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Press Release | February 22, 2021

SAFE Project Congratulates Terri Tanielian, Joins Biden Administration As Special Assistant To President For Veterans Affairs

ARLINGTON VA, Feb. 18, 2021 –

SAFE Project, a nonprofit focused on the addiction fatality epidemic, congratulates Terri Tanielian on her selection as Special Assistant to the President for Veterans Affairs on the  Domestic Policy Council.  In addition to Veterans Affairs, the Council focuses on major domestic policy areas such as health care, behavior health, racial justice, and equity, immigration, and economic mobility.

Tanielian was instrumental in the founding of SAFE Project at the organization’s creation in 2017. Co-Founders Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld and his wife Mary Winnefeld established the organization following the loss of their 19-year old son Jonathan to an accidental opioid overdose. Tanielian served on the Board of Directors for more than three years and has resigned upon her appointment to the Biden Administration.

Prior to her selection as a Special Assistant to the President, Tanielian was a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and an internationally recognized expert on military and veteran health. She has played a dynamic role in increasing the visibility and knowledge of those issues.

“There are few experts more knowledgeable about veteran issues and health policy than Terri Tanielian.  Her passion, work, and research have had a tremendous influence on how all of us can better serve our veterans and their families,” said Brandee Izqueirdo, Executive Director of SAFE Project. “She’s an important voice for veterans and their families, and understands the complexity of their needs and the necessity for improved supports.”

This is a critical time for the many domestic issues facing our nation. The intersection of the pandemic with the overdose epidemic had a devastating impact on health care, life expectancy, and marginalized communities.  Over 83,000 Americans lost their lives to overdoses during the one-year period between June 2019 – June 2020, and the highest number of Americans lost to overdoses ever recorded.

SAFE Project warmly congratulates Terri Tanielian on her new role. She will be a tremendous asset to this Administration and to veterans everywhere.

To learn more about SAFE Veterans programs focused on military-specific recovery resources and programs, visit