Theodore C. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., a CTSI Catalyst awardee and professor of internal medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), and his colleague, Brian Hurley, M.D., M.B.A., DFASAM, have been awarded a $1.5 million TRDRP Community Practice-based Research Implementation Award. TRDRP awards are intended to support collaborative health service research that drives quality care improvements in tobacco cessation efforts delivered through health clinics serving Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The awarded research is intended to assist in embedding comprehensive smoking cessation programs in both the Department of Health Services and the Department of Mental Health (DMH) in Los Angeles by providing group counseling as well as medications for smoking cessation to county patients with physical and mental disorders. Those programs will integrate specialty tobacco use disorder services, or STUDS, into ambulatory patient-centered medical homes and DMH outpatient community mental health clinics. The research will run for three years to test whether STUDS leads to higher rates of carbon monoxide-verified cessation.

Dr. Friedman decided to apply for this award while hosting CDU’s 2017 Drug Abuse Research Day, a TRDRP and CTSI sponsored symposium which brought together drug abuse experts to discuss key issues in drug addiction. CTSI has been sponsoring the event since 2014 through a CTSI Catalyst Award, a funding mechanism for team-building activities that advance translational science and promote collaborations across disciplines and CTSI institutions. Interestingly, Friedman’s close interactions with TRDRP program officers who spoke at this and a prior Drug Abuse Research Day spurred him and Brian Hurley, MD to apply for this year’s TRDRP award. Further, another 2017 Research Day speaker, Lara A. Ray, Ph.D. of UCLA, was a key consultant on his TRDRP application and provided critical clinical tobacco expertise.

In addition to valuable collaborations, the symposium offered the 120 attendees multiple presentations including a talk on the emerging neuroscience of substance abuse recovery by keynote speaker, Steven Grant, Ph.D., a program officer for neuroscience and behavior at NIH’s NIDA, and a discussion on TRDRP in the post-proposition 56/64 era by Tracey Richmond-McKnight, a program officer for cancer, neuroscience, and health economics at TRDRP. A prize award was also given at the event to Zachary R. Harmony, of California State University San Bernardino, for his student presentation on the “Effect of Nicotine Exposure on Oral Methamphetamine Self-Administration, Extinction, and Reinstatement in Adolescent Rats.” Also, the symposium held an intensive panel discussion with community experts to weigh in on substance abuse treatments; this discussion was the genesis for holding a 90-person Community Engagement and Dissemination Symposium on Smoking on May 30, 2018.

More Information:
Videos from the 2017 Drug Abuse Research Day

Image caption: Stop smoking

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