Community Catalyst and the Children’s Mental Health Campaign will discuss the policy advocacy campaign that resulted in a mandate for all public schools in Massachusetts to verbally screen middle and high school students for substance use.


Melissa Ough, MSW, a policy analyst for the Substance Use Disorders project at Community Catalyst, conducts research and analysis on health care policy. Melissa works with state consumer advocacy groups to expand the use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) to address substance use disorders among youth and young adults.

Melissa formerly worked at the Center for Social Innovation, where she brought best practices to the field through accessible and engaging training, and innovative online tools. She provided technical assistance to SAMHSA homeless services programs and instructed courses nationwide on numerous topics, including outreach and enrollment and Critical Time Intervention.

Melissa was a research analyst and project manager for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study on the effectiveness of online learning for dissemination of evidence-based practices in community-based settings.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Gettysburg College and a Master’s in Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work.

Courtney Chelo is from the Children’s Mental Health Campaign at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Courtney did the work on the ground in Massachusetts to get the legislation introduced and passed and has worked with the schools in the early stages of implementation.

Additional Resources

Presentation Slides