Dr. Robert P. Schwartz

Dr. Robert Schwartz Chaired SAMHSA TIP 63

Dr. Robert Schwartz chaired the development of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) recently released Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 63 entitled Medications for Opioid Use Disorder. The resources in this publication can help healthcare and addiction treatment providers, policymakers, patients, and families address the opioid crisis.

This up-to-date publication provides:

  • an introduction to three FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD)
  • tips on addressing OUD in general medical settings
  • a review of the pharmacology and use of these medications
  • ways in which addiction treatment counselors and medical providers can partner to coordinate care.

TIP 63 is available for download on the SAMHSA Store website.

Dr. Robert P. Schwartz

Brief Screener for Tobacco, Alcohol, and other Drugs (BSTAD) for Adolescent Primary Care Patients is Available Online

Dr. Robert Schwartz’s team demonstrated the sensitivity and specificity of the BSTAD in primary care settings. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has made this tool available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/adolescent-substance-use-screening-tools.

Wanda Cross

In Memoriam: Wanda L. Cross

Wanda Cross began working for Friends Research Institute (FRI) in 1964 at the young age of 19. She continued to work with FRI for 54 years, which is quite an amazing achievement these days. During her tenure with FRI, Wanda initially worked in the accounting department as a bookkeeper and over the years, after gaining more experience and knowledge, became the Financial Administrator. She single-handedly oversaw the accounting department for most of her time working at FRI. Wanda was known as an extremely hard worker, being 100% dedicated to her job and FRI, and for being meticulous with respect to details. Wanda officially retired from FRI in 2016; however, she continued working with FRI on a weekly basis for another year and a half to help train the new accounting staff and oversee their work to ensure FRI’s accounting department remained in good order.

Wanda was a loyal employee and friend to many who worked at FRI. She enjoyed spending time with family and going to her cabin in Pennsylvania for long weekends. She is survived by her daughter and two granddaughters, all of whom she cherished. She will be deeply missed by those who worked with her at FRI.

Michael S. Gordon

Drs. Gordon and Schwartz Cited for their Work in a 2017 Report by The Pew Charitable Trust.

Dr. Robert P. SchwartzThe Pew Charitable Trusts released an October 2017 report entitled, “Prison Health Care: Costs and Quality—How and why states strive for high-performing systems.” Drs. Michael Gordon and Robert Schwartz had four of their study journal publications cited in the report: (1) Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse in Criminal Justice Offenders, (2) A Randomized Clinical Trial of Methadone Maintenance for Prisoners: Findings at 6 Months Post-Release, (3) Buprenorphine Treatment for Probationers and Parolees; and (4) Opioid Agonist Treatments and Heroin Overdose Deaths in Baltimore, Maryland, 1995-2009.

Thomas R. Blue

Dr. Thomas Blue Awarded Junior Investigator Scholarship

Dr. Thomas Blue was awarded a Junior Investigator scholarship by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health to attend their conference held in Houston, Texas in March of 2018. The award provided support for travel expenses and covered the costs of registration and lodging. Dr. Blue planned to present preliminary findings gathered from a long-term follow-up of criminal justice involved persons who had refused to receive rapid HIV testing in an earlier parent study. [Unfortunately inclement weather in Baltimore prevented him from traveling to the conference.]

Thomas R. Blue

FRI Welcomes Assistant Research Scientist
Dr. Thomas Blue

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas Blue has accepted a position as an Assistant Research Scientist at FRI.  Dr. Blue’s research focuses on the treatment of substance use disorders and health disparities in criminal justice populations (prisoners, parolees, and probationers). While completing his degree at Texas Christian University, he worked on a NIDA funded project to test the effectiveness of a tablet-application based curriculum for reducing behavioral health risks associated with HIV and AIDS in individuals under community supervision for drug-related offenses. Currently, his research interests include the design, testing, and implementation of emerging technologies to improve the delivery of substance abuse treatment programs and reduce health disparities, specifically HIV and AIDS, within the criminal justice population. His quantitative research interests include the design and analysis of randomized controlled trials; the use of the generalized linear model, its extensions, and the analysis of such designs; and multi-level modeling. FRI is delighted to welcome Dr. Blue and wishes him a prosperous career with the organization.

