Student Fellowship


Project Area:

Data-driven Decision-Making


Baltimore, Maryland

Reporting to:

Chief Data Officer

The Challenge

In 2020, 954 people died from opioid-related overdoses in Baltimore. Public safety is one of Mayor Scott’s administration’s pillars, and increasing naloxone training/usage is a publicly tracked action*. As is the case in many American cities, Baltimore’s Health Department, Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, hospitals, and substance use disorder centers all have been burdened with continued increases in opioid use during COVID-19, another public health epidemic. Opioid misuse is a multifaceted issue, and challenges, associated stigmas, and service gaps in this area relate to other conditions including, for example, homelessness. As with most public health and safety concerns, the city’s Black and Brown communities are disproportionately impacted. Fatal overdoses among Black Marylanders in 2021 increased 12% over 2020, while dropping among other demographic groups.

With the backing of the Mayor, leadership in the City of Baltimore aim to develop a strategy, synthesize data, and convene stakeholders around a strategic framework for combatting the opioid epidemic through OpioidStat. The city is interested in building on pre-pandemic work done by the city on OpioidStat and developing a new framework that incorporates the changed city context post COVID-19. Various partners have described data sharing as a barrier to a more effective response, and this forum will help address needed policy changes. Regular OpioidStat meetings would also support coordination and accountability among city partners in addressing opioid misuse. In addition, OpioidStat would help surface inequities and bring other data and context to bear in addressing the epidemic in Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities.

The fellow working alongside Baltimore officials will help answer these key questions:

  • What are the areas of opioid response that would improve with increased City-wide coordination?
  • What are the gaps in the City’s strategy in combatting the opioid epidemic?
  • What data can be shared, and what policies need to be changed to enable more data sharing?
  • What can be learned by combining previously siloed data?

By the end of the summer, the fellow is expected to have developed a framework for OpioidStat and convene the first OpioidStat meeting to introduce the framework, discuss themes, review data insights, and determine next steps and focus areas.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will:

  • Engage with and interview key internal and external stakeholders including executives and subject matter experts from the Health, Fire, and Police Departments, the hospital system, behavioral and mental health providers, and health education institutions; synthesize interview findings around gaps and challenges, identify potential areas of focus for OpioidStat, and draft framework.
  • Create a process map and a stakeholder map as part of the draft framework that highlights the role of, and services provided by, each stakeholder, inter-relationships, and strategies for engagement.
  • Iterate, obtain feedback on, and refine the draft OpioidStat framework with key stakeholders.
  • Compile existing data analyses and research across the public health spectrum including preliminary OpioidStat work pre-pandemic, highlight key insights gained from the data, and determine gaps and challenges in data sharing, data availability, and collaboration. Share key findings.
  • Conduct or support the first OpioidStat virtual convening to introduce the proposed OpioidStat framework with the Mayor, City Administrator, and internal and external partners. Build a template for the OpioidStat meeting and co-facilitate a presentation of the content at the meeting.

Related deliverables are to be defined in concert with the fellow and would likely include the following: summary report identifying key areas of focus, particular problems that can be addressed by convening city stakeholders with an eye toward data review, and next steps; Convening/facilitating the first OpioidStat meeting.

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills and experience:

  • Data analysis
  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Stakeholder management and collaboration
  • Policy analysis
  • Design thinking
  • Writing and editing
  • Presentation skills


Building a Better Baltimore

Back to all Student Fellowship