DESPR Research Centers’ Information

The Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research (DESPR) funds a variety of P30 and P50 centers to bring together investigators currently funded by NIH or other Federal or non-Federal sources to enhance the effectiveness of existing research and become a national community resources for furthering drug abuse research by sharing their findings, their data, and their resources for researchers to use and build upon and to advance research in this field.  Below is a listing of our currently funded centers that describes their research aims, training opportunities and resources. If you’re interested in any center(s), we encourage you to reach out for collaboration and/or utilize their resources.

Center for Translational and Prevention Science

PI Name: Gene Brody
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

The Center for Translational and Prevention Science (CTAPS) is designed to provide the infrastructure for a new generation of translational research that will integrate data on rural African American youth and young adults’ stress exposure, physiological and neurocognitive response to stress, and drug use and HIV-risk behavior vulnerability. CTAPS is based on the hypothesis that rural African Americans’ exposure to repeated and prolonged stress, accumulating across the life course, affects neurocognitive development and functioning of biological stress regulatory systems in a manner that renders individuals vulnerable to a broad array of health problems that include drug use, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The scientific goals of the Center are to facilitate:

  • investigations of the neuroendocrine, inflammatory, and neurocognitive pathways through which chronic stress affects African American’s vulnerabilities to drug use and HIV risk behavior,
  • investigations of the malleable risk and protective processes that affect underlying vulnerability mechanisms in inflammatory, neuroendocrine, and neurocognitive systems, and
  • the translation of findings into new and refined preventive interventions for rural African Americans.

Training opportunities for the Field:

  • Pre-conference Workshop at 2018 Society for Prevention Research annual meeting (Applications of Neuroscience for Prevention Scientists: Core Concepts and Emerging Directions)
  • National symposia (e.g., Unraveling Genetic Influences on Substance Misuse: The Intermediate Phenotype Approach; Methodological and Statistical Issues in Gene- Environment Research; Genetic Indices in Prevention Science)
  • Mentorship of early career drug use prevention scientists
    • Grant writing, publications with senior investigators, hypothesis development, balancing competing demands as junior faculty member

National Service to the Field:

  • Webinars (e.g., The Adolescent Brain; Cortisol in Health Psychology: Promises, Pitfalls & Prospects)
  • Video lectures (e.g., Differential Susceptibility; Molecular Genetics and Social V ariables)
  • Consultation services
    • Protocols for collection of genetic data with community samples
    • Protocols for collection of blood draws and other biomarkers with community samples
    • Gene × Environment interaction and drug use etiology and prevention
    • Gene × Intervention interaction in drug use prevention programs
  • Invited presentations
    • International meetings of professional organizations, leading research universities, and institutes within the National Institutes of Health
  • Edited books and monographs (e.g., Genetic Influences on Addiction; Statistical Approaches to Gene-Environment Interactions for Complex Phenotypes)
  • Research guidelines and protocols
    • Protocols and guidelines for conducting data collection involving genotyping, intravenous blood draws, and neuroimaging
  • Outreach to general public
    • Pieces for national media outlets (e.g., New York Times Op-Ed)
    • Informational resources for community
  • Semi-annual Center newsletter
  • Dissemination of family-centered drug use prevention programs.
    • Train local agencies to implement efficacious prevention programs for African American families developed by the Center.

Contact Information:

Principal Investigator: Gene Brody, Ph.D. (
Scientific Coordinator: Allen Barton, Ph.D. (
Office Phone: 706-425-2992 or 888-542-3068

Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Abuse and HIV (Ce-PIM)


PI Name: Dr. C. Hendricks Brown
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

The Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Abuse and HIV (Ce-PIM) aims to improve the public’s health around HIV and drug abuse prevention through implementation science, the next frontier to move effective interventions to scale and improve population health. Implementation science holds the key to reducing HIV incidence, as the biomedical interventions that now exist can only achieve success when they are implemented in ways that meet individual, community, and delivery system needs. While working directly with researchers to integrate implementation in their research, we also partner with communities, local, and federal agencies to optimize program delivery. Our aims are to develop innovative methods to advance implementation research in HIV prevention, to apply these methods to close the gap between existing research, policy, and practice of HIV prevention, and to disseminate methods and mentor leaders at the intersection of HIV prevention, implementation science and drug abuse fields. As an implementation methods center we pay special attention to addressing health disparities and the needs of underserved communities. Ce-PIM develops innovative methods for measuring, modeling, and testing implementation strategies to improve delivery of evidence-based interventions into service systems. These methods include the application of systems science and engineering to improve implementation.