Dr. Mary Moser Mitchell

FRI Welcomes Assistant Research Scientist
Dr. Mary Mitchell

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Mary Mitchell has accepted a position as an Assistant Research Scientist at FRI. Dr. Mitchell is a public health research scientist with a focus on the role of caregivers of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and the ways in which caregivers can influence the health behaviors of their care recipients, especially among those from vulnerable populations, with a focus on individuals who use illicit drugs. Dr. Mitchell has over a decade’s experience conducting data analysis in social and behavioral descriptive and intervention research, on a broad range of health topics and study populations. In addition to her training and research experience in social factors, drug abuse, HIV, and communications, she has extensive experience in statistical approaches to analyzing psychosocial data, such as factor analyses, latent class analyses, structural equation modeling, latent growth models, and other latent variable techniques. Dr. Mitchell also has experience with protective social environmental influences on experiences of stress and related psychosocial outcomes, including effects of military unit cohesion on soldiers’ psychiatric outcomes of military service, and effects of school climate on children’s psychosocial functioning. She is also a reviewer for AIDS & Behavior, AIDS Care, and Journal of Loss and Trauma, in addition to an editorial board member for AIDS Patient Care & STDs. FRI is delighted to welcome Dr. Mitchell and wishes her a prosperous career with the organization.

FRI Named Top Workplace 2017

Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2017. This is FRI’s sixth year for making the list. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program continues to be based upon feedback from employee surveys, of which FRI received high ratings from its employees. FRI is honored to be included for a sixth year and to work with such a great group of employees!

Top Work Places 2016

FRI Named Top Workplace 2016

Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2016. This is FRI’s fifth year for making the list. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program continues to be based upon feedback from employee surveys, of which FRI received high ratings from its employees. FRI is honored to be included for a fifth year and to work with such a great group of employees!

In Memoriam: Dr. Thomas E. Hanlon

Dr. Hanlon had a long and distinguished career in the areas of personality assessment and treatment evaluation. His initial research experience involved conducting clinical psychopharmacological trials largely involving the treatment of schizophrenia and other serious and persistent disorders. During this same period, he also participated in early treatment evaluation studies of the effectiveness of opioid antagonists in the treatment of heroin addiction. The second stage of his involvement in treatment evaluation studies (which involved collaboration with Dr. David Nurco of the Friends Research Institute – Social Research Center) included designing and conducting numerous psychosocial outpatient treatment trials involving adults with substance use disorders under probation and/or parole supervision by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Examining the early developmental experiences of these individuals led to Dr. Hanlon’s interest and involvement in drug abuse prevention studies with incarcerated women as well as with at-risk adolescent minority youth, in community behavioral clinics and subsequently within the public school system. (Dr. Hanlon’s extensive list of peer reviewed publications reflects this transitional aspect of his professional experience.) The latter part of his professional career as a senior investigator also involved the mentoring of junior professional staff at Friends Research Institute (FRI) on the analysis, interpretation, and write-up of prevention research findings, with more recent emphasis on the avoidance of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Originally a Maryland State employee, Dr. Hanlon entered Maryland State service as a research scientist assigned to the research center at Spring Grove State Hospital, which subsequently became the internationally-known Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) following receipt of a Center foundation grant from the federal government. Having obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology from Catholic University of America in 1958, Dr. Hanlon became a faculty member of the University of Maryland Medical School when the MPRC was incorporated into the Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr Hanlon retired from State service in July of 1991.

Dr. Hanlon had a long association with FRI, initially working in conjunction with Dr. Albert Kurland and other founding members in establishing a program of research at Maryland State Psychiatric Center at Spring Grove involving treatment efforts targeting chronic psychiatric illness. During these early years, Dr. Hanlon was the first recipient of educational support from FRI that enabled him to complete his doctoral training. During his long-term association with FRI, Dr. Hanlon served for 11 years as the Chairman of the IRB, served as Principal-Investigator and Co-Investigator of research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Nursing Research, and contributed importantly to the early growth of FRI as a significant non-profit research organization.