Number 42, June 2012

The NIDA Avant-Garde Award Program for HIV/AIDS Research is now open to international scientists. This award is designed to support individual scientists of exceptional creativity who propose cutting-edge—and possibly transformative—approaches to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research on HIV/AIDS that are relevant to drug abuse. The award is intended to support high-impact research that will open new areas of HIV/AIDS research and/or lead to new avenues for treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS among drug abusers. Proposed research should reflect ideas and approaches that are substantially different from those already being studied by the investigator or others. Avant-Garde awardees are required to commit at least 35% of their research effort to activities supported by the Avant-Garde Award. Pre-application is required, as explained in the announcement PAR-12-164. For more information about the Avant-Garde Award, see the full Request for Applications, RFA-DA-13-002 FY13 NIDA Avant-Garde Award Program for HIV/AIDS Research (DP1).

Dale S. Weiss and Harold I. Perl

NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale S. Weiss, left, introduces Harold I. Perl, Acting Chief of the NIDA Prevention Research Branch, at the NIDA International Poster Session that opened the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) meeting. In right photo, NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust speaks at an SPR workshop on international research priorities and opportunities supported by the National Institutes of Health.

NIDA supported a poster session, roundtable discussion, and International Networking Forum at the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) Annual Meeting, which was held in Washington, DC, from May 29 to June 1, 2012. The meeting attracted more than 800 researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to discuss prevention science research results and evidence-based policies that can be implemented to promote healthy living.

Poster Session Highlights International Research

To open the SPR meeting, the NIDA International Program and the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) cosponsored the Fifth NIDA International Poster Session, with support from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale S. Weiss and SPR President Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D., University of Chicago, welcomed participants. Ms. Weiss called the poster session an important way to highlight the outstanding and varied research conducted globally and a way to encourage collaborative international research. She also introduced the new Acting Chief for the DESPR Prevention Research Branch, Harold I. Perl, Ph.D. The poster session featured 11 scientists who received travel awards to present the results of drug abuse prevention research completed in international settings, including the following:

  • Gabriel Andreuccetti, University of São Paulo Medical School, Brazil
  • Sawitri Assanangkornchai, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
  • Anneke Buehler, IFT Institut für Therapieforschung, Germany
  • Heather Clark, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Canada
  • Andrea Fogarasi-Grenczer, Semmelweis University, Hungary
  • Johanna Gripenberg-Abdon, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Hanna Heikkila, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Austria
  • Joachim Jacobs, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Krzysztof Ostaszewski, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Poland
  • Valeriy Ryabukha, United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Shreeletha Solomon, Institute for Child and Adolescent Health Research, India.

NIH Representatives Discuss International Research Priorities

The NIDA International Program organized a roundtable discussion session for SPR participants, where representatives from five National Institutes of Health (NIH) components reviewed funding opportunities and the international missions, activities, and prevention research priorities of their organizations. NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., opened the session by reviewing the types of NIH funding opportunities, including the types of NIH grants that can be used to support international research, and the advantages of international teams seeking NIH funding through domestic grants with a foreign component. All NIH funding opportunities are indexed in the NIH Guide, and researchers can subscribe to a weekly update of new announcements. Individual Institutes also post funding announcements on their websites.

Harold I. Perl, Ph.D., described NIDA’s DESPR Prevention Research Branch focus on the whole person within different contexts and across the lifespan. He recommended that international prevention researchers investigate three specific NIDA funding opportunities, International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research, Pilot and Feasibility Studies in Preparation for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Trials, and Drug Abuse Prevention Intervention Research, as well as NIDA International fellowships, such as the INVEST, INVEST/CTN, and U.S.–Mexico Prevention Research postdoctoral fellowships.

International research priorities at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) include research on orphans, including those orphaned as a result of AIDS and war; second-language acquisition and bilingualism; conditional cash transfer studies (also known as contingency management); pediatric nutritional studies; early childhood care and education interventions; and the impact of pet ownership on child development and health behaviors. In addition to describing international research priorities at NICHD, James A. Griffin, Ph.D., reminded participants that work on successful funding applications includes details like meeting deadlines, ensuring that all eRA Commons and accounts are up to date, and following funding opportunity announcement instructions precisely (including downloading the most recent application form and double-checking page limits). He suggested that researchers start long before the submission deadlines by reviewing the NIH database of funded projects, Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORTER); talking to a mentor; consulting their institution’s Office of Sponsored Projects; and emailing an NIH Program Officer, who can serve as a coach, advocate, and advisor.