Training Opportunities for the Field:

All of our qualifying grants house mentees who support the integration of implementation science in HIV prevention. We also provide formal video trainings in implementation science methods in collaboration with Centers for AIDS Research. These presentations provide expert knowledge on how to adapt and use implementation strategies and methods that improve the adoption, implementation with fidelity, reach into community, and sustainment of evidence based practices, programs, and policies. See for example, Implementation Science 101 & 201 Workshops (

National Service to the Field:

We have hosted 120 virtual grand rounds through the Prevention Science and Methodology Group (PSMG) whose videos are available on the web at These presentations aim to that reach, teach, and inspire innovations in Prevention Science and Implementation Science methodology, particularly aiming at implementation science and HIV and drug abuse prevention. To attend, please sign up to become a PSMG member at Membership is free and informal, but includes several benefits: access to live weekly presentations, weekly newsletter, and networking opportunities with leaders in the files of implementation science and methodology, prevention research, and innovative statistical methods.

We provide service to NIH institutes regarding how best to integrate implementation into their research agenda and to research networks including NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network and Inter-CFAR collaborations. Our methods, including measures for implementation, are provided as unobtrusive tools that can be integrated into systems without overburdening those responsible for delivering services. We publish agent-based models for improved implementation decision making for local public health agencies, and develop research designs for the field. Additionally, Ce-PIM serves as a leader in bringing together networks of researchers to provide a focus around implementation.

Contact Information:

Director: Dr. C. Hendricks Brown, (
Co-Director: Dr. Brian Mustanski ( Office: 312.503.5421
Executive Coordinator: Juan Villamar  ( Office: 312-503-4327

Translational Drug Abuse Prevention Center in Child Welfare

PI Name: Chamberlain & Fisher (Co-PIs)
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

  1. To extend Type I translational research in CWS (child welfare systems) drug abuse prevention by employing cutting-edge methodologies in social and affective neuroscience to facilitate scientific investigations of the underlying mechanisms of drug use and sexual behavior.
  2. To leverage knowledge from prior intervention work to develop new, cost-effective, evidence-based interventions to address the needs of specific sectors of the CWS population.
  3. To effectively scale up evidence-based practices into real-world CWS service delivery systems.

Activities and Services:

  1. Administrative Core
  2. Research Core
  3. Pilot and Training Core

In addition, three research components include: Risk Taking and Social Contexts in CWS Youth; Preventing Drug Use and HIV Risk in Girls; and Scale-Up of EBPs in CWS

Pilot or Feasibility Projects

  • Nineteen pilot projects have been funded by the Center. Examples include: A Bundle of Joy? Parenting Reward in the Context of Addiction; Acute Stress Inhibitory Control in Children; Sequence of Influences with Depression and Suicide Risk in Juvenile Justice Girls; University of Oregon Student Health Survey: The Impact of the Legalization of Marijuana

Training Opportunities for the Field:

  • Core TDAP investigators provide mentoring to students, junior and mid-career investigators on implementation efficacy, effectiveness, fidelity and on research design measurement and statistical methods (contact
  • We participate in multiple initiatives and groups as senior mentors including the Implementation Research Institute, the Child Intervention Prevention and Services (CHIPS) summer workshops, and as senior mentors for the Society for Implementation Research Collaboration Network of Expertise.
  • We provide expert consultation to clinicians and paraprofessionals delivering evidence-based practices in child welfare, justice, and outpatient treatment settings through in-person and web-based consultations.
  • We collaborate with the Harvard Center on the Developing Child to disseminate research and practical information on the brain development and its optimization for at risk children and adolescents. Contact

National Service to the Field:

  • Ongoing consultation on implementation of evidence-based practices in child welfare systems with national policy groups, state legislatures, and international policy forums. For consultation with intervention developers on measurement of implementation effectiveness, contact  
  • We provide webinars on implementation for interested groups and organizations. Contact  
  • We consult with Scientific Advisory Committees such as the National Academy of Medicine, National Academies of Science, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare.
  • We are available to conduct presentations and to participate in National and International forums on developments in the fields of brain science, treatment development, and implementation science. Contact

Contact Information:

Patricia Chamberlain (; Phil Fisher (

Center for Complex Data to Knowledge in Drug Abuse and HIV Behavioral Science (The Methodology Center at Penn State)

PI Name: Linda M. Collins
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

The focus of this Center is the development and dissemination of the innovative statistical methods that are essential to unlock the knowledge contained in complex behavioral data and apply it in the fight against drug abuse and HIV. We develop and apply innovative methods to: inform sophisticated, powerful, and efficient behavioral interventions for drug abuse and HIV prevention; increase knowledge about the etiology of behaviors related to drug abuse and HIV; and guide more effective delivery of drug abuse and HIV intervention services.

Training Opportunities for the Field:

  • Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) Program: We collaborate with The Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State to train graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are interested in a career focused on the integration of drug abuse prevention science and methodology. Visit for more information.

National Service to the Field:

Contact for more information:

Assistant Director for Operations: Brenda Baney, 814-867-2512 (

Center for Drug Use and HIV Research

PI Name: Holly Hagan
Center Link:

Research Aims:

  1. Devise innovative strategies to overcome barriers to Ending HIV/AIDS among people who use drugs (PWUD).

  2. Conduct research on effective ways to broadly implement evidence-based practices that will advance the goal of Ending HIV/AIDS among PWUD.

