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HEALing Communities Study

Revised October 2018

Goal: To determine if an integrated set of evidence-based interventions within healthcare, behavioral health, justice systems, and community organizations can work to decrease opioid overdoses and to prevent and treat opioid use disorders.

A great tragedy of the opioid crisis is that so many effective tools already exist but are not being deployed effectively in communities that need them. Only a fraction of people with opioid use disorders receive any treatment, and of those, less than half receive the medications that are universally acknowledged to be the standard of care, or they receive treatment for too short a duration. NIDA will work with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to launch a multisite implementation research study to identify the ideal sequence and duration of treatment within communities. Called the HEALing Communities Study, it will look at the effectiveness of a coordinated continuum of care in up to three targeted states. The studies will test the integration of prevention, overdose treatment, and medically assisted treatment in a coordinated array of settings--primary care; emergency departments; specialty care, including prenatal care, infectious disease, and behavioral health; the criminal justice system; and other community settings.

Funding Announcements

Request for Information

Project Staff

Name Title Phone
Redonna Chandler, Ph.D. Director 301-402-1919
Jennifer Villani, Ph.D. M.P.H. Associate Director 301-827-4095
Jenena Brissett Program Assistant 301-827-2405


  • Redonna Chandler, Ph.D.Director
    (301) 402-1919

    Dr. Redonna Chandler is the Director of the HEALing Communities Study at NIDA. She brings extensive scientific and organizational leadership, and recently served as the Deputy Director for the Division of Clinical Innovation at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) providing leadership to the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program. Dr. Chandler has been at the NIH since 2002, serving in positions of increasing responsibility and leadership at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prior to joining NCATS, she served as the Acting Director for the NIDA’s Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research and Chief of the Services Research Branch. She worked for the Department of Justice from 1996-2002, directing large drug treatment programs. Her areas of expertise include research with individuals involved with the criminal justice system, clinical trials, improving adherence to drug abuse treatment and HIV care, health services research, and implementing evidence based treatments into routine practice settings. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Kentucky and is a licensed psychologist. As a clinician she has treated those struggling with addiction use disorder and serious mental health issues.
  • Jennifer Villani
    Jennifer Villani, Ph.D. M.P.H.Associate Director
    (301) 827-4095

    Dr. Jennifer Villani is the Associate Director of the HEALing Communities Study. She comes to NIDA from the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) where she conducted a wide range of research activities to advance disease prevention. She developed and tested a new method for portfolio analysis that utilizes machine learning to characterize NIH prevention research in areas including substance use and health services. In addition, Dr. Villani is the lead NIH representative to the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup, where she oversees and coordinates NIH participation in the development of the Healthy People 2030 initiative. Prior to joining ODP, Dr. Villani worked 9 years at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where she coordinated an international consortium of investigators developing computational models to understand infectious disease dynamics. She also served as the NIGMS Planning and Evaluation Officer for a year and conducted portfolio analyses and program evaluations in infectious disease modeling, multiscale modeling, and systems biology. She earned her Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the George Washington University. Her research foci include preventive medicine, substance use prevention, patient-provider communication, health literacy, and health care disparities.


Planning Meeting

On June 18, 2018, the National Institutes of Health hosted the HEALing Communities Study Design Workshop to solicit feedback from scientific experts, state partners, federal partners, and other key stakeholders.  This meeting was videocast.

This page was last updated October 2018