Our Vision

Counter Tools knows that place has a profound impact on the health of individuals. The spaces where we live, work, learn, and play — our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and nearby stores — determine our access to healthful living.

We envision a nation where healthy living is equitable across communities and every person has access to healthful choices. In undertaking this important work, we convene thought leaders and experts, guide policy change, synthesize evidence, and tell impactful stories.

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Holding hands in a circle

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are important to Counter Tools and are core values in the work we do. We empower and equip communities with the resources, knowledge, and understanding necessary to combat racism, health disparities, and inequality. Change starts from within, and we are holding ourselves accountable to improve as an organization by applying an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens to both our internal operations and externally with our partners and clients.

Read our full stance on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Our Story

Counter Tools began with University of North Carolina-based doctors Allison Myers and Kurt Ribisl. Concerned with big tobacco’s focus on keeping tobacco products cheap and visible in retail environments, Myers and Ribisl envisioned a website that would be a free, one-stop-shop for all things related to point-of-sale tobacco control. In 2011, they created CounterTobacco.org, a CDC-funded resource focused on tobacco point-of-sale history, impact, and policy solutions.

While some localities were able to fully utilize the resources provided on CounterTobacco.org, other communities needed more assistance. Counter Tools was born when Myers, Ribisl, and their team created two software tools, the Store Audit Center and the Store Mapper, enabling states and localities to collect, manage, visualize, and analyze tobacco retailer data that could show decision makers the need for change.

In June 2012, Counter Tools became a 501(c)(3), and what began as a North Carolina-based pilot expanded to include a broader geographical reach and more robust service offerings. While we maintain both CounterTobacco.org and our expertise in tobacco at the point of sale, we also focus on the impact the retail environment has on the health of the community as a whole, from assessing availability of healthy foods to enabling enforcement and compliance efforts. Our team has grown to include public health experts, policy makers, and data visionaries, all with the common vision of advancing place-based public health, starting with the retail environment.

Our Team

With backgrounds that include health behavior, economic development, health policy, education, technology processes, marketing, and software operation, the Counter Tools team has a wealth of experience that informs what we do and how we do it.

We’re a dedicated team of public health nerds, policy wonks, data enthusiasts, visionaries, and storytellers on a mission to leverage our expertise for productivity and positive social change.

To learn more about working at Counter Tools, please visit our Careers page.


Elizabeth Gerndt, MPH

Senior Project Director

Elizabeth completed her undergraduate degree at Clemson University and earned her Master of Public Health at Emory University. Before coming to Counter Tools, she managed food and built environment initiatives for a SNAP-Education program. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys cooking new recipes, spending time outdoors, and cheering on the Clemson Tigers!

Ernest Hudson

Ernest Hudson, MBA, PMP

Senior Director, Product & Technology

Ernest Hudson Jr received his Bachelor of Science, Business Administration from San Diego State University, his MBA from University of Phoenix and is PMP certified. He has spent the last 20+ years in various Information Technology roles in a large wireless technology company and as a small business owner. While new to the public health space, Ernie is convinced that his leadership and experience can help drive systems and process improvements that will aid Counter Tools realization of organizational goals. Ernie enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, and rooting for his favorite sports team, the NFL Las Vegas Raiders.


Jackie Boards

Technical Support Analyst and Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Lead

Jackie Boards earned a Bachelor of Arts in Global Health with a focus in Psychology from Mercer University. Her work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as in university and court settings, has taught her the importance of community health and inspired her passion for improving health and wellness within the communities where she lives and works. A Georgia peach, born and raised, Jackie loves binge-watching TV shows and movies, volunteering, being active, and eating healthful, delicious food.

Jacob Delbridge, MPH

Project Director

Jacob Delbridge earned a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in Health Systems and Policy from the University of Washington and Bachelor’s degrees in International Relations and in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Jacob’s professional experience and training in public health policy has fueled his commitment to advancing equity-centered policy approaches that support community health and resilience. Other passions of Jacob’s include hiking, running, and gardening.

Kyndra Minchew, MPH

Project Director

Kyndra is a graduate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she received her Master of Public Health. She has done a variety of work within the realm of substance misuse, school health, and community health. Her interests include tobacco prevention and cessation, behavioral health, and improving the health outcomes of rural communities. Kyndra‘s work is fueled by her passion for creating health equity for all populations. Spending time with family and friends, hiking, cooking, and cuddling with her cats brings Kyndra immense joy.