LeShawndra N. Price, Ph.D., described the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) partnership with health research funding agencies around the world that developed the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health initiative and adopted an international research strategy that focuses on equitable access to treatment, leveraging existing resources, anticipating global public health needs, and building research capacity. She outlined a funding path for investigators from low- and middle-income countries that might progress from training opportunities supported by the Fogarty International Center and the NIMH Collaborative Hubs in International Research on Mental Health to small funding awards such as the Global Research Initiative Program and R21 Small Grants before qualifying for an R01 Research Project Grant.

Describing the trans-NIH international funding opportunities administered by the Fogarty International Center, James E. Herrington, Ph.D., M.P.H., stressed that two-thirds of the programs support sustainable research training in low- and middle-income countries. Beginning in January 2013, countries that are members of the G20 group of major economies will be ineligible for Fogarty funding. Another Fogarty training opportunity is the NIH Visiting Scientist program, which invites scientists to spend from 2 to 5 years conducting research in NIH intramural research laboratories. About one-third of participants in the NIH Visiting Scientist program are from other countries, and some countries (such as Brazil) subsidize the stipends for their citizens.

Kendall J. Bryant, Ph.D., National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), said the majority of his Institute’s international research investigates the role alcohol abuse plays in fetal alcohol syndrome and risky behaviors that contribute to transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis. NIAAA has designated China, India, Russia, and South Africa as focus areas because of the high prevalence of alcohol-related problems among their populations, and supports special initiatives that are co-funded by the governments of India and Russia.

International Networking Forum Explores Sources for Seed Money

Before the SPR meeting opened, about 20 researchers from around the world gathered for the International Networking Forum. Participants discussed the UNODC effort to establish international prevention standards, a draft registry of international collaborative research that the group is developing, funding models and sources to support international prevention research partnerships, and potential uses of social media to inform International Networking Forum members of activities and opportunities. 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,

The breadth of dual-diagnosis issues found internationally and how they are manifest in three different national settings was the focus of a symposium at the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 43rd Medical-Scientific Conference, which was held April 19–22, 2012, in Atlanta. Carlos Roncero, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and chief of the drug addiction unit at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, described the issues and treatment approaches in Spain. Giuseppe Carra, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., Monza Mental Health University Trust, Italy, described the dual-diagnosis treatment, service models, and research that have been developed in Italy over the past two decades. Haim Mell, M.D., head of treatment and rehabilitation at the Israeli National Anti-Drug Authority, discussed dual diagnosis in Israel. Other speakers included NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D.; Marc Galanter, M.D., New York University; and Jag Khalsa, Ph.D., NIDA Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse. Dr. Galanter, Dr. Khalsa, and Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., The Addiction Institute of New York, organized the symposium.

As part of an ongoing initiative to accelerate research findings into use by substance abuse treatment providers, NIDA hosted its Blending Initiative Conference in Atlanta on April 19, 2012, in conjunction with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 43rd Medical-Scientific Conference. Experts shared the latest clinical research with addiction treatment professionals, health care providers, and policymakers, suggesting practical applications for research findings in motivational interviewing; pharmacotherapy; screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) programs; HIV testing and interventions for use in clinical settings; and new approaches to pharmacotherapy for substance use disorders. Speakers included NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D.; A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., M.S., director of the Center for Substance Abuse Solutions; and Robert M. Califf, M.D., director of the Duke University Translational Medicine Institute.

Concurrent workshops were moderated by representatives from other U.S. agencies involved in substance abuse treatment and research, including the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Health Resources and Services Administration. Two workshops focused on SBIRT, including a training session for primary care providers. Daniel P. Alford, M.D., M.P.H., Boston University, and Gail D’Onofrio, M.D., M.S., Yale University, discussed implementing SBIRT in primary care settings and emergency departments, while Dr. Alford and Julie Ann Vannerson, M.D., Indiana University, conducted the SBIRT training exercise. Motivational interviewing was also the topic for two workshops, both of which were presented by Richard Saitz, M.D., M.P.H., Boston University, and Christopher Dunn, Ph.D., University of Washington. New approaches to pharmacotherapy for substance use disorders was the topic addressed by Andrew J. Saxon, M.D., University of Washington, and Patrick G. O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., Yale University. The final workshop, on HIV interventions, featured Todd P. Korthuis, M.D., M.P.H., Oregon Health & Science University, and Antoine Douaihy, M.D., University of Pittsburgh.

