Marla Hendriksson is the Director of Communications for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the Director of the Office of Communications, she leads all communications and public affairs for the federal government’s premier behavioral health agency charged with reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.
In this role, she also leads SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Public Awareness and Support. Through this initiative, the agency raises the public’s understanding of mental and substance use disorders, the many pathways to recovery, and importance of preventing these disorders from occurring. SAMHSA’s communications help people recognize these disorders and seek assistance with the same urgency as any other health condition and with the expectation of a full recovery.
Prior to SAMHSA, Ms. Hendriksson served as the Director of the Office of Communications for the HHS Program Support Center (PSC), a component of the Office of the Secretary. She directed all communications for PSC, the leading shared services provider in the federal government. She was responsible for ensuring communications for an agency that generated almost $1 billion in revenue and served over 850 employees, 2,000 contractors, and 1.8 million federal customers in HHS and 31 other federal agencies.
Before joining HHS, Ms. Hendriksson worked for 12 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, holding key positions related to environmental and public health protection. She specialized in policies and programs for communities most affected by environmental pollution. Most notably, she served as the Associate Director for Communications and Outreach and senior policy advisor in the Office of Environmental Justice and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Ms. Hendriksson holds a Masters degree in Public Management with majors in environmental policy and financial management, and a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, majoring in environmental science and natural resources management, from the University of Maryland.