Maria Julian, MPA

Executive Director

Maria Julian began her public health career at the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, Ohio in 2006. From startups to local governments in the U.S. and abroad, Maria has led teams through the implementation of behavior change strategies to improve health outcomes. Maria earned her Master of Public Administration from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She enjoys sending snail mail and being outside with her partner, sons, and dog.


Mollie Mayfield, MPH

Senior Policy Analyst and Managing Editor, CounterTobacco.org

Mollie Mayfield received her Master of Public Health in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her BA in Psychology with a concentration in Community and Global Health from Macalester College. Her work with Counter Tools aligns with her interest in fostering healthy lifestyles through health-supportive environments, creating equitable communities, and making change through policy. When she’s not working, Mollie enjoys trail running, reading, cooking, eating, and spending time outside.


Peter Rubenacker, MBA

Deputy Director

Peter Rubenacker earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from SUNY Albany, where he met his partner Ingrid, also a New York native. Peter and Ingrid raised their family in San Diego where they were sponsors of donor-advised programs at Rady Children’s Hospital. Peter spent three decades in wireless technology industries and has held executive positions in finance, IT, and operations. After relocating to Chapel Hill, Peter pursued a passion for teaching at local universities, and discovered Counter Tools while coaching its founders in an emerging entrepreneurs program at the University of North Carolina. He is an automotive fanatic and has caught the travel bug.


Sharon Prochazka, MS

Senior Data Product Manager

Sharon Prochazka earned a Master of Science in Environmental Toxicology with a minor in Geographical Information Systems from North Carolina State University. Her interest in data integrity, visualization, standardization, and documentation is the cumulative result of working with some of the brightest Intel and GE engineers for four years. Her skilled background in both technology and science allows her to fill a unique niche at Counter Tools. When Sharon’s not at work, you might find her cooking, cycling with her family, or headed to the Ocracoke Island, her favorite North Carolina beach.

Varun Patel

Varun Patel, MPH

Data Analyst

Varun earned a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in Environmental and Occupational Health with a Risk Assessment Certification. As a research fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Varun developed tools to collect data using various local and federal resources to describe health disparities, environmental justice and geographic information for study populations. Varun is proficient with advanced programming and statistical modeling to analyze and interpret large datasets, and uses geo-spatial data to create maps using ArcGIS and QGIS software. When Varun is not working, he likes to go on long runs, biking, cooking, and visiting museums.

Board of Directors

Ben Spoer, PhD


Benjamin Spoer has a deep understanding of data science, analysis, epidemiology, and GIS. He currently Co-Directs the NYU Health Dashboard Project, which produces the City Health Dashboard and Congressional District Health Dashboard. He is also an experienced professor and freelance public health journalist, with writing having appeared in OZY, Buzzfeed, and Al Jazeera America, among others. Dr. Spoer received his Masters in Public Health from Columbia University and a PhD in Public Health from New York University, where he focused on neighborhood health using geospatial and spatiotemporal geographic methods, and examined spatially explicit approaches to health disparities.

Hiba Abousleiman, MPH

Vice Chair

Hiba Abousleiman is a Trainer and Capacity Building Specialist at Cicatelli Associates, Inc. (CAI), supporting HIV service providers in integrating trauma-informed care into their protocols, policies, and cultural environment. She has worked in various public health settings throughout her career, including in non-profit organizations, academic research, school systems, and local health departments. She has experience in the management, implementation, and evaluation of place-based public health interventions and is driven by the desire to ensure that all communities and individuals have access to culturally appropriate and trauma-informed health-promoting resources. Hiba holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Villanova University and a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, reading, Broadway musicals, and spending time with her loved ones and her dog.

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Mischael Metelus, MHA


Mischael Metelus is the Quality Manager for Medicare at MetroPlus Health. He has over 6+ years of health insurance experience in the public and private sector with a focus on quality management and strategic planning. In his spare time he volunteers as a mentor with first generation college students and also served as the fundraising chair at America Needs You, during the 2020 year.

Megan Jacobs

Megan Jacobs, MPH

Immediate Past Chair

Megan Jacobs is the Vice President of Product in the Innovations center at Truth Initiative. Over the past 10+ years at Truth Initiative, she has worked in product development, evaluation, and dissemination of digital programs to help tobacco users quit. Recently, Megan designed the quit-vaping program This is Quitting (TIQ) for teens and young adults. Megan has a long history of architecting products to inspire healthy behavior change. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in public health communication and marketing from George Washington University and certificates in product management and design thinking. She has taught mHealth product development at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and held leadership roles on several alumni groups. Megan is also a 2022 Emerging Social Purpose Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute American Express Leadership Academy 2.0.

