Communications Branch (CB)

What We Do:

The Communications Branch is responsible for NIDA’s information and dissemination activities.


Molly Freimuth, Acting Communications Director, Branch Chief

Ms. Freimuth oversees NIDA’s communications activities and serves as the Acting Chief, Communications Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications. Prior to joining the NIDA, she worked at the NIH Clinical Center as a Senior Public Affairs Officer and Strategic Communications Supervisor and prior to that she was a Press Officer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ms. Freimuth holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a focus on Mass Communications, Business Administration and Broadcast Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

Mark Fleming, Section Chief, Digital Communication Section (DCS)

Mr. Fleming joined the Communications Branch (CB) in December 2000.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology from Miami University in Ohio and a Master of Arts in visual communications from Ohio University. He has worked for NIDA since 1986, both as a contractor and now as a federal employee. He established the Visual Media Unit to provide photographic and graphic arts support for NIDA intramural research. In addition, he established the NIDA web site in 1995 and has worked since then to increase its scope and exposure.   As NIDA’s 508 coordinator, Mr. Fleming and his support team work with NIDA staff to ensure all information products meet accessibility regulations.

Josie Anderson, Digital Media Manager/Audiovisual Production Specialist, DCS

Ms. Anderson joined the Communications Branch (CB) in October of 2012. Currently, she works directly with the Digital Communication Section, while also augmenting NIDA's Office of the Director and Office of Science Policy and Communications Branches. She has over 18 years of federal civilian and active duty military service in public affairs, digital media management, and broadcast journalism. As NIDA's audiovisual production specialist, Ms. Anderson serves as the institute's primary video content producer and multimedia manager. She also supports NIDA's website, as well as both traditional and social media needs. Josie attended the Defense Information School with a background in Public Affairs, Broadcast and Interactive Journalism. She also received BA degrees in Political Science and Anthropology from Rutgers University and an MA from American University’s School of Communication.

Heather Boerner, Technical Writer/Editor, PPSCT

Ms. Boerner writes evidence-based communications on stigmatized health conditions and scientific research for NIDA’s Communications Branch, which she joined in August 2022. Previous to that, Heather had a 25-year career as a newspaper, magazine and online journalist and author, most recently covering HIV. Her work has appeared in NPR, PBS NewsHour, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and TheBody and TheBodyPRO, among others. An excerpt of her book on HIV and pregnancy (which overlaps with substance use disorders), was published in The Atlantic.

Katie Clark, Technical Writer-Editor 

Katie translates scientific information into plain language messages for journalists and the public. She writes and edits press pieces, fields reporter inquiries, coordinates interviews on NIDA research and topics, and pitches new health advancements and coverage of crucial topics. Katie also oversees NIDA’s outreach on social media. Prior to joining NIDA in 2023, she worked as a press officer at the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases where she led communication efforts on a diverse range of research, prepared speeches for the Institute Director, and served as the Institute’s COVID-19 communications subject matter expert. Katie holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science.

Stacy Coppess, Technical Writer/Editor, PPSCT

Ms. Coppess writes and edits webpages and publications for NIDA’s Communications Branch, which she joined in March 2023. Prior to NIDA, she was a medical librarian for the National Library of Medicine (NLM), where she developed consumer health information for, including on substance use topics. She also developed and mapped MedlinePlus content to clinical health care terminology for inclusion in electronic health records. Stacy has a master’s degree in library and information science.

Rachel Evans, Senior Press Officer

Ms. Evans leads a variety of public affairs efforts such as responding to reporter inquiries, coordinating interviews with NIDA researchers, pitching exciting advancements and crucial health topics, and advising on translating scientific information into understandable messages for journalists and the public. Prior to joining NIDA in 2021, she worked as a press officer at the NIH National Cancer Institute where she led communications rollouts and oversaw a diverse range of national news coverage, including stories on immunotherapy, childhood cancer, artificial intelligence, comparative oncology, and cancer therapies being studied to treat severe COVID-19. Before coming to the NIH, Rachel held communications positions in her home state of Minnesota at the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Health Communication.

Stacy Lu, Technical Writer/Editor, PPSCT

Ms. Lu writes and edits webpages and publications for NIDA’s Communications Branch, which she joined in August of 2021. Prior to NIDA, she was lead writer for Management Sciences for Health, a global health non-profit, where she wrote about infectious disease, global health security, and health technology. A long-time health and science journalist, Stacy has written or worked for The New York Times,,, Prevention, Proto, Monitor on Psychology and others. She has also been a digital content strategist and editor for Time Inc., TEDMED, and Digitas. Stacy has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Brian Marquis, Program Analyst

Mr. Marquis joined the Communications Branch (CB) in January 2002 as the Information Center Manager. 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 the branch, 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.

Juwon Song, Technical Writer/Editor

Ms. Song joined the NIDA communications team in October 2021. She writes and edits press pieces, fields reporter inquiries and is a liaison for organizing and moderating press events and interviews. At NIDA, she has the opportunity to align her passion for humanitarian causes with her demand for science-based evidence and penchant for writing. Prior to NIDA, Ms. Song worked for 5 years as a Science magazine press writer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, helping promote upcoming papers mainly in Science Immunologyand Science Robotics, as well as in other sister journals. She graduated from Bates College in 2015, majoring in English and biology.

Allisen Stewart, IT Specialist (INET), DCS

Ms. Stewart joined the Communications Branch in June of 2022. She began her NIH career as a summer student and became a full-time employee after graduating from college. In 2003 she graduated from NIH Management Intern Program and since then has worked at NINR, NIAMS, NIAID, and NIDCR as a technical writer/editor and digital information specialist overseeing web analysis and Section 508 maintenance. At NIDA Ms. Stewart is responsible for managing web analytics, updating and maintaining content on the NIDA website, and managing email-based outreach. Ms. Stewart is enthusiastic about NIH’s mission to provide science-based, health information to everyone. Ms. Stewart received a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech and a Master of Arts degree in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

Bonnie Tabasko, Communications Lead for HEAL at NIDA

Ms. Tabasko leads communications activities for the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative at NIDA. An advocate for the health of people and the planet, she is a longtime NIH communications advisor, strategist, and writer with more than two decades of experience working across the agency. Prior to joining NIDA in 2023, Bonnie directed communications focused on Tribal health research, older adults, environmental influences on children’s health, and women’s health research. Before a sabbatical of international travel and volunteer work, primarily in Bhutan, she led and supported NIH-wide communications efforts for 10 years in NIH’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison. She started her NIH career at the Clinical Center, and also worked in public affairs at the Smithsonian Institution. Bonnie has a B.S. in communications from Ithaca College and M.S. in health promotion management from American University, during which she worked with an obesity prevention program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She also has training in holistic health disciplines.

Ann Rea, Web Analyst, DCS (Contractor)

Ms. Rea has been a contractor with NIDA since 1993. Originally a Medical Photographer at NIDA’s Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore, she switched her role to Graphic Artist and then to the role of Web Analyst in 1999. Ms. Rea works on the main NIDA site, specifically with NIDAMED, International, NACDA, and publications. She has also taken a major role in the ongoing task of ensuring that the NIDA website and all of the smaller sites meet the Section 508 Guidelines. Ms. Rea holds a M.A. in English from Morgan State University.