For Immediate Release: September 27, 2021
BOSTON — September 27 — RIZE Massachusetts Foundation (RIZE), an independent nonprofit
foundation working to end the overdose epidemic in Massachusetts, today announced the
appointment of Dr. Thérèse Fitzgerald as chief program officer and Kathleen Glunz Skarin as
senior engagement officer. Both bring decades of experience and seasoned leadership to their
“With the two experienced professionals we have in Thérèse and Kathleen, RIZE is building its
team to meet this important moment given the state of the overdose epidemic in Massachusetts,”
said RIZE President & CEO Julie Burns. “Their public health expertise and demonstrated
success building coalitions to effect change will enable RIZE to make a real impact on our work
to end the overdose crisis.”
Thérèse Fitzgerald, Chief Program Officer
Thérèse Fitzgerald, PhD, MSW is joining RIZE as chief program officer. In her new role,
Thérèse will lead the strategic growth of RIZE’s grantmaking and programmatic initiatives,
helping scale the foundation’s efforts to achieve its vision of zero stigma and zero deaths.
Dr. Fitzgerald has spent her career working to improve health care for underserved populations
as a researcher, policy expert, and advocate. Before joining RIZE, Thérèse served as the director
of research for The American City Coalition (TACC) conducting community-based research to
address the social determinants of health in marginalized communities. Prior to her work at
TACC, she was the director of healthcare research, analytics & insights at the Massachusetts
Medical Society. Thérèse also served as the director of women’s health policy & advocacy at the
Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology at Brigham and
Women’s Hospital advocating for changes in public policy locally, nationally, and globally.
She has extensive research and policy experience in the field of addiction having served as the
associate director of the Center for Addiction Research and Services (CARS) at Boston
University’s School of Social Work andcontinues her work in higher education teaching and
mentoring as an instructor of practice at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health
and as a lecturer at Boston University School of Social Work.
Dr. Fitzgerald received her PhD and MSW from Boston University and a BS from the University
of Massachusetts Boston in Management and Psychology.
Kathleen Glunz Skarin, Senior Engagement Officer
Kathleen Glunz Skarin is senior engagement officer at RIZE Massachusetts Foundation. In this
role, Kathleen oversees public affairs, including government relations, communications, and
board relations. Prior to her position at RIZE, Kathleen spent more than 25 years in high-
intensity political and professional environments. Her career began in Washington, DC in the
United States Senate where she served on the legislative staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
After four years in the Senate, she joined Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Washington office where
she spent seven years working with Congress and the executive branch on issues important to the
city of Chicago.
After moving to Boston in 2005, she held several senior executive and management positions in
the public sector. She served as staff director on two committees in the Massachusetts
Legislature: The Joint Committee on Public Health (2007-2009) and the Joint Committee on
Financial Services (2009-2011). During this time, she managed the daily operations of the
respective committees and developed the policy agenda with the chairman and committee staff.
As chief of staff at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office for nearly a decade, she served as a member of
the sheriff’s command staff and was involved in executing priority initiatives, including the
medication assisted treatment pilot program involving several Massachusetts sheriffs.
Most recently as director of strategic partnerships for the New England Aquarium, Kathleen
identified and established affiliate relationships in support of strategic priorities for the New
About RIZE Massachusetts
RIZE Massachusetts is an independent nonprofit foundation committed to achieving zero stigma
and zero deaths related to opioid use disorder by investing in meaningful solutions and
employing broad perspectives that will save lives, reduce harm, and end the opioid epidemic in