Congratulations to the AHSR 2023 Early Career Investigator Award recipients and finalists!

Seven early career researchers were selected as recipients for the award, and five as finalists. Each of these applicants demonstrated commitment to a career in health services research for substance use conditions and potential for a high-impact research career. Award winners will receive recognition during the welcoming on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 7:30 AM.

Special thanks to the AHSR Early Career Subcommittee members Hannah Knudsen, Ilia Nadareishvili, Jemima Frimpong, Laura Starbird, Morgan Shields, Patience Moyo, Sharon Reif, and Yuhua Bao for reviewing a record number of applications and their commitment to supporting the next generation of addiction health services researchers.


Adam Viera, PhD, MPH

Co-director, Peer Recovery Center of Excellence; Director, Collaborative to Advance Health Services; Research Assistant Professor, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies

With twenty years of professional experience, Dr. Adam Viera started his career providing direct services before applying his professional skills and experience to build the capacity of HIV prevention, harm reduction, and peer recovery workforces and organizations. Dr. Viera recently received his PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Yale University School of Public Health. His research focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to address substance use and related health issues, such as HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose. Dr. Viera currently serves as the co-director for the Peer Recovery Center of Excellence, a SAMHSA-funded training and technical assistance center.

Accepted Abstract: “Spatial associations between alcohol detection in opioid-involved overdose deaths and alcohol outlets

Alex Rains

MD Candidate, Class of 2024, Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago

Alex Rains is a medical student studying in Chicago. Originally from rural Kentucky, she has been interested in the unique characteristics of drug use and harm reduction patterns in the rural U.S. Her work has encompassed studies of the impact of COVID-19 on access to services, stigma among rural people who use drugs, and unique harm reduction interventions for people who use methamphetamine. She intends to apply to psychiatry residencies this year with the goal of practicing as an addiction psychiatrist and continuing her research as a physician-scientist.

Accepted Abstract: “‘I would do anything but that’: Attitudes towards sex work among rural people who use drugs”

Aryn Phillips, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Maryland School of Public Health

Dr. Aryn Phillips is a health services researcher whose work focuses on alcohol use, particularly among adults with chronic conditions, and how to better harness the health care delivery system to reduce alcohol-related harms. This work draws from the fields of health policy and administration, management and organizational behavior, and alcohol and cardiovascular disease epidemiology. She completed her MPH at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her PhD at University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health (during which she was a predoctoral fellow at the Alcohol Research Group), and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Accepted Abstracts: “Patterns of health care interactions of individuals with alcohol use disorder: A latent class analysis” and “Decoupling of Screening & Referral to Treatment of Substance Use Disorders by U.S. Hospitals”

Courtney Nordeck, PhD

Assistant Research Scientist, Friends Research Institute

Dr. Courtney Nordeck is a health services researcher focused on improving strategies to increase access to evidence-based treatment for people who use drugs. Her research interests involve studying facilitators and barriers to treatment and harm reduction services at individual and structural levels. She has collaborated extensively with colleagues on projects across various settings and contexts including primary care clinics, correctional facilities, mobile treatment programs, and behavioral interventions delivered virtually. Dr. Nordeck recently completed her PhD in Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she was a predoctoral fellow in the Drug Dependence Epidemiology T32 Training Program.

Accepted Abstract: “Treatment retention among fentanyl-exposed patients: the role of patient preferences for fentanyl over other opioids”

Erika Crable, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego

Dr. Erika Crable is an assistant professor at the University of California San Diego. Her research tests the effectiveness of dissemination strategies to promote evidence-informed policymaking, and examines the use of implementation strategies to increase access to evidence-based substance use treatment for Medicaid insured and criminal-legal-involved populations. She is the PI of a NIDA-funded national study testing dissemination strategies to improve access to medications for opioid use disorder in Medicaid benefit arrays. She is an alumna of Boston University, Fellow of the Implementation Research Institute, and previously worked as a policy consultant to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other federal health services agencies.

Accepted Abstract: “Leadership and Organizational Change for Implementation-Systems Level (LOCI-SL) to Prepare for Systemwide Sustainment of Evidence-based Substance Use Treatment”

Jasmin Choi, MPH, MSW

PhD Candidate, New York University School of Global Public Health

Jasmin Choi is a PhD candidate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences track at the NYU School of Global Public Health. Her research interests include harm reduction approaches that mitigate the effect of stigma and address barriers to healthcare access for individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Previously, she worked as a federal policy analyst and coordinator for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program. She received a dual-degree Master’s in Social Work (MSW) in group therapy work specialization and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Boston University.

