Who we are and what we do: NIAAA Office of Science Policy and Communications

The goal of the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) is to give visibility to NIAAA-supported research and initiatives and to establish NIAAA as an authoritative source of evidence-based information on alcohol and health.  These efforts are key to NIAAA’s mission which is to generate and disseminate fundamental knowledge about the effects of alcohol on health and well-being and apply that knowledge to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.  Our Office serves a broad range of stakeholders including NIH and NIAAA leadership, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Congress, the research community, health professionals, advocacy organizations, the media, and patients and the public at large. Much of our efforts relies on collaboration with other NIAAA Offices and Divisions.  

OSPC is organized into two branches - the Science Policy Branch and the Communications and Public Liaison Branch.   

Staff in the Science Policy Branch (SPB) monitor, analyze, and report on information and issues impacting the federal alcohol research agenda, and help policy makers, researchers, and the public understand how alcohol research improves public health. SPB staff conduct portfolio analyses and evaluations of alcohol-related research; prepare reports for Congress, the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and NIH leadership; represent NIAAA on trans-NIH and HHS committees; brief NIAAA leadership on legislation and other policies affecting our Institute; develop talking points and presentations for NIAAA leadership; respond to requests received under the Freedom of Information Act; coordinate NIAAA’s inclusion monitoring and bioethics activities; and produce NIAAA’s peer-reviewed journal, Alcohol Research: Current Reviews.

Staff in the Communications and Public Liaison Branch (CPLB) disseminate unbiased evidence-based science and health information in an appropriate and efficient way to a wide range of audiences and builds and cultivates relationships to amplify NIAAA’s messaging. CPLB staff manage and evaluate dissemination activities involving social media, print, web, and other media platforms; develop publications and resources for the public, advocates, policymakers, researchers, and health professionals; manage news media relations; work with the NIAAA Director to enhance the Institute’s , media profile; serve as a focal point for public liaison relations and promotional partnerships; manage NIAAA’s primary and ancillary websites and exhibits/special events; and respond to public inquiries.  
Staff in the immediate Office of the Director, OSPC, serve as the NIAAA Webmaster and point of contact for public inquiries, coordinate responses to controlled correspondence, and process travel and other administrative requests within the office.

Our Staff

Name Area
Bridget Williams-Simmons, Ph.D.  Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) and Associate Director for Basic Research
Joanna Mayo, B.A. Immediate Office of the OSPC Director
Rachel Anderson, Ph.D. Science Policy Branch
Aamna Bhatti, M.S. Science Policy Branch
Nanwei Cao, Ph.D. Science Policy Branch
Kathleen Tepas  Science Policy Branch
Van Van, B.S. Science Policy Branch
Pamela Wernett, Ph.D., PMP. Science Policy Branch
Fred Donodeo, M.P.A. Chief, Communications and Public Liaison Branch
John Bowersox  Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Cara Anjos Breeden, MLS. Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Deborah Hurwitz Langer, MPH. Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Laura Manella, Ph.D. Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Kimberly Martin, M.S. Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Katherine Masterton   Communications and Public Liaison Branch
Gregory Roa, M.A. Communications and Public Liaison Branch