NIDA, Inserm Agree To Cooperate on Research, Training, and Exchange
Signing the binational agreement between NIDA and Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) are, from left, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D.; His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France; and Inserm Chair and Chief Executive Officer André Syrota, M.D.
NIDA and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) signed an agreement May 7, 2013, to cooperate on neuroscience and psychiatry research to improve understanding and treatment of addiction. Activities under the new agreement will include joint scientific seminars, research development exchange visits, and postdoctoral fellowships. A binational steering committee will identify research areas, such as animal research on the mechanisms of addiction; data sharing and innovative approaches for analyzing imaging, genetic/epigenetic, and clinical datasets; drug discovery for addiction pharmacotherapies; clinical research on addiction with a special emphasis on Phase I and II trials; and biomarkers of addiction including study of the “addictome” and brain imaging.
NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., hosted the signing ceremony, which was organized by NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D. In his opening remarks, His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France, noted that Dr. Volkow had been awarded the Inserm International Prize for her pioneering work in brain imaging and addiction science, an indication of the commitment NIDA and Inserm share to address the health consequences of addiction. In his plenary address, André Syrota, M.D., chair and chief executive officer of Inserm and president of Alliance Nationale pour les Sciences de la Vie et de la Santé (Aviesan), outlined opportunities for NIDA and Inserm to cooperate in using science to solve the problems of addiction.
The binational agreement grew out of a joint meeting held October 15, 2012, where representatives of NIDA, Inserm, and the French Multi-Organization Thematic Institute explored opportunities to enhance collaborative research and research training activities between the United States and France. The agreement with Inserm is the eighth binational agreement NIDA has signed to address mutual research criteria and priorities, develop new international scientific relationships, and significantly enhance existing relationships.
Prevention Meeting Highlights International Research
The NIDA International Program and Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) cosponsored a poster session for international research at the Society for Prevention Research (SPR). The poster session opened the SPR Annual Meeting, which was held May 28–31, 2013, in San Francisco, California. Outgoing SPR President Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D., University of Chicago; DESPR Prevention Research Branch Chief Harold I. Perl, Ph.D.; and NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale S. Weiss welcomed attendees to the poster session.
Ms. Weiss also participated in the preconference meeting of the SPR International Networking Forum. Participants from around the world discussed ways to promote international collaboration on prevention research. Jeff Lee, senior scientific advisor, The Mentor Foundation, introduced the group’s online Prevention Hub, which is expected to launch in late June 2013. Other speakers included John Toumbourou, Ph.D., Deakin University, Australia, who discussed the components of successful international collaborations; Moshe Israelashvili, Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Israel, who reviewed the need for seed money to support international research; Giovanna Campello, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who introduced new international standards for drug use prevention programs developed by UNODC; and Harry Sumnall, Ph.D., Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, and outgoing president of the European Society for Prevention Research (ESPR), who discussed ESPR activities. Brenda A. Miller, Ph.D., Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, chaired the International Networking Forum. For more information about the International Networking Forum, email Dr. Miller at email@example.com.
NIDA provided travel awards to nine presenters in the International Poster Session:
Australia: Nicola C. Newton, Ph.D., National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales; Secondary Effects of a Universal Internet-Based Program To Prevent Alcohol and Cannabis Use Amongst Australian Adolescents: Reducing Truancy, Moral Disengagement, and Psychological Distress.
Brazil: Helena M. Barros, M.D., Ph.D., Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre; Effectiveness Evaluation of a Phone-Based Motivational Intervention for Licit and Illicit Drug Abuse.
Mexico: Martha Givaudan, Ph.D., Instituto Mexicano de Investigacion de Familia y Población; I Want I Can: Effectiveness of School-Based Program for Teachers, Parents, and Children To Promote Free Smoke Environments.
Nigeria: Boladale M. Mapayi, FWACP, Obafemi Awolowo University; Psychoactive Substance Use and Dating Violence in a Nigerian Sample.
South Africa: Lisa Wegner, Ph.D., University of the Western Cape; Methamphetamine Use and Sexual Risk Behavior Among High School Students in Cape Town, South Africa.
Spain: Carmen Orte, Ph.D., University of the Balearic Islands; Long-Term Evaluation of the Spanish Strengthening Families Program 6–11; Assessing the Effects of the Educational Intervention With High-Risk Families.
Uganda: Rogers Kasirye, M.S.W., Uganda Youth Development Link; Supporting the Development of and Sustainability in Prevention of Drug Abuse Activities in East African Region.
Ukraine: Valeriy V. Ryabukha, LL.M., Humanitarian Technologies Center of AHALAR; Evaluation of Choice: A School-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Program in Ukraine.
United Kingdom: Anilena Mejia, M.Sc., University of Manchester, United Kingdom, and National Secretariat of Science in Panama; A Model for the Cross-Cultural Dissemination of a Preventive Parenting Program Into a Developing Country.
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June 14–17, 2013
Hilton Bayfront Hotel, San Diego, California
InWomen’s 2013 Conference
Register On Site!
