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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2007 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2007

Staff Highlights

Staff Honors and Awards


Individual Awards
Betty Tai, Ph.D.
Allison Chausmer, Ph.D.
Cora Lee Wetherington, Ph.D.
Joyce Williams
Melissa W. Racioppo, Ph.D.
Vincent Smeriglio, Ph.D.
Dionne Jones, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Robertson, Ph.D.
Loretta A. Beuchert
David S. Daubert
David Anderson


NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Training Workgroup
Beth Babecki, M.A.
Allison Chausmer, Ph.D.
Gayathri Dowling, Ph.D.
Steven Grant, Ph.D.
Suman Rao King, Ph.D.
Teresa Levitin, Ph.D.
Kay Nimit, M.D.
Charlie Sharp, Ph.D.
David Shurtleff, Ph.D.
Karen Skinner, Ph.D.
Laurence Stanford, Ph.D.
Susan Volman, Ph.D.
Susan Weiss, Ph.D.

Jennica Database Team
Jessica Campbell Chambers, Ph.D.
Aria D. Crump, Sc.D.
Richard Denisco, M.D.
Gina Hijjawi, Ph.D.
Samia Noursi, Ph.D.
Belinda E. Sims, Ph.D.
Ming Shih, Ph.D.

COAC Initiative Team
Mary K. Affeldt
Laura S. Rosenthal

NIDA Administrative Officers
Chanvadey Nhim
Donna Tolson

Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment in the Criminal Justice System Publication Team
Pat Anderson
Ruben Baler, Ph.D.
Redonna Chandler, Ph.D.
Wilson Compton, M.D.
Timothy Condon, Ph.D.
Gayathri Dowling Ph.D.
Jennifer Elcano
Mark Fleming
Bennett Fletcher, Ph.D.
Sharan Jayne
Carol Krause
Jan Lipkin
Brian Marquis
Lucinda Miner, Ph.D.
Joan Nolan
Cathrine Sasek, Ph.D.
Anna Staton, MPA
Jack Stein, Ph.D.
Susan Weiss Ph.D.
Sara Rosario Wilson

NIDA Roadmap Staff
Tom Aigner
Ruben Baler
Nicolette Borek
Allison Chausmer
Christine Colvis
Wilson Compton
Timothy Condon
Gaya Dowling
Joseph Frascella
Meyer Glantz
Harold Gordon
Steven Grant
Glen Hanson
Thomas Hilton
Donna Jones
Teri Levitin
Marsha Lopez
David McCann
Mary Ellen Michel
Cindy Miner
Lisa Onken
Jeng-Jong Pan
Denise Pintello
Jonathan Pollock
Melissa Racioppo
Rao Rapaka
Carmen Rosa
Joni Rutter
David Shurtleff
Hari Singh
Karen Skinner
Larry Stanford
Betty Tai
Don Vereen
Frank Vocci
Susan Volman


Mary K. Affeldt
Amy H. Newman Greig, Ph.D.


The Unit Commendation
CDR Carlo S. Contoreggi
LCDR Michelle K. Leff

ther Staff Awards

Dr. Betty Tai, Director of the CCTN was awarded the Meritorious Research Service Commendation by the Board of Scientific Affairs, American Psychological Association. Dr. Tai was honored for her leadership of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network and her instrumental role in defining future research issues and identifying new avenues for collaboration within the Network. She was presented with the award by then-APA President Gerald Koocher, PhD. at a ceremony held at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC on December 2, 2006.

Dr. Kevin Conway, DCNBR, received a Director's Award of Merit from the National Institute of Aging for his work on the Blueprint Committee on Neuroepidemiology.

Dr. Jerry Flanzer, DESPR, received a National Institute of Health Merit Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in developing and implementing a trans-NIH program to support research on social work practice and concepts of health on November 5, 2006.

On September 14, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, received the National Award of Excellence in Public Service from the National Hispanic Science Network.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, received the Vernelle Fox award from the California Society on Addiction Medicine, October 5, 2006.

Dr. Frank Vocci received an award from the Federazione Italiana Degli Operatori Dei Departmenti Dei Servici Delle Dipendenze for his research in furthering knowledge in addiction medicine, December 12, 2006.

Dr. Yavin Shaham, IRP, received the Society for Neuroscience: Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcoholism.

Dr. George Uhl, IRP, was awarded the Gonzalo Rio Arronte award and lectureship at the October National Congress of Genomic Medicine in Mexico City, Mexico.

Dr. Amy Newman filed the following patent: Newman, A. H.; Zou, M.-F.; Katz, J. L. Benztropine Compounds and Uses Thereof. U.S. Patent Application filed August 24, 2006.

Staff Changes

Dr. Joni Rutter has assumed new responsibilities as Associate Director, DBNBR, for Human Population and Applied Genetics. In this role, she is responsible for all scientific and administrative activities in support of the Division-level population and applied genetics initiatives. Dr. Rutter also chairs the newly created NIDA Genetics Coordinating Committee (NGCC), which shapes the NIDA human genetics program to meet the changing needs of NIDA's multifaceted human genetics portfolio. Finally, she will continue to serve as Chair of the NIDA Genetics Consortium Steering Committee and will participate in a variety of trans-NIH genetics activities related to human genetics research.

