Jan Gryczynski, Ph.D.

NavSTAR study featured in the Center for Health Care Strategies’ Better Care Playbook

Personalized patient navigation services can be valuable for people with co-occurring behavioral and physical health conditions ― a population that is often at a higher risk for acute care needs, hospital readmissions, and poor outcomes. A randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers at Friends Research Institute in collaboration with University of Maryland Medical Center evaluated Navigation Services to Avoid Rehospitalization (NavSTAR), an intervention designed to facilitate substance use disorder (SUD) treatment linkages and reduce hospital readmissions. The intervention augments hospital-based substance use disorder (SUD) consultation services with intensive case management and linkages to community resources post-discharge. Participants in the intervention arm had significantly fewer inpatient readmissions and were more likely to enter community SUD treatment than participants receiving usual care SUD consultation.

The Better Care Playbook recently spoke with lead researchers of the NavSTAR evaluation ― Jan Gryczynski, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at Friends Research Institute, and Christopher Welsh, M.D., Medical Director at the University of Maryland Medical Center Substance Abuse Consultation Service ― to learn about the trial and the value of providing personalized navigation services to patients with SUD.

FRI Welcomes New Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Karli R. Hochstatter

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Karli Hochstatter has accepted a position as an Assistant Research Scientist with the organization. Dr. Hochstatter recently completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the HIV, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice T32 Fellowship Program in the School of Social Work at Columbia University. Dr. Hochstatter completed her PhD in Population Health Sciences with a minor in Criminal Justice Health (2019), Master of Public Health (2015), and Bachelor of Science (2013) degrees at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research focuses on preventing HIV and hepatitis C virus transmission and improving screening and treatment uptake among populations disproportionately burdened by substance use disorders, with a special focus on people who inject drugs and criminal justice-involved adults. She has worked on several NIDA-funded research projects that address the intersecting epidemics of injection drug use and infectious diseases, particularly hepatitis C virus and HIV.

FRI is delighted to welcome Dr. Hochstatter and wishes her a successful career with the organization.

FRI Welcomes New Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Karen Alexander

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Karen Alexander has accepted the position of Assistant Research Scientist at FRI. Dr. Alexander is an early career nurse scientist with a focus on improving healthcare delivery for women with opioid use disorder (OUD). Dr. Alexander has over 15 years of clinical experience as a registered nurse working with women and their families affected by substance use, and her long-term goal is to improve the delivery of healthcare to marginalized populations. She completed her PhD in Nursing at Duquesne University in 2018, and her dissertation resulted in further understanding of the significant mental health disparities experienced by women with OUD. She has received mentorship and support from several sources throughout her doctoral and post-doctoral work, including the Jonas Nurse Scholars Program, the American Academy of Nursing’s Duck Hee Kang Mentored Grant Writing Workshop, and the Jefferson/Stratton Foundation Health Services Research Grant. She is currently a scholar in the NIH-funded Michigan Integrative Well-Being and Inequality Training Program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

FRI is delighted to welcome Dr. Alexander and wishes her a successful career with the organization.


Dr. Mishka Terplan Named as FRI’s Medical Director

It is the pleasure of Friends Research Institute to announce that Dr. Mishka Terplan, Associate Medical Director since 2019, assumed the role of Medical Director on August 1, 2021.  Dr. Terplan is board certified in Addiction Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology.  He is a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.  His research has focused on reproductive health for people who use drugs, development of guidance for care of pregnant women with substance use disorders, and the public health response to the opioid crisis.  More recently, Dr. Terplan has been instrumental in the interpretation of federal, state, and local guidance related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the development of workplace policies related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus to ensure the safety of FRI’s employees and study participants.  In addition to his medical oversight duties, Dr. Terplan also plans to continue his research in reproductive health and the treatment of substance use disorders.

A sample of Dr. Terplan’s publications can be found on his bio page at:  https://friendsresearch.org/people/mishka-terplan-m-d-m-p-h-facog-dfasam/?val=r.


Cathy Reback

Friends Community Center Receives 2021 Stuart Nichols Award

Friends Research Institute congratulates Dr. Cathy Reback and the entire Friends Community Center team for being the recipient of 2021 Stuart Nichols Award from the Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists. The Stuart Nichols Award is given annually to a community organization for making a difference in the mental health of LGBTQ individuals. We at FRI acknowledge and appreciate the good work that the staff at Friends Community Center do every day.

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.