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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2003

Staff Highlights

Staff Honors and Awards

Dr. Betty Tai, Director of the CCTN, has been nominated for the Innovators Award, a national program supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, for her innovative work in the substance abuse field. Five Innovators Awards are made each year in the form of a $300,000 grant in the field of substance abuse research.

Dr. Lula Beatty, Director of NIDA's Special Populations Office, received a distinguished alumni award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the member association of black colleges and universities, in recognition of her achievements as a graduate of Lincoln University (PA). The award was presented on April 12, 2003 at NAFEO's annual convention in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Lula Beatty received an NIH plain language award for her participation in an NIH group that developed guidance on involving the community in research.

Dr. Toni Shippenberg, Chief, Integrative Neuroscience Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Branch, IRP, was appointed to the Editorial Board of Neuropsychopharmacology effective January 1, 2003.

Drs. Melissa Racioppo, and Cece McNamara, both of DTR&D, won first prize in the category Best Campaign Event in the 2002 Combined Federal Campaign Communication (CFC) Contest for the Washington D.C. area. Drs. Racioppo and McNamara won for NIDA's "Contributor Appreciation Day" in which individuals who contributed to the CFC campaign from NIDA received tangible reinforcers including cakes and cookies from a local vendor, as well as a chance to draw for prizes from a fishbowl as a thank you for participation. This motivational incentive event was adapted from a NIDA grantee's behavioral treatment intervention, Lower Cost Contingency Management, currently under study. NIDA met its CFC goal in 9 weeks.

Staff Changes

Nora D. Volkow, M.D. joined NIDA as its new Director on May 1, 2003. Dr. Volkow comes to NIDA from Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) where she was Associate Director for Life Sciences, Director of Nuclear Medicine and Director of the NIDA-Department of Energy Regional Neuroimaging Center. She was also Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and Associate Dean for the Medical School at SUNY-Stony Brook. Dr. Volkow received her M.D. from the National University of Mexico, Mexico City and performed her residency in psychiatry at New York University. Much of Dr. Volkow's research has focused on elucidating mechanisms underlying the reinforcing, addictive and toxic properties of drugs of abuse in the human brain. She was the first to use imaging technology to study the neurochemical changes in the human brain that occur during drug addiction. She has also used imaging to investigate the effects of stimulant drugs with respect to both their rewarding as well as their therapeutic actions and to measure changes in neurotransmitter systems that occur with aging and their functional significance. Dr. Volkow has authored or co-authored more than 280 peer-reviewed publications, three edited books and more than 50 book chapters and non-peer reviewed manuscripts. She has received many prestigious awards for her research, and has been elected to membership in the Insitute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2000, Dr. Volkow was named "Innovator of the Year" by US News and World Report.

Dr. Eliane Lazar-Wesley joined OEA as a Health Scientist Administrator/Scientific Review Administrator in February 2003. Prior to coming to NIDA, Dr. Lazar-Wesley was with the U.S. Patent Office where she examined patent applications in biotechnology. She completed a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the Universite Louis Pasteur, conducted research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and then obtained a Fogarty fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. She has also worked as a senior staff fellow at NIAAA.

Karla Moras, Ph.D. joined the Center for the Clinical Trials Network in March 2003. Prior to this she had been with DTR&D's Behavioral Treatment Development Branch since September 2002. Dr. Moras came to NIDA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. While at Penn, she was involved in NIDA's multi-site Cocaine Collaborative Study of behavioral treatments for cocaine dependence. She also was the Principal Investigator of two NIMH grants: an Independent Scientist Award (K02) and a Treatment Development Grant (R21) for medication resistant unipolar depression. Dr. Moras has done research on psychodiagnostic assessment methods, including the reliability and validity of the DSM-III-R criteria. Currently, she is president of the international Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) and previously served as president of the North American Regional Chapter of the SPR. She received the Society's Early Career Contribution Award in 1994.

Mary Ann Chutuape Stephens, Ph.D. recently joined the Behavioral Treatment Development Branch of DTR&D as a Health Scientist Administrator. Dr. Stephens started at NIDA in June 2000 as a Special Expert at the Center for the Clinical Trials Network, where she facilitated development of randomized controlled trials of behavioral treatments in community-based settings. She was also the Center's representative on dissemination activities involving the Network and other government agencies. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Stephens served as Project Director for a NIDA-funded substance abuse treatment research clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research focused on behavioral and pharmacotherapy trials for the treatment of opioid, cocaine and benzodiazepine dependence. Dr. Stephens received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Chicago.

On May 1, 2003, Lucinda (Cindy) Miner, Ph.D. was appointed as Deputy Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC). She has been serving as the Acting Deputy Director, OSPC since January 2003. Cindy received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Colorado in 1986. She came to NIDA in 1992 to work in the Intramural Research Program in Baltimore. At the IRP, Cindy worked in the Molecular Neurobiology Branch and helped to establish the Molecular Genetics Section and served as its first Acting Chief. In 1996, Cindy joined the Science Policy Branch, OSPC to help coordinate NIDA's research training program. In 2000, Cindy was promoted to Chief of the Science Policy Branch, OSPC, which, among many things, coordinates the legislative, research planning and evaluation activities of the Institute. During her career, Cindy has published numerous papers and book chapters on the genetic and biochemical bases of addiction.

Beverly Pringle, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as Deputy Chief of the Services Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research.


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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