NIDA To Participate in Fogarty Center BRAIN Funding Opportunity
In late October, NIDA announced it would participate in the Fogarty International Center funding opportunity announcements "Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research Across the Lifespan (BRAIN)." NIDA will consider innovative, collaborative R01 or R21 grant applications submitted by researchers from the United States or upper middle-income countries and their partners in low- and middle-income countries. Binational teams may propose all types of research, from basic through implementation science (including clinical trials), as long as the focus is neurological, mental, behavioral, alcohol, or substance use disorders. Applications will be due November 7, 2019, and November 6, 2020. More information is available at the Fogarty International Center Global Brain Disorders Research program website. More information about the funding opportunities is available in the NIH Guide:
NIDA INVEST Fellow Wins EMCDDA Scientific Writing Award
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has selected an article by 2017 NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow Judit Tirado-Muñoz, Ph.D., Spain, for a 2018 Excellence in Scientific Writing Award. Dr. Tirado-Muñoz and colleagues examined psychiatric comorbidity and intimate partner violence among women who inject drugs in Europe. The authors found that lifetime psychiatric comorbidity occurred almost three times more frequently among women who reported sharing needles and syringes (OR 2.65 95% CI 1.07–6.56). Women who experienced intimate partner violence were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder than women who were not victims of intimate partner violence (OR 1.95 95% CI 1.10–3.48). The article was published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health (2018) 21:259-269. Dr. Tirado-Muñoz is spending her INVEST fellowship with Daniel Werb, Ph.D., University of California San Diego. She is conducting secondary data analysis on the associations among injection drug use, intimate partner violence, and psychiatric comorbidities in the multi-country, mixed-methods Preventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses (PRIMER) study. The EMCDDA award recognizes high-quality research and writing on illicit drug use. Papers are selected in five categories: 1) basic biological, neurobiological, and behavioral research; 2) population-based and clinical epidemiology; 3) markets and drug cultures; 4) demand reduction interventions; and 5) drug policy and supply reduction interventions. The scientific writing award winners will be invited to present their research at the Lisbon Addictions 2019 conference, which will be held October 23–25, 2019.
Medical Text Explores Science of Cannabis Use Disorders
Springer has just released a book that reviews state-of-the-science evidence on the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of cannabis use disorders. NIDA Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences Deputy Director Ivan Montoya, M.D., M.P.H., and Division of Extramural Research Director Susan Weiss, Ph.D., edited the book. Numerous NIDA staff and grantees contributed chapters discussing cutting-edge findings from basic science through treatment and translational research to the role of external factors. NIDA International Program Director Steve Gust, Ph.D., and coauthors analyze the topic from an international perspective, with contributions from Graciela Ahumada, Argentina; Jan Copeland and John Howard, Australia; Paul Griffiths, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction; and Marya Hynes, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission at the Organization of American States. More information, including the table of contents, is available on the Springer website.
NIDA International Program Director and Humphrey Fellows Gather During ISSUP-4
NIDA Humphrey Fellows met for a networking event during ISSUP-4. Front row, from left: Daniel Amankwaah, Ghana; Tran Hoang Huyn, Vietnam; Nazish Yousaf, Pakistan; Farheen Naveed, Pakistan; and Rogers Mutaawe, Uganda. Center row, from left: Martin Agwogie, Nigeria; Asia Ashraf, Pakistan; and Kouame Seaminou, Togo. Back row, from left: Steve Gust, NIDA; Brian Morales, INL; Rogers Kasirye, Uganda; Samuel Hanu, Ghana; and Walid Hassan Ibrahim, Egypt.
NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., moderated a session on research and training during a session at the Fourth Annual Meeting of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP). The African Union and Kenyan National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse cosponsored ISSUP-4, which was held December 10–14, 2018, in Nairobi, Kenya. With the assistance of 2014 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Farheen Naveed, Pakistan, Dr. Gust hosted an informal networking event during the meeting for NIDA Humphrey Fellows. Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows who spoke during the conference included Isidore S. Obot, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse, University of Uyo, Nigeria; Salman Shahzad, Ph.D., Institute of Clinical Psychology, University of Karachi, Pakistan; Rogers Kasirye, M.A., Executive Director of the Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL); and Mutaawe Rogers, senior programs manager of the UYDEL. In addition to plenary sessions and exhibitions, research sessions focused on prevention and advocacy; policy, legal, and enforcement issues; treatment and rehabilitation; research and training; and partnerships and community-based initiatives. The International Consortium of University Drug Demand Reduction and the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program (DAP) Youth Forum held parallel public meetings and member states of the African Union held private meetings on drug demand reduction and epidemiology. Training courses featured the DAP Universal Prevention and Treatment Curricula as well as sessions sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. The Global Centre for Credentialing and Certification held examinations for certified addiction professionals and recovery coaches. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs supports ISSUP with a range of international partners. INL and the African Union provided travel support to former NIDA Humphrey Fellows, including: Walid Hassan, Egypt; Samuel Hanu, Ghana; Daniel Amankwaah, Jummy Koyejo, Bola Ola, and Uchechi Onukogu, Nigeria; Evodia Mabuza-Mokoko, South Africa; Mawouena Komlan Bohm, Togo; and Rogers Kasirye and Mutaawe Rogers, Uganda.
NIDA, Inserm Feature Fellowship at SfN Event
Roger Little, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NIDA Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, discussed NIDA research priorities and the NIDA-Inserm Postdoctoral Drug Abuse Research Fellowship during the French Neuroscience Showcase which was held November 5, 2018, in conjunction with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting. Etienne Hirsch, Ph.D., Director of Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) multi-agency thematic institute on neurosciences, cognitive sciences, neurology and psychiatry, spoke on behalf of Inserm. The Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the USA, Inserm, and the San Diego French-American Chamber of Commerce hosted the networking event for French and American scientists and companies.
NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cosponsored Frontiers in Addiction Research, November 2, 2018. The satellite meeting at SfN focused on new tools to study data in the addiction research field, the impact of early life adversity on brain circuitry and substance use disorders, and interactions between opioid receptor function in addiction and pain.
NIDA Humphrey Fellowship Alumna Receives Distinguished Humphrey Leadership Award
Distinguished Hubert H. Humphrey Leadership Award recipients met with U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs Caroline Casagrande. Pictured from left are: Firdaus Agung, Indonesia; Luz Amparo Medina, Colombia; Riza Sarasvita, Indonesia; Kouassi Adolphe Kouadio, Côte d'Ivoire; Ms. Casagrande; Hayk Harutyunyan, Armenia; Ismayil Abdullayev, Azerbaijan; Lucy Ogol, Kenya; and Pooja Sharma, Nepal.
Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Riza Sarasvita, Ph.D., Indonesia, was one of nine senior officials from eight countries who received the U.S. Department of State 2018 Distinguished Humphrey Leadership Award. The award recipients are poised to serve as leaders in advancing the public good in their home countries through positive, near-term impact on policy formulation within their professional areas. They spend almost three weeks in the United States, participating in an executive leadership course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and then shadow officials in organizations related to their professional responsibilities.
NIDA International Program Director Steve Gust, Ph.D., served as the coordinator for Dr. Sarasvita’s job shadowing activities. In addition to meeting with Dr. Gust, she also spent time with several NIDA officials: Vashundhara Varthakavi, D.V.M, Ph.D., AIDS Research Branch; Carmen Rosa, Center for the Clinical Trials Network; Richard Jenkins, Ph.D., Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research; and Emily Jones, Ph.D., and Brian Marquis, Office of Science Policy and Communications. Officials at other organizations also met with Dr. Sarasvita, including representatives from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), University of Pennsylvania, and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Dr. Sarasvita is Director of the Rehabilitation Center of the National Narcotics Board of Indonesia. She is responsible for strengthening the government-based rehab center through capacity-building, technical assistance, and clinical supervision; advocating with law enforcement agencies to promote treatment and rehabilitation over punishment; and providing national standards of drug rehabilitation and other related regulations. She is also active with the Indonesia Clinical Psychologist Association and is a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Psychology, Soegijapranata Catholic University. Dr. Sarasvita has extensive binational experience in NIDA-supported research on medication-assisted therapy and behavior changes among people who inject drugs and has presented on that research at the NIDA International Forum. She has represented Indonesia in international collaboration on substance abuse issues at the Colombo Plan, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INL, and World Health Organization.
