What We Do:
The Office of the Director provides leadership, direction, and oversight for all OSPC activities, including NIDA's interface with the U.S. Congress. Responds to Freedom of Information Requests.
- Jennifer Hobin, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Hobin became Director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in November 2021, after serving three years as OSPC’s Deputy Director. In her role as OSPC Director, she provides strategic leadership in policy, communications, legislative affairs, and stakeholder relations. She also serves as Chief of Staff to the NIDA Director. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Hobin served as Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She came to NIH with a strong record of leadership in research advocacy, having previously served as the Director of Science Policy at both the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers. While at AACR and FASEB, she worked with NIH grantees to advance policies on a host of research and public health issues, including tobacco control, research funding, peer review, human subjects protections, and scientific training and career development. Trained in psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Hobin transitioned from laboratory research into science policy via the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship program at the National Academies. She earned her PhD in biopsychology from the University of Michigan where she studied neurobiological circuits involved in fear memory retrieval.
- Tom Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H., Deputy Director
Dr. Tom Clarke joined NIDA in August 2022 as Deputy Director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications. Tom came to NIDA from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), where he most recently served as the Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory and Acting Deputy Director for the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. During Tom’s tenure at SAMHSA, he held leadership roles focused on policy, program, and data analysis in the areas of substance use prevention, treatment, and mental health. Prior to SAMHSA, Tom was a Policy Analyst at the Government Accountability Office via the Pathways Program, where he developed guidance on methodological approaches for evaluating federal programs. Tom has also worked in the non-profit sector on global health initiatives focused on HIV prevention and treatment. He earned a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate in the Social Behavioral Sciences from the University of Arizona.
- Michele L. Rankin, Ph.D., Senior Advisor
Dr. Rankin serves as NIDA’s Training Director in the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). She provides policy and programmatic oversight of the various training and career development grant programs at NIDA. Dr. Rankin also serves on the NIH Training Advisory Committee (TAC) and other trans-NIH committees as the NIDA representative for research training. Previously, Dr. Rankin served as the Deputy of the Science Policy Branch within the NIDA Office of Science Policy and Communication and as a Health Program Specialist in the Neurodegeneration cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In these roles, she supported a broad portfolio of neuroscience research and provided scientific information to a variety of stakeholders to inform public policy and promote the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. Dr. Rankin earned her doctoral degree in Neuroscience from the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University, specializing in olfactory signal transduction and completed her postdoctoral training in the NIH intramural program of NINDS within the Molecular Neuropharmacology Section examining dopamine receptor regulation.
- Niki Andrews, Lead Program Analyst
Ms. Andrews is a Program Analyst in the Office of the Director (OD), Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC). She provides staff support to the Director in coordinating and managing all aspects of OSPC’s administrative activities which include the Office budgets (contract and research management and services), administration policies and personnel. Other responsibilities include performing analytic functions: conducting background research to support senior management decision-making, mining multiple databases to collect requested information, and preparing detailed reports analyzing findings. Ms. Andrews serves on a regular and as requested ad hoc workgroups/committees representing the Office and/or NIDA. Ms. Andrews began her federal career in January 1990 in the Division of Preclinical Research and joined OSPC in September 1990.
- Holly Buchanan, Staff Assistant
Ms. Buchanan serves as Staff Assistant to the Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) and provides administrative and program support related to day-to-day needs of the Director and Office. Ms. Buchanan also serves as the OSPC expert on travel and procurement activities as well as the training coordinator for Federal Acquisition Certification –Contract Officer Representatives (FAC-COR) training requirements for all OSPC COR’s. Ms. Buchanan joined OSPC in May 2001 as the Secretary to the Deputy Director. Prior to joining NIDA, Ms. Buchanan worked at the National Naval Medical Center in the Orthopedic Department, scheduling patients, doctors and serving as the point of contact for the Department.
- Usha Charya, Program Analyst
Ms. Charya joined the Science Policy Branch of the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in 2006 and serves as the Project Officer for the NIDA OSPC Science Meeting and Conference Services contract. Ms. Charya works with contract and program staff across the Institute and NIH to plan, coordinate, and execute scientific conferences and meetings. She serves as liaison to professional and scientific organizations partnering with NIDA in planning and sponsoring such conferences and events. In addition, Ms. Charya serves as NIDA liaison to the NIH Diversity Council. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Delhi University, India, and Bachelor of Communication and Journalism from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining NIDA, Ms. Charya worked as an event planner and government meetings contractor for over 20 years.
- Lanette Palmquist, Program Analyst
Ms. Palmquist joined Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC) in November 1999 as a Program Analyst. Prior to joining OSPC, Ms. Palmquist was a Program Analyst in the Office of Science Policy at the National Center for Research Resources, NIH where she was responsible for a vast array of projects including contracts, evaluations and analyzing budget data. Ms. Palmquist is responsible for handling the Institute’s Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests and responding to e-mail queries and social media posts from the public. She also serves as the Alternate Contracting Office Representative (COR) for the Scholastic contract and assists OSPC staff with various projects. Ms. Palmquist received her B.A. in Biology and Psychology from Mount Holyoke College.
- Rachel Tillage, Ph.D., Scientific Program Specialist
Dr. Tillage joined NIDA’s Office of Science Policy and Communications in November 2022 as a Scientific Program Specialist. Prior to this, she worked in the office starting in August 2021 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow. She supports trans-NIH programs, such as the NIH HEAL Initiative, and contributes to a range of science policy, legislative, and communication efforts. Dr. Tillage has a B.S. in biology from the University of Richmond and completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience and postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, where her research focused on the neural mechanisms underlying stress resilience and stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Emerald Elder, M.A., Administrative Assistant III (Contractor)
Emerald joined NIDA in June of 2021 as an Administrative Support Contractor from SAI. She provides administrative support to OSPC OD as well as the Science Policy and Communications Branches. Emerald is a native Washingtonian who studied Psychological & Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, Physiology at Columbia University and Biology/Virology at Harvard University. Prior to joining NIDA, Emerald conducted laboratory research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Naval Medical Research Center and BIOQUAL, Inc., before shifting gears to Public Health Project Management and Coordination at NIH/NICHD and NIH/NIAID. In the long-run, Emerald plans to apply the combination of her scientific, administrative, and project management experience to support the missions of public health organizations dedicated to advancing the safety, health and education of the world’s most vulnerable populations.