Plenary Speakers

“Social Determinants of Addiction: From Research to Policy”

Dr. Debra Furr-Holden is the Associate Dean for Public Health Integration, C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Division of Public Health at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She is also the Director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54HD011227). She is an epidemiologist and classically-trained public health professional with expertise in behavioral health equity and health disparities research. Dr. Furr-Holden’s community-based, action oriented research has been well received by community stakeholders and driven multiple policy interventions to address some of the nation’s greatest public health challenges, especially among racial and ethnic minorities and in racially- and economically-segregated communities. Dr. Furr-Holden’s research is grounded in the rubrics of epidemiology and consistent with principles and practices for understanding and intervening on the social determinants of health and health equity. Among her many awards, she was the recipient of the 2006 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (Office of the White House) and received the 2020 Community-Academic Partnership Award from the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center. Dr. Furr-Holden attended the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (BA Natural Sciences and Public Health, 1996) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (PhD, 1999).

“Research With not Research On: Engaging Stakeholders in the Substance Use Research Process.” 

A photo of Farrah Jacquez

Dr. Farrah Jacquez is a Professor and Assistant Head of the Psychology Department at the University of Cincinnati. Her work focuses on community-engaged approaches to health equity and broadening participation in science and research. Dr. Jacquez’s research focuses on more directly on working with community members to develop evidence-based, contextually appropriate programs. She currently has several funded projects working with communities to address health disparities, including an NIH-funded project engaging adolescents in community-based participatory research on drug abuse and addiction in local communities and an AmeriCorps-funded project that partners with refugees as co-researchers to improve civic engagement of refugee populations. Dr. Jacquez is Co-Director of Community Engagement for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST), Co-Editor of the Journal of Participatory Research Methods, and serves on the Board of Directors for Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH).

A photo of Nicholaus Christian

Nicholaus “Nick” Christian, MD, MBA is an internal medicine clinician-educator and current addiction medicine fellow in the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine. During residency training at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Christian helped create the B-Team: a nationally recognized hospital-based program that increases access to medications for opioid addiction treatment. Throughout residency he also lived as a “missional” resident at Community First! Village, a master-planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for people transitioning out of chronic homelessness. Along with helping neighbors share their musical talents, he also helped create a community-based participatory research project to elevate the voice of neighbors who use substances or are in recovery at Community First! Village. This project laid the foundation for the Wellness Advisory Board, a group of neighbors and community stakeholders organized to improve the delivery of recovery and wellness resources in the community. Dr. Christian’s current clinical and research interests include improving care for people who use substances that are on the continuum of experiencing homelessness to being stably housed.. 

A photo of Ryan McNeil

Dr. Ryan McNeil joined the Yale School of Medicine in December 2019 from the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, where he was supported by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award and Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator (CIHR) Award. Through his National Institutes of Health and CIHR-funded community-engaged qualitative and ethnographic research, he examines how forces operating within the risk environments of people who use drugs shape risk and harm. Dr. McNeil is Principal Investigator of multiple grants examining: (1) social, structural, and environmental influences on the implementation and effectiveness of harm reduction and addiction treatment interventions, including supervised consumption services; (2) the influence of housing and housing-based interventions on overdose-related risks; (3) approaches to the management of stimulant use disorders. Dr. McNeil regularly provides expert advice to health care organizations and governments on the development, implementation, and optimization of harm reduction and addiction treatment interventions. Pursuant to the goal of meaningfully involving people who use drugs in all stages of the research process, he actively collaborates with community-based organizations, including peer-driven drug user, sex worker, and tenant rights organizations, to align his research with community priorities and provide opportunities for people with lived experience to co-lead and engage in research. Furthermore, Dr. McNeil is the co-creator and scientific lead of Crackdown, a podcast launched in January 2019 to mobilize research and amplify the voices of people who use drugs. This innovative media collaboration has been called the “podcast most likely to save lives” and has received the Radio Impact Award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, Canadian Hillman Prize, and a silver medal from the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

“Harm Reduction Services and Research in the Age of Fentanyl and COVID-19”

