Board of Directors

Board meetings

The UNITE Board of Directors typically meets at 10:00 a.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 350 C.A.P. Drive in London, KY. Board meetings are held both in person and via Zoom.

Scheduled 2024 meeting dates

January 16, February 20, March 19 (rescheduled to March 28), April 16 (rescheduled to April 23), May 21, June 18, July 16 (rescheduled to July 23), August 20, September 17 (rescheduled to September 24), October 15, November 19, and December 17. (Updated 4-17-24)

Chairman

Term expires June 30, 2024

Jackie L. Steele, Jr., JD, Commonwealth Attorney, Kentucky 27th Judicial Circuit

Jackie Steele earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in 2001. He practiced civil law prior to accepting a full-time position as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney and, in 2008, was appointed Commonwealth Attorney for the 27th Judicial Circuit. He has handled hundreds of felony cases ranging from theft, embezzlement, rape, drug trafficking and murder. Mr. Steele was named “Outstanding Commonwealth’s Attorney” in 2011. In addition, Mr. Steele has been recognized by Drug Court staff for his exceptional support to the Drug Court program, the Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association for outstanding support and commitment to drug enforcement efforts in the state and for going above and beyond to support legislative efforts, and received the “Sword of Justice Award” from the Kentucky Commonwealth Attorneys’ Association for ceaseless dedication to the pursuit of justice. Mr. Steele is Past-President of the Kentucky Commonwealth Attorneys’ Association, a member of the Laurel County and Kentucky Bar Associations, the 27th Judicial Circuit Drug Court Team, and the Laurel and Knox County Child Abuse Response Teams. He has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since January 2012.

Term expires June 30, 2024

Tom Handy, JD, Retired Commonwealth Attorney, Kentucky 27th Judicial Circuit

Tom Handy served as Commonwealth’s Attorney for Kentucky’s 27th Judicial Circuit for 28 years, retiring in 2003 to focus on various boards and organizations – including serving as a founding Board Member for Operation UNITE. Mr. Handy has also served on the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, the Kentucky Executive Ethics Commission, the Executive Legislative Committee, and the Kentucky Crime Victim’s Compensation Board. After graduating from the University of Kentucky Law School, Mr. Handy worked as an assistant for Kentucky’s Fifth District U.S. Rep. Tim Lee Carter before opening a private law practice in 1971. He is a charter member of the London-Laurel County (KY) Tourist Commission. Mr. Handy helped organize a mission group called ABLE (Assisted Better Living for Everywhere) that performs construction mission work within KY and internationally. Primary emphasis is on improvements to school, orphanages and senior citizen residences. He and wife Bonnie have two grown children, Dennie Mills and Starr Handy. He has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since April 2003.

Term expires June 30, 2025

Cheryl Hickman, RN, BSN, MS, NE-BC, CCMSCP, CJCP, Senior Vice President/Chief Regulatory Officer, Pikeville Medical Center

Cheryl Hickman provides oversight for all certification programs and oversight for compliance with all state and regulatory standards for Pikeville Medical Center. In addition she oversees the Heart Institute at Pikeville Medical Center, and is a member of the Senior Executive Leadership team that oversees standards, policies, personnel, and budgets for the Medical Center. Ms. Hickman has been awarded the 2014 Certified Nurse Executive Award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Ms. Hickman earned a bachelor of nursing from Morehead State University and masters in health service management from LaSalle University. She is board certified in nursing administration with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, certified specialist in Joint Commission accreditation. Previously Ms. Hickman served as Pikeville Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Children’s Services, Unit Manager for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatrics, House Supervisor and Assistant Director of nursing service, and Head Nurse in the Critical Care Unit. In 2005, she was recognized on the floor of the U.S. Senate for leading a medical team to the New Orleans Airport during Hurricane Katrina. In 2004, she was the first nurse in Kentucky to receive the American Organization of Nurse Executive AONE “Community Partnership Award.” She has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since July 2013.

