Office of Research Training, Diversity, and Disparities Newsletter, January/February 2022

What’s New at NIDA

NDSN Reunion Event

On January 26, the NIDA Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) hosted the first ever virtual NIDA Diversity Scholars Network (NDSN) Reunion. The goal of this event was to foster collaborations and form a network among past participants of the NDSN program. Scholars from the 2015 to 2021 cohorts had a Meet & Greet Session with NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow, provided thoughtful feedback during a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Listening Session, and broke out into smaller groups based on research areas to network and discuss potential collaborations. In addition, scholars from all cohorts were able to share how the NDSN program impacted their career trajectories. Below are some comments shared during the reunion:

“The grant that I prepared during NDSN is officially submitted to NIDA! I wanted to send a personal note to tell you how grateful I am for all of the work you do on the NDSN. Although the study section portion is painful 😊, I really took the feedback to heart and dug back into my proposal. My entire investigative team, including myself, believe the proposal is so much stronger now! I don’t know what will happen during the review, but I will be grateful for this experience forever.”
– Dr. Natalie Crawford, Assistant Professor, Emory University

“NDSN and NIDA Diversity Supplement was literally my lifeline in staying in academia. My K01 grant that I developed in NDSN was scored in the top 1% —that was the way I had a funding to stay in academia and get a tenure-track job.”
– Dr. Micah Johnson, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida 

“My R21 was refined at NDSN and CAPS (UCSF) and was key to my getting tenure/promotion.”
– Dr. Robin Stevens, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Annenberg

“NIDA Diversity Supplement to NDSN guided K08 award. Very grateful.”
– Dr. Chrystal Vergara Lopez, Assistant Professor, Brown University

“NDSN (which helped getting a funded R21 grant) and the NIDA Diversity Supplement were pivotal for me to stay in academia and be in a tenure-track position.”
– Dr. Janitza Montalvo-Ortiz, Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine

Learn more about the NDSN program.

NIDA International Program New Leadership Team

As of January 1, 2022, Dr. Jennifer Hobin, the Director of NIDA’s Office of Science Policy and Communications is leading NIDA’s International Program, with the extensive training opportunities for non-U.S. scientists now led by Dr. Lindsey Friend, Ph.D., of NIDA’s Office of Research Training, Diversity, and Disparities (ORTDD). This reorganization follows Dr. Steve Gust’s retirement on December 31. Dr. Gust was Director of NIDA’s International Program for many years and reflects NIDA’s continued commitment to advancing international research training while ensuring coordination of international program activities with NIDA’s broader science policy, communications, and education initiatives.

Drs. Hobin and Friend look forward to building on the strong partnerships with the international research community established by Dr. Gust to further strengthen the global network of investigators, research institutions, and international organizations working to advance research on substance use and apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.  

We thank Dr. Gust for his leadership and wish him all the best in his retirement from federal service. 

For any questions about NIDA support for international research training, please reach out to Dr. Friend at For questions about NIDA’s International Program, please reach out to Dr. Hobin at

Congratulations to the NIDA Career Development (K) Awardees of Fiscal Year 2021!

We would like to congratulate the NIDA Career Development (K) awardees of fiscal year 2021! The goal of these programs is to bring candidates to the point where they can conduct their research independently and are competitive for major grant support. See below for a full list of active NIDA K award recipients from the NIH RePORTER.

NIDA Career Development (K) New and Competing Renewal Awardees

Don’t forget! New funding opportunities are released on a continuous basis. For more information on NIDA funding opportunities, visit the Funding Opportunities at NIDA webpage. For a full list of NIH training, fellowship, career development, and research education funding opportunities including parent announcements, please see the NIH Guide to Grants and Funding.

Program Updates

NIDA Diversity Supplement Program

Calling all NIDA researchers and trainees!

There are multiple Diversity Supplement Programs to consider. Grants supported under the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative, grants supported under the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) program, and the existing NIDA grant programs are all offering Diversity Supplements to provide support that will help launch the careers of underrepresented scientists in addiction research. HEAL awardees must apply to PA-21-071 through the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI), NOT-NS-20-107. BRAIN Initiative awardees must apply to PA-21-071 through the NOSI, NOT-NS-22-012.