Health Disparities, Women, and Substance Abuse: Global Issues
Friday, June 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hilton Bayfront Hotel, San Diego, California
Registration: $75 ($35 for participants from developing countries)
InWomen’s is a NIDA International Program Working Group. For more information, contact InWomen’s Chair Wendee Wechsberg, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mexican Officials Honor CTN Florida Node Alliance for Collaboration
The Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramón de la Fuente (NIP) of Mexico recently honored Viviana Horigian, Ph.D., University of Miami, and her research colleagues at the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Florida Node Alliance (FNA). NIP Director María Elena Medina-Mora, Ph.D., presented the award April 16, 2013, during a ceremony celebrating the first randomized clinical trial completed through a recently formed Mexican network based on the CTN model, which teams substance abuse and mental health researchers with community treatment providers. The Mexican pilot study adapted the CTN-0021 study, “Motivational Enhancement Treatment To Improve Treatment Engagement and Outcome for Spanish-Speaking Individuals Seeking Treatment for Substance Abuse (METS)”. Dr. Horigian, FNA Project Director Rosa Verdeja, M.Ed., and FNA Director of Quality Assurance Elizabeth Alonso, Ph.D., provided training, coaching, and mentoring for NIP Clinical Trials Unit Coordinator Rodrigo Marin-Navarrete, Ph.D., and his colleagues. A second Mexican study, led by Marcela Tiburcio, Ph.D., and Asunción Lara, Ph.D., is being developed to test an online intervention for substance abuse and depression. The U.S. Department of State Merida Initiative for drug demand reduction supported the collaboration between NIP and FNA.
International Program Supports Inhalants Symposium at IDARS Meeting
Mexico City hosted the Fourth Annual Meeting of the International Drug Abuse Research Society (IDARS) April 15–19, 2013. More than 100 specialists from 15 countries attended the conference, which focused on neuropharmacological, neurobehavioral, and neurochemical drug abuse research findings in 12 plenary symposia and 2 poster sessions. The NIDA International Program sponsored the symposium, “Research on Inhalant Misuse: From Epidemiology to Epigenetics,” chaired by former NIDA INVEST Fellow Silvia Cruz, Ph.D., Cinvestav, and NIDA grantee John J. Woodward, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). María Elena Medina-Mora, Ph.D., general director of the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramón de la Fuente, discussed the challenges new substances and patterns of inhalant abuse pose to neuroscience and public policy. Dr. Cruz reviewed the molecular and behavioral actions of toluene, the most widely abused inhalant. Dr. Woodward and Ph.D. candidate Jacob Beckley, MUSC, reviewed the latest evidence on the neural effects of toluene on the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Keith Shelton, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, presented behavioral pharmacological data that allow comparisons of the abuse liability of different inhalants. Monica Lamas, Ph.D., Cinvestav, discussed epigenetic changes produced by prenatal exposure of toluene. Rafael Camacho, M.D., director of the Institute of Attention and Prevention of Addiction in Mexico City, addressed the need for additional funding for research on inhalant abuse, which is an underappreciated class of drugs. Symposium participants also received copies of Volatile Substance Misuse: A Global Perspective, the NIDA International Program-supported peer-reviewed supplement to Substance Use & Misuse (2011; 46:S1) that examines inhalant abuse through sociocultural epidemiology, neuroscience, and interventions research.
Join the Inhalant Working Group
NIDA Hosts New Investigators Symposium at Spanish Addiction Meeting
New Spanish investigators learned about drug abuse research opportunities during a continuing professional education course April 17–18, 2013, before the Spanish Scientific Society of Studies on Alcohol, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (Socidrogalcohol) conference, which was held in Murcia, Spain. Ivan Montoya, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the NIDA Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, cochaired the course with Socidrogalcohol President Julio Bobes, M.D. NIDA, Plan Nacional sobre Drogas, and Socidrogalcohol cosponsored the meeting, which included sessions on planning, funding, and publishing the results of research projects; Spanish and European Union research programs; collaborating with the pharmaceutical or technology industries; and other professional development opportunities for addiction researchers.
Fogarty, NIDA-Funded Research “Making a Difference” in Bulgaria
In research funded by NIDA and the Fogarty International Center (FIC), Jasmin Vassileva, Ph.D., University of Chicago, is investigating the impact of heroin on neurocognitive function and HIV transmission in Bulgaria. Why Bulgaria? In Chicago, up to 80% of heroin users also use cocaine, making it difficult to isolate the effects of a single drug. In contrast, Bulgarian heroin users are more likely to use only that drug. In addition, both heroin addiction and HIV are major public health problems and research is scarce in the country where Dr. Vassileva was born. Dr. Vassileva’s project is featured in the FIC series Making a Difference, which highlights exemplary global health research projects. Read the full article here.
