Keynote Speaker: Dr. Glenn Sterner

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Glenn Sterner, assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State Abington, will be joining us as the keynote speaker at Opioids: The Crisis Next Door 2019 Wellness Conference.


Dr. Glenn Sterner

Dr. Glenn Sterner is an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State Abington. As an expert on the opioid epidemic, he sits on the Opioid Overdose Task Force for the State of Pennsylvania.  He is also a founding member of the Penn State Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse advisory board.  He is an affiliated faculty of the Criminal Justice Research Center at Penn State University Park.  He serves as a faculty fellow of the Penn State University Administrative Data Accelerator. He is also the founder of the Share Your Opioid Story initiative.

His main research agenda is focused on the application of social network analysis in understanding illicit, illegal, and covert networks, and he is experienced with both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Dr. Sterner has been awarded over $4 Million in local, state, and federal grants to study and address the opioid epidemic, including funding from the National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). His work includes the examination of opioid abuse networks, illegal opiate distribution, networks of legitimate opioid distributors and overdose deaths, hot spots of opioid availability, intelligence-based interventions in rural areas, and stigma associated with opioid substance use disorders.

Dr. Sterner has presented his work locally, nationally, and internationally to organizations including opioid treatment and support organizations, Centre County HOPE, The Bucks County Together We Can Convention, Penn State Extension Annual Conference, The Wolf Administration’s Opioid Command Center, Georgia Pacific Company, The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, The American Society of Criminology, The Stockholm Criminology Symposium, and the International Network of Social Network Analysts.  His writings on this topic have been featured by the Department of Justice, The Hill, The Independence Blue Cross Foundation, and The National Prevention Science Coalition for Improving Lives, and peer reviewed journals including Substance Abuse and Misuse.

Dr. Sterner collaborates extensively with law enforcement agencies on the local, state, and federal level in his work to address the opioid crisis and other substance use issues.  He has several active grants with the Pennsylvania State Police, and partners with local district attorneys, coroners, and police departments.  Within the Pennsylvania State Police, he regularly works with individuals in the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (PaCIC), the data fusion center at State Police Headquarters in Harrisburg.  He has relationships within the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Division, the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), whom he relies on for support of his research.  Dr. Sterner has excellent relationships with the National Institute of Justice, and has been successful in receiving over $2.2M in grant funding across three projects to address drug trafficking and markets, specifically with an emphasis on opioids.  Dr. Sterner is dedicated to a collaborative criminal justice approach to addressing key issues associated with drug markets, sales, trafficking, and use, and he actively works across agencies and organizations to promote this ethos in his research and outreach endeavors.

Dr. Sterner has worked extensively with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Mental Health Partnerships to address stigma associated with the opioid epidemic, coordinating the Share Your Opioid Story initiative, which has helped to highlight the depth and breadth of this issue in our communities through qualitative story telling.  Through this work, he has provided the opportunity to open up the conversation on stigma, helping to ensure that all individuals associated with the opioid epidemic are supported in our communities, rural to urban. This partnership between Penn State University, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Mental Health Partnerships has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Business Journal through their Faces of Philanthropy.  For his work on the opioid epidemic, Dr. Sterner has been recognized by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation as a Future Leader of Community Health.  He received the 2019 Penn State Community Engagement and Scholarship Award for the impact the Share Your Opioid Story Initiative is having in our communities.

In addition to his extensive work on the opioid epidemic, he is also actively engaged in research on the networks of human sex trafficking. He is a dedicated scholar in community engagement. He is also actively engaged in research to improve learning for students in higher education.  He received his PhD from The Pennsylvania State University in Rural Sociology, and an M.A. and B.S. from Michigan State University.