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Meet Our VAHA Board of Directors

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Gary Hess and his family

Gary P. Hess

Gary Hess is the founder and Executive Director of the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives (VAHA), CEO of Teleleaf, and Partner of Dynamic Growth Solutions – organizations he founded to help destigmatize and provide access to medical cannabis.

Gary served in the Marine Corps for 11 years, both enlisted and as an Infantry Officer. After serving during the heaviest levels of fighting in Irag, Gary experienced the challenges of living with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and pharmaceutical dependency first-hand. He used cannabis not only to manage his conditions safely on his path to recovery, but also to catalyze and expedite Post-Traumatic Growth. He is now an advocate and activist for the use of medical cannabis in post-traumatic recovery – both for veterans and trauma survivors.

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Michael 'Mick' Patrick Mulroy

Michael ‘Mick’ Patrick Mulroy

Michael “Mick” Patrick Mulroy is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. He is also a retired CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer in the Special Activities Center and a United States Marine. He is a Senior Fellow for the Middle East Institute, an ABC News National Security Analyst, and a Co-founder of Lobo Institute.

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Eric Oehlerich

Eric Oehlerich is a proven operational leader and international strategist with more than 20 years’ experience working some of the nation’s most challenging problems while serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL Officer. His geographic responsibility spanned the Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. Having completed 14 overseas deployments, Eric has lived through and led hundreds of high-risk combat missions and training exercises that provided a security blanket against extremism for the international community. Currently he is a Co-founder of Lobo Institute, a Senior Fellow for the Middle East Institute, and an ABC news analyst.

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Peter M. Prevot

Mr. Prevot has been actively involved in medical cannabis licensing procurement in Louisiana and Missouri. He represented Columbia Care Louisiana in pursuit of production contracts with Louisiana State University and Southern University and also served as the organization’s Controller. He went on to lead a diverse team of professionals in pursuit of dispensary licenses in Louisiana. The applications produced by Mr. Prevot’s team were ranked #1 in five of the state’s nine regions and his clients were ultimately awarded three of the nine dispensary permits available. He was later able to replicate this success by obtaining cultivation and dispensary permits for clients in Missouri.

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Dr. Hemant Bid

Dr. Hemant Kumar Bid Ph.D., MS

Dr. Hemant Kumar Bid, Ph.D. MS. is a top educator in the cannabis field. As a faculty member at both St. Louis University and the Cleveland School of Cannabis, Dr. Bid uses his extensive background in cannabinoid research to educate cannabis and medical professionals and infuse the industry with science-backed legitimacy. He has lectured nationally and internationally on how medical cannabis affects the body and how it is used to treat illnesses from a neuroscience perspective. Dr. Bid completed his doctorate degree in Medical Biochemistry and graduated from Ohio State University with an MS (Pharmacology) degree. He has 20 years of clinical and translational research experience in the field of drug discovery and health care management.

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Dr Trevor Peck

Dr. Trevor Peck

Dr. Trevor Peck sees education as a key to systemic change. As a licensed, practicing anesthesiologist who has worked in settings from Level 1 trauma to rural medicine, he believes patients would benefit most if medical cannabis became a go-to component of mainstream treatment as opposed to being considered a fringe, alternative treatment option.

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Dr. Maysa Alavi

Dr. Maysa Alavi

Maysa Alavi, MD is a board-certified physician and nationally recognized practitioner in psychedelic therapies and integrative medicine, uniting cutting-edge Western science with Eastern wellness philosophies to heal both mind and body. She has studied at best-in-class institutions and organizations including The University of Southern California, University of Texas, UCLA, Institute for Functional Medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and COMPASS Pathways. She is currently serving as a study-site physician and therapist for the MAPS phase 3 clinical trial investigating the use of MDMA assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD.

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Dr. James Smith

Dr. James Smith, a premier Louisiana cardiologist, leads a very personal mission when it comes to medical cannabis. After three decades of distinguished work in interventional cardiology, Dr. Smith was diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer in 2009. In 2015, Dr. Smith felt side effects from treatments and medications associated with his cancer presented too much of a hindrance to continue working. He retired and began investigating medical cannabis for his own use.

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“For those who have served and have lost a part of themselves in that service, We seek peace and longevity with, and for those We love.” For those who choose, or have no choice, “VAHA understands, respects, and honors the requests for discretion.”

Gary P. Hess

Founder & CEO

Medical Cannabis Education and Advocacy Service Provider