The NIDA Diversity Supplement Program continues to accept applications to support post-baccalaureates, pre-doctoral students, post-doctorates, and early-stage investigator training. This program provides support for underrepresented scientists to prepare for an independent career in addiction research. We are looking to increase the number of NIDA Diversity Supplement post-doctorates and early-stage investigators scholars so please spread the word! Please apply to the diversity supplement Funding Opportunity Announcement, PA-21-071Principal investigators (PI) with HIV/AIDS-related grants are particularly encouraged to apply as well as PIs who are part of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN). Application deadline for fiscal year 2022: May 6, 2022.

For more information on the NIDA Diversity Supplement Program please see the NIDA Diversity Supplement Program webpage, FAQs, and how to apply.

2022 NIDA International Forum to be Held Virtually on June 9–10, 2022; Abstract Submission Deadline Extended

The 2022 NIDA International Forum is changing to a virtual meeting format due to ongoing health concerns with COVID-19. The meeting will be held June 9 to 10, 2022. More information on the agenda, poster session, and registration dates will be announced soon. In light of this change to a virtual format, the abstract submission and travel award application period has been reopened, and the new deadline is February 21, 2022. The College on Problems of Drug Dependence Annual Scientific Meeting will be held in person and has a separate abstract submission, travel award, and registration process.  

Program Spotlight: NIDA R25 Programs

The Summer Research Institute (SRI) at the Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Program (SRI@FMHI)

2021 Summer Research Institute (SRI) at the Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Program Group Photo

The University of South Florida (USF) received funding from NIDA to support a 5-year SRI program led by Drs. Kathleen Moore and Khary Rigg. This R25 program has a focus on addiction and co-occurring disorders. SRI students participate in an intensive 11-week summer research experience consisting of mentored research, research seminars, skill development workshops, community research rotation, and research ethics training. The goals of the SRI@FMHI are: (1) increase student knowledge in substance use disorders (SUD) research; (2) increase student proficiency in SUDs research by immersing them in research laboratory and field experiences, and guiding their work on an independent research project conducted in collaboration with faculty mentors; (3) augment the number of undergraduate students who enroll in SUD/behavioral health graduate programs and pursue research careers related to SUDs; and (4) increase the pool of trained junior scientists in the area of SUDs from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds, through targeted recruitment strategies.

USF has had federal funding to support either a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) or SRI program for the past 16 years. The REU/SRI has been highly successful as evidenced by the accomplishments of their “alumni,” including:

  • 68% of participants are currently enrolled in or have recently completed graduate degrees, law school, or medical school; and an additional 7% are submitting applications to graduate school.
  • Participants have published 237 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Participants have presented at 591 state, regional, and national professional conferences.
  • One SRI alumnus received a 2-year biomedical ethics fellowship from NIH.
  • Two SRI alumni received Fulbright Scholar Awards.
  • Participants have received 150 scholarships and awards.
  • Five participants received internal grants from universities to continue research projects.

The SRI provides a life-changing experience for participants. The goal of this program is to actively engage some of the best and brightest students in research in behavioral health and to establish long-term professional relationships with them to help them in their careers. Students also develop a project with their mentor with the goal of submitting for publication in peer-reviewed journals and for presentations or posters at peer-reviewed conference sessions. Learn more about this R25 program.

2022 SRI Flyer

Mentoring Emerging Scientists for Careers in Substance Use Research

This NIDA R25 project titled “Mentoring Emerging Scientists for Careers in Substance Use Research” led my Drs. Carmen Masson and James Sorensen continues to assist promising early-career scientists in becoming grantees. In San Francisco, California, an innovative training program is in its eighth year of assisting early-career scientists to transition into NIH PIs. 

African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans/Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders comprise 30% of the United States population but less than 5% of the applicant pool for NIH research grants. The Learning for Early careers in Addiction and Diversity (LEAD, Grant #R25 DA035163) training program was created to support the efforts of assistant professors from traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic minority backgrounds to improve their research skills and receive funding from NIH as independent scientists.

