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APF Receives NIH HEAL Grant to Support New Research and Dissemination Center to End Opioid Addiction

September 28, 2022 - Today, the Addiction Policy Forum received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, to support the creation of a new center to deliver lay-friendly, culturally-appropriate information of the latest scientific findings to communities most affected by the pain, opioid and overdose crises. The HEAL Research Dissemination and Engagement Center (R-DEC) is co-led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and George Mason University’s HEAL Accelerator Team, which also includes the Oregon Social Learning Center, University of Wisconsin, University of Alabama Birmingham, Temple University, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

A key component of the HEAL R-DEC is to build bridges between HEAL researchers and community partners to make the results of research available to communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. The center will work closely with HEAL-funded scientists, the HEAL Data Ecosystem, and community partners to translate data and findings to address the needs and priorities of communities standing to benefit most from HEAL research. This will form the foundation for meaningful, two-way communications throughout the life cycle of HEAL projects—from developing research ideas to sharing findings. A focus on health equity will underpin the center’s work at every level.

Jessica Hulsey, Addiction Policy Forum’s Executive Director, will serve as a co-investigator and support the center's community and stakeholder engagement efforts. “We are honored to support HEAL’s efforts to promote meaningful engagement and improve collaborations between researchers and practitioners,” shared Hulsey. The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) will lead research dissemination efforts for the center under the direction of Lindsay Singler, MPH, Director of Research Communications, and coordinate project management activities under the direction of Jesse Hickerson, MBA, Manager of Clinical Trial Operations, and partner on engagement activities with support from Community-Campus Partnerships for Health under the direction of Renee Leverty, BSN, MA, Head of DCRI Research Together. The DCRI will co-lead engagement activities for the center in partnership with the George Mason University HEAL Accelerator Team led by principal investigator Faye Taxman, PhD, University Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government and Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence (ACE!), her co-investigator team, and 67 community collaborator groups.

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, is an aggressive, trans-NIH effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management. For more information, visit:

To learn more about the HEAL Research and Dissemination Center, visit With questions regarding Addiction Policy Forum’s involvement, please contact


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