Cathy Reback

Dr. Cathy Reback’s Research Included in SAMHSA Intervention Guide

Dr. Cathy Reback’s research is included in the SAMHSA intervention guide, “Prevention and Treatment of HIV among People Living with Substance Use and/or Mental Disorders.”

The Alexis Project is a combined Peer Health Navigation (PHN) and Contingency Management (CM) intervention that targets HIV milestones associated with advancement along the HIV Care Continuum. Although designed for racial/ethnic minority transgender women living with HIV, The Alexis Project can be adapted to work with any population of individuals that experience barriers and challenges to HIV linkage and retention in care.  The PHN component of the intervention helps to: (1) identify the barriers to HIV care for each participant; (2) identify and link participants into needed auxiliary services; and, (3) increase participants’ self-efficacy in working with HIV care providers and other social service and treatment facilities. The CM component of the intervention provides an escalating CM rewards schedule for attending quarterly HIV care appointments and achieving/sustaining viral load reductions. Results demonstrated that increased attendance to PHN sessions was associated with significant achievement in HIV milestones (all p ≤ 0.01); 85% were linked to HIV care, and 83% of those who enrolled with a detectable viral load and achieved the minimum 1 log viral load reduction advanced to full viral suppression. The combined PHN and CM intervention in The Alexis Project successfully promoted advancement along the HIV Care Continuum.

Dr. Ludwig Receives Promotion to Assistant Research Scientist

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Ariel Ludwig has been promoted from a Research Associate to an Assistant Research Scientist, effective September 24, 2020. Since joining FRI in 2019, Dr. Ludwig has performed several qualitative analyses of research data resulting in publications ranging from the establishment of methodological best practices (in press, International Journal of Qualitative Methods) to the phenomenology of overdose among youth with opioid use disorders (in press, Addiction). Arising from a NIDA-funded study of extended-release naltrexone among youth, Dr. Ludwig has also contributed to manuscripts addressing HIV risk behaviors, the criminal justice system, and the roles of caregivers in resource provision. Additionally, Dr. Ludwig has conducted qualitative analyses of patient navigation in association with a Clinical Trials Network ancillary study. Dr. Ludwig hopes to continue learning about study design and data analysis to assist with future FRI research efforts. FRI would like to congratulate Dr. Ludwig on this notable achievement and wishes her a prosperous career with the organization.

Jan Gryczynski, Ph.D.

Dr. Jan Gryczynski Receives Award

FRI is proud to announce that Dr. Jan Gryczynski received the Most Reviewed Articles award (tied with two other reviewers) from the Journal of Addiction Medicine for peer reviewing nine papers for the Journal in 2019.  This is the second time that Dr. Gryczynski has received this award.  Click here to see article.

Dr. Terplan Receives Promotion to Associate Medical Director

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Mishka Terplan has been promoted to serve as Associate Medical Director of Friends Research Institute. Dr. Terplan is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Addiction Medicine. His primary research expertise lies along the intersections of reproductive and behavioral health. In addition to his work at FRI, he is a clinician for the National Clinician Consultation Center Substance Use Warmline and serves as Deputy Chief Clinical Officer for the Department of Behavioral Health, Washington DC.  Prior to joining FRI in 2019, Dr. Terplan was the Director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he held the rank of Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Michael S. Gordon

FRI Research Cited in Pew Charitable Trusts Report on Treating Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons

Drs. Michael Gordon, Timothy Kinlock (retired) and Robert Schwartz were cited in an April 2020 Pew Charitable Trusts report for their work on two National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded studies involving the initiation of methadone and buprenorphine-naloxone with individuals who were currently in prison. This work was conducted in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in the state of Maryland. They were the first randomized controlled trials in the United States to involve individuals in prison who had pre-incarceration histories of opioid use disorders. Such efforts are aimed at finding effective approaches to reduce the high rates of relapse and overdose death following release from incarceration.

FRI Welcomes New Senior Research Scientist

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Mishka Terplan has accepted the position of Senior Physician Research Scientist at FRI. Dr. Terplan is a physician who is Board Certified in both Obstetrics & Gynecology and Addiction Medicine. His primary clinical, research and advocacy interests rest along the intersection of reproductive and behavioral health. He is best known for his work on pregnancy and substance use disorder, including systematic reviews on both medication and psychosocial interventions. He has pioneered research and programs integrating sexual and reproductive health with substance use disorder treatment and integrating behavioral health with the delivery of reproductive health services.

