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NIH announces HEAL Initiative Grants for UMD faculty

NIH announces HEAL Initiative Grants for UMD faculty

Assistant Professor Jessica Magidson and Professor Nathan Fox
Assistant Professor Jessica Magidson and Professor Nathan Fox

Assistant Professor Jessica Magidson (PSYC) and Distinguished University Professor Nathan Fox (HDQM) are part of the latest cohort of researchers selected by the National Institutes of Health to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic. NIH announced the awards last week for its Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, a nearly $1 billion effort to stem the national opioid public health emergency.

Magidson’s research addresses opioid use disorder (OUD) as it affects low-income racial or ethnic minority individuals, for whom relapse from medication-assisted treatment for opioid use is more pernicious. Part of the problem is that these populations face cultural barriers to remaining on medication-assisted treatment, such as social stigma, housing instability, and challenges navigating services. To address the social difficulties associated with treating OUD, Magidson proposes the introduction of peer recovery coaches (PRCs), or trained individuals with experiences with substance use disorder. PRCs provide a brief behavioral intervention to those struggling with OUD. Magidson will work in collaboration with Eric Wish, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice and the director of the Center for Abuse Research, as well as with Aaron Greenblatt, Melanie Bennett, and Mimi Belcher, colleagues from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Fox’s research is a longitudinal study of opioids and childhood development. His work attends to the complex conditions and outcomes of opioid exposure in children, assessing both the behavioral and neurocognitive effects of pre- and post-natal interactions with opioids. Along with psychology professors Tracy Riggins, Elizabeth Redcay, and Luiz Pessoa, Fox will integrate across UMD’s areas of neuroimaging expertise to develop a multi-modal MRI and EEG protocol for assessing multiple elements of the maturing brain: its structure, its function, and the connectivity of its different areas to one another. This research is part of a 10-year, multi-university study examining the behavioral, cognitive, and societal outcomes through age 8 of children exposed to opioids in utero.

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September 30, 2019


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NIH announces HEAL Initiative Grants for UMD faculty

AESoP symposium features speakers, organizers with UMD ties

Shamma, colleagues publish in Journal of Neuroscience

UMD Researchers Develop Technique to Advance Cell-Based Systems

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NSF Awards $1M Grant to UMD Researchers

Ghodssi Receives Senior Faculty Outstanding Research Award

NIH Awards $2M to UMD Entomologist Megan Fritz

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