A photo of Traci Green

Dr. Green is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on drug use, opioid use disorder, and drug-related injury. She earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill University and a PhD in Epidemiology from Yale University. She helped design the ASI-MV®, a real-time illicit and prescription drug abuse surveillance system developed by Inflexxion, Inc. Prior to joining the Heller School at Brandeis University, she served as Deputy Director of the Boston Medical Center Injury Prevention Center, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University where she co-directs the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) on Opioids and Overdose at Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Green helped co-found for prescribers and pharmacists and its companion site for families, patients, and community organizations. She serves as an advisor to the Rhode Island Governor on addiction and overdose, and consults for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas on public health and public safety opportunities. She served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and two recent National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committees pertaining to opioid pain management, regulatory strategies to address opioids, and medications for opioid use disorder. Her research is supported by the CDC, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, and the Department of Justice.

“Federal Funders’ Priorities for Addiction Health Services Research”

A photo of Laura Kwako

Laura Kwako, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and program officer in the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research at NIAAA. Her research portfolio focuses on health services, including treatment availability, quality and use, along with health care systems and integration of various health care services. Dr. Kwako received her PhD. in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of America and completed postdoctoral clinical training at Springfield Hospital Center in Maryland, specializing in treatment for addiction and trauma-related disorder in an inpatient, primarily forensic, setting. Dr. Kwako is licensed in Washington, DC and credentialed at the NIH Clinical Research Center as a clinical psychologist.

Photo of Sebastian Tong

Sebastian Tong, MD, MPH, is a program official in the Division of Practice Improvement in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He is a practicing family physician and addiction medicine specialist who sees patients at Mary’s Center, a federally qualified health center in Washington, DC. He graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine, received his public health training at Harvard School of Public Health and completed family medicine residency training at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center. Prior to joining AHRQ, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

A photo of Nadra Tyus

Dr. Nadra Tyus’ role at NIMHD focuses on promoting research to understand the various domains of influence and biopsychosocial factors contributing to health disparities in the areas of population health, behavioral health, and well-being. She provides her 15-year expertise to NIMHD programs in the areas of implementation science, evidence-based behavioral health and substance-use interventions, community-based participatory research, program evaluation, and health innovation.
Before coming to NIMHD, Dr. Tyus worked over 9 years at the Health Resources Services Administration in the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) and at the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. In her position as a Team Lead in BPHC, she led the development of evidence-based training and technical assistance activities on the primary care integration of HIV/AIDS, oral health, behavioral health, and substance/opioid use in the health center setting.
Dr. Tyus earned her Dr.P.H. in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, an M.P.H. from the Medical University of Ohio, and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Ohio University. Her postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute (2005-2008) focused on addressing health disparities using community-based participatory research. She holds the rank of Commander in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service.

A photo of Tisha Wiley

Tisha Wiley, PhD, is the Chief of the Services Research Branch (SRB) and Associate Director for Criminal Justice at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Wiley currently leads the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN), a 5-year $150M initiative focused on transforming responses to the opioid crisis in the justice system. As the Chief of the Services Research Branch, Dr. Wiley leads a team responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of > 350 grants focused on addiction health services research, totaling over $335M annually. Prior to joining NIH, she was the Assistant Director of Research at the Juvenile Protective Association, a non-profit social service agency in Chicago.

Workshop Speakers

Innovative Methods for Disseminating Addiction Health Services Research

Photo of Nicole Augustine

Nicole M Augustine is the Founder & CEO RIZE Consultants, LLC, a strategic
consulting firm founded in January 2015. RIZE provides advisory services that increase performance, prioritize diversity, and cultivate the development of equitable and inclusive work environments. RIZE is anchored in a core value: Diversity breeds innovation.
Nicole received her B.A. in Sociology from Cornell University and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University School of Public Health. Nicole has served as the Project Coordinator for the Southeast PTTC, the Project Director of the NC Behavioral Health Equity Initiative, and the Prevention Director for the Addiction Professionals of NC. Nicole currently serves as an Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response Network. This network is building trust across justice, corrections and medical systems to address the opioid and stimulants crisis.

