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NIH Heal Initiative Funds Seven UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Projects Targeting the Opioid Crisis



UCLA CTSI News Archive


To reverse the opioid crisis that continues to grip the nation, the NIH has awarded $945 million in total fiscal year 2019 funding for grants, contracts and cooperative agreements across 41 states. Research effort aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

In July 2018, Christopher Austin, PhD, Director of NIH's National Center for Accelerating Translational Science (NCATS), first introduced The Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (NIH HEAL Initiative), aimed at tackling the opioid crisis, and outlined plans to apply NCATS’ translational science approach to the initiative.

In the October 2019 NCATS newsletter, Austin reported that NIH has announced $945 million in funding for projects in 41 states to develop and apply evidence-based solutions to reverse the crisis. The trans-NIH research effort aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder (OUD) and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

Seven of the NIH HEAL Initiative awards went to UCLA CTSI partner institutions. See below for those awardees. They include a number of CTSI-supported investigators including: Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, a CTSI Catalyst awardee; Dr. Stephanie Kristin Seidlits, a CTSI R Bridge and Voucher awardee; Dr. Maidment, a CTSI/CART awardee; Dr. Sean Young, an investigator for the CTSI Network Resources program; Dr. Larissa Jeanette Mooney, a CTSI Voucher awardee and 2010 CTSI Training Program in Translational Science alumni in the certificate program; Dr. Yih-Ing Hser, received CTSI informatics support on another opioid study that was highlighted in a UCLA press release; Dr. Kimberly Gregory, CTSI Integrating Special Populations co-leader and CTSI Community Engagement and Research Program investigator; and Dr. Brennan Spiegel, CTSI site leader for Cedars-Sinai Medical System and CTSI Community Engagement and Research Program investigator.

Awarded Projects from UCLA CTSI Partner Institutions

  • Nigel T Maidment, Nureddin Ashammakhi, Ali Khademhosseini, Stephanie Kristin Seidlits, Clive Niels Svendsen (UCLA), Administering IC: NCATS, "Multi-organ-on-chip device for modeling opioid reinforcement and withdrawal, and the negative affective component of pain: a therapeutic screening tool" 
  • Sean Young (UCLA), Administering IC: NCCIH, "Adapting the HOPE Online Support Intervention to Increase MAT Uptake Among OUD Patients"
  • Ausaf Bari (UCLA), Administering IC: NINDS, "Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subgenual Cingulate Cortex for the Treatment of Medically Refractory Chronic Low Back Pain"
  • Suzette V Glasner-Edwards (UCLA), Administering IC: NCCIH, "Effectiveness of a CBT-based mHealth Intervention Targeting MOUD Retention, Adherence, and Opioid Use"
  • Yih-Ing Hser, Larissa Jeanette Mooney (UCLA), Administering IC: NIDA, "Greater Southern California Node of the Clinical Trials Network"
  • Wei Gao, Kimberly D Gregory, Scott P Johnson, Charles F Simmons (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center), Administering IC: NIDA, "Planning Phase for the Healthy Brain and Child Development Study (HEALthy BCD) in Los Angeles County Area"
  • Brennan Spiegel (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center), Administering IC: NIAMS, "Randomized-controlled trial of virtual reality for chronic low back pain to improve patient-reported outcomes and physical activity"

Read more in the NCATS press release or see all the funded projects, including their research focus areas and programs.

NCATS is actively participating in several NIH HEAL Initiative projects, including the CTSA Trial Innovation Network, ASPIRE Design Challenges and Tissue Chips to Model Nociception, Addiction and Overdose.

More information:
NIH Funds 945 Million in Research to Tackle National Opioid Crisis Through NIH Heal Initiative