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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > May, 2006 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2006

Staff Highlights

Staff Changes

The Prevention Research Branch of the Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research is pleased to welcome Dr. Augusto (Augie) Diana as a Health Scientist Administrator. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Diana worked as a Senior Public Health Analyst with the Division of State and Community Assistance at CSAP. Most recently, he was the Alternate Project Officer of CSAP's national cross-site evaluation of the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) project, and CSAP's major data and technology initiative, the Data Coordination and Consolidation Center (DCCC). Dr. Diana has over 20 years experience conducting social research, most focused on program evaluation of substance abuse prevention programs. Prior to CSAP, Diana held research positions in Boston and Colorado, and taught and trained extensively in research and social service areas, to academic audiences, service providers and the larger community. Dr. Diana's areas of expertise with regard to research, teaching, and training include research methods and statistics, sport and leisure studies, crime and delinquency, substance abuse, and innovative methodological approaches. Dr. Diana received his Ph.D. in sociology from Northeastern University and his undergraduate degree from Fordham University.

Dr. Richard Jenkins recently joined the Prevention Research Branch of the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research of NIDA, where he will be serving as a Health Scientist Administrator. Dr. Jenkins comes to NIDA from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, where he served as a behavioral scientist in the area of HIV prevention. He was previously employed by the Department of Defense Retrovirology Program through the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. He is a clinical psychologist who has served as principal investigator for a variety of studies. His recent research activities have included community-based investigations of factors related to HIV prevalence and risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM); factors related to recent HIV seroconversion among MSM; investigations of different methods for collecting sensitive information; design of a community intervention project to reduce HIV risk among MSM; as well as descriptive research regarding the use of substitutes for heroin among injecting drug users.

Marsha Lopez, M.H.S., Ph.D., has joined DESPR's Epidemiology Research Branch. Dr. Lopez comes to NIDA from Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she worked on the Army Medical Surveillance Activity as a Senior Epidemiologist. She completed her Ph.D. in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University under the guidance of Dr. James Anthony. While at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Lopez was a recipient of the NIDA NRSA award. She has also held a research faculty position at the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, where she conducted analytic studies of data from the CSAT-funded TOPPS program and coordinated methods and results from State drug treatment programs.

Samia Dawud Noursi, Ph.D. has recently joined the Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research (DESPR) as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Director. Dr. Noursi holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Maryland and was awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at NICHD during which she led a longitudinal study on the effects of domestic violence on children's development. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Noursi was a Social Science Analyst in the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) at NIMH and worked on a variety of projects including efforts to bridge science to services. Dr. Noursi will be responsible for coordinating a number of division-wide initiatives as well as assisting in the management of the division.

Quandra Scudder joined the CCTN January 23, 2006 as a Program Analyst. She has over 10 years of experience in extramural research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Previously she was with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for 6 years where she worked with program staff in Neurogenetics on grants, contracts, and other extramural program activities. Before joining NINDS, she was a Program Analyst in the Epidemiology and Biometry Program (EBP), Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The Epidemiology Research Branch of the Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research is pleased to welcome Dr. Kay Wanke as a Health Scientist Administrator. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Wanke was a postdoctoral fellow in the Genetic Epidemiology Branch at the National Cancer Institute. There she received an NCI Fellows Award for Research Excellence for her investigation of the association of opioid receptor genes with smoking cessation. Before entering the NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the Tobacco Control Research Branch, she worked as a psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Sparks Clinics, conducting developmental and cognitive evaluations of infants and children. Dr. Wanke received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health.

David A. White, Ph.D., joined the Medications Discovery & Toxicology Branch of NIDA's DPMCDA as a Health Scientist Administrator in February 2006. Dr. White received his Ph.D. from West Virginia University in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology under the advisement of Dr. Dale L. Birkle, where he assessed the effects of prenatal stress on stress-responsive systems. Before coming to NIDA, Dr. White was a Research Instructor at Emory University in the Department of Pharmacology, working in collaboration with Dr. Stephen G. Holtzman on a number of projects pertaining to opioid dependence. Dr. White also completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Emory under Dr. Holtzman's mentorship.

Dr. James Colliver has rejoined NIDA-DESPR after 18 months at the Office of Applied Studies (OAS) at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. While at OAS, Jim was involved with National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) analyzing data and developing reports. He is currently completing a report on NSDUH data on nonmedical use of prescription drugs and was heavily involved with efforts examining epidemiologic data on methamphetamine use from both an epidemiologic and methodological perspective. Now back home in the Epidemiology Research Branch, Jim will be involved with portfolios on drug use.

Tom Kresina, Ph.D. of the Medical Consequences Branch, DPMCDA, who was responsible for research program on hepatitis C infection, has left the NIH and has been re-assigned to SAMHSA.

Paul Coulis, Ph.D., OEA, has retired after 20 years of government service, of which more than 15 years were served in NIDA. He served as a Program Officer in the Medications Development Division, Clinical Division, the Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse and, since June 2004, as an SRA in the Office of Extramural Affairs. Prior to joining NIDA in 1991, he held management positions in technology assessment, business development and marketing in the Olympus Corporation and in other corporations in the biotechnology industry. He also served on active duty in the U. S. Navy and was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

After over 35 years of service to the federal government, 33 of which were with NIDA, Noble Jones retired March 1, 2006. Mr. Jones was involved with community and bio-ethical issues for DESPR, work which he intends to continue into retirement.

Diana K. Souder, OEA, has retired after 37 years of government service, twenty of which were at NIDA. She started her government career with NLM, moved to NIMH, and then came to NIDA. For most of her career Diana served as a Grants Technical Assistant, including as a Lead GTA, work in which she excelled. She then became Special Assistant to the Director, OEA, NIDA.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

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Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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