Five INVEST/Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Fellows reported on their mentored research projects, and representatives of three other international initiatives reported on their activities during an international report session at the April 17, 2012, CTN Steering Committee meeting in Atlanta. The international initiatives discussed included the Clinical Intervention Network in Addiction being created by the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; development of a CTN-type organization in Mexico; and research into heroin substitution treatment for opioid dependence in Switzerland, part of a fellowship project conducted by Gabriel Thorens, M.D., University Hospital of Geneva. Dr. Thorens’s mentor is John Rotrosen, M.D., New York University. The INVEST/CTN Fellows included:

  • Cecile Denis, Ph.D., France, who participated in field trials of diagnostic severity measures proposed for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and researched assessment tools, such as the Addiction Severity Index, and treatment outcome measures at the University of Pennsylvania. Her mentors are John Cacciola, Ph.D., and Charles O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Sergii Dvoriak, M.D., Ph.D., Ukraine, who—with his mentor, George Woody, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues in Russia—is comparing the costs and outcomes of the different treatment models for opioid dependence that have been developed in Russia and Ukraine despite the similarities in the two countries’ HIV epidemics, cultures, and economies. The team has received a 5-year grant from NIDA.
  • Maria de L.Garcia-Anaya, M.D., Ph.D., Mexico, whose fellowship is part of the initiative to develop a Mexican network similar to the CTN. Her mentors are Edward V. Nunes, M.D., Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D., University of Miami.
  • Wang Xuyi, M.D., China, who is testing the effects of contingency management techniques on psychosocial function and treatment for methamphetamine dependence with his mentor, Walter L. Ling, M.D., University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Effatalsadat M. Khoei, Ph.D., Iran, who is working with Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., at the Medical University of South Carolina to develop gender-sensitive prevention programs for female drug users and sex workers. She described the drug situation in Iran, treatment options for various drugs of abuse that are available in the country, and characteristics of Iranian women who abuse drugs.

The NIDA International Program supported the participation of scientists from Argentina, Peru, and South Africa at the 2nd International HIV Treatment as Prevention Workshop, which was held April 22–25, 2012, in Vancouver, Canada. The meeting was organized by Julio S.G. Montaner, M.D., University of British Columbia, and featured a keynote address by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby about the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) perspective on treatment as prevention. NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., spoke at an opening plenary session roundtable discussion that also featured representatives from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization, and the French Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida.

The NIDA International Program supported Stephen D. Lawn, M.D., South Africa, Maria Eugenia Socias, M.D., Argentina, and Carlos F. Caceres, M.D., Ph.D., Peru, who joined academic, policy, industry, and community representatives at the meeting. Participants reviewed emerging data and identified priority areas for research and action related to the impact of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) use among HIV-infected individuals on the transmission of HIV infection. Dr. Lawn, who works at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town, discussed the impact of ART on tuberculosis control during an oral presentation session on that topic. Dr. Socias, who works at the infectious diseases unit of the Hospital Juan A. Fernández in Buenos Aires, discussed a pilot study investigating provider‐initiated HIV testing on hospital admission during an oral presentation session on initial results of Small Business Technology Transfer outcomes.

The International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research publishes research reports from countries where there is little current knowledge about substance use, as well as cross-national comparisons and other studies that have global implications. The first issue compiles papers presented at a 2010 meeting on alcohol epidemiology and policy that was held in Kampala, Uganda. Future issues will address alcohol control policies in low- and middle-income countries (submissions due September 30, 2012); international perspectives on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (submissions due November 30, 2012); and international perspectives on alcohol, drugs, and traffic safety (submissions due December 31, 2012). The publication is the official journal of the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol. The co-editors in chief are Kathryn Graham, Ph.D., Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and John Clapp, Ph.D., San Diego State University. The NIDA International Program and CAMH have provided support for the peer-reviewed journal, which is published online at no cost to authors or readers.

Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Mario Sobrinho, Public Ministry of São Paulo, Brazil, helped organize a 2-day seminar on therapeutic justice for government and police officials, prosecutors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Dr. Sobrinho worked with officials at the U.S. Consulate office in São Paulo as part of a series of meetings organized to discuss ways to improve the performance of government in relation to drugs. Secretary of Justice Eloisa Alvarez de Souza opened the event at the São Paulo State Prosecutor’s Office by stating that drugs have become a principal problem for the state and officials do not know how to cope with the problem. Ronaldo Laranjeira, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatrist at the Federal University of São Paulo, attributed the increasing number of addicts in Brazil to “a phenomenal network for narcotics distribution and cheap prices.” Tara Kunkel, management consultant at the National Center for State Courts in Virginia, told participants that drug courts separate nonviolent drug users from the criminal system by offering drug treatment instead of incarceration. She added that more than 2,400 drug courts function in the United States. Dr. Sobrinho focused on drug courts during his Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship professional affiliation at the National Center for State Courts. The meeting was held May 17–18, 2012, in São Paulo.

Harrie Jonkman, Dr.S., Verwey-Jonker Institute, The Netherlands, has received a NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (DISCA) to extend his collaboration with J. David Hawkins, Ph.D., University of Washington in Seattle. With previous support from the NIDA International Program and the Dutch Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) through the U.S.–Netherlands Binational Agreement, the two have collaborated on implementing and assessing the outcomes of the Communities That Care prevention intervention in 10 Dutch and 12 U.S. cities. During the DISCA exchange, Drs. Jonkman and Hawkins will explore three topics: (1) sharing experiences on research assessing the impact of prevention programs; (2) comparing implementation research in both countries; and (3) preparing a multinational, longitudinal research plan to investigate alcohol use and other problem behaviors in adolescents that would be modeled on a University of Washington in Seattle program with Australian researchers. Dr. Jonkman’s research proposal would translate, cognitively pretest, pilot, and develop the capacity in six European nations (Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, The Netherlands, and United Kingdom) to standardize data collection and sampling procedures and examine the effects of school, state, and national policies on drug use by youth. Dr. Jonkman also is completing a book on prevention and impact research.

The NIDA International Program is announcing new application deadlines for its three postdoctoral training fellowships. The deadlines are being adjusted to streamline the application receipt and review processes.

Application deadlines for the following fellowships are now April 1:

Applications are still being accepted this year for the NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowship. This fellowship is for midcareer drug abuse professionals who want to gain international experience at a premier U.S. research institution. The application deadline varies by country. Contact the U.S. Embassy or Fulbright Commission in your home country, or visit the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program website for more information.

NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) marked the end of their fellowships at the Humphrey Fellowship Year-End Retreat, May 6–8, 2012, in Rocky Gap, Maryland. The retreat gathered all 204 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows who had participated in 1 of 18 host university programs. Brian Morales of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement encouraged the substance abuse fellows to put the networking skills they learned as Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows to use in making connections when they returned home. Fellows received certificates signed by President Barak Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Penny Jessop, M.P.H., the Tulane University Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowships coordinator since 1979, was honored on her retirement. NIDA International Program Associate Director Dale Weiss and Fellowships Administrator Lisa Jordre of IQ Solutions attended the year-end retreat as well as graduation ceremonies at the VCU and JHU campuses. Ms. Weiss spoke at the May 22 JHU ceremony, telling the fellows that NIDA appreciates the difficulty of completing a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, and looks forward to the fellows’ contributions to the international drug abuse research community.

Thanks to a tuition waiver provided by the NIDA International Program, Allison Valentine Schlosser, a doctoral student in medical anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, will attend the Dutch Summer Institute on Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction. Ms. Schlosser began conducting addiction research in 2005 as a social worker. She hopes to conduct international comparative addiction research integrating anthropological and health services research when she completes her degree. The University of Amsterdam sponsors the 2-week, multidisciplinary institute. The 2012 course will focus on the intersection of policy models, prevention, evidence-based treatment, and bridging the gap between research, treatment practice, and policy. Dennis McCarty, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University, is academic director of the Dutch Summer Institute.

The NIDA International Program stays abreast of funding opportunities, upcoming deadlines for fellowship and grant applications, and meetings of interest to the international addiction and drug abuse research community.

Funding Opportunities

Application Deadlines

Fogarty International Center

2012 Meetings