December 3, 2013

Since the start of the fall term at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the 2013 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows have met with officials from NIDA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Library of Medicine (NLM), and U.S. Department of State.

On September 24, NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale Weiss, NIDA International Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre, and SAMHSA International Officer Winnie Mitchell introduced NIDA and SAMHSA to the fellows, describing the two agencies’ missions, international priorities, and tools to promote collaboration on drug abuse and addiction issues. The three met with each fellow individually to learn about the fellows’ goals and to suggest potential professional affiliations.

The NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows also participated in the U.S. Department of State 2013 Global Leadership Forum. The meeting, which was held October 20–24, 2013, in Washington, DC, gathered 180 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from 93 countries. Ms. Weiss and Ms. Jordre joined State Department Foreign Affairs Officer Brian Morales at a discussion session on drug abuse and international demand reduction. Mr. Morales described train-the-trainer prevention and treatment projects supported by sustainable international partnerships. Participants included 25 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from 10 host campuses, Alison Breland of VCU, Lauren Stewart of the Institute of International Education, and former NIDA employee and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Petra Jacobs, M.D.

During their October 24 visit to NIH, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from VCU and three other host campuses met with NIH Public Liaison Tara Mowery, who discussed NIH research priorities. NLM Public Affairs Specialist Shana Potash led a tour of the NLM historic book section, which includes rare texts on medicine and disease printed between 1455 and the present, and described library resources available to the general public.

On November 14–15, the NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows met with officials at NIDA and SAMHSA. Ms. Weiss chaired a discussion by NIDA staff members introducing the Institute’s research programs. Ms. Mitchell chaired discussions about SAMHSA technical assistance resources for substance abuse treatment, prevention, and behavioral health statistics. SAMHSA officials also hosted small group discussions between the fellows and representatives of the Office of Policy Planning and Innovation, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

The 2013–2014 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows are:

  • Fernanda DeConto, M.S. (Brazil) A nurse, Ms. DeConto founded and coordinates a dependence treatment center. She also works for the city of Florianopolis and Florianopolis University Hospital, where she serves on the steering committee for the implementation of emergency psychiatric services. Ms. DeConto hopes to learn new strategies to increase access to treatment, especially for women and youth, learn about quality and effectiveness indicators, and develop evidence-based treatment and prevention programs for drug abuse in Brazil.
  • Andrew Dodo (Nigeria) Mr. Dodo is an addiction counselor and vice principal of administration in the Kaduna State Ministry of Education. For the past 20 years, he has conducted drug and alcohol abuse awareness and educational programs, including training programs for teachers and social workers. Mr. Dodo wants to increase his knowledge of evidence-based treatments for women and youth and to develop skills in new treatment methods, conducting public health campaigns and grant writing.
  • Martine Hennequin (Mauritius) Ms. Hennequin is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who manages a nongovernmental organization (NGO) where she coordinates a team of counselors and developed social reintegration programs for criminal offenders. Her goal is to establish prevention and educational programs that empower poor women and youth in order to reduce unemployment and drug use. Ms. Hennequin would like to learn more about substance abuse policy and prevention and educational programs that could be implemented in her country.
  • Asha Hettiarachchige (Sri Lanka) Ms. Hettiarachchige was the first female community corrections officer in Sri Lanka and one of six officers who implemented the Sri Lankan community corrections system, where she is a senior officer. She trains community corrections recruits and officers and conducts awareness and counseling programs for substance abuse offenders. Ms. Hettiarachchige hopes to use her fellowship experience to design and implement more effective drug control policies and establish drug treatment centers in Sri Lanka.
  • Shafqat Huma, M.D. (Pakistan) A psychiatrist, Dr. Huma is a registrar in the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Services Hospital Lahore. Dr. Huma plans to expand his knowledge of epidemiology, research methods, and managing substance abuse treatment and prevention services. He would like to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and implement substance abuse treatment and prevention practices in his home country.
  • Walid Hassan Ibrahim, M.D. (Egypt) An assistant psychiatry lecturer at Ain Shams University, Dr. Ibrahim also works with NGOs providing health and education services for refugees in Egypt. He will focus primarily on adolescent tobacco and substance use, and he seeks to obtain more experience in drug abuse policy, prevention, and treatment for adolescents. Dr. Ibrahim also wants to learn how to design public education campaigns and how to improve the training and education of substance abuse professionals.
  • Nang Pann Ei Kham, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. (Burma [Myanmar]) is a project manager and trainer focusing on HIV/AIDS programs including capacity building of civil society organizations, research, and advocacy. She helped form the National Drug User Network-Myanmar, which advocates for health and social rights of people who use drugs. Dr. Kham seeks to enhance her knowledge of policies to protect the rights of drug users, community-based prevention and treatment programs for amphetamine-type stimulant use, and developing services for women who use drugs.
  • Shehab Mahmoud Hassaan, M.B.B.S., M.Sc. (Egypt) Dr. Mahmoud Hassaan is an assistant lecturer in psychiatry at the Assiut University Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and a registered inspector responsible for evaluating compulsory psychiatric admissions. Dr. Mahmoud Hassaan will focus on enhancing his leadership and communication abilities, improving his knowledge of research methodology and biostatistics, and developing his ability to conduct community-based research on substance abuse and develop treatment and prevention programs for tramadol addiction.
  • Enkelejda Ngjelina, M.P.H., J.D. (Albania) A lawyer and substance abuse counselor, Ms. Ngjelina advocates for the human rights of vulnerable populations. She is a member of the steering committee for the Southeast Europe Drug Policy Network, the European Harm Reduction Network, and the International Drug Policy Consortium. Ms. Ngjelina wants to expand her knowledge of drug treatment and prevention programs, addiction research, and drug abuse cases involving the judicial system.