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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > September, 2008 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2008

International Activities

Funding Initiatives

Online International Master of Science in Addiction Studies Now Accepting Applications
The University of Adelaide, King's College London, and Virginia Commonwealth University have created the International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS), an online, 12-month intensive graduate program available to students from all countries. The NIDA International Program provided initial funding to support planning for the IPAS. The program is designed to develop professionals who are fully prepared to assume leadership roles in the addictions field throughout the world. Students will study the scientific basis of addiction, comparative epidemiology, evidence-based interventions (including pharmacological, psychosocial, and public health approaches), research methodology, and addictions policy. Lecturers will be selected from among the world's leading authorities in each of these subject areas, while program directors will be faculty members of the three participating universities. The firm scientific grounding of the program, covering a range of areas from treatment to policy, and its unique international perspective make it appropriate for recent graduates and professionals working in a range of fields such as health, law enforcement, policy, and education. Graduates of the program will be able to: (1) translate research on addiction into more effective treatment and prevention practices; (2) translate research into more effective policies at the local, state, national, and/or international level to address public health issues; and (3) become specialists in addiction by integrating program material into their profession/practice.

NIDA International Forum

NIDA International Forum Focuses on Evidence-Based Interventions for Addictions
More than 200 registrants from 53 countries participated in the 13th NIDA International Forum, which was held June 13-17, 2008, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The meeting, Globally Improving and Applying Evidence-Based Interventions for Addictions, was sponsored by the NIDA International Program and focused on the benefits of multidisciplinary, public health approaches to drug abuse research, prevention, and treatment. Opening the Plenary Session, NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Timothy P. Condon highlighted recent advances in NIDA-supported addiction research that have provided new insights into the complex neurophysiological, genetic, and epigenetic components of drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Vladimir B. Poznyak, World Health Organization, addressed ways to strengthen the public health approach to drug dependence. Dr. Gilberto Gerra, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, described the evidence supporting the existence of genetic, familial, and community-level risk factors for substance abuse and dependence and called for increased advocacy, outreach, training, and dissemination efforts to implement evidence-based addiction prevention and treatment programs in health care systems, schools, and social programs. Dr. Tom Babor, University of Connecticut, reviewed the ways public policy influences drug abuse treatment and population health. NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust called for a new era of scientific diplomacy, describing research that found U.S. science and technology is highly respected internationally, even in regions where public opinions of U.S. foreign policy are extremely low. Dr. Gust summarized research that documented benefits to the U.S. scientific community from contributions by foreign scientists, particularly by creating opportunities to conduct research in parts of the world critical to scientific advancement. The NIDA International Program supports activities designed to promote scientific diplomacy, and Dr. Gust outlined major initiatives to foster publication of international research; develop web-based communication and training tools; and support international research through fellowships, exchanges, and training and research grants. Presenters in concurrent workshops illustrated numerous ways researchers and service providers can forge partnerships; integrate public policy, science, and practice; and implement effective -- and cost-effective -- programs to prevent and treat drug abuse and addiction. More than 130 meeting participants presented their research at a joint NIDA International Forum/College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) international poster session. During that Forum poster session, representatives from 10 NIDA components (IP, ARP, CCTN, DBNBR, DCNBR, DESPR, DPMCDA, IRP, Special Populations, and Women and Sex/Gender Differences Research Program) and the Fogarty International Center presented posters summarizing the units' goals, research interests, international focus, and international funding priorities.

NIDA International Program Presents Awards of Excellence
During the 2008 NIDA International Forum, the NIDA International Program presented awards to honor mentors, researchers, and binational collaborative teams whose efforts support the International Program mission.

The Excellence in Mentoring award was presented to Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., Washington University School of Medicine, for her work directing NIDA- and NIH-supported training programs in comorbidity, biostatistics, and epidemiology and in developing a bioethics incubator in India.

Juana M. Tomas-Rossello, M.D., Ph.D., United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was honored for Excellence in International Leadership for her role in creating and operating the UNODC TreatNet, an international network of resource centers that synthesize and disseminate best practices and lessons learned on drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation.

The binational research team of Perry F. Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., Mclean Hospital Brain Imaging Center, and In Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D., Seoul, South Korea, National University Medical School, received the Excellence in Collaborative Research Award for their work employing innovative imaging techniques that allow them to take very sensitive measurements of small regions in the brain. The team's studies investigate how drug addiction and mood disorders alter brain structure and chemistry, documenting age-dependent neurobiological deficits in the frontal regions of adolescent methamphetamine users, and suggesting that some deficits recover with abstinence while others do not.

