What We Do:
The Public Information and Liaison Branch is responsible for NIDA’s information dissemination activities:
- Conducts NIDA's media outreach activities
- Responds to information inquiries from the public
- Leads NIDA’s public information activities and public education campaigns, including National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week
- Coordinates content development and review of all NIDA science-based messaging disseminated to the public
- Assesses needs and designs materials for specific populations
- Collaborates with other Federal agencies to promote dissemination and application of NIDA research
- Manages the development and dissemination of NIDA publications
- Provides graphic support services to Institute staff to enhance dissemination of the science.
- Publishes NIDA Notes newsletter about NIDA-supported research activities.
Simona Combi, Media Relations Specialist (Contractor)
Ms. Combi joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in October 2019 as a contractor for the press office. She supports the press team in responding to reporter requests for interviews with NIDA spokespeople about a variety of drug use and addiction topics and is responsible for facilitating and preparing spokespeople for media interviews. She also processes research papers for press outreach consideration, assists the press team with outreach campaigns and events, and writes submissions for internal and external publications. Simona is the Earned Media Manager contractor from IQ Solutions. Prior to coming to NIDA, Simona was the Media Relations Director for First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization, where she generated media coverage for the organization’s signature report, “Children’s Budget: 2018.” Before that, she was the Media Relations Manager at the Center for Global Policy Solution, a policy research and advocacy organization that focused on racial inequalities in health, particularly before and after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She developed and executed the media outreach plans for the Center’s studies, edited and placed op-eds and letters to the editor, and prepared experts for media interviews. Previously, she worked at the Urban Institute on a wide range of public policy issues, mostly related to poverty and the safety net. She earned her Master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Bucharest, Romania.
Michelle Corbin - Public Health Analyst
Ms. Corbin joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in January 2017 to manage and coordinate NIDA’s outreach program to clinicians (NIDAMED.) She works with clinical groups and other stakeholders to ensure NIDA’s science based information on drug use and health is integrated into medical education, including information on screening for opioid misuse. Ms. Corbin was a long time Public Health Analyst at HRSA, coordinating communications and recruitment efforts for the National Health Service Corps (including the NURSE Corps), which recruits and provides clinicians to the most underserved communities in the United States. Michelle has a great deal of experience with outreach to all varieties of clinicians; has helped to grow NHSC numbers; is skilled in building partnerships; has experience in legislative affairs; and has many years of experience developing and testing audience specific communication materials. She has also worked closely with program officials who manage HRSA’s Federally Qualified Health Centers. Michelle has an MBA with a marketing specialty from American University.
Kimberly DiFonzo, Deputy Press Officer
Ms. DiFonzo joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in April 2008 with over 20 years of public relations experience working for trade associations, non-profit organizations and public relations firms. Her experience combines a broad knowledge of healthcare communications and media relations, as well as educational program development and execution. Kim is a member of the NIDA press team and responds daily to inquiries from national, local and social media on a wide variety of issues related to drug addiction research. She prepares spokespeople for media interviews, assists with the implementation of media outreach campaigns and events, and writes and edits various press materials. Prior to NIDA, Kim worked in the public relations office at the American Psychological Association, wrote public relations materials on behalf of the President of the American Nurses Association, served as a national spokesperson for the blood services program at the American Red Cross, and managed the Campaign on Clinical Depression while at Burson-Marsteller. Kim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA.
Michelle K. Griffin, M.A. – Health Publications Copy Editor (Contractor)
Ms. Griffin joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in November 2018, as the health publications editor (contractor). She is responsible for developing, writing, copyediting, design, language translation, revising, and helping execute the writing and editing tasks for NIDA’s consumer publications. Prior to joining OSPC, Ms. Griffin served as an ORISE Health Communications Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, GA, where she gained extensive health science experience and public health experience. Additionally, she has worked in higher education for Vanderbilt University, The University of Alabama, and Longwood University prior to her fellowship at the CDC. She received a B.A. in Communications (Public Relations and Organizational Communication concentration) from Longwood University, and a Master of Arts in Health Studies, Department of Health Sciences from The University of Alabama.
Brian Marquis, Program Analyst
Mr. Marquis joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in January 2002 as the Information Center Manager for the Public Information and Liaison Branch. He is now the NIDA Public Liaison Officer and connects with organizations across the country with the help of NIDA publications and Web sites. Prior to joining OSPC, Mr. Marquis worked at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Publications Clearinghouse and as a contractor at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He has a B.S. in Family Studies from University of Maryland, College Park.
Molly Natchipolsky – Content Support (Contractor)
Ms. Molly Natchipolsky joined OSPC in January 2019, serving as the lead contractor for NIDA’s communications contract. For the last eight years, Molly has been the sole proprietor of Kitchen Table Communications, LLC, which specializes in non-profit, first-responder, and health issues. As a communications specialist, she has been writing and developing strategic marketing and communication plans and materials for clients, including articles, press releases, speeches, and social media content. She has almost 20 years working in the communications field; having managed public relations and communications programs for several non-profit organizations including the American Red Cross, National Osteoporosis Foundation, the International Food Information Council and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Molly received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communications, with a minor in Public Relations from Frostburg State University.
Shirley Simson, Press Officer
Ms. Simson joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in March of 2006. She has more than 25 years of experience developing, managing, and implementing successful public relations programs, with an emphasis on health communication and social marketing. As Press Officer, Ms. Simson leads the NIDA press team in responding to daily inquiries from national and local print and broadcast media on a wide variety of issues related to drug addiction research; scheduling and preparing NIDA spokespeople for press interviews; conducting proactive media outreach activities in support of NIDA-funded scientific research, press events and meetings; and writing and editing press materials. Prior to joining NIDA, Ms. Simson provided communication expertise at public relations firms on behalf of a number of federal agencies, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. She also spent two years as a media spokesperson on breaking news about disaster relief and fundraising for the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. Shirley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.