Secretary

Term expires June 30, 2025

Callie Ann Dixon Mills, PharmD, CDCES, MLDE, Specialty Clinical Pharmacist, Baptist Health Corbin

Callie Dixon Mills, a Kentucky Registered Pharmacist, serves as a Diabetes Specialty Clinical Pharmacist for Baptist Health Corbin Endocrinology. She also serves as a preceptor for the Baptist Health Community Pharmacy Residency Program. Prior to joining Baptist Health in February 2022, Ms. Mills worked as a retail staff pharmacist for an independently-owned pharmacy in Barbourville, KY. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Master Licensed Diabetes Educator, and is certified in diabetes management by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). A native of Barbourville, KY, Ms. Mills completed pre-pharmacy coursework at the University of Kentucky, where she obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy degree in May 2020. Ms. Mills is a member of the Knox County UNITE Coalition (since 2005), and a past member of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Drug-Free Communities Support Program (2012-19). In addition, she is co-owner of Lillian June Women’s Clothier in Barbourville and is a member of the Barbourville Tourism Commission, Barbourville Woman’s Study Club, and UPWARD Sports. Ms. Mills has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since December 2022.

 

Term expires June 30, 2024

Elizabeth M. Nichols, MS, Manager, Division of Operations, Department of Specialty Courts, Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts

Elizabeth Nichols has served as Manager of the Division of Operations within the Kentucky Department of Specialty Courts since 2012. As Manager, she oversees operations for the 120 Kentucky counties with Specialty Court programs – Drug Courts, Veteran Treatment Courts, DUI Courts, and Mental Health Courts. Ms. Nichols is a published author in the Journal for Advancing Justice (2022) and the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions (2021). Ms. Nichols earned a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and criminology from Western Kentucky University, and a Masters’ Degree in criminal justice and police studies from Eastern Kentucky University. She is an alumna of Leadership Shelby County, Kentucky. Ms. Nichols is currently a board member for the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy and a member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. She has served as a full-time proxy Board Member for Operation UNITE since August 2022

Term expires June 30, 2025

Captain Jennifer Sandlin, proxy for the Kentucky State Police

Jennifer Sandlin began her career in law enforcement with Kentucky State Police in 2003. She has held the rank of Trooper, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. She is currently assigned as the post commander of Post 13 in Hazard. In 2017, Captain Sandlin worked with Operation UNITE to pilot the first Angel Initiative program for the Kentucky State Police at Post 9, Pikeville, and represented KSP as a consortium member for Operation UNITE’s Rural Health Opioid Program (RHOP) for three years.  She attends the monthly UNITE Board meetings on behalf of the Kentucky State Police. She is often asked to present at public health summits and drug prevention coalition meetings on the agency’s Angel Initiative. She has served as a full-time proxy Board Member for Operation UNITE since January 2020.

Term expires June 30, 2024

Jeremy L. Terry, CPCU, AIC, AIDA, Vice President of Policyholder Services, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance

Jeremy Terry is the Vice President of Policyholder Services at Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI). He joined KEMI as an entry level Underwriter in 2003 and held a variety of positions in Underwriting before being named the Vice President of Policyholder Services in 2019. In his current role, Mr. Terry is primarily responsible for leading and directing the daily activities of the Underwriting, Business Development, Premium Audit, and Safety and Loss Control Departments. A native of Cumberland, KY, Mr. Terry earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from East Tennessee State University in 2002 and has obtained multiple insurance industry designations. These designations include Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Insurance Data Analytics (AIDA), Associate in Claims (AIC), and Associate in General Insurance (AINS).  He currently serves on Eastern Kentucky University’s Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board and is a member of the American Red Cross Board of Directors (Bluegrass Chapter). Mr. Terry recently wrapped up a three -year term as a member of the National Underwriting Committee (2020-23) for the National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI) and was a graduate of the 2017-18 Class of Leadership Lexington. Mr. Terry has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since May 2024.

Vice-Chairman

Term expires June 30, 2025

Darrell Wages, Manager, Warehouse Operations, Boyd CAT

Darrell Wages is Manager of Warehouse Operations with Boyd CAT (formerly Whayne Supply Company), overseeing warehouse operations for Boyd’s Western Division. Mr. Wages has 43 years of service with the company, most in supervision and management positions. Mr. Wages has an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration degree from Union College, and a host of corporate trainings, including the Caterpillar Flagship program. Mr. Wages and his wife, Jane, a retired teacher, reside in Corbin, KY. He has served as a Board Member for Operation UNITE since August 2010.