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

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

Staff Highlights

Honors and Awards

NIDA received an NIH Director's Award for "Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link," NIDA's latest awareness campaign about the connection between drug abuse and HIV infection. The NIDA team was honored at the 2006 NIH Director's Award Ceremony held on July 12, 2006. The NIDA HIV PSA Campaign Team consisted of Timothy P. Condon, Ph.D., Lucinda Miner, Ph.D., Jan Lipkin, Susan Weiss, Ph.D., David Anderson, Gayathri Dowling, Ph.D. Jennifer Elcano, Lynda Erinoff, Ph.D., Mark Fleming, Sheryl Massaro, Joan Nolan, Jacques Normand, Ph.D., Michelle Person, Anna Staton, M.P.A., and Sara Rosario Wilson.

Dr. Betty Tai, CCTN Director, has been selected to receive the 2006 Meritorious Research Service Commendation of the American Psychological Association. This award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their service as employees of the federal government or other organizations. Dr. Tai was chosen for this award due to her energetic leadership and organizational talents in the CTN. The CTN program has evolved into an outstanding proving ground for psychosocial interventions, such as motivational interviewing and motivational incentives, and studies of innovative pharmacotherapy, such as the application of buprenorphine to the problems of drug dependence. She was nominated by several of her scientific peers.

Dr. Harold Perl, CCTN, and the other NIH and SAMHSA personnel who were deployed to the Gulf Coast region last fall received recognition through a 2006 Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service, for "distinguished service in providing increased capacity for mental health and substance abuse treatment services following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005.

Ms. Ana Anders, Senior Advisor on Special Populations, SPO, received an award from "Entre Familia," a residential drug abuse treatment program for Latina mothers and their children in Boston on July 14, 2006. The award was for "Long-standing contributions to research that improves drug abuse treatment and prevention among Hispanics in the U.S. and internationally."

Redonna K. Chandler, Ph.D., DESPR, received the 2006 Health and Human Services Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service.

Dr. Belinda Sims, DESPR, was selected to be an ex officio member of the US Department of Education Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Advisory Committee. This committee advises the Secretary of Education on federal, state, and local programs designed to create safe and drug-free schools, and on issues related to crisis planning.

Dr. Lisa Onken, DCNBR, received the NIH Director's Award for her work in advancing research on behavioral and integrative treatments for addiction.

Dr. Laurence Stanford, DCNBR, received the NIMH Director's Award for his contribution to the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development.

Drs. Steven Grant and Laurence Stanford, DCNBR, received Blueprint Director's Awards for Significant Achievement in recognition of their contributions to the workgroup for the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Research Training Initiative.

Dr. Laurence Stanford, DCNBR, received the NIH Director's Award for his work in creating a database of normal brain development as a resource for developmental neuroscience communities.

Dr. Laurence Stanford, DCNBR, received a Blueprint Director's Award for Significant Achievement in recognition of his contributions to the Pediatric MRI Study - Diffusion Tensor Imaging Expansion Project Team.

Dr. Rosmarie Nemeth-Coslett, DCNBR, completed the requirements and achieved the level of Advanced Toastmaster's Silver, April 2006. She received the Area 51 President of the Year Award (May 2006) and was presented with the Club President of the Year Award plaque from District 36 on, June 25, 2006.

Dr. Teresa Levitin, Director, OEA, received the NIH Office of the Director Merit Honor Award for being part of an EPMC workgroup that demonstrated "leadership in developing the NIH response to 2004 OHRP Guidance on Research Involving Coded Private Information or Biological Specimens."

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, received the NIH Director's Award for his outstanding contributions to the Trans-NIH Type I Diabetes Research Strategic Plan.

Dr. Jane B. Acri, DPMCDA, was elected to Fellow of Division 28, Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse, of the American Psychological Association. At the annual meeting of the APA in New Orleans, LA in August, 2006, she gave a New Fellow address entitled "Medication Development for Addictive Disorders: Recent Changes in Preclinical Evaluations."

Dr. Brandon Harvey, Neural Protection and Regeneration Section, IRP, has been promoted to staff scientist.

Drs. Jonathan Katz and Amy Newman, IRP, applied for the following patent: Use of benztropine analogues for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), nicotine abuse, and obesity. U.S. Patent pending, EIR Filed, January 19, 2006.

Dr. Amy Newman was invited by Dr. Michael Gottesman to join the NIH Central Tenure Committee in October 2006.

An article (Xi et al. Cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 inhibits cocaine-promed relapse in rats: role of glutamate in the nucleus accumbens) from the laboratory of Dr. Eliot Gardner was chosen by the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroscience for highlighting in the "This Week in The Journal" section of the 16 August 2006 issue.

Staff Changes

Ms. Carol Krause joined the Office of Science Policy and Communications as Chief of the Public Information and Liaison Branch in May 2006. She began her career as a television journalist covering medical and political issues, and won an Emmy Award in the 1980's as a news reporter in Chicago. She wrote a nationally published book, How Healthy is Your Family Tree (Fireside Books/Simon and Schuster) which resulted in a period of exposure in the national media. As an independent contractor she helped to develop some of the earliest informed consent materials for patients and their families facing choices about genetic testing, and was asked to testify before Congress on this issue. In 1997 she became the first Communications Director of the new HHS Office on Women's Health. There she built a communications staff, and launched the National Women's Health Information Center, the government's premiere health Web site for women. She left government service to take a position with a private firm that served as the primary communications contractor for the National Cancer Institute, and was instrumental in launching the Cancer Bulletin, a new weekly newsletter from the NCI Director. Carol has recently been a consultant developing strategic communications plans for the U.S. Department of Energy and the FDA Office of Women's Health. Her new role is to lead the health communications efforts for NIDA. Carol has a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University and an M.A. in Communications and Public Affairs from American University.

