First Lady of North Dakota
Kathryn Burgum became First Lady on December 15, 2016, when her husband Governor Doug Burgum was sworn in as the 33rd Governor of North Dakota. As First Lady, Kathryn's priority is supporting and developing initiatives to eliminate the shame and stigma of the chronic disease of addiction in North Dakota's communities. Read More >
TEDx: Eliminating the Shame and Stigma of Addiction
Reinventing Recovery in North Dakota
White House Opioid Summit
White House Empowering Women Symposium
The Disease of Addiction
Shame, Stigma, and Discrimination
First Lady Burgum shares her lived experience battling the disease of addiction and the power and hope she found in recovery. The First Lady relates to others through recounting the story of her addiction to alcohol that started in high school and followed her into adulthood and her professional career. Her 17 years of recovery has granted her wisdom, gratitude, and the passion to advocate for those impacted by addiction.
Central to her platform as First Lady of North Dakota, Kathryn has made it her mission to end the shame and stigma surrounding addiction. Her core messages of advocacy are addiction is a disease, not a choice or moral failing; talking about addiction will end stigma and empower others to reach out for help; and being a public face and voice of recovery creates a supportive culture that reinforces recovery.
First Lady Burgum has been active in the national conversations surrounding the opioid crisis. Having been present at the White House in October 2017 when President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, she has continued to engage with the administration and national stakeholders on solutions. The First Lady shares her outlook on how eliminating stigma surrounding addiction can help end the opioid crisis by encouraging more people to connect to treatment and recovery services. She has offered her insight to end the crisis with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, the Surgeon General and at events such as the Cross-Border Health Foundation United States-Canada Opioid Crisis Roundtable and the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit.
The First Lady has been a trailblazer in North Dakota and beyond by sharing her story of addiction and recovery to galvanize a grassroots movement of people sharing their own stories to eliminate stigma. She maintains that storytelling is a powerful tool to eliminate stigma, reshape perspectives, and encourage decision makers to craft policy that helps those who share a similar story. The First Lady shows that anyone can be an advocate by being vulnerable in sharing their story.
"The First lady is always so open to sharing her personal story and her passion regarding recovery is very clear!"
"She is very inspirational and educated on addiction, with a huge heart."
"I admire the First Lady's bravery in standing up and telling her story, and leading the way in reducing the stigma in North Dakota. We need people like her to show what is possible with recovery."