Accepted Abstract: “Does family support matter? The impact of support person attitudes toward MOUD on patient perceptions of support.”

Sarah Gutkind, MSPH

Doctoral Candidate, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Sarah Gutkind is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. As a pre-doctoral fellow in the Substance Abuse Epidemiology T32 Training Program, her research explored psychosocial problems associated with substance use disorders, substance use treatment access and utilization, and policy effects of medical and recreational cannabis laws. She was recently awarded an R36 from NIDA to support her dissertation research. Her dissertation examines the relationship between financial strain and substance use, whether this relationship varies by substance or duration of financial strain, and the impact of economic policies on this relationship.

Accepted Abstract: “Association between financial strain and changes in cigarette use among middle-aged and older adults in the United States, 2018-2020”


Adam Vose-O’Neal, MA, MSW

Doctoral Candidate, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

Adam Vose-O’Neal has over 12 years of experience in behavioral health research. He conducts mixed methods research on behavioral health services for Medicaid populations, low-income people, and people involved in the legal system. Vose-O’Neal is a doctoral candidate in Behavioral Health Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, studying the intersection of behavioral health and criminal justice policy. He is currently working to complete his dissertation, an evaluation of the LEAD program in Albany, NY. Vose-O’Neal is a licensed clinical social worker and has an active clinical practice in Providence, RI.

Accepted Abstract: “Police assisted diversion in Albany, NY: A qualitative evaluation of facilitators and barriers to program success”

Huiru Dong, PhD, MSc

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Huiru Dong is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School. She received PhD in Population and Public Health from the University of British Columbia in 2021. Dr. Dong is also an affiliated research scientist at the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, where she spent eight years working as a senior statistician and investigator. Her research aims to improve health and social outcomes for people with substance use disorders through rigorous data science methodologies. She has led studies on various public health issues, including investigating social determinants of health, examining drug use health outcomes, and evaluating drug policies and addiction treatments.

Accepted Abstracts: “The Impact of CDC’s Opioid Prescribing Guideline on Racial Disparities in Discontinuation of Opioid Treatment in the United States” and “Impact of State Mandates of Naloxone Coprescription on Naloxone Prescription Dispensing in the United States”

Peter Treitler, PhD, MSW

Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Social Work

Dr. Peter Treitler is an assistant professor at Boston University School of Social Work. His research aims to improve well-being for people with substance use disorders and inform more-effective solutions to the nation’s critical substance use challenges. His work examines the implementation and outcomes of health services for people with substance use disorders, and how federal, state, and payer policies shape their treatment and recovery experiences. With the goal of improving treatment across the health system, Dr. Treitler studies interventions that engage individuals in correctional facilities, emergency departments, and primary care clinics, and the policies that support implementation in these settings.

Accepted Abstracts: “Association of emergency department buprenorphine receipt with subsequent treatment and outcomes among New Jersey Medicaid beneficiaries” and “Emergency department-based peer support for opioid overdose survivors: Association of program participation with drug treatment initiation and outcomes”

Samantha Young, MD

General Internal Medicine & Substance Use Physician, Doctoral Candidate, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

Dr. Samantha Young is a general internal medicine specialist and substance use physician at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is also a PhD candidate in Clinical Epidemiology and Healthcare Research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Vanier Scholar. Her research focuses on the preferences of people who use drugs for prescribed opioids.

Accepted Abstract: “‘Would I have done that without a pandemic? Probably not’: Perspectives of People Who Use Opioids and Prescribers on a Rapidly Developed Guidance Document for Prescribing Opioid Agonist Therapy in Ontario During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Travis Donahoe, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health

Dr. Travis Donahoe is a health economist whose research focuses on how policy can reduce harm stemming from addictive substance use. He uses applied economic theory, quasi-experimental methods, and large and novel datasets to provide new insights about this topic. His dissertation studied markets for prescription and illicit opioids and their role in the U.S. opioid crisis. His chapter that examined the effects of enforcement actions against physicians, pharmacies, and pharmaceutical distribution facilities that mishandled prescription opioids was selected as the student paper that made the greatest contribution to health economics in 2023 by the American Society of Health Economists.

Accepted Abstract: “Controlled Substances Enforcement and the Opioid Crisis”