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 pilot project awards to support emerging research from early career investigators at NYU Langone and the broader NYU research community. The application for funding is currently closed. Please sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about our grant program.

2024 Pilot Project Program—Letter of Intent Released

The Letter of Intent (LOI) for the fifth round of Pilot Project Program funding is due December 15, 2023. To apply, complete the REDCap form. Two awards of $10,000 or one award of $20,000 is available.

Eligible applicants include faculty at the assistant professor level, assistant research faculty, assistant research scientists, and postdoctoral fellows employed at NYU Langone Health, and other NYU departments, schools, and institutes. Particular attention will be paid to supporting the work of investigators who are underrepresented in science.

This year, our Pilot Project Grants Program will focus on supporting work on the social determinants of the overdose crisis and social inequities in the experience of the overdose crisis and in the reach and effectiveness of overdose prevention policies and programs. We have a particular interest in work investigating racial/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, 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
  • Impact of innovative harm reduction and substance use disorder treatment programs and/or policies on overdose and related harms
  • Intersections of opioid use with other drug use and how this varies by race/ethnicity and/or other identities, as well as by geography
  • 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
  • Research on how people who use drugs (PWUD) cope with circumstances in conflict settings. This might include research on how their risk and protective behaviors and social networks have changed; how harm reduction and treatment services have changed; and how PWUD are contributing to within-PWUD and broader mutual aid efforts

We welcome additional creative research proposals using quantitative and/or qualitative methods or mixed methods.

2023 Pilot Project Awardees

Our 2023 Policy Pilot Project Grant Program focused on social determinants of the overdose crisis and social inequalities in the experience of the overdose crisis, its drivers, and potential solutions. The program had a particular interest in work investigating racial and ethnic disparities in the risk of opioid misuse and overdose.

Assessing Overdose Risk and Protective Factors Among People Who Inject Drugs in Puerto Rico

This one-year study will examine risk and protective factors for opioid-related overdoses among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Puerto Rico. While overdoses are common among PWID, little information exists on opioid overdose prevention and response strategies in Puerto Rico. This study seeks to contribute foundational knowledge about overdose experiences in Puerto Rico and will assess multi-level factors contributing to overdoses, as well as barriers to and facilitators of overdose prevention resources. We will interview 30 PWID and 20 community stakeholders to explore their perspectives on what drives increases in overdose and potential solutions to reduce overdose death among Puerto Rican PWID. Community stakeholders include public health professionals, syringe services providers, shooting gallery managers, and gancheros (hit doctors). The study will employ a qualitative approach that is particularly well-suited as it can better uncover multiple factors contributing to overdoses and inform the development and tailoring of overdose prevention interventions for PWID. We are proposing this study as a first step toward developing an intervention to reduce overdose fatalities among PWID in Puerto Rico.

Principal investigator: Yesenia Aponte-Meléndez is a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Behavioral Science Training in Drug Abuse Research Program and an early-stage investigator at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Her research areas include substance use, HIV, HCV, women and prescription opioids use, and mHealth. She has worked on multiple NIH/NIDA mixed methods studies on substance use, HIV/HCV, and technology-based interventions for people who use drugs.

Effects of State-Level Eviction-Limiting Policies on Overdose Mortality in the US, 1999–2015

Rising rates of eviction and other forms of housing insecurity in the last several decades are hypothesized underlying drivers of the overdose epidemic and especially its racially inequitable impacts, yet the policy response to the epidemic has primarily focused downstream. There is a dearth of research on the effects of housing policies on overdoses, limiting the ability to implement evidence-based policy in this area. Over the course of the 2000s and 2010s, U.S. states experimented with several eviction-limited policies, including disallowing evictions processed in small claims court (as opposed to regular state court) and prohibiting landlord retaliation in response to a tenant pre-emptively resisting eviction. We propose to evaluate effects of these two policies on overdose deaths, overall and by race, ethnicity, and type of substance (opioid vs. stimulant) involved. We will use CDC vital statistics data on overdose deaths, along with novel difference-in-differences estimators developed by the principal investigator, which can properly adjust for time-varying covariates possibly affected by earlier exposure (one likely such covariate in this setting is state-level eviction rates). As pandemic-era eviction protection policies expire or are rolled back, eviction rates have increased, and governments are increasingly considering eviction-limiting legislation. Thus, the proposed research has the potential to support advocacy efforts and inform evidence-based decisions in this area.

Audrey Renson, MPH, PhD, is an assistant professor of epidemiology in NYU Langone’s Department of Population Health. She is 100 percent funded by Beyond Bridges, a multisectoral partnership to develop a community-clinical linkage model to improve population health and health equity in Brooklyn. Her work in Beyond Bridges involves evaluating the causal effects of community health worker interventions and other efforts to address the social determinants of health within healthcare. Her research also involves developing new causal inference methods at the intersection of econometrics and epidemiology, and applying these approaches to estimating effects of social policies on population health and health equity. Prior to joining NYU Langone, Dr. Renson completed her PhD in epidemiology (minor in biostatistics) at UNC-Chapel Hill, where her dissertation focused on advancing difference-in-differences methods and estimating effects of minimum wages on racial inequities in cardiovascular disease.

Contact Us

For all inquiries, please contact Caroline Barnes, MPH, senior program manager, at