NIDA Supports Dutch and EMCDDA Summer Programs in Addiction
The NIDA International Program has supported scholarships for students attending two European professional development programs in addiction. Corey Fitzgerald, M.S.W., M.P.H., clinical director of a U.S. Army substance abuse program outpatient clinic, was awarded the 2013 NIDA International Program scholarship to the Dutch Summer Institute on Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction. The school, which will be held July 7–19, 2013, at the University of Amsterdam, focuses on international networking and multidisciplinary approaches to drug policy, prevention, and evidence-based treatment. More information about the Dutch Summer Institute is available here. The NIDA International Program also supported the scholarship fund for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) European Summer School. The school for students and professionals focuses on drug policy challenges. It will be held July 1–12, 2013, at the Lisbon University Institute, Portugal. More information about the European Summer School is available here.
Webinar Explores Role of Research in Drug Policy
The latest NIDA International Program webinar, Understanding the Relationships Between Policy and Research, is now available for viewing. Alison Ritter, Ph.D., who directs the Drug Policy Modelling Program at the University of New South Wales, Australia, provides viewers with a broad overview of the drug policy process. Building on her extensive experience in Australian and international settings, Dr. Ritter focused on the interaction among multiple players—including politicians, the media, and drug abuse researchers—who define drug problems and identify and evaluate potential solutions. Access the webinar here.
NIDA Selects Three New Distinguished International Scientists
NIDA has selected senior researchers from Brazil, China, and Taiwan to receive Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Awards (DISCA). The awards will support a 1-month research exchange visit between the scientists and their U.S. partners. The DISCA awardees are:
Felix Kessler, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., deputy director of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Research at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, will work with George E. Woody, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, to identify treatment interventions that can be adapted and used in research and training programs at the newly funded Brazilian research center. Dr. Kessler will review pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, counseling, and exercise interventions; genetics and imaging research; and procedures for data management, quality assurance, research publication, and grant writing.
Former NIDA INVEST Fellow Jiang Du, M.D., Director of the Shanghai Mental Health Center in China, will work with Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). They will adapt interventions for amphetamine-type stimulant use for China, such as those developed by UCLA using contingency management, exercise, mindfulness, and self-management via cell phone. The two also will develop plans for a pilot study to be conducted in Shanghai.
Tony Szu-Hsien Lee, Ph.D., National Taiwan Normal University, and his DISCA partner, Marek Chawarski, Ph.D., Yale University, will collaboratively develop behavioral and psychosocial interventions to reduce stimulant abuse and promote safer sexual practices among stimulant abusers. Dr. Lee will conduct literature reviews, analyze data, prepare manuscripts for publication, and plan future collaborative research.
NIDA Humphrey Fellows Celebrate End of Fellowship
NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., Associate Director Dale Weiss, and Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre joined officials from the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education to congratulate the 2012–2013 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at a year-end retreat held May 5–7, 2013, in Potomac, Maryland. The NIDA Humphrey Fellows from Virginia Commonwealth and Johns Hopkins universities were among the 190 fellows representing 93 countries who spent a year of mentored academic study at 1 of 18 host campuses in the United States. John Sedlins, chief of the U.S. Department of State Fellows Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch, presented the fellows with certificates signed by President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) celebrated graduation May 17, 2013, with NIDA International Program and Institute of International Education (IIE) staff. From left: Pavla Dolezalova, Czech Republic; Arnold Simpreux, Haiti; Nang Mo Kham, Burma (Myanmar); Basat Ilter, Turkey; Susan Ruturi, Kenya; NIDA International Program Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre; Lauren Stewart, IIE; Sossinou Awoussi, Togo; Mariana Salamoun, Lebanon; and George Leveridge, Jamaica. Keynote speaker and former JHU Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program Director Wallace Mandell, Ph.D., M.P.H., told the graduates, “You bring hope to your countries; hope that things can be better and will get better.” NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale Weiss also spoke, telling the fellows that NIDA appreciates the difficulty of completing a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship and looks forward to celebrating the fellows’ future accomplishments with the international drug abuse research community.
NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated graduation April 27, 2013, with NIDA International Program staff. From left: Claudemir dos Santos, Brazil; Kouame Sedaminou, Togo; NIDA International Program Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre; Jezelle Charles, Trinidad and Tobago; Bola Ola, Nigeria; NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale Weiss; Rosie Myint, Burma (Myanmar); Suzan Ben Ezra, Israel; NIDA International Program Technical Consultant Judy McCormally; and Sossinou Awoussi, Togo. VCU Associate Vice President for Research Development Ann M. Nichols-Casebolt, Ph.D., delivered the keynote address, urging the fellows to “pay forward” their Humphrey Fellowship experience by using it to benefit others in their home countries.
Former Humphrey Fellow Rehanna Kader Receives Ph.D.
Rehana Kader, a 2006–2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University, has received her Ph.D. from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of the Western Cape. Her research focused on the relationship between substance abuse, health status, and health behaviors of patients attending HIV clinics. Dr. Kader, who works at the Medical Research Council of South Africa Alcohol and Drug Research Unit, found that alcohol and drug use and psychological distress were associated with failure to take antiretroviral medications as prescribed, lower CD4 counts, and increased incidence of tuberculosis. Gender, depression, psychological distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder were found to be significant determinants of hazardous or harmful use of alcohol.
Important Dates and Meetings