Most recently he served as Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he opened an outpatient addiction medicine clinic and oversaw addiction medicine services. In addition to his work for FRI, he is the Addiction Medicine Consultant for Virginia Medicaid and Adjunct Faculty at the University of California, San Francisco where he serves as a Substance Use Warmline Clinician for its Clinical Consultation Center.

FRI Studies Cited in Baltimore Sun Article

In July of 2019, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board published an article entitled, “Maryland can stop black market suboxone in prisons by making it available to inmates.” The article cited two of Dr. Michael Gordon’s ongoing National Institute on Drug Abuse funded studies: (1) Long-acting naltrexone for pre-release prisoners: A randomized trial of mobile treatment; and (2) Buprenorphine for probationers and parolees: Bridging the gap into treatment. Both of these innovative randomized controlled trials are working with justice-involved individuals with opioid use disorder.

View the Baltimore Sun Article.

Thomas R. Blue

Dr. Blue Receives Promotion to Research Scientist

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas R. Blue has been promoted from an Assistant Research Scientist to a Research Scientist, effective July 17, 2019. Since joining FRI in 2017, Dr. Blue has performed several secondary analyses of research data including analyses of arrest outcomes (now published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence) and HIV risk behaviors (manuscript under review) of participants in a randomized controlled trial of buprenorphine for prisoners. Additionally he has helped author multiple grant applications to NIH including one for the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN), which FRI was recently awarded. As part of this project he will serve as Co-Investigator, study statistician, and data manager for an equivalence trial of extended release naltrexone and extended release buprenorphine for individuals incarcerated throughout Maryland. Dr. Blue’s main interests include experimental design (including sample size determination) and the evaluation of both experimental and non-experimental data, especially data structured hierarchically and/or longitudinally. He hopes to continue learning more about statistical design and analysis to assist future FRI research efforts and to apply this knowledge to research efforts of his own that include using data driven methods to design and test interventions for justice-involved individuals suffering from opioid use disorders. FRI would like to congratulate Dr. Blue on this notable achievement and wishes him a prosperous career with the organization.

FRI Welcomes New Senior Research Scientist

MAXINE L. STITZER, Ph.D. Professor Emerita of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,  Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Stitzer was a founding faculty member of the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, a nationally recognized substance abuse research laboratory within the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research interests during a successful 40+ year career focused on both pharmacological and behavioral approaches to the treatment of substance use disorders including opioid, stimulant and tobacco use disorders. She is best known for her pioneering work on Contingency Management in substance abuse treatment, an approach designed to enhance motivation for positive behavior change.  In collaboration with our own Robert Schwartz, she has also provided leadership at Hopkins of the Mid Atlantic Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network (CTN), in which multi-site clinical trials are conducted that test the effectiveness of substance abuse treatments implemented in community settings.  Her research overall has advanced the understanding of substance use disorders and promoted adoption of evidence-based treatments into clinical practice.  Following official retirement from Hopkins in February of 2019, she accepted a part time appointment with FRI in order to continue her involvement in the CTN as well as other projects

Dr. Mary Moser Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell Receives Promotion to Research Scientist

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Mary Mitchell has been promoted from an Assistant Research Scientist to a Research Scientist, effective January, 2019. Dr. Mitchell joined FRI in September 2017. Since that time, she has contributed to a number of studies conducted at FRI while pursuing her own research. She will be serving as the Site Principal Investigator on the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention (STOP) Trial. Dr. Mitchell is contributing to a variety of FRI projects including an Arnold Venture-funded evidence-based review of substance use disorder treatment. This review will be made available to US States to inform their use of the State Opioid Restitution Funding. Her recently published peer-reviewed articles have included a study examining longitudinal trends in blood alcohol content among patients treated for alcohol use disorder via a novel telemedicine intervention, and a study investigating HIV risk behaviors among pre-trial detainees in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Mitchell plans to continue applying advanced statistical techniques to study a variety of topics in substance use, especially longitudinal studies of cannabis use in pregnant and postpartum women and treatment outcomes for people with opioid use disorder. FRI would like to congratulate Dr. Mitchell on this notable achievement and wishes her a productive career with Friends.