  3. Develop new multilevel conceptual models of HIV prevention and treatment interventions for PWUD to address substance use-related disparities in infection and treatment outcomes.

Training Opportunities for the Field:

  • Monthly seminars by leading scientists covering topics related to the epidemiology, natural history, prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and their consequences

  • Quarterly presentations on statistical and research methods by Center Core members and others

  • A series of grant development workshops for new and early stage investigators

  • Core members provide one on one consultation to investigators from our affiliated institutions

National Service to the Field:

  • Provide consultation to the field (domestic and international investigators) on research and methods related to HIV/HCV and substance use

  • Participation in local, national and international advisory bodies

  • Participation in NIH and other scientific review committees

  • Publication of “Research to Implementation” Briefs that inform non-scientific audiences on topics related to HIV, HCV and substance use

  • Publication of “Fact Sheets,” providing summaries of recent research findings by affiliated investigators for non-scientific audiences

  • Availability to the mainstream press for interviews regarding the opioid epidemic, and HIV and HCV issues related to people who use drugs

Contact Information:

Director of Operations: Dorline Yee (

The Brandeis-Harvard NIDA Center to Improve System Performance for Substance Use Disorder Treatment

PI Name: Constance Horgan, ScD
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

The Center’s research aims are to use research on payment methods and service delivery organization to synergistically expand the research base, ensure that SUD treatment services are included in efforts to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care services, and to inform policy decisions that will profoundly affect the cost, quality and availability of SUD treatment services. The Center addresses these research aims by: stimulating research, learning, and experimentation on payment and delivery system reforms for substance use disorder treatment; driving the next generation of research by training and mentoring junior investigators; and translating and disseminating findings and expertise in both content and methods, serving as a national resource for payment and delivery system reform for substance use disorder treatment.

Training opportunities for the Field:

Methods seminars, bi-annual symposia, and weekly behavioral health seminars

National Service to the Field:

Mentoring at national conferences (Academy Health, Addiction Health Services Research)

Contact for more information:

Project Manager: Hillary Richards (

Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH)

PI Name: Bruce R. Schackman, PhD
Center webpage link:

Research Aims:

The mission of CHERISH is to develop and disseminate health economic research on healthcare utilization, health outcomes, and health-related behaviors that informs substance use disorder treatment policy and HCV and HIV care of people who use substances. To increase the impact of this research, we support researchers in addressing the needs of integrated healthcare system providers and payers. The Center is a collaboration among Weill Cornell Medicine, Boston Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Training Opportunities for the Field:

CHERISH offers a health economics consultation service that provides up to 6 hours of consultant time at no cost. The service is open to researchers seeking guidance:

  • on the design and implementation of observational and interventional studies related to treatment interventions for substance use disorder, HCV, and HIV
  • to ensure that planned economic analyses are methodologically sound and feasible

To learn more about our consultation service, please read a description of our program published in Substance Abuse journal. To submit a consultation request, please go to:

CHERISH holds periodic in-person training workshops on methods of conducting economic evaluations relevant to substance use disorder treatment. Training materials and videos are available at

Contact Information:

For more information, please sign-up for our newsletter or contact Jared Leff, MS, Research Manager, at Weill Cornell Medicine at

Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center to Advance Research Excellence (OPTIC)

PI Name: Bradley Stein, MD, PhD
Co-director: Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, PhD
Center webpage Links:

Research Aims:

  • OPTIC is a multidisciplinary Research Center of Excellence that serves as a national resource, seeking to foster innovative and high-quality research on the measurement and effectiveness of opioid policy. We develop and disseminate promising methods, tools, and information to the research community, policymakers, and the general public so as to improve the knowledge base and inform policy responses addressing the short- and longer-term consequences of the crisis.
  • We seek to enhance the production and dissemination of high-quality policy research by addressing several of the challenges faced by the field, including:
    • Advancing methods to better disentangle the effects of multiple concurrent policies in a dynamic policy space
    • Identifying the manner in which different opioid policy data sources operationalize policies differently or researchers interpret policies differently, which can create equivocal findings in published research, and provide clear definitions of common differences in order to enhance greater consistency in future policy studies
    • Identifying key mechanisms and components of effective policies
    • Identifying local factors that make local markets more or less responsive to policies.

National Service the Field:

One of OPTIC’s goals is to improve policymaking and the effectiveness of opioid policy studies by disseminating opioid policy science. As part of that effort, OPTIC produces webinars for data and methods training. The presentations discussing methodological work, common data pitfalls and challenges, and potential solutions that may be helpful to researchers who are examining the effects of state policies and initiatives on opioid-related outcomes. Stay informed of future OPTIC presentations by subscribing to our newsletter at Please view past presentations at

Additionally, OPTIC is posting OPTIC-Vetted Policy Data Sets to help the research and policy communities consistently define policy data variables, thereby improving policy data use, replicability, and reproducibility of study findings. Please view more information and downloadable files available at

Contact Information:

For more information, please subscribe to our newsletter at Detailed questions about OPTIC can be sent via email to