A photo of Noah Emery

Dr. Noah Emery is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University. His research aims to identify mechanisms of behavior change that underlie substance use vulnerability and that impact treatment success in young people. The express intent of this work is to develop interventions to target these mechanisms and improve treatment outcomes. He is particularly interested in how we can harness positive emotions, such as happiness and enjoyment, to make early recovery more palatable for those interested in making a change. In tandem to his research, Dr. Emery is dedicated to working with young people struggling with substance use and co-occurring conditions along with their families to effect the changes the desire. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and addiction counselor.

A photo of Ashton Marra

Ashton Marra is a teaching assistant professor in the West Virginia University Reed College of Media and the executive editor of 100 Days in Appalachia, a 20201 national Edward R. Murrow award winning publication. There, she oversees the work of a team of editors, contributors and reporters across Appalachia to create content by Appalachians for Appalachians. She’s spent more than a decade working as a professional journalist for both public media and commercial news outlets. Her work, covering stories like the 2012 Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, West Virginia’s 2014 chemical spill and the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, has appeared on NPR, Good Morning America and other national and international programs.

A photo of Morgan Shields

Dr. Morgan Shields researches quality and accountability of healthcare. The majority of her work has centered on the setting of inpatient psychiatry given the extreme power imbalances and vulnerabilities that patients face in these settings. Her work aims to describe variation in quality across organizations and patients, as well as to identify effective strategies (both in the inner- and outer-settings) to promote equitable, patient-centered care. Shields’ work led to changes in Massachusetts’ critical incident monitoring system for inpatient psychiatry, as well as implementation of trauma-informed programming at the Veteran’s Health Administration. Her research has been published in outlets such as Health Affairs, Medical Care, Psychiatric Services, and Medical Care Research and Review. Shields is committed to amplifying the lived experience of patients and disabled people more generally, including in her research and her public interactions (e.g., Twitter), as well to supporting the success of academic researchers with lived experience.

A photo of Jonathan Stoltman

Jonathan JK Stoltman is Director of the Opioid Policy Institute and Co-Director of Reporting on Addiction. In 2019, he completed his PhD in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from West Virginia University. During his doctoral training Jonathan completed research at West Virginia’s leading opioid treatment facility, the COAT Clinic at WVU. He received CTSI funding for his dissertation work on reproductive and sexual health service knowledge/access/interest during opioid addiction treatment. This work is graciously supported by his mentors Hendrée Jones, PhD (UNC/Horizons), Mishka Terplan, MD, MPH (FRI), and Laura Lander, MSW, LICSW (WVU).
Jonathan’s research manuscripts have appeared in leading journals such as Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Addictive Behaviors, and Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he has presented research at national and regional conferences since 2013.
Currently, he is leading two initiatives through the Opioid Policy Institute. First, a review of the privacy/security practices of OUD Treatment Apps. Second, an effort to reduce addiction related stigma and discrimination by helping improve how the media covers addiction (Reporting on Addiction).

A photo of Sarah Helseth

Sarah Helseth, PhD seeks to build resilience and minimize risky behavior among vulnerable youth in community settings. Her research spans from treatment development and evaluation to widespread dissemination and community-based implementation: (1) Development and evaluation of evidence-based practices for youth and their families; recent work examines digital health interventions to reduce substance use among juvenile justice-involved youth and families of adolescents in residential treatment settings. (2) Interpersonal influences on risky behavior, with the long-term objective of leveraging positive peer influence within the context of behavior change interventions. (3) Strategies by which to increase access to and utilization of effective behavioral health services.

“Measuring Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Substance Use Disorder and Related Treatment Services”

A photo of Benjamin Le Cook

Dr. Benjamin Lê Cook is Director of the Health Equity Research Lab at Cambridge Health Alliance, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and Visiting Clinical Associate Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. He holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University and an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Cook is a health services researcher focused on improving quality of life, and access and quality of treatment for individuals living with mental illness and substance use disorder. His NIH, AHRQ- and Foundation-funded research tracks healthcare disparities in the U.S. and the impacts of health reform on disparities, seeks to understand discrimination in the patient-provider interaction, and evaluates the impact of hospital-based interventions on health equity. As Director of the Health Equity Research Lab, he also oversees research on criminal justice and mental health, transgender health, opioid use treatment evaluation, integrated behavioral health care, and the promotion of community-engaged research partnerships. Dr. Cook has experience mentoring students and faculty at all levels in health disparities and health system evaluation.

