Special Populations Office (SPO)

What We Do:

NIDA Health Disparities

The NIDA Special Populations Office (SPO) aims are to:

  1. Increase the number of underrepresented scholars and researchers actively participating in drug abuse research through our outreach, and sponsored career development and research training opportunities;
  2. Ensure that research addressing minority/health disparity populations are adequately and appropriately represented in NIDA's extramural research programs as described in NIDA’s strategic plan in addressing health disparities (PDF, 236KB).

SPO coordinates multiple activities across NIDA’s scientific programs, centers and divisions with assistance from the NIDA SPO/Lead Program Coordinating (LPC) Task Force comprised of the SPO staff, and NIDA program and review staff. The SPO/LPC Task Force has a major role in shaping, coordinating and implementing research training and promoting and conducting health disparities research.  In addition, LPC staff from the Task Force work closely with the NIDA’s External Research and Scholars Workgroups, Network and Other Committees to meet NIDA’s diversity and health disparities research and training goals.

Goals That Drive Us:

  • Facilitate research experiences to prepare underrepresented scholars for research careers
  • Ensure diversity by inclusion of racial/ethnic minority populations in NIDA supported research
  • Focus on racial/ethnic minority concerns on issues related to drug abuse and addiction
  • Coordinate institute-wide efforts to address minority/health disparities issues that address NIDA research priorities, mission and strategic plan (PDF, 236KB)
  • Facilitate access to research support and research training for students and investigators from racial/ethnic minority populations or institutions
  • Encourage racial/ethnic minority and other underrepresented students and scientists to become involved in drug abuse research, pursue NIDA research support, and become involved in research development activities relevant to underrepresented minorities

Upcoming Events:

NIDA SPO Translational Research Speaker Series logo

NIDA SPO Translational Research Speaker Series:
Promoting Diversity and Moving Toward Health Equity

2012 Schedule


Thursday, June 21, 2012

HIV and Drug Abuse from Lab to Clinic
Benjamin Chen, M.D.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

NIDA Conference Room, 3103
NSC, 6001 Executive Boulevard
2:30 - 3:30 PM

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Translating Basic Research to Clinical Practice
Cynthia Crawford, Ph.D., M.A.
California State at San Bernardino

Conference Room A1/A2
NSC, 6001 Executive Boulevard
2:00 - 3:00 PM

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Co-sponsored by DESPR

Methodological Challenges of Studying Minorities
C. Hendricks Brown, Ph.D.
University of Miami

Conference Room A1/A2
NSC, 6001 Executive Boulevard
2:00 - 3:00 PM

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Co-sponsored by DESPR HIV/AIDS Workgroup

Drug Abuse in Minority Communities
Steffanie Strathdee, Ph.D.
University of California San Diego

NIDA Conference Room, 3103
NSC, 6001 Executive Boulevard
2:00 - 3:00 PM

For more information - Contact: Flair Lindsey

5 people using their fingers to form a star

NIDA SPO Diversity Supplement Workshop
October 4-5, 2012
NSC Building
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892-9581
For more information - Contact: Pamela Goodlow

Addressing Health Disparities through Neuroscience Seminar Series

Addressing Health Disparities through Neuroscience Seminar Series hosted by:
2012 Series: April 12 (see below); Other Events TBA


Recent Events:

  • April 12, 2012: Addressing Health Disparities through Neuroscience Seminar Series
    The Role of Race/Ethnicity in Personalized Medicine in the Age of Personalized Medicine
    • Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD
      Washington University St. Louis
    • David Flockhart, MD, PhD
      Indiana University School of Medicine

NIDA SPO Research Programs

Research Training Opportunities

Related Funding Announcements

Research Resources and Helpful Links

  • Under construction!

External Work Groups, Network and Other Committees

NIDA established the Researchers and Scholars Work Groups for the purpose of providing guidance and recommendations to NIDA on drug abuse and addiction research development and training needs within four major diverse populations. Each Work Group and Network is currently comprised of established researchers and scholars with expertise in drug abuse and addiction and health concerns of the particular population it represents. 

SPO staff and Lead Program Coordinators work closely with the SPO Director, NIDA staff, the Researchers and Scholars Work Groups, other NIDA groups/committees and the extramural community to identify research training opportunities and mentoring, as well as research gaps and opportunities in health disparities research. The primary groups and committees include:

SPO Staff:

Mailing Address:

Special Populations Office
National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 3105, MSC 9567
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9567
Telephone: 301-443-0441
Fax: 301-480-8179


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