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Anita Brown-Graham - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Anita Brown-Graham Anita Brown-Graham

Professor of Public Law and Government and Director of ncIMpact | UNC-Chapel Hill


Interdisciplinary faculty member and attorney focusing on cross-sector public policy solutions, workforce development, and civic engagement.



Anita R. Brown-Graham rejoined the School of Government in September 2016 to lead the public launch of ncIMPACT—a special initiative that seeks to expand the School’s capacity to work with public officials on complex policy issues. Since her arrival, she and her colleagues have devised programs to support communities working on economic mobility, poverty, the expansion of prekindergarten, extending the labor pool, and opioid misuse and abuse. Brown-Graham’s first tour as a School faculty member was from 1994 to 2006, during which she specialized in governmental liability and community economic development aimed at revitalizing communities. In 2007, Brown-Graham became Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University. There, she led IEI’s efforts to build North Carolina’s capacity for economic development and prosperity, working with leaders from across the state in the areas of business, government, and higher education to focus on issues important to North Carolina’s future. Brown-Graham began her career as a law clerk in the Eastern District of California. She is a William C. Friday Fellow, American Marshall Fellow, and Eisenhower Fellow. In 2013, the White House named her a Champion of Change for her work at IEI, and the Triangle Business Journal named her a 2014 Woman in Business for her policy leadership in the state and a 2017 CEO of the year. Brown-Graham serves on the boards of several organizations.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Workforce Development

Citizen Participation and Civic Involvement

Public Policy

Accomplishments (2)

NC Justice Center Lifetime Champion

This year faculty member and director of ncIMPACT Anita Brown-Graham was named a Lifetime Champion by the North Carolina Justice Center. The Justice Center presents its Defender of Justice Awards annually to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in combatting poverty.

Triangle Business Journal CEO of the Year

In 2014, the Triangle Business Journal named her a Woman in Business for her policy leadership in the state and named her 2017 CEO of the Year for her work as director of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI). In 2013, she was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change for Civic Engagement and Open Government.” Brown-Graham also is a William C. Friday Fellow, American Marshall Fellow, and Eisenhower Fellow.

Education (2)

Louisiana State University: BA

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law: J.D.

Media Appearances (11)

Our View: Prevention, treatment are keys to opioid plan

Fayetteville Observer  


Two years ago, Fayetteville was ranked 15th in the country for opioid abuse. Since then, we’ve seen little indication that the epidemic has ebbed.

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Commissioner wants Cumberland County to deal with opioid

Fayetteville Observer  


Cumberland County commissioners approved a program this week they hope will find a way to deal with the opioid crisis. The Board of Commissioners accepted a grant sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina School of Government that will pay for a two-year initiative in conjunction with the city of Fayetteville. Half of the $20,000 grant will go to hiring a project director, with the rest to be used for implementation.

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General business items pack BOC agenda for July

Jacksonville Daily News  


The UNC School of Government and Blue Cross NC have teamed up to offer a grant to partner with local governments to develop and implement responses to the opioid crisis in North Carolina. Onslow County and the City of Jacksonville submitted an application and were chosen to participate in the two-year program.

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Cabarrus prepares for 2-year program to battle opioid crisis

Independent Tribune  


In an ongoing effort to combat the opioid epidemic, Cabarrus County landed a prestigious opportunity to work with the UNC School of Government and select other communities across the state, collaborating on innovative approaches through a joint program over the next two years.

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Onslow County, Jacksonville selected for Opioid Crisis Support grant



JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - In Onslow County, a new multi-thousand dollar grant is helping the community in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The county and City of Jacksonville were chosen to receive the $20,000 grant from the UNC School of Government in May.

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County Picked To Tackle Opioid Crisis

Transylvania Times  


Transylvania County is one of 10 North Carolina local governments chosen to work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC School of Government made the announcement Thursday. The School of Government and Blue Cross N.C. will provide the following to each participating community: five regional forums at which teams will form goals, set plans for implementation, collaborate across fields and jurisdictions, and learn from experts on opioid-related issues; School of Government support throughout the process; $10,000 to assist with the costs of hiring a community project manager; and $10,000 in implementation funding for the project.

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Criminal Justice Services Selected for Opioid Crisis Support

Mecklenburg County release  


Mecklenburg County Criminal Justice Services is one of 10 local government teams selected for Opioid Crisis Support.

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Cabarrus among 10 local governments selected for opioid crisis support

Independent Tribune  


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC School of Government announce the selection of 10 North Carolina local government teams that will work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program.

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Transylvania County gets grant to fight opioid epidemic



BREVARD, N.C. (WLOS) — Transylvania County is one of only 10 areas in the state awarded a special grant to help fight the opioid epidemic. County leaders Thursday announced the selection from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC School of Government. They said the grant will go a long way in fighting some of the drug-related problems in the area.

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Forsyth County declares opioid crisis a public nuisance

Winston-Salem Chronicle  


Forsyth County Commissioners voted on several items on May 10 related to the national opioid epidemic, including declaring it a local public nuisance. The overuse of legal prescription opioids is being widely blamed for the current crisis of opioid addiction that is taxing first responders, jails and numerous other services across the nation. Forsyth County already approved joining many government entities nationwide, including the City of Winston-Salem, in suing opioid distributors and manufacturers. To help with the lawsuit, commissioners approved a resolution last week declaring the opioids crisis a local public nuisance that must be abated.

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ncIMPACT examines issues around our state including education, jobs, healthcare, and others. Our host, Anita Brown-Graham, from the UNC School of Government, goes into the communities that are tackling these problems head on. Talking to the people on the ground, Brown-Graham identifies ways in which they are positively affecting others and making change. The question remains, can these innovative solutions be applied in other communities across the state? UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina is partnering with the UNC School of Government, with exclusive sponsorship by Civic Federal Credit Union, for this compelling new series.


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Courses (2)

Thinking Big for Small People: Why Are NC County Leaders So Enthusiastic about Pre-K for Four Year Olds?

Did you know? Pre-kindergarten education ("pre-K") is increasingly being recognized as an integral part of efforts to help close the achievement gaps that exist at the time children enter kindergarten and can persist until they enter the workforce. Whether a third grader reads at grade level is predictive of whether that child will graduate from high school, enroll in education and training after high school, and develop high-level job skills. At the halfway point between birth and grade three, pre-K for four year olds is one effort receiving a lot of attention by policymakers, parents, education researchers, and brain scientists. The state of North Carolina supports a targeted program for four year olds called "NC Pre-K" that was ranked first nationally in quality but 41st in access by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

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Winning Strategies for Expanding N.C.’s Tightening Labor Market

Our state’s labor market is growing increasingly tight. North Carolina employers are eager to expand the pool of available and qualified potential employees, and workforce development agencies are seeking creative ways to bring more people into the workforce and assist them in efficiently acquiring needed skills.

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