Michael Flores is a Research and Evaluation Scientist at the Health Equity Research Lab. He is a graduate of the doctoral program in Health Services Research at the Brown University School of Public Health. His dissertation evaluated the impact of access and utilization of health services among Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness of Rhode Island’s Medicaid Health Home through the use of quasi-experimental methods and longitudinal administrative claims data, His research interests include access and utilization of health services by populations with mental illness, healthcare integration, implementation science, social determinants of health, racial/ethnic disparities, community-based interventions, and patient-provider communication. Michael received his BA in Spanish Literature and Latin American Iberian Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MPH in Health Policy from Fresno State. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

“Practical Considerations for Estimating Moderated and Mediated Effects in Substance Use Research”

A photo of Beth Ann Griffin

Beth Ann Griffin is a senior statistician at the RAND Corporation. Her research has largely focused on causal effects estimation when using observational data. Her substantive research has primarily fallen into three areas: (1) substance abuse treatment for adolescents, (2) the impact of nongenetic factors on Huntington’s disease, and (3) the effects of gun and opioid state policies on outcomes. She codirected the RAND Center for Causal Inference between 2013 and 2018. Currently, Griffin is a coinvestigator on Gun Policy in America, a RAND initiative to understand the effects of gun policies, and is codirecting RAND’s Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC) to foster innovative research, tools, and methods for tackling the opioid epidemic. Griffin’s research has appeared in leading journals such as Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Statistics in Medicine, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Annals of Applied Statistics, Journal of Causal Inference, and American Journal of Public Health. Griffin also serves on the editorial board of the Annals of Applied Statistics. She received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from Harvard University.

A photo of Megan Schuler

Megan Schuler is an applied statistician at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on substance use and mental health disorders and methodologically on causal inference methods which facilitate rigorous analysis of observational health data. As a co-investigator affiliated with the RAND Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC), a primary focus of her current work is opioid policy research. In particular, her work seeks to develop and disseminate state of the art statistical methods for evaluating the effectiveness of state and federal opioid policies. Another central research interest is heterogeneity in substance use and mental health behaviors, disorders, and treatment, with respect to variation across age and population subgroups. Her current research focuses on substance use disparities among sexual minorities (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual individuals). Her ongoing work has characterized notable variation in substance use behaviors across sexual minority subgroups and identified differential risk factors and etiological pathways that contribute to these disparities. In prior work, she has used latent variable modeling to identify distinct subgroups of individuals characterized by similar behavioral health treatment utilization patterns and examined how associations between substance use and risk factors vary dynamically across age using time-varying effect modeling. Prior to RAND, Schuler was a research fellow at Harvard’s Health Care Policy Department and a postdoc at Penn State’s Methodology Center. She received her Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a M.S. in biostatistics from the Medical University of South Carolina, and a B.S. in mathematics from Tulane University.

“Strategies for Actively Engaging Stakeholders in Research”

A photo of Lama Hassoun Ayoub

Lama Hassoun Ayoub, MSPH is the Director of Interdisciplinary Research at the Center for Court Innovation. She has led research and evaluation for over 10 years at the Center, across numerous portfolios, including school and youth justice, violence prevention, tribal justice, risk-need assessment, reentry, community supervision, and incarceration. She is currently PI on several projects including a mixed-methods randomized controlled trial evaluating restorative justice in schools; an evaluation of a trauma-informed violence prevention program; and research on risk-needs assessment in tribal justice systems. Her research is grounded in values of equity and inclusion, centered on building strong relationships with funders, stakeholders, and communities.

