The first group projects receiving grants through Indiana University's Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenges initiative have been released. Vice President for Research Fred Cate says the 16 projects are slated to be deployed very quickly -- within the month -- and will "cover the waterfront" of issues related to prevention, reduction and treatment of substance abuse throughout the state. In all, IU is committing $50 million toward addressing addiction through five areas of focus.

Cate tells Inside INdiana Business speed of implementation is key. "It's the whole issue of it being a crisis and it's been really interesting and -- frankly, I have to say -- fairly impressive watching as the university, the faculty and the staff and the administration have all sort of reacted to this," he said. "This just can't be business as usual. You know, we can't do things in the incredibly deliberative, slow way that we approach other types of issues."

This phase of projects is the first out of three Cate says are expected to be released.

The Grand Challenges initiative focuses on areas including: ground-level data collection and analysis; training and education; policy analysis and development; addictions science; and community and workforce development.

IU has provided summaries of the first 16 projects:

  • The Family-Based Justice Improvement Project -- Matthew Aalsma, professor of pediatrics and psychology at the IU School of Medicine: Determine best practices for implementing screening, intervention and substance use disorder treatment services to incarcerated juveniles in counties across Indiana.
  • Opioid Use, Substance Use Disorders and Opioid Overdose Outcomes After Traumatic Injury in Adolescents -- Teresa Bell, assistant professor of surgery in the IU School of Medicine: Identify the predictors of sustained opioid use, opioid abuse and opioid overdose in order to reduce future substance use disorders in adolescents who experience a traumatic injury.
  • Modeling the impact of early life environmental (living) conditions on drug intake and related behavior -- Stephen Boehm, professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI: Identify unique risk factors in the development of alcohol, marijuana and opioid addiction, researching how external and environmental conditions contribute to addictions disparities in Indiana and beyond.
  • Computer Adaptive Testing -- Brian D'Onofrio, professor of psychological and brain sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences: Demonstrate the effectiveness of implementing an innovative, computerized assessment tool to identify and predict substance use disorders in multiple community settings.
  • 2018 Indiana Public Health Conference -- Joan Duwve, associate dean for practice and associate professor of health policy and management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health: Engage a diverse set of statewide stakeholders to host a conference that advocates a comprehensive public health approach to harm reduction, with a focus on its life-saving and cost-saving impact and policy merits.
  • Echo Center -- Joan Duwve: Implement a web-based learning hub that empowers local clinicians with expert medical education to help meet the need for diagnosis, treatment and extended care for patients throughout the state.
  • The Indiana Addictions Data Commons -- Peter Embi, president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute and the Sam Regenstrief Professor of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine: Develop a state-of-the-art "data commons" infrastructure that streamlines the standardization, integration and circulation of critical health data, including key environmental, behavioral, community and other valuable data that are not routinely collected by health care systems.
  • Can State Policy and Market Competition Affect Opioid Prescribing? The Role of Physician Behaviors in Rural vs. Urban Settings -- Hsien-Chang Lin, associate professor in the School of Public Health-Bloomington: Investigate the policy implications of initiatives designed to decrease the availability of prescribed opioids in rural and urban communities to improve the impact of policy and law on Indiana's substance use crisis.
  • A Community-Based Addiction Reduction Plus Policy Innovations Program for Indiana -- Debra Litzelman, the D. Craig Brater Professor of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine: Support and enable mothers and fathers with opioid addiction to engage in substance use and mental health treatment through the workforce development of community health workers.
  • PharmNet: Strengthening overdose and HIV/HCV prevention access -- Beth Meyerson, associate professor of health policy and management and co-director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at the School of Public Health-Bloomington: Execute a statewide public health intervention that aims to increase the diagnosis of opioid addiction, reduce opioid overdose mortality, HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs, and strengthen the system of prevention and treatment for people who use opioids.
  • Workforce and Capacity Assessment for People Referred to Treatment Post Hospital Discharge -- Robin Newhouse, dean and distinguished professor at the IU School of Nursing: Evaluate the current treatment capacity landscape across the state, recommending strategies that build workforce and treatment capacity and create an action network of nurses throughout Indiana.
  • Leveraging interprofessional education to improve training for future health professionals in pain management, alternatives to opioids and better prescribing practices -- Andrea Pfeifle, executive director of the Indiana University Interprofessional Practice and Education Center and associate dean of the IU School of Medicine: Increase and improve the training of health care professionals from Indiana University, emphasizing a systems-based approach that addresses opioid substance use disorder and overdose through screening, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and harm reduction, appropriate referral, and effective pain management.
  • Legal and Policy Best Practices in Response to the Opioid Epidemic -- Ross D. Silverman, professor of health policy and management at the Fairbanks School of Public Health and professor of public health and law at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI and Nicolas P. Terry, the Hall Render Professor of Law and executive director of the Hall Center for Law and Health: Develop evidence-based law and policy recommendations that improve substance use health outcomes.
  • Education and Training in Addictions Counseling -- Ellen Vaughan, associate professor at the IU Bloomington School of Education: Develop and implement an educational program for an Addictions Counseling Certificate and an Addictions Counseling Master's degree to increase the capacity and quality of addictions treatment to Indiana residents and their families.
  • Brief DBT Skills Program to Reduce Adolescent Drug Use in a School-Based Setting -- Tamika Zapolski, assistant professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI: Analyze the effectiveness of a school-based therapy that has proven effective in clinical settings to reach a broader population of youth at risk for substance abuse.
  • Optimizing health among opioid-addicted women and their children -- Wiehe, associate professor of pediatrics in the IU School of Medicine and director of Community Health.

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