It is my pleasure to announce that Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, M.P.H., has joined SAMHSA as the first Director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. The Policy Lab was created as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and promotes innovation and the dissemination and adoption of evidence-based practices and service delivery models related to mental health and substance use, including through the evaluation of models that would benefit from further development and through expanding, replicating, or scaling evidence-based programs, policies, and practices.
Prior to joining SAMHSA, Dr. Jones served as Acting Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Data Policy and Director of the Division of Science Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Office of Science and Data Policy is the HHS focal point for policy research, analysis, evaluation, and coordination of public health, science, and data policy activities, and provides authoritative advice and analytical support to HHS leadership on public health, science, and data policy issues and initiatives. He has also served as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) drug abuse and overdose activities, where he focused on strategic policy development and implementation, national and state partners engagement, and research to improve policy and clinical practice.
During his career, Dr. Jones has served as Senior Public Health Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, led the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Communication team, and served on the Science Team in the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Reinhart College, a Master of Public Health degree from New York Medical College, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University, and is currently completing his Doctorate of Public Health in Heath Policy at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Jones has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications on the topic of drug abuse and overdose.
Dr. Jones will helm the new Policy Lab that will help shape the policy discourse on the opioid crisis and the need for better treatment and support for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders. These issues continue to be a top priority of the HHS and SAMHSA.
Please join SAMHSA in welcoming Dr. Jones to his new role.