Denise Pintello, Ph.D., M.S.W., was recently named as the Special Assistant for the Deputy Director, NIDA. She joined NIDA in 2002 as a Health Scientist Administrator in the Office of Science Policy and Communications. Dr. Pintello has coordinated six NIDA Council Review Work Groups and currently serves as NIDA's Roadmap Deputy Liaison and also as the Project Officer for the NIDA-SAMHSA Blending Initiative. Her research publications have focused on intra-familial child sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress in women and child maltreatment recurrence.

Redonna Chandler, Ph.D. was recently named Branch Chief of the Services Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. For six years, prior to joining NIDA, she worked for the Bureau of Prisons administering and implementing substance abuse treatment programs and services for federally sentenced offenders. Dr. Chandler was trained as a psychologist and received her doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky. She has written and published on a range of topics including body image, measuring treatment process and outcomes, treating offenders with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, and substance abuse problems of adolescent girls. As a licensed psychologist she is an active member in the American Psychological Association and serves as the Treasurer of Division 35, Society for the Psychology of Women.

Dionne J. Jones, Ph.D. is currently the Deputy Branch Chief of the Services Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). She joined NIDA in 1998 and manages a grant portfolio that includes women and gender issues, rural services and treatment issues, HIV/AIDS, co-occurring disorders, and health disparities. Before joining the federal government, Dr. Jones served in a number of administrative and research capacities at nonprofit and for profit organizations, including the National Urban League, The Lewin Group, and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. She has published journal articles, book chapters and a monograph in a number of public health-related areas.

Sarah Duffy, Ph.D., a health economist, joined the Services Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research on July 24, 2006. She will be responsible for the economics portfolio in the Branch. Dr. Duffy has a Ph.D in economics and has been a health economist for 18 years. She comes to NIDA from the Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA where she worked as a senior research economist for eight years. Her responsibilities at SAMHSA included work on large national data collection projects such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). She was sole or lead author on a number of publications and has been a reviewer on health economics topics for several leading journals including: Medical Care, Health Services Research, Eastern Economic Journal, the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Samia Noursi, Ph.D. joined the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) in May 2006 as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Director. At DESPR, Dr. Noursi is responsible for coordinating a number of division-wide initiatives including science to service initiatives as well as assisting in the management of the division. Prior to joining NIDA, Dr. Noursi was a Social Science Analyst at the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and worked on a variety of projects including efforts to bridge science to services and various Institute-wide activities. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Noursi held several senior research positions with consulting firms in the Washington DC area among them a senior analyst and trainer of the National Reporting System for the Head Start Bureau and the Research Director for the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues at the Center on Children and the Law at the American Bar Association. Dr. Noursi holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology and was awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Noursi has published, authored and co-authored several book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Marta De Santis, Ph.D., joined the Regulatory Affairs Branch of the NIDA's DPMCDA as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist in May 2006. Dr. De Santis received a Ph.D. in Chemical Science, and a Master in Biochemical Science, from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. Before coming to NIDA, Dr. DeSantis was a Regulatory Compliance/Medical Writer for Technical Resources International, Inc. Dr. De Santis will be responsible for helping to ensure that DPMCDA supported studies and regulatory submissions are in compliance with pertinent Federal, State, NIDA and NIH regulations and policies.

Elisabeth Davis joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications in September 2006 as a Program Analyst. She received her Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to joining NIDA, Ms. Davis worked at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania where she was responsible for managing an NICHD-funded adolescent sexual health and media research study for the health communications group. She has worked on numerous other public health issues including prenatal education, childhood obesity, youth violence, recidivism, and women and heart disease.

Usha Charya joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications in September 2006 as a Program Analyst. Previously, Ms. Charya held a position at MasiMax Resources, Inc., as Project Director on the NIDA Science Meetings Logistical Support project, and as Deputy Project Director on the NIDA State and Local Epidemiology Planning and Information Development contract. Ms. Charya has a BA in Psychology, and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She will continue to be involved in science meeting planning for NIDA, overseeing the science meetings contract.

Vivian Chiu has joined the OEA Staff as Grants Systems Specialist, and she will assume these duties for OEA activities.

Derrick Prather joined the Special Populations Office as a contractor. Derrick has an M.A. in Microbiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Murat Oz, Ph.D., has resigned as a Scientific Review Administrator in OEA as of August 2006.

Douglas Rugh, Ph.D., DESPR, has left NIDA to pursue his research interests in the private sector.

Jack Stein, Ph.D. Deputy Director in the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) left NIDA on August 20, 2006 to assume the position of the Director of the Division of Services Improvement at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Stein was with NIDA for over 9 years in two major capacities: first he was the Deputy Director in the Office of Science Policy and Communication (OSPC) and for the last 5 years, was the Chief of the Services Research Branch and later the Deputy Director for DESPR. In his new position at CSAT/SAMHSA, Dr. Stein will lead a nationwide services program that has a distinguished record of shaping the drug abuse treatment system in the United States.


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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