Mary Sylla

Senior Staff Attorney

Mary Sylla, JD, MPH, is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance supporting the work of the Department of Law & Policy generally, and the public health agenda specifically. She has worked on criminal justice and public health issues for over 20 years and was instrumental in early advocacy for condom access for prisoners and other initiatives to improve HIV medical care and prevention for people who are incarcerated.  

She is the Founding Director of the Center for Health Justice in Los Angeles, a prisoner health organization focused on HIV and incarceration.  Prior to that she worked as a Staff Attorney at AIDS Project Los Angeles and the ACLU of Southern California. She has published in peer-reviewed journals on public health interventions to reduce HIV risk and transmission among individuals with a history of incarceration, and recently coordinated the Peer Health Education Program in San Quentin State Prison. In 2019, as an Adjunct Professor at the Touro University of California School of Public Health, she designed and taught the University’s first ever “Criminal Justice & Public Health” course. She is also a local elected official, serving on the Ross Valley Sanitary District Board of Directors.

She received her undergraduate degree in Public Policy from Brown University, her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill and her MPH in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley.

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