August 24, 2011

Researchers from Russia and South Africa were selected as the 2011 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. NIDA partners with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) to provide support for a 1-week research visit with a NIDA grantee and participation in the NIDA International Forum and the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting.

The 2011 International Traveling Fellows are:

  • Elena Blokhina, M.D., Ph.D., is a research scientist at Pavlov State Medical University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and an experienced international researcher in the area of substance dependence and HIV prevention. She currently is the project coordinator for a NIDA binational grant to the University of Pennsylvania and Pavlov State Medical University to compare an implantable formulation of naltrexone vs. 50 mg/day oral naltrexone for improving antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and treatment outcomes in HIV-positive opioid-addicted patients who are beginning their first episode of ART. She is also a project coordinator for a binational grant to Boston University and Pavlov from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that focuses on HIV prevention among Russian drinkers, and has been a valuable member of the research teams for several NIDA clinical trials supported in Russia. She spent her research visit with Jeffery H. Samet, M.D., Boston University School of Medicine, to complete a scientific article on HIV prevention among polysubstance abusers and discuss the development of additional collaborative research projects on drug abuse and HIV prevention, including the “seek, test, treat, and retrain” protocol.
  • Tara Carney, M.A., is the senior scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council and an experienced international researcher in the area of alcohol and drug intervention projects. Ms. Carney focuses on the development and testing of brief interventions for substance use, HIV risk behaviors, and delinquent behaviors among adolescents and has collaborated with grantees from NIDA, NIAAA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She spent her research visit with Dr. Ken Winters at the University of Minnesota, to begin adapting for use in South Africa the evidence-based early intervention program that he has developed to reduce substance use and associated harms among adolescents.