A photo of Joanne Nicholson

Joanne Nicholson, PhD is Professor in the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management and a clinical and research psychologist with over 25 years of experience working with parents with serious mental illnesses and their families. She is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Nicholson has an active program of research on parents and their children, in partnership with people in recovery. She and her collaborators have developed rehabilitation education and training programs and materials for parents, integrating the current knowledge on parents with serious mental illnesses and evaluating interventions for families, including the pilot Family Options intervention and, more recently, the ParentingWell initiative in Massachusetts, USA. Nicholson and colleagues are exploiting emerging technologies on behalf of individuals with serious mental illnesses, developing and testing the WorkingWell mobile app to provide support for individuals in the workplace.

A photo of Lina Villegas

Lina Villegas, PhD is a senior research associate at the Center for Court Innovation in the Research Department. She is currently working on the design and validation of a culturally appropriate risk-need assessment tool for Native Americans and evaluations of a Therapeutic Justice Program (Drug Treatment Courts) in Mexico and alternatives to incarceration in Colombia. Until recently shewasthe fieldwork director in a study of restorative practices in New York City schools and an evaluation examining people’s transition out of detention in New York City during the COVID pandemic. Before joining the Center, Dr. Villegas worked as a Women Equality Outreach Coordinator for the Women’s Secretariat in Medellin, Colombia. Lina also collaborated with the Heidelberg University in the design of the street pedagogy initiative, which explored ways to educate children who live on the street.

“GIS and Spatial Epidemiological Analyses for Addiction Health Services Research”

Dr. Thomas Stopka, PhD, MHS, is an epidemiologist and associate professor with the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Stopka’s current research focuses on the intersection of substance use disorder, opioid overdose, and infectious diseases (HCV, HIV, STIs, COVID-19). He employs geographic information systems (GIS), spatial epidemiological, qualitative, biostatistical, and laboratory approaches in multi-site, interdisciplinary studies, and public health interventions to better understand and curb the opioid crisis. He currently leads and contributes to clinical trials and observational studies funded by the NIH, CDC, and SAMHSA to: 1) assess the effectiveness of a mobile, telemedicine-based HCV treatment and harm reduction model for rural opioid users in Northern New England; 2) reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% in Massachusetts through the HEALing Communities Study; and 3) evaluate the overdose prevention impacts of administration of medication for opioid use disorder in nine houses of correction through the Massachusetts JCOIN study. Dr. Stopka is also Co-Chair of the Tufts research priority group focused on equity in health, wealth, and civic engagement. He teaches courses in GIS and spatial epidemiology, research methods for public health, and epidemiology. He enjoys mentoring research assistants, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.

“Adaptive Interventions Workshop: Methods for Adapting and Personalizing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services for SUD”

A photo of Lara Coughlin

Lara Coughlin is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, School of Medicine. Her research focuses on developing bio-behavioral interventions to improve outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders based on behavioral economic frameworks. She is particular interested in improving access to empirically-based substance use interventions for hard-to-reach and underserved populations.

A photo of Daneil Almirall

Daniel Almirall is Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) and the Department of Statistics and co-director of the d3lab at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on research methods (including clustered SMART designs) for developing adaptive implementation strategies to improve the implementation, adoption, and scalability of evidence-based practices.

Photo of Linda Collins

Linda M. Collins is Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Biostatistics at New York University. Her research focuses on the development, dissemination and application of the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) to improve intervention effectiveness, efficiency, economy and scalability. She is Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and is a past president of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology and the Society for Prevention Research.

A photo of Inbal Billie Nahum-Shani

Inbal Billie Nahum-Shani is Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) and co-director of the d3lab at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on using behavioral theory and novel research methods to develop adaptive interventions that use ongoing information an individual to modify the type, intensity or delivery-mode of support. She is particularly interested in the development of technology-based adaptive interventions that tailor (personalize) treatment using a combination of human and digital (e.g., mHealth) modalities.

A picture of Susan A Murphy

Susan A. Murphy is Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Computer Science at Harvard University, and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. Her research focuses on the development of data analytic algorithms and randomized trial designs for constructing real-time individualized sequences of treatments delivered by mobile devices. For her work on trial designs and analytics, she was awarded a McArthur Fellowship in 2013, elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2014, and elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.