NIDA-Supported Meetings

NIDA Supports International Poster Session at Society for Prevention Research
Thirty scientists from around the world presented their research at the International Poster Session cosponsored by the NIDA International Program and Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, Prevention Research Branch in conjunction with the 16th Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR). Half of the scientists--all international researchers--received NIDA travel awards to present research conducted by international researchers or binational teams on drug abuse prevention research completed in international settings. The other 15 researchers were U.S. researchers whose research was conducted in other countries or as part of a binational team. The session attracted about 150 SPR registrants and was very well received. The SPR meeting, which was held May 28-30, 2008, in San Francisco, focused on research in prevention science designed to aid understanding of the ways in which social and physical settings matter in designing interventions and understanding intervention impact. Other conference themes included: (1) how and under what conditions research is used to influence policies and practices or how policy priorities shape what researchers study; (2) the role of culture, ethnicity, and health disparities in prevention research; (3) the developmental period of emerging adulthood, which extends roughly through the ages 18 to 29; and (4) advances in epidemiology, etiology, efficacy trials, effectiveness trials, dissemination, and innovative methods.


INVEST Fellow Will Focus on HIV Prevention in Tajikistan
Makhbatsho Bakhromov, M.D., MSc., HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Tajikistan National Coordinating Committee to Prevent HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, has been selected as a NIDA INVEST Fellow. He will work with Nabila El-Bassel, D.S.W., Columbia University, to use qualitative research methods to adapt a network-oriented peer education HIV prevention intervention for use in Tajikistan. Dr. Bakhromov will then pilot test the adapted intervention to obtain preliminary data and assess its feasibility for implementation in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and develop a grant application to scale-up the intervention in a randomized clinical trial. The fellowship builds on Dr. Bakhromov's existing collaboration with Dr. El-Bassel and her colleagues at Columbia. The intervention, based on Project Shield, will use network members to educate their drug and sexual network partners and reach injection drug use and sexual partners who are not currently accessing public health services. Dr. Bakhromov will conduct the pilot test in collaboration with a Dushanbe nongovernmental organization that distributes condoms, syringes, and health information to injection drug users. A graduate of Tajik Medical University, Dr. Bakhromov received a Muskie Fellowship in 2004 to obtain his master's degree in International Health Policy and Management from Brandeis University. He implemented a national development program for Tajik health professionals and coauthored an article on HIV/AIDS risks among Tajik migrants in Moscow [J. Immigr. Minor. Health. 2008 Oct;10(5):461-8].

DISCA Partners Explore Role of Acculturation, Stress, and Family Functioning on Prevention Interventions
Juan-Luis Recio, Ph.D., emeritus associate professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, has received a NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA) to collaborate with Flavio Marsiglia, Ph.D., Arizona State University - Tempe. Dr. Recio will conduct a small drug abuse and HIV feasibility pilot study in Phoenix, Arizona, with a sample of Latino youth and their family members. The research partners will then use a longitudinal approach to explore the interaction among family functioning, acculturation, and acculturative stress to design and test a culturally grounded and family-based drug use and HIV/AIDS prevention intervention.

International Visitors

On May 7, 2008, Dale Weiss from the NIDA International Program met with Tomotaka Sobue and Yumiko Mochizuki-Kobayashi from the Japanese National Cancer Center. The two visitors were here as part of a tour arranged by the National Cancer Institute to examine NCI's tobacco control programs. The visitors were particularly interested in NIDA's tobacco prevention and control research and how it informs the overall US tobacco related policies.

Also on May 7, 2008, visitors from the Indonesian organization Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB) visited NIDA. YCAB is an independent organization whose main focus is primary drug prevention in schools and communities. The visitors met with representatives from NIDA's Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research.

Dr. Sandeep Chawla Chief of the Policy Analysis and Research Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime met with Steve Gust, Ph.D. and Dale Weiss, IP on July 16, 2008. Dr. Chawla explained the wide reaching work done by his office and Dr. Gust outlined NIDA's mission and goals.

