Melanie Brown

Melanie Brown has been a long-time public servant, working tirelessly behind the scenes at both the local and state level in the development and implementation of human services to strengthen individuals, families, and communities.  Her 35-year career in public service began in her teens as a page at the House of Representatives sparking her interest in government. Fluent in Spanish, in 1980, she served as a bilingual worker for the Federal Emergency Management Agency helping refugees from the Cuban Mariel Boat Lift to settle in America.   

Educated in Social Work at Penn State, Melanie began her career of public service as a Crisis Intervention Caseworker with Dauphin County.   This led to her position as a Caseworker within the PA Department of Public Welfare (now Human Services). Her work providing direct service to individuals in need provided a solid foundation for her career with the PA House of Representatives as the Executive Director of the Health and Human Services Committee.  Her solid understanding of the deeply personal struggles of people seeking assistance enabled Melanie to incorporate the face of humanity into the technical development of legislation and policy. During her long career in the House, under her guidance, the health and human services committee was subdivided many times with spin offs for Aging, Children and Youth, and lastly Health.  Directing the Human Services Committee positioned her to draft comprehensive legislation to assist the most vulnerable of Pennsylvania’s residents by securing much-needed services for addiction, care for mental health challenges, and support for people with Intellectual Disabilities and their families.  Recently, she was a leader in writing the laws that created Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (Act 191 of 2014) and quality standards for addiction recovery houses (Act 59 of 2017). 

In 2019 Melanie received the Lifetime Service to Recovery Community Award for her groundbreaking work as a passionate crusader for access to addiction care. She was also the recipient of an award from the Applied Behavior Analysis of Pennsylvania Initiative for her work as an ally in their legislative efforts. As a social worker, these topics have always been very near to her heart.  Melanie’s deep-seated commitment to help others is brilliantly coupled with an extensive knowledge and a broad skill set including a keen understanding of the inner workings of the General Assembly, building consensus toward common goals to benefit the people residing in Pennsylvania. 

Presently, Melanie serves on the boards at the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind, and at heartshine, Harrisburg’s first donation-based restaurant and community space slated to open in Midtown when it is safe for people to gather. 

To contact Ms. Brown, you may reach her via email at