Updates from Former INVEST/CTN and Humphrey Fellows

Former NIDA INVEST/CTN and Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows report recent career successes:

  • Methadone Maintenance Therapy in Myanmar. The 2014-2015 NIDA Humphrey Fellow Dr. Nanda Myo Aung Wan, Programme Manager, Drug Dependency Treatment and Research Unit of the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports, and current NIDA Humphrey Fellow Dr. Thien Han are featured in a collection of success stories about methadone maintenance therapy in Myanmar. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Myanmar commissioned the publication to document the effectiveness of methadone maintenance therapy in improving the overall health of patients as well as their quality of life in the psychological and social relationship domains.
    Read Success Stories About Methadone Maintenance Therapy in Myanmar.
  • Motivational Interviewing in India. Lalchhanhima Ralte (2019-2020, India) and his colleague Dr. H. K. Laldinpuii Fenteto, received support from the United States-India Educational Foundation to organize a motivational interviewing training program at Mizoram University. The award will support travel by Dace Svikis, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University professor of psychology, psychiatry, and obstetrics/gynecology, who will teach the course once international travel is feasible. Dr. Ralte was the first NIDA Humphrey Fellow to take the graduate-level course on motivational interviewing taught by Dr. Svikis. She credits Dr. Ralte with helping her U.S. graduate students to think more globally about dissemination and translation of evidence-based practices and how to adapt an intervention to meet cultural needs in other countries.
  • Alumni Impact Awards. Two former NIDA Humphrey Fellows were among 14 people who received Humphrey Alumni Impact Awards in 2020. Dr. Olajumoke “Jummy” Koyejo (2016-2017, Nigeria) received support to implement in Lagos a course on living drug-free for children. Adam Kurilla (2019-2020, Slovak Republic) will implement a self-therapy intervention in Bratislava. The competitive annual awards provide up to $10,000 USD to support projects designed by former Humphrey Fellows to use the knowledge and skills they acquired during their fellowship year in their home country or region. During the 2020 competition, more than 98 applications were peer reviewed for feasibility, sustainability, and impact. The Impact Awards are jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education Fulbright Legacy Fund.
  • ISAM Symposium on Opioid Maintenance Treatment in LGBTQ Populations. Adrian Abagiu (2008-2009, Romania) organized a November 2020 symposium at the joint International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) and Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine’s virtual conference. Dr. Abagiu described challenges in providing opioid substitution therapy to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) people in Romania, a Christian-Orthodox county. Dace Svikis, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University professor of psychology, psychiatry, and obstetrics/gynecology, discussed the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and the psychosocial characteristics among LGBTQ patients receiving treatment for opioid use disorder at a U.S. treatment program that provides trauma-responsive comprehensive outpatient and intensive inpatient SUD and mental health counseling. Susanna Galea-Singer, M.D., MRCPsych, M.Sc., D.F.M., who leads the Institute for Innovation and Improvement and is associate director of the Centre for Addictions at the University of Auckland, described a model of care developed for the gay community in New Zealand.
  • European Postdoctoral Award: Following the conclusion of her 2018 INVEST/CTN Drug Abuse Research Fellowship, Esperanza Romero-Rodriguez, M.D., Spain, began a 3-year postdoctoral research appointment in January 2021. The appointment is supported by a competitive award from the 41K European Social Fund Program of Andalusia. During the appointment, Dr. Romero-Rodriquez will conduct a clinical trial on substance use and promote the prevention and treatment of substance use in Spain. The postdoctoral appointment includes a 6-month international rotation, which she intends to use in enhancing the U.S. professional relationships established during her INVEST/CTN fellowship. She also hopes to collaborate with European researchers enrolled in the 2021-2027 European Innovation Investment Program.