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Jabari Sullen, MPA

Jabari Sullen, MPA, is the Division Manager of Tobacco Control and Health Policy at Well-Ahead Louisiana, leading the tobacco control team in the identification of state needs, development of strategies, and facilitation of partnerships with multi-sector stakeholders, to implement best practices that improve the health and reduce tobacco use and tobacco related disease throughout the state. Jabari has over 13 years of experience working in state public health, in areas of communication, project and grant management, budgeting, strategic planning, event planning, supervision, and data collection and management.

Sameer Sood

Sameer Sood, DO

Sameer Sood has worked tirelessly to rethink modern healthcare across education, technology, delivery, and power. He has worked with numerous innovative health tech, device, and community startups of all stages. He also was a fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Incite Health program, where he co-founded and was Chief Innovation Officer at Sherbit, a company designed to inform and engage patients and providers in understanding how personal lifestyle, behaviors, and socioeconomic status impact health, until their acquisition in 2018. Since completing his Family Medicine residency at Duke University, Sameer has worked clinically with marginalized populations across the country in tribal and special needs clinics, while building systems to address community wealth, power and upstream social drivers of poor health.

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Daniel Korten

Daniel Korten is Head of Corporate Development at SBI, an advisory and management consulting firm focused on helping companies grow revenues and improve their customer experience. Dan is part of the leadership team at SBI and oversees the company’s long term strategic initiatives. During his time at SBI, Dan has developed multiple new products, led many large scale commercial transformations for clients and established SBI’s European headquarters. Since being introduced to Counter Tools, Dan has worked closely with the team on improving their commercial, sales and customer management capabilities to better serve their partners and end users.

Friends of Counter Tools

Joshua Prasad, MPH

Immediate Past Board Chair

Joshua Prasad has worked at the nexus of health, behavior change and design for over a decade and has worked in organizations spanning government, consulting, direct care operations, and digital health. Most relevantly, he was previously the Director of HHS’ national Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative, created the West Virginia Management of Maternal Smoking (MOMS) program, and served as the Board Chair of Counter Tools.

Kurt Ribisl, PhD

Co-founder of CounterTobacco.org and Counter Tools

Kurt M. Ribisl is professor and chair in the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Ribisl’s primary research interest is evaluating and improving the reach of population-level efforts to reduce tobacco use, with an emphasis on policy and information technology. Dr. Ribisl is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Tobacco Control and is the author of over 185 scientific articles. His research has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health and Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). He received his doctorate in community psychology from Michigan State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention and epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center.

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Allison Myers, PhD

Co-Founder and Past Executive Director of Counter Tools

Dr. Allison Myers directs the Oregon State University Center for Health Innovation housed at the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Launched fully with Allison’s arrival to Oregon in 2018, the Center connects external organizations and Oregon State University faculty in the discovery of innovative solutions to pressing health and wellness issues, and builds workforce capacity in public health and human sciences. Today, the Center leads projects related to integrating social needs care within the health care system, creating healthy neighborhoods and environments, promoting mental health and preventing substance use, and modernizing Oregon’s local public health system.

Prior to her work at Oregon State, in 2017-2018, Allison served as Health Policy Fellow to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. From 2011-2017, Allison co-founded and led Counter Tools.

Monica H. Eischen

Former Board Chair

Monica H. Eischen retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) in June 2015 after more than twenty-six years of service. As a program consultant, Eischen worked with state and local health departments and tobacco control partner organizations to advance evidence-based tobacco control policies. She provided guidance to tobacco control programs across the nation and worked closely with tobacco control partner organizations, including CounterTobacco.org, to advance the tobacco control policy agenda. Eischen’s pre-CDC experience includes thirteen years in health education with the Iowa Department of Public Health. Eischen also serves on the Washington University School of Public Health Advisory Committee for the Program Sustainability Assessment Tool Project. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Mankato with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education.

Leslie Zellers, JD

Former Board Chair

Leslie Zellers is a Public Health Legal & Policy Consultant. As an attorney with more than twenty years of experience in public health law and public policy for government and nonprofit organizations, Leslie works to advance health and wellbeing through ongoing legal and policy advocacy on issues such as tobacco control, cannabis regulation, road safety, and childhood obesity prevention. Current and former clients include the Network for Public Health Law, the Public Health Institute, the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, the World Health Organization, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the California counties of Alameda, Santa Clara, and Ventura. Previously, Leslie was the Director of Programs at ChangeLab Solutions, a nonprofit organization that seeks healthier communities for all through better laws and policies. Leslie She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and a graduate of the UC Hastings College of the Law.

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