Other International Activities

Dr. Joe Frascella, Director, DCNBR, participated in the 2nd annual conference sponsored by the Norlien Foundation entitled "Building Blocks for a Healthy Future II" and gave a plenary address entitled "Addiction: A Bio-developmental Perspective" in Red Deer, Alberta Canada on June 10, 2008.

Dr. Woody Lin, DCNBR, participated in the "Traditional Chinese Medicine Research" Roundtable held on June 16-17, 2008 at NIH. The conference sought to foster US-China collaboration in research on traditional Chinese Medicine and included the participation of Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIH and FDA. A Memorandum was signed during the meeting the describes participants' (HHS and the Chinese counterpart) areas of mutual interest, including acupuncture research, safety and efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine, and methodology development.

Dr. Woody Lin participated in a cross-NIH meeting on global health organized by the NIH Fogarty International Center titled "China's Health: Looking Ahead" on July 16, 2008. Other attendees included Dr. Betty Tai, Director of NIDA's Center of Clinical Trial Network and Dr. Steve Gust, Director of NIDA's International Office. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lincoln Chen, the director of Chinese Medical Board of New York, a Rockefeller family-founded entity actively involved in studying policy, medical education and medical sciences in Asia. This organization also provides funding for research in these areas. China's role in global health was presented and discussed. In addition to the background introduction, Dr. Chen highlighted four areas relevant to public health concerns in the United States: 1) public health as related to cigarette smoking and migrant health, 2) potential of traditional Chinese medicine, 3) the large size of clinical trial centers located in China, and 4) the large scientific talent pool in China.

Dr. Vishnu Purohit, DBNBR, participated in the Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society Symposium (ICRS), which was held in Aviemore, Scotland, June 25-29, 2008. The title of his presentation was "Opportunities for International Collaboration on Cannabinoid Research at National Institute on Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health".

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, (along with several NIDA colleagues including NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow and NIDA funded researchers) visited with clinicians/researchers in Iceland, July 1-4, 2008, to begin working on collaborations on research on drug abuse and co-occurring infections and other issues.

Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, co-chaired with Francisco Cumsille from the Organization of American States a 2-day meeting of the Latin American Network of Drug Abuse Epidemiology 9REDLA) that took place in San Juan (Puerto Rico) on June 11 and 12, 2008. The panel of presenters included drug abuse epidemiology experts from 10 countries of the Americas and Puerto Rico.

Dr. Meyer Glantz (DESPR) represented NIDA at the 2008 World Mental Health Consortium annual meeting in Annapolis, Maryland. The Consortium is a collaboration of the World Health Organization, NIMH and NIDA, and other mental health institutions. The Consortium members sponsor and conduct the World Mental Health Survey, a multi-site investigation of the prevalence and concomitants of mental and substance use disorders in 32 countries. The United States component of the survey, the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, has completed data collection and is currently analyzing and publishing its findings.

Dr. Yonette Thomas, Chief, ERB, DESPR, gave a plenary presentation on "The Epidemiology of Drug Abuse" at the Fourth Regional Workshop of the Project AD/CAM/04/H90: Establishment of a network of treatment, rehabilitation and social reinsertion for Central America on June 11, 2008 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Ana Anders, SPO, participated in the planning and development of a Drug Abuse and Addiction Prevention and Treatment Training Conference for Central America and the Caribbean with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Delinquency, The National Hispanic Science Network and SAMHSA on June 10-13, 2008 in El Salvador.

Dr. Elizabeth Ginexi, DESPR, and Dr. Richard Jenkins, DESPR on May 7, 2008 met with visitors Bobby Hartanto and Rofikoh Rokhim from Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa, a Non-Governmental Organization in Indonesia. They are interested in partnering with international prevention researchers to help with training and implementation of effective prevention programs.

Dr. Belinda Sims, DESPR, Dr. Augie Diana, DESPR, Dr. Wilson M. Compton, Director, DESPR, and Dr. Yonette Thomas, Chief, ERB, DESPR, and Dr. Steve Gust, International Office, met with Paul Griffiths from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction on June 19, 2008.

Dr. Bruce Hope, IRP, presented a seminar entitled "Neuronal Ensembles and Context-specific Sensitization to Cocaine" at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Instituet, Stockholm, Sweden, on May 29-30, 2008. Dr. Yavin Shaham visited the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel to discuss current collaborative research and to present a lecture on "Neurobiology of Relapse to Abused Drugs" on June 9-11, 2008.


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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