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. The application for funding is currently closed. Please sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about our grant program.

2022 Pilot Project Awardees

In 2022, our Pilot Project Grant Program focused on supporting research on the social determinants of the overdose crisis, and social inequalities in the experience of the overdose crisis, its drivers, and potential solutions. We had a particular interest in work investigating racial and ethnic inequalities in risk of opioid misuse and overdose; access to policies, programs, and services; and the impact of policies, programs, and services on opioid misuse and overdose risk. One awardee was selected.

Impact of Access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder in Overdose Rates in New York State

In New York State, rates of overdoses have increased in recent years, especially among minority groups. Research on local availability of opioid treatment programs and actual medication for opioid use disorder being prescribed can improve our understanding about the barriers to access medication and their impact on population health. This study examines the association between the presence of programs offering medication for opioid use disorder and rates of buprenorphine prescriptions, and also rates of opioid overdoses in counties in New York State. The study examines if these associations vary across racial, ethnic, and gender groups, and evidence of race, ethnicity, and gender inequalities in access to these medications in New York State.

Principal investigator: Julian Santaella-Tenorio, DVM, DrPh, MSc, investigates substance use and related harms, injury and violence prevention, policy research, and the intersection of these fields to understand how they shape the health of populations. Dr. Santaella-Tenorio earned his DrPH in epidemiology from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

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.

Contact Us

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