Mimi Ghim, Ph.D., joined NIDA's Science Policy Branch as Deputy Research Training Coordinator in October 2006. She recently earned her doctoral degree from the Integrative Neuroscience Program at the University of Maryland, specializing in vision neuroscience using behavioral and electrophysiological techniques, with optical imaging experience acquired during her postdoctoral appointment at SUNY Update Medical University. Prior to arriving at NIDA, Dr. Ghim was involved in project-based administration and scientific writing at a local consulting company.

Dorie Hightower joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications as a Press Officer in October 2006. She began her career in television production, where she was a consumer reporter and news director for an ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, and an associate producer for a PBS affiliate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She moved to Washington, D.C., where her interest in health-related issues led to working as a public relations consultant for a number of organizations, including the Arthritis Foundation, National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC), the Spina Bifida Association and the National Association of Social Workers. Dorie went on to serve as a public affairs contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), where she developed marketing materials in several languages to raise awareness about Medicare managed care options, created print and broadcast advertisements, handled media buying, and coordinated broadcast interviews. For the past five years, she has worked in the press office of the National Cancer Institute, where she was instrumental in press relations, media training, the science writers' seminar program, and science writing. Her new role is to lead the press efforts for NIDA. Dorie has a B.A. in Communications from Adelphi University and an A.A. in Interior Design from Montgomery College.

Petra Jacobs, M.D. joined the CCTN as a Medical Officer. Dr. Jacobs received her M.D. from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and has a Board Certification in Psychiatry from the Prague Institute of Postgraduate Education. She has more than 10 years of experience developing treatment, research, education and training initiatives in drug abuse. In 2001 and 2002, Dr. Jacobs was a Fulbright-Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in advanced Public Health studies at Johns Hopkins University, and served as a Distinguished Scientist at NIDA in the extramural program. Most recently, she has been working with the CCTN as a contractor, and has worked closely on several of the ongoing clinical trials, including both medication and behavioral treatments for drug abuse. Nadine Rogers, Ph.D. is a new Scientific Review Administrator in the NIDA Office of Extramural Activities. She joins NIDA from the US State Department where, for the last three years, she had worked in the recently established Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator, the organization created to implement the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Dr. Roger's activities with Global AIDS included establishing its Scientific Committee and associated subcommittees. She helped develop policies acceptable to participants including HHS, NIH, the CDC, USAID, DOD, the Census Bureau, the Peace Corps, and other national and international agencies. Nadine helped to define Global AIDS science evaluation practices and policies, recruited committee scientists, and managed and reported on committee recommendations and activities. Before work with Global AIDS, Nadine was Senior Program Manager for Community-Based Health Strategies for The Academy for Educational Development which worked with the CDC and HRSA to develop HIV/AIDS Epidemiology guidelines. Prior to this Dr. Rogers worked for the American Red Cross and helped with study coordination including human subjects, review and assay development guidelines. Dr. Roger's Ph.D. is from The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Health Education and Communication, and she has published in these areas.

Kristen Vaughan Huntley, Ph.D. has joined the NIDA Office of Extramural Affairs as a Scientific Review Administrator. Kristen is a Clinical Psychologist with academic medicine, market research, teaching, and clinical service experience. As an Instructor at Case Western Reserve Medical School, Department of Pediatrics, she provided clinical services, instructed medical residents, and directed research studying the use of prenatal cardiac diagnostic services. She managed research projects including an advertising effectiveness tracking study and consumer product concept tests in her role as Project Manager at Hauser & Associates, a market research firm in Paramus, New Jersey. Dr. Huntley has also worked as a psychologist in direct clinical care settings, such as community mental health centers, a hospital, and specialty care outpatient offices. Kristen is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Texas A&M University. She completed an internship at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, with rotations at Harris County Psychiatric Center, The Mental Sciences Institute, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Suman King, Deputy Research Training Coordinator, left the Office of Science Policy and Communication in October 2006 to become the Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Extramural Research (OER), Dr. Sam Shekar. The Office of Extramural Research (OER) serves as the focal point for policies and guidelines for extramural research grants administration. In her new role, Suman will continue to be involved in NIH-wide research training and career development policy as well as other areas overseen by the OER.

Laura S. Rosenthal, NIDA's Executive Officer and Associate Director for Management, after 39 years of dedicated service--the last 17 with NIDA, retired from Government service on January 3, 2006. Laura began her career as a research assistant with NIMH, advancing from there to an appointment as Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, where she received a Special Achievement Award for her exceptional contributions to the formation of ADAMHA as a major public health agency. In 1972, she joined NIAAA and a year later was selected as the Deputy Associate Director for Research, then in 1982 was appointed Deputy Director for the Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research. There she played a key role in catalyzing the integration of alcoholism with other health problems as a scientific area of medical study. Since joining NIDA in 1989, Laura has witnessed unprecedented growth and challenge, earning a reputation for effectively implementing several new national programs and policies and successfully integrating administrative and resource realities with program goals. Among her numerous noteworthy accomplishments is developing a program to link national research goals with the treatment needs of the DC community; helping establish the first Federal medications development program in the addiction field; and serving as a recognized leader of reinvention activities. In addition, Laura was listed in Who's Who of American Women in 1981, was awarded the Public Health Service Award for Superior Service in 1991, and is the recipient of two Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards for sustained SES accomplishment.

Donna M. Jones, NIDA's Budget Officer has been selected to serve as the Acting Executive Officer for NIDA.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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