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About Us

Based in Louisville, KY, NASCEND is a team of highly experienced professionals dedicated to transforming the experience of NAS.

Addiction is a devastating disease changing the face of our society, depleting our limited healthcare resources, and forever altering the potential of generations of children. The time to act is now to change the trajectory of this disease. Through innovation, education, training and technology we will inspire and equip healthcare communities to follow new paths that decrease the impact of drug abuse, improve outcomes for families and restore potential for every affected child.

Founder & CEO
K. Dawn Forbes, MD, MS, FAAP

Dr. Forbes is a nationally recognized expert in the care and improved outcomes of infants and families affected by maternal substance use disorder, opioid use in pregnancy and infant withdrawal. Dr. Forbes founded NASCEND as a way to share her experience with other health care providers across the country. She provides NASCEND’s vision, direction and product strategy and advances all training and education initiatives. As a practicing neonatologist, Dr. Forbes provides direct care for substance exposed infants in the hospital and provides opioid-assisted treatment (OAT), counseling and education for pregnant and parenting women. She is also the principal investigator for several ongoing research projects.

Director of Operations
Talley Russell

Talley leads NASCEND’s day-to-day operations, builds partnerships with national sponsors, clients and local communities, and serves as liaison for the CEO, all with an eye on our B Corp mission. Talley has been with NASCEND since inception. With more than 15 years of healthcare industry experience, she operates at the intersection of business, government and health with a strong focus on policy and advocacy.

Business Manager
Patrick Casper

Patrick oversees NASCEND’s business functions including finance, accounting and human resource management. Patrick’s background working with several local Fortune 100 companies and experience with best practices gives him the ability to create lean operations and standardize processes. These efficiencies enable NASCEND to fulfill our obligation to members, employees, clients and the communities we serve.

Head of Marketing
Mary Bentley Houk

Mary Bentley is responsible for NASCEND’s marketing activities. With 20+ years of experience in technology marketing, she is a veteran of both large corporate environments and early-stage startups. Mary Bentley combines strategic thinking with rigorous tactical execution to ensure that marketing plans, programs and messages deliver maximum effectiveness and contribute measurable results to the bottom line.

Education & Tech Consultant
William Ryan, PhD

Bill provides strategic and technical guidance to develop and impact talent through learning and performance solutions. He is currently supporting NASCEND’s initiatives centered on learning technology ranging from LMS implementation, clinical performance support systems and curriculum development.