Partnering with HBCUs and NIDA for substance use research

4/28/2023 10:45:28 AM Hannah Wirth

Leading an effort to spark new ideas and collaborations to address health disparities, the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI) recently partnered with North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to host IHSI’s 2023 three-part speaker series, Achieving Equity: Disparities in Substance Use. Events in the series discussed equity issues and funding opportunities related to substance use and addiction, including barriers to care, service utilization, and risk and resilience in underrepresented populations. Occurring on Tuesdays for three weeks, the series attracted researchers from nearly 30 units and six colleges across campus as well as several members from the local community.

Event 1 | Research from a Minority Serving Institution Perspective
A panel of researchers from North Carolina A&T State University discussed how they are addressing health disparities and creating a campus NIDA team and research proposal as well as their campuswide approach to substance use and mental health treatment. View the presentation slides and video recording.

Newman encouraged Illinois researchers to contact the panelists directly to engage in partnerships with researchers at NC A&T. “We’re always looking for new collaborations and ways that we can partner together,” said Newman. “I think often research teams can be built organically through forums like this, but if you’re interested in identifying researchers in a particular area you can also contact our Division of Research.”

Event 2 | Disparities in Substance Use Lightning Talks & Discussion
Illinois panelists presented their research related to disparities in substance use, followed by a Q&A session. View the presentation slides and video recording.

  • Liliane Windsor | Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Research
    School of Social Work
  • Hyojung Kang | Assistant Professor
    Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
  • Shaneil Taylor | Research Data Specialist
    Center for Prevention Research & Development, School of Social Work

While training in the field of substance use disorders, Windsor became frustrated with the traditional system because she believed it focused more on individual level factors and blamed the victim. During the presentation, Windsor discussed the Community Wise project she has been developing throughout her career. “I really wanted to come up with something different because I felt that there were structural factors that impacted substance use, especially in communities,” Windsor noted. “So I began community-engaged research and adapted critical consciousness theory as our organized framework in order to identify an innovative way to address substance use.”

Event 3 | NIDA Federal Research Funding
Program officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse discussed federal research funding opportunities with NIDA. View the presentation slides and video recording.

  • Roger Little | Deputy Director
    Division of Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Aria Crump | Director
    Office of Diversity and Health Disparities
  • Sheba K. Dunston | Social & Behavioral Scientist Administrator
    Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research

Little encouraged Illinois researchers to reach out to NIDA program officials while considering substance use research projects. “There are tools that we can help you use, like the NIH RePORTER, where you can see who else is doing research similar to yours, think about who the reviewers might be for your application, and think about how similar or different your work is to what is ongoing or has been done,” said Little. “Those are all important things to consider, and it also can help you network if you need expertise you don’t have or would like to learn.”

Connect with IHSI
IHSI offers educational opportunities and resources that promote equitable research perspectives and practices. We support faculty and students in promoting health equity through research, programs, partnerships, and policy. Please contact Health Equity Research Development Manager Brandi Barnes for support with your health equity research or project-based needs.

Subscribe to the IHSI e-newsletter for information about the 2024 Achieving Equity Series, upcoming events and webinars, program announcements, research support services, and more.