Dr. Cathy Reback Awarded the Women in Leadership Award

FRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Cathy Reback was recently awarded the Women in Leadership Award by the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for her work with gay/bisexual men and transgender women living with or at risk of acquiring HIV. Dr. Reback was presented the award at the 21st Annual Women in Leadership Awards ceremony on March 23, 2016.

In Dr. Reback’s acceptance speech she stated “I would like to thank the City of West Hollywood and the Women’s Advisory Board for this honor. I am truly fortunate to do the work that I do, and I am truly fortunate that after 30 years, I still love doing the work I do. I would like to take a moment to recognize my colleagues who contribute to making the work we do enjoyable and meaningful. To my staff at Friends Research Institute, the frontline staff, the field workers, counselors, and Project Directors who work every day with our participants, many of whom suffer from substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and multiple health disparities including homelessness, you have my gratitude and my deep respect.”

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FRI Welcomes APRL

Friends Research Institute is pleased to announce that the Addiction & Pharmacology Research Laboratory (APRL) under the leadership of Drs. John Mendelson and Gantt Galloway has recently joined FRI. The Addiction & Pharmacology Research Laboratory uses the tools of psychology, pharmacology, and cognitive science to understand the impact of non-medical drug use and to find better treatments for addiction. It develops innovative methods for conducting clinical trials and measuring the effects of drugs on the mind and body. Its research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, private industry, and generous donors.  FRI welcomes Dr. Mendelson, Dr. Galloway, and their research staff.

Jan Grycynski

FRI Researcher Receives New R01 Award

FRI is pleased to announce that Jan Gryczynski, along with Co-Investigators Drs. Robert SchwartzShannon Gwin Mitchell, and Christopher Welsh have received a grant award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse entitled “Navigation Services to Avoid Rehospitalization (NavSTAR) among substance users.” In recent years, the problem of repeat hospitalization has come under intense focus as a contributor to preventable morbidity and escalating healthcare costs. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are strongly associated with poor health outcomes and inefficient use of healthcare services, including repeat hospitalizations. Interventions that increase adherence to recommendations for outpatient medical care and SUD treatment could potentially help recently-hospitalized individuals to avoid unnecessary rehospitalization, associated morbidity, and medical expenses. This study is a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of Navigation Services to Avoid Rehospitalization (NavSTAR) vs. Treatment-as-Usual (TAU) for hospital patients with co-occurring medical problems and SUDs. Applying Andersen’s theoretical model of health service utilization, NavSTAR uses a small dedicated team to deliver the promising strategies of Patient Navigation and motivational interventions for hospital patients post-discharge, with the goal of facilitating engagement in outpatient medical and SUD treatment. Patient Navigators embedded within the substance abuse consultation liaison service at a large urban hospital will deliver patient-centered, proactive navigation and motivational services initiated during the hospital stay and continued for 3 months post-discharge. Participants randomized to TAU will receive usual care