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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Kentucky: $87 Million from NIH to Lead Effort in Combating Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

In the largest grant ever awarded to the University of Kentucky, researchers from UK’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR) and across campus — in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet (JPSC) — will lead a project as part of the HEALing Communities study. The award was announced in April 2019 by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar at a press conference in Washington DC.

The four-year, more than $87 million, study has an ambitious and profoundly important goal: reducing opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent in 16 counties that represent more than a third of Kentucky’s population.

The study is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, a bold, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis.

Dr. Sharon Walsh, CDAR director, is the principal investigator of the Kentucky study and will lead a team of more than 200 researchers, staff and state and community partners involved in the project. Four of the co-investigators are faculty members in the University of Kentuck College of Public Health: Dr. April Young, assistant professor of epidemiology and faculty associate with CDAR; Dr. Heather Bush, professor and chair of biostatistics; Dr. Philip Westgate, associate professor of biostatistics, and Dr. Svetla Slavova, associate professor of biostatistics.

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