Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Grant Program | NYU Langone Health

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Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Grant Program

Center for Opioid Epidemiology & Policy Grant Program

The Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy provides several awards for up to $10,000 each to support emerging research from early career investigators at NYU Langone and the broader NYU research community.

2022 Pilot Project Grant Cycle

The current round of funding for 2022 is now open. Please review the application for submission instructions. Applications are due on November 30, 2021, at 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time.

Focus Areas

The current round of funding focuses on supporting work on the social determinants of the overdose crisis, and social inequalities in the experience of the overdose crisis, its drivers, and potential solutions. We have a particular interest in work investigating racial and ethnic inequalities in risk of opioid misuse and overdose; access to policies, programs, and services; and impact of policies, programs, and services on opioid misuse and overdose risk.

Broadly speaking, we are soliciting applications for pilot projects that focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • social, policy, pandemic, and structural drivers of the overdose crisis
  • social inequalities in the rates of opioid initiation, use, misuse, opioid use disorder, overdose, and consequences of use
  • social inequalities in access to harm reduction and substance use disorder treatment services aimed at addressing the overdose crisis
  • intersections of opioid use with other drug use and how this varies by race and ethnicity and other identities
  • methods to identify the causal effect of social and drug policies on the overdose crisis
  • methods to measure opioid use, opioid use disorder, and overdose rates in small areas


Eligible applicants include faculty at the assistant professor level, assistant research faculty, assistant research scientists, and postdoctoral fellows employed at NYU Langone and the broader NYU research community. Particular attention is paid to supporting the work of underrepresented minorities in science.

2021 Pilot Project Awardees

In 2021, our Pilot Project Grant Program focused on supporting work that highlighted racial and ethnic inequalities in the experience of the overdose crisis, its drivers, and potential solutions, as well as work on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on substance use and misuse. Three awardees were selected.

Racial Disparities in Access to Hospital-Based Opioid Services Before and During Covid-19

Racial disparities in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment have been well documented in the literature. One relatively understudied area of racial disparities in access to evidence-based OUD treatment are services offered directly by hospitals and through community-benefit investments that support the delivery of OUD treatment more broadly by community partners. These hospital-initiated or -supported OUD treatment strategies are especially critical given the widespread emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent disruptions to the healthcare and social safety nets that may widen health disparities among racial and socioeconomic lines. This study aims to describe changes in OUD services offered by hospitals before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and to examine the association between the provision of hospital initiatives to address OUD and the racial composition of the surrounding community.

Principal investigator: Ji E. Chang, PhD, MS, is a management and health policy researcher who is currently an assistant professor in the College of Global Public Health at NYU. Dr. Chang has an active program of research that focuses on understanding organizational policies that improve the delivery of and access to care within safety net settings. She is the principal investigator on two studies examining ways to improve the delivery of substance use treatment in safety net hospital and primary care settings.

Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Treatment for Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Associations with Health

There is currently a substantial gap in our knowledge on the intersections of gender and race and ethnicity in OUD treatment and how that may impact women’s health. This pilot study uses data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative study of adults in the United States, to examine racial and ethnic disparities in treatment, such as any treatment, perceived need for treatment, and sources of and barriers to treatment; individual-, social-, and structural-level correlates of treatment; and associations between treatment and health outcomes among women with OUD. Documenting these disparities is a crucial first step to rectifying them, and the results of this study will help to identify targets for intervention to increase treatment and improve health among women with OUD.

Principal investigator: Joy D. Scheidell, PhD, MPH is an epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Population Health. Her research seeks to understand the intersections of mental health, substance use, and sexual and reproductive health, with a specific focus on vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Pathways to Racial Disparities in the Effects of Good Samaritan Laws: A Mixed Methods Study

Overdose Good Samaritan laws aim to reduce mortality by providing limited legal immunity for low-level drug violations when a person calls 911 at an overdose event. However, barriers to calling 911 remain; given a documented past and present of racism in policing and drug policy, these barriers may be greater for Black people than for White people. In this mixed methods pilot, we will collect primary survey data from approximately 350 people who use illicit opioids in New York City and conduct in-depth interviews with a subset of 40 Black and White members of that cohort to illuminate potential pathways to racial disparities in the effectiveness of overdose Good Samaritan laws. This research is guided by a community advisory board comprised of people with relevant lived and professional experience. This project is in collaboration with John D. Pamplin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU.

Principal investigator: Tarlise Townsend, PhD, studies pain, disability, and opioid use in the United States. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy at NYU Langone. Much of her research examines intended and unintended consequences of policies to address the ongoing drug overdose crisis, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic disparities. She also studies trends in and consequences of the use of opioids to manage cancer-related pain. In other work, she examines demographic trends in disability and the pathways underlying educational disparities in disability.

2020 Pilot Project Awardees

Our 2020 Pilot Project awardees were David Frank, PhD, and Leah Hamilton, PhD.

Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder: Patients’ Needs and Treatment Providers’ Willingness to Provide Them

This pilot project used semi-structured interviews to examine how well the treatment needs and goals of people in Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) programs align with the organizational practices of treatment providers. The findings demonstrated significant differences between the two groups: MOUD providers generally saw treatment through the narrative of addiction and recovery whereas patients were more likely to view their participation in MOUD programs as a pragmatic strategy for reducing the harms and difficulties of illegal substance use such as withdrawal rather than as “treatment for addiction.” Additionally, the results showed significant differences between individual MOUD providers and methadone maintenance providers compared to those who offer buprenorphine, making patients’ treatment choices difficult and ultimately impacting their ability to maintain treatment long term.

Principal investigator: David Frank, PhD, is a sociologist and postdoctoral research fellow at NYU’s Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research program whose work examines how MOUD programs are conceptualized, organized, and utilized by people who use drugs (PWUD). His work aims to amplify the voices of PWUD in policy and treatment issues, and focuses in particular on how biomedical narratives of addiction are often used to obscure the role of structural factors, such as policy and law, in the harms that PWUD experience.

Project HaRCC: Harm Reduction in Community Corrections

People under community supervision by the criminal justice system are at increased risk of having a substance use disorder and struggle to access treatment and resources to reduce their overdose risk. This feasibility pilot study aimed to test a respondent-driven sampling recruitment strategy to identify people under community supervision who use opioids from an initial sample of probationers in New York City. The study sought to evaluate the acceptability of a harm reduction kit (including naloxone training) and survey of substance use and related health and harm reduction behavior among the sampled group of justice-involved people in the community.

Principal investigator: Leah Hamilton, PhD, seeks to improve substance use disorder identification, treatment, and health outcomes for both justice-involved populations and medical populations. Her policy research focuses on the role of state Good Samaritan laws on the rates of fatal overdose and understanding the comparative and combined impact of multi-policy approaches to reducing the opioid epidemic. Dr. Hamilton is now a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Contact Us

For all inquiries, please contact Caroline Barnes, MPH, senior program manager, at Please sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about our grant program.