The LEAD program is integrated with NIDA CTN. LEAD Scholars (appointed to a 3-year term) receive mentorship, attend a summer intensive training program in San Francisco annually, and have support to conduct a small pilot study.  Mentoring uses a team approach. Each scholar works with ­(1) a LEAD mentor at University of California San Francisco (USCF), (2) a CTN mentor at one of the dozen CTN Research Nodes, and (3) a nationally regarded Diversity Advisor. The 4-week training program occurs at UCSF each summer where scholars in all stages of the program participate in grant writing and manuscript development workshops to improve their research and professional skills. Pilot studies are designed by the Scholars and have helped them to sharpen their scientific and grant-writing skills for later proposed NIH-supported studies as a PI.  

The program has specific indicators for success. A key indicator is Scholars obtaining NIH grants as PIs. Currently, we have nine scholars enrolled. Of those, five have been awarded NIH K grants as a PI. They anticipate that by the third year of their involvement in the LEAD program all scholars will have submitted an NIH R (research) or K (research career development) grant. Learn more about this R25 program on RePORTER.

Enhanced Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute (eIRTI)

The R25 program led by Dr. Avelardo Valdez seeks to promote the career development of underrepresented pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and early career Hispanic scientists in drug and alcohol misuse and addiction research. The eIRTI has several specific goals. The first is to provide an educational training opportunity to enhance the research experiences and skills for conducting Hispanic substance misuse research and developing applications for NIH funding among six pre-doctoral, postdoctoral, and early career investigators per year with the implementation of an intensive summer research training program. Secondly, to execute a mentoring plan (Tri-Mentoring) structured around a team of interdisciplinary senior faculty mentors and eIRTI alumni peer mentors who would be accessible and available to provide selected fellows with focused mentoring and continued support. Lastly, to provide a networking structure and process that will assist fellows in building and maintaining relationships and communication with leading experts in the field of Hispanic substance misuse research and fellow peers. Mentoring activities will focus on guiding and assisting the fellows in achieving benchmarks including NIH research funding, academic career progress, and scientific publications and presentations. These outcomes will be facilitated through various types of support provided by the eIRTI including: Mentor Commitment, Travel to Mentor Institution, eIRTI Mentoring Annual Meeting, Conferences/Workshops, and E-Mentoring Technologies (Zoom). Learn more about this R25 program.

Interested in learning more about the NIDA R25 program opportunities? See the ORTDD website. We encourage investigators to consider applying and contacting Albert Avila, Ph.D., at if you have any questions.

Did You Know?

New NIH Administrative Supplements Available to Support Diversity Mentorship

Qualified investigators can now submit proposals in response to the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity-led NOSI NOT-OD-22-057: Administrative Supplements to Recognize Excellence in DEIA Mentorship. Proposals are due by April 7, 2022. Supplements are available for various grant types, including career development, training, cooperative, and Research Project Grants (R01). They will provide up to $250,000 in direct costs, not to exceed the direct costs of the parent award. Investigators may use the funds to perform additional research within the parent grant’s scope, develop curricula or training activities to strengthen mentor training, or help foster the research career development of additional students, post-doctorates, or other trainees.

Provide Feedback on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Framework for DEIA

The NIH-Wide DEIA Strategic Plan was recently released (NOT-OD-22-061). Your input on the framework as the plan is developed is encouraged. Feedback will help us ensure that DEIA principles continue to be embraced and integrated across NIH going forward. We welcome your comments and feedback on the framework. Please send them electronically by April 3, 2022.

Stay Up to Date!

Interested in upcoming NIDA meetings and events? See a full list of what’s coming up. Visit the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding webpage for the latest information and guidance about programs in place to help with NIH projects. This webpage provides information about proposal submission, award management, human subjects, clinical trials, animal welfare, peer review, and lists funding opportunities related specifically to COVID-19. We encourage you to check this webpage often for updates and don’t hesitate to reach out to your program officer or our office if you have questions.

Are you subscribed to the NIDA ODHD listserv?

We encourage you to subscribe to the NIDA ODHD listserv. Please spread the word about this listserv! Emails from Dr. Albert Avila, Director of the Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) are sent out to subscribers a few times a month containing announcements about training and career development.