February 24, 2016

The 12 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows for 2015–2016 have begun their studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), met with NIDA officials, and participated in the U.S. Department of State Global Leadership Forum for Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows. On October 1–2, 2015, NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale Weiss and Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre briefed the VCU cohort about NIDA’s mission, international priorities, and programs to promote collaborative research and scientific exchange about drug abuse and addiction. They also met with each fellow individually to learn about the fellow’s goals, identify National Institutes of Health (NIH) resources for them, and suggest potential professional affiliations. The NIDA International Program staff members accompanied the fellows to briefings from the Richmond City Health Department on local community services, resource centers, and programs in epidemiology, health promotion, adolescent health, and prenatal and maternity services. In October, 167 fellows from 90 countries participated in the Global Leadership Forum for Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows hosted by the U.S. Department of State. During that event, Ms. Weiss and Brian Morales, U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), led a discussion session about drug abuse and its consequences for health, social, economic, education, and criminal justice systems. Mr. Morales invited interested fellows to work with INL’s international partners in implementing demand reduction programs. Following the Global Leadership Forum, small groups of NIDA Humphrey Fellows from VCU met with NIDA officials—including Brian Marquis, Public Information and Liaison Branch, and Carmen Rosa, Center for the Clinical Trials Network—and officials from the NIH Clinical Center Rehabilitative Medicine Program. On January 21, 2016, the fellows toured the National Library of Medicine and met with NIDA staff, including Geoffrey Laredo, Office of Science Policy and Communications; Jacqueline Lloyd, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research; and Ivan Montoya, Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences.

The 2015–2016 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows are:

  • Asia Ashraf (Pakistan) Ms. Ashraf is director of rehabilitation and head of the psychology department at the Sunny Trust International Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre. She is a national trainer for the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program. During her fellowship, Ms. Ashraf hopes to increase her knowledge of addiction treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention services and to learn new counseling techniques. She will focus on effective services for children, adolescents, women, and persons involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Mariana Azcárraga (Mexico) A psychiatrist, Dr. Azcárraga also teaches medical students and has research experience in biological psychiatry. She is a member of the Experimental Psychiatry Laboratory, which employs neuroimaging and neurophysiological methods to study brain disease. During her fellowship, Dr. Azcárraga wants to expand her knowledge of the origins, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of addiction and to explore partnerships for research to help address drug abuse problems in vulnerable populations.
  • Dr. Jessica Beltran (Peru) In addition to her medical degree, Dr. Beltran holds a master’s degree in epidemiological research and has received advanced training at the University of Amsterdam in international drug policy. A researcher at the Peruvian National Institute of Health, Dr. Beltran conducts qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method studies to help government officials make evidence-based public health decisions. She has been collaborating on the introduction of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment protocols for vulnerable populations in Peruvian health care settings. During her fellowship, Dr. Beltran would like to improve her research skills so that she can conduct studies that would inform the development of more effective prevention and treatment policies and programs.
  • Mawouena K. Bohm (Togo) A clinical psychologist, Mr. Bohn holds a master’s degree and serves as deputy coordinator of the Togo National Anti-Drug Committee, where he helps develop and implement the national drug policy and has been in charge of substance abuse prevention, treatment, and training. He also is a trainer for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime TreatNet Program. Mr. Bohm trains health professionals in motivational interviewing and relapse prevention; educates teachers, community leaders, and parents about substance abuse and interventions; and provides technical support to nongovernmental organizations (NGO) on drug demand reduction. During his fellowship, Mr. Bohm plans to enhance his knowledge of evidence-based prevention and treatment programs for youth and to learn more about drug policy.
  • Anthony Coetzer-Liversage (South Africa) Mr. Coetzer-Liversage holds a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in clinical pastoral care and counseling, and a postgraduate diploma in addiction care. He chairs a nonprofit organization, which provides substance abuse prevention and treatment services to minority groups, and works with other groups to professionalize addiction service providers nationally and regionally. During his fellowship, Mr. Coetzer-Liversage will focus on developing the skills and knowledge he needs to establish centers of excellence that address substance use prevention, treatment, education, research, policy and advocacy; develop curricula to train substance abuse professionals; and improve grant writing, project management, and human resource management skills.
  • Lenka Juríčeková (Slovak Republic) Ms. Juríčeková holds a master’s degree in special education with a focus on counseling people with disabilities. In 2011, she established and led an NGO that supports families with children who have developmental disabilities. Ms. Juríčeková also worked as a psychosocial field worker on a crisis intervention team for children exposed to traumatic events. During her fellowship, Ms. Juríčeková seeks to enhance her skills to help traumatized children strengthen their coping abilities and prevent the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and PTSD-related substance use disorders.
  • İlker Kayi (Turkey) A general practitioner, Dr. Kayi also has postgraduate training in public health. He has worked for the Turkish Ministry of Health, led the primary health care unit in a Syrian refugee camp, and helped implement a health education project for seasonal migrant agricultural workers and their families. Dr. Kayi currently works at the Koç University School of Medicine, focusing on health policy, administration, promotion, and education; global health; social determinants of health; community mental health; and epidemiology. Throughout his fellowship year, Dr. Kayi intends to focus on qualitative research methods in order to study the role of collaboration in health policy and health administration on the mental health and tobacco control policies of Turkey and the personal and institutional barriers to collaboration in policy making and implementation.
  • Joseph Lahai (Sierra Leone) Mr. Lahai is superintendent of the Scientific Support Unit for the Sierra Leone Police Force, where he conducts scientific analyses and collaborates with the country’s forensic pathologist and other government agencies. He earned his pharmacy degree after rising to lead the police force Anti-Drugs Unit, responsible for investigating all drug-related crimes. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Lahai served as officer-in-charge of the United Nations African Mission Joint Operations Center in Darfur, Sudan. During his fellowship, Mr. Lahai would like to learn more about drug abuse control and increase his skills in forensic toxicology, particularly in the areas of drug and fingerprint analysis, to expand training opportunities for other law enforcement professionals in his country.
  • Mohamed Abdelghani Moustafa (Egypt) A psychiatrist, Dr. Abdelghani is a lecturer at Zagazig School of Medicine and a founding member of the first governmental addiction treatment and prevention unit in the Eastern Nile Delta. He is experienced in detox therapy and the management of psychiatric comorbidities. Dr. Abdelghani also works with several NGOs that organize health campaigns in poor, rural areas, trains mental health professionals in psychiatry, and conducts research on substance use disorders. During his fellowship, he will focus primarily on drug abuse prevention and treatment, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and other relapse prevention techniques, as well as the management of substance use disorders in special populations such as adolescents and women.
  • Rogers Mutaawe (Uganda) A social worker, Mr. Mutaawe is senior program manager at the Uganda Youth Development Link and is pursuing a master’s degree in human rights. He has implemented community-based substance abuse prevention projects, provided counseling and rehabilitation services to young drug users, conducted substance abuse awareness sessions with students, and participated in advocacy efforts to influence the development of Uganda’s national alcohol policy. In addition, he has been involved in the planning and execution of two alcohol research projects in collaboration with Georgia State University, and he co-authored three reports about the state of alcohol and drug abuse and alcohol regulation in Uganda. During his fellowship, Mr. Mutaawe wants to learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of community prevention and policy programs, influence the development of alcohol and drug policies, and conduct alcohol and drug abuse research.
  • Usman Shamim (Pakistan) Mr. Shamim, who holds a master’s degree in international relations, is program director for Balochistan Development Initiatives, an organization that provides water and sanitation facilities, prevents environmental degradation, protects natural resources, and provides education and health services to poor communities. He served as a resource panelist for a guidebook on drug outreach programs in Asia published by the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program in Sri Lanka. Mr. Shamim’s goals for his fellowship include enhancing his knowledge about substance abuse counseling and treatment, as well as program evaluation, so that he can expand and improve the treatment services available in Pakistan.
  • Nataša Tomić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) A doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine, Dr. Tomić also holds a master’s degree in human resources in health. During the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross and later helped establish community-based rehabilitation and psychosocial support services for adolescents traumatized by the war. For the last 8 years, Dr. Tomić has been the medical director of the Institute for Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, Orthopedic Surgery and Baromedicine, a leading rehabilitation hospital in her country. She has been actively involved in supporting multidisciplinary teams, adopting new rehabilitation services, and implementing standards of care. During her fellowship, Dr. Tomić would like to enhance her knowledge of health systems functioning, health care financing, human resources management, project management, and health promotion, including advocating for persons with disabilities.