substance use disorder has access to evidence-based treatment.  

Ms. Velez joins Shatterproof after her most recent role as an Executive Vice President of RWJBarnabas Health, where she led the health system’s interdisciplinary response to the opioid epidemic. Her experience will help enhance Shatterproof’s work in revolutionizing addiction treatment, a key pillar of work of the organization.  

As Chief Impact Officer Ms. Velez will focus on growing ATLAS®, the addiction treatment locator, assessment and standards platform, which was launched by Shatterproof in July 2020. ATLAS is currently in six states – Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and West Virginia – and she will lead the expansion of the number of both states and payers that adopt and meaningfully promote ATLAS in order to ensure that individuals and families can locate addiction treatment facilities that provide evidence-based, high quality care.  

“I am energized to join the Shatterproof team and to continue the momentum that they have been building to transform the addiction treatment system,” shared Jennifer Velez. “One thing we know for sure is that the pandemic has significantly worsened the already alarming rates of substance use disorder in the country, and I'm so excited to be part of the solution to address this growing crisis.” 

Additionally, Ms. Velez will cultivate multi-sector relationships, including the substance use disorder stakeholder community, large employers and other national change agents to advance common goals and the social change necessary to measurably improve lives. 

Ms. Velez will report to Shatterproof CEO and Founder Gary Mendell and will expand and lead a diverse team focused on the adoption and implementation of ATLAS.  

“Jennifer’s extensive healthcare background, combined with her innovative leadership and her commitment to our mission will help Shatterproof continue to accomplish our goal to create systemic change in our healthcare system with regards to access and treatment for substance use disorder,” said Shatterproof founder and CEO, Gary Mendell.  

Prior to her work with RWJBarnabas Health, Ms. Velez served for eight years as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services under both Governors Chris Christie and Jon Corzine. She has the distinction of being the State’s longest-serving Human Services Commissioner where she managed the largest State agency with budget, personnel and operational responsibility for nearly $11 billion, approximately 16,000 employees, eight operational divisions, including Medicaid, five developmental centers and four psychiatric hospitals. Ms. Velez received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Drew University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law, Newark. 

Ms. Velez was named Top 25 Innovators in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare in 2019, and Number 1 on the 2014 NJBIZ Power 50 Healthcare list, where she had been listed for six consecutive years. She serves on the board of Drew University, where she is a member of the Executive Committee and chairs the Committee on Trustees and is a board member of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, as well as New Jersey Future. She is a Visiting Associate of the Eagleton Institute of Politics and a former board member of Special Olympics NJ. Among a number of special awards, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers Law School in 2017, was the recipient of the 2015 Codey Award from Carrier Clinic and received the 2015 Spirit of the Arc award from Arc of New Jersey. In 2013, the Women Lawyers Association of New Jersey presented Ms. Velez with the Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law Award. 

About Shatterproof: 
Shatterproofis a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States. Shatterproof harnesses the models of business, the rigor of science and the power of a national movement to create change and save lives through three pillars of work: revolutionizing the addiction treatment system, breaking down addiction-related stigmas and supporting and empowering our communities. To learn more visit www.Shatterproof.org