Title: Program Director for Behavioral Health in the Center for Best Practices
Organization: National Governors Association
City: Annapolis, Maryland
Project: Equitable Access to SUD Funding to Address Racial Disparities
About the Scholar
Marianne Gibson is a visionary leader, policy professional, and technical expert with a specific interest in promoting policies and programs that support primary prevention through strengthening systems that address health-related social needs. During her 18 months as an Addiction Policy Scholar, she transitioned through several roles with the State of Maryland to her current position leading the National Governors Association’s (NGA) behavioral health portfolio.
At NGA, she supports the governor’s offices by providing best practices that promote behavioral health. In partnership with the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown Law, her team spearheaded the development of a roadmap for states titled, “Implementing a Continuum of Care to Prevent Overdose.” This roadmap included 17 actionable policy recommendations organized by five pillars that states can take to prevent overdose and overdose death. Work will continue in 2024 to support states with operationalizing recommendations from the roadmap.
During her time with the State of Maryland, Marianne championed several high-impact initiatives, including legislation that increased targeted naloxone distribution and a large-scale data project linking cross-system datasets to develop overdose risk profiles. She also supported the Racial Disparities in Overdose Task Force to explore policies and programs to eliminate disparities in overdose deaths for Black Marylanders. In addition, she advocated to state leadership to eliminate the prohibition on using state general funds to purchase sterile syringes.
Marianne’s project included supporting the State of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center to incorporate an equity statement into their discretionary grant applications to ensure that applicants were implementing projects that were reaching highly impacted communities.
After losing her mother at the age of 4 to co-occurring behavioral health conditions, Marianne has become a strong champion for policies and programs that support family and community resilience. Her main motivation is her young son, Samuel, who inspires and challenges her daily to be kinder and more compassionate — both to herself and others.
About the Project
“Equitable access to SUD funding to address racial disparities” focused on ensuring a more equitable distribution of state general funds to address racial disparities in overdose deaths. Marianne’s project included supporting the State of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) to incorporate an equity statement into their discretionary grant applications to ensure that applicants were implementing projects that were reaching highly impacted communities. The OOCC has since implemented the equity impact statement into its process and considered this indicator when awarding funding in 2023.