Updated Guide For Prevention and Treatment Programs Now Online
Guidelines for developing evidence-based substance abuse prevention and treatment programs are available online through the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) website. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) publishes the Field Guide to Drug Demand Reduction Program Development annually as a resource for U.S. Embassy personnel. INL shares the publication with the drug demand reduction community to promote coordinated efforts on comprehensive, public health approaches and help expand the global community of knowledgeable drug demand reduction professionals. The guide includes suggestions for assessing local substance use issues and resources and describes efforts by INL and its partners to develop the drug demand reduction workforce, professionalize drug treatment and prevention services, build global networks and community coalitions, and address the needs of vulnerable populations. More information about the guide can be found on the ISSUP website.
2019 NIDA International Forum Abstract Submission Deadline Extended
Deadline Extended to January 17, 2019
Abstract submissions and travel award applications for the 2019 NIDA International Forum are now due January 17, 2019. The Forum will provide professional development and networking opportunities and report on global issues in drug abuse. The meeting will be held June 14–17, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas. The agenda will feature workshops and breakout sessions on Friday, June 14, a daylong symposium on Saturday, June 15, and a joint NIDA International Forum/College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) international research poster session on Monday, June 17. The Forum is held in conjunction with the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting. The two meetings have separate abstract submission, travel award, and registration processes.
SPR To Explore Prevention Science and Big Data
The theme for the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) 27th Annual Meeting is "Prevention Science in a Big Data World." The meeting will be held May 28–31, 2019, in San Francisco, California. The NIDA International Program and the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research will host the 12th Annual NIDA International SPR poster session in conjunction with the SPR opening reception. More details about the meeting are available on the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) website.
InWomen’s Conference To Focus on Opioid Epidemic and Marijuana
Abstract submissions and travel award applications for the 11th International Women’s and Children’s Health and Gender (InWomen’s) Group conference are due January 18, 2019, at 11:59 AM Eastern Standard Time. The meeting will be held Friday, June 14, 2019, in conjunction with the NIDA International Forum and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Annual Scientific Meeting. The InWomen’s meeting will discuss how the global opioid epidemic is affecting women and families, and marijuana use among children, teens, and young adults. Go to inwomenhealth for more information.
International Organizers Invited To Participate in NDAFW
NIDA materials and step-by-step guidelines are available to help international drug abuse professionals plan, promote, and host events during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), January 22–27, 2019. NIDA and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) cosponsor the health information program that encourages locally planned and hosted school and community events to provide teens with scientific facts about drugs and alcohol. NDAFW events are recognized on the NIDA website. For more information, see the NDAFW guide.
World Report Mapping Tool Supplies Funding Data
Data on international research funding from 2012 through 2017 is now available through World Report. Users can search 300,000 project records by using keywords, location, funding organization, research institution, or principle investigator. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosts the interactive mapping database. Representatives from participating organizations manage the site. In addition to NIH, supporters include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, European Commission, United Kingdom Medical Research Council, and Wellcome Trust. Learn more about World Report.
NIDA Renews Postdoctoral Fellowships for French Researchers
NIDA has renewed the NIDA-Inserm Postdoctoral Drug Abuse Research Fellowships to two French scientists. NIDA and Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) cosponsor the fellowships, which allow French scientists to work with NIDA grantees at the mentors’ institutions in the United States and U.S. scientists to work at Inserm laboratories in France.
Anissa Bara, Ph.D., will continue to work with Yasmin Hurd, Ph.D., at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Studying the effects of early developmental exposure to cannabinoids on neural circuits critical for addiction and psychiatric disorders, Drs. Bara and Hurd have succeeded in identifying relevant cannabis-induced epigenetic and behavioral alterations. In the second year of the fellowship, the team will attempt to (1) characterize the network of genes affected by dysregulation of the enzyme Mixed lineage leukemia 1 (Mll1) with discrete adult nucleus accumbens (NAc) pathways associated with prenatal and postnatal Tetrahydrocannabinol/Cannabidiol exposure; (2) establish a causal link between molecular alterations (such as those linked to Mll1) identified in specific NAc pathways after a pre- and postnatal THC/CBD exposure and behavioral phenotypes relevant to addiction psychopathology; and (3) investigate patterns of adult in vivo neuronal activity within specific NAC pathways as consequence of pre- and postnatal THC/CBD exposure in animals.
Marine Azevedo Da Silva, Ph.D., will extend her fellowship with Silvia Martins, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University. She is finalizing a meta-analysis of a literature review on the consequences of cannabis policy liberalization on patterns of use among adolescents and young adults and has submitted a paper analyzing a possible bidirectional association between bullying and use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. Dr. Azevedo Da Silva will continue to use data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to (1) examine the association between the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the United States and changes in marijuana and/or tobacco use, abuse, and dependence in young people; and (2) assess the impact of this policy change on inequalities in substance use, abuse, and dependence in terms of gender, education, and socioeconomic status.
Updates From Former Humphrey Fellows: ASEAN Meeting and U.S. Recognition
Valeriy Ryabukha presenting his research at a recent NIDA International Forum.
Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows have reported on their recent activities:
Mohd Muzafar Shah Bin Mohd Razali, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia, participated in the 1st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Convention on Drug Abuse Prevention Education, held December 5–7, 2018, in the Philippines. Dr. Razali and two student leaders from his university were among campus leaders from colleges and universities in the ASEAN region who discussed ways to reduce the demand for drugs among students and promote drug abuse prevention and human rights in the region.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Alumni Affairs named 2009 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Valeriy Ryabukha, Ukraine, as the November 2018 Alumni Exchange Member of the Month. The citation called Mr. Ryabukha "a dedicated leader and developer of future leaders" who is "creating a brighter future for thousands of at-risk young people." During his Humphrey Fellowship, Mr. Ryabukha designed a nonprofit, Prevention Center Choice, to provide evidence-based prevention programming in the schools of Chernihiv, Ukraine. The center has successfully implemented several projects that educate youth about preventing drug use, HIV/AIDS, and crime, and is expanding throughout Ukraine. In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev supported a Prevention Center Choice program to help youth ages 13–14 develop decision-making, self-esteem, and healthy relationship skills to create small community development projects
Humphrey Fellows Meet with U.S. and International Experts
U.S. and international experts discussed substance abuse issues with Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows in November. Front row from left: Lefate Makunyane, South Africa; Nicola Worcman, Brazil; Heather Ashton, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); and Hadiza Gagara Dagah, Niger. Second row from left: Charlotte Sisson, U.S. Department of State; Wendy Kliewer, VCU; Tea Kordzadze, Georgia; Choni Wangmo, Sri Lanka; Alexandra Mata, Costa Rica; Duanduan Yuan, China; and Rhea Ramnarine, Trinidad and Tobago. Third row from left: Marcelo Martoy, Uruguay; Lal Kumar, Nepal; Kouame Oussou, Ivory Coast; Coumba Ndokh Ndiaye, Senegal; Serge Adouaka Ngoimale, Central African Republic; Eric Siervo, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA); Richard Baum, U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); Maristela Monteiro, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); Marya Hynes, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD); and Kaudstubh Sharma, India.
The NIDA International Program organized several orientation programs for the Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows at Virginia Commonwealth University. In September, Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre met with the new fellows to introduce them to NIDA and learn about their professional interests and fellowship plans. On November 1, during the U.S. Department of State Global Leadership Forum, U.S. and international experts in substance abuse met with 16 fellows from VCU and six other Humphrey Program host campuses. Speakers included Richard Baum, ONDCP; Marya Hynes, CICAD, Organization of American States; Maristela Monteiro, M.D., Ph.D., PAHO; Eric Siervo, CADCA; and Charlotte Sisson, U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. After brief, formal presentations, the speakers met with the fellows for small group discussions. On November 15 and 16, the fellows met with officials from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and NIDA. NIDA speakers included International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D.; Petra Jacobs, M.D., M.H.S., Center for the Clinical Trials Network; Jacqueline Lloyd, Ph.D. and Tisha Wiley, Ph.D., Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research; Kevin Walton, Ph.D., and Bob Walsh, R.A.C., Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences; and David Bochner, Ph.D., Jinhee Lee, Pharm. D., and Brian Marquis, Office of Science Policy and Communications.
The 2018-2019 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at Virginia Commonwealth University represent nine countries. The fellows are:
Hanan Kharabshah, M.P.H., Palestinian Territories, is surgical ward manager for Jericho Governmental Hospital where she focuses on management, basic nursing care, patient advocacy, and health education. In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Kharabshah volunteers in outreach programs for refugees in Palestine and Jordan, conducting research and serving in the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance. During her Humphrey Fellowship, Ms. Kharabshah will focus on improving her research, counseling, and public speaking skills. She also hopes to learn more about U.S. preventive medicine and current health policies and practices to help her in developing evidence-based programs in Palestine.
Tea Kordzadze, M.A., Georgia, works for the Georgian Harm Reduction Network, focusing on human rights and drug policy issues. She has been instrumental in creating major changes in Georgia regarding health care rights related to hepatitis C, HIV/AIDs prevention, advocacy for health-based drug polices, and the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. In 2014, Ms. Kordzadze played a major role in developing specific recommendations on drug policies and health rights in Georgia during a treaty review by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Her efforts led to an advocacy campaign at the national level to implement these UN recommendations into legislation and practice. She also conducts research at an addiction research and counseling center. During her Humphrey Fellowship, Ms. Kordzadze seeks to improve her knowledge of evidence-based drug abuse prevention and treatment.
Lal Bahadur Kunwar, M.P.H., Nepal, is the Deputy Director of Possible, a community health care nongovernmental organization (NGO) that works with the Nepal Ministry of Health via a public-private partnership. He designs, oversees and implements integrated health care programs through a Community Health Workers network. His work increasingly involves the use of technology to strengthen the delivery of community-level follow-up care for chronic disease patients. He is passionate about developing effective, affordable health care systems that integrate hospital and home-based services for rural patients. Mr. Kunwar has more than 10 years of experience in the public health sector including as a lecturer of public health at Pokhara University, as a program manager of Aasaman Nepal, a children’s rights NGO, and as a government health assistant. During his fellowship, Mr. Kunwar aims to improve his ability to manage non-communicable disease, child and maternal health, and mental health services at the community level. He also wants to enhance both his quantitative and qualitative research skills in public health.
Lefate Makunyane, M.A., South Africa, has more than 10 years of experience in managing and monitoring youth development programs, mental health and substance use prevention, gender-based violence, capacity building, and research. He also has worked on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s loveLife Campaign and a UNICEF/Lesotho Government Youth Ministry Program focusing on HIV/AIDS, substance use prevention, and life skills development. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. Makunyane was the Assistant Director of the National Department of Basic Education where he worked on the national drug strategy as a member of the Inter-Departmental Technical Task Team. Mr. Makunyane is currently a project manager at the African Youth Development Fund for the Ke Moja anti-drug program and the UNICEF-funded National Department of Basic Education Drug Prevention and Management Program. In this position, he conducts research and assessments on the impact of anti-drug programs. Mr. Makunyane’s goals for his fellowship are to enhance his knowledge of public health policy, innovative substance use prevention strategies, treatment programs, and research methods.
Marcelo Martoy, J.D., L.L.M., Uruguay, is a candidate professor and associate member of the Legal Practice Department at the University of the Republic. He began his public service career in 2011 at the National Tax Office. Currently, Mr. Martoy works as a legal advisor at the National Drug Board of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay, where he oversees the confiscation of assets from drug trafficking and money laundering to finance substance abuse prevention, and education and treatment programs. During his fellowship, Mr. Martoy, will study different approaches to drugs and criminal law and its implications for human rights and substance use disorder treatment services. He will specifically focus on the impact of the regulation of the cannabis market in Uruguay. Mr. Martoy also seeks to enhance his knowledge regarding social inclusion models and substance use disorder treatment programs as an alternative to prison. Mr. Martoy also hopes to improve his skills in conducting interdisciplinary research, managing projects and public speaking.
Rhea Ramnarine, M.S., Trinidad and Tobago, is a toxicologist at the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, the primary forensic testing facility in her country. Her duties include analyzing biological and non-biological specimens for the presence of alcohol, drugs, and poisons; making pharmacokinetic models; preparing reports to be used in court; and providing expert witness testimony. Ms. Ramnarine’s objectives during her fellowship are to continue to elevate the standards of drug testing in her country and gain the knowledge and skills needed to develop and establish new policies and procedures to evaluate emerging trends in drug abuse and potential overdose cases. She also wants to learn more about the pharmacology of drugs of abuse and develop skills in communicating science to laypersons.
Kaustubh Sharma, M.B.B.S., M.A., India, joined the Indian Police Service in 2001 and headed Firozepur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. He has served in the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan as a police chief administrative officer. He later became the deputy commissioner of police in Amritsar. Dr. Sharma also has experience as the zonal director for the Narcotics Control Bureau of India, where his efforts led to establishing opioid substitution therapy centres in local jails. He is currently the deputy inspector general of police in the Punjab organized crime control unit. Dr. Sharma’s various policing assignments have given him extensive exposure to drug interdiction operations on the Indo-Pakistan border and he has been closely involved with tackling the drug problem in the state of Punjab. He was awarded the UN Peace Medal, President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Services, and the Director General’s Commendation Medal. During his fellowship year, Dr. Sharma's focus areas are inter-agency coordination for effective drug control, evidence-based prevention strategies, and misuse of pharmaceutical drugs.
Nicola Worcman, M.D., M.S., Brazil, has investigated how psychotherapists and psychiatrists can work more effectively in public institutions that use a harm reduction approach. In the Brazilian public health care system for drug users, she worked as a psychiatrist and carried out projects targeting underprivileged communities where she helped young drug users develop leadership and collective strategies to address issues important to them. Additionally, she led a committee that developed strategies for strengthening the mental health care network and served as a professor in a medical internship program. During her fellowship, Dr. Worcman’s goal is to improve her knowledge of evidence-based drug abuse prevention and harm reduction programs. In addition, she wants to learn more about drug reform policies and their impact on health care systems, specifically in countries like Brazil that are affected by drug trafficking.
Duanduan Yuan, M.A., China, is a senior reporter at Southern Weekly Newspaper in Beijing, focusing on health and medical news. For the past seven years, Ms. Yuan has covered a diverse range of topics such as cancer, rare childhood diseases, pollution, and food safety. She is a recipient of a number of awards, both in China and internationally, including a 2016 Cancer World Journalism Award and the 2014 Global Health Reporting Contest, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. She is also a three-time winner of a China Environmental Press Award (2013 to 2015), which is jointly organized by The Guardian (UK) and chinadialogue.net. As a Humphrey Fellow, Ms. Yuan wants to advance her knowledge related to mental health policies and management. She is interested in learning about how to use media to advance disease control, health promotion, and public education. Ms. Yuan’s goal is to design an effective and holistic communication program to increase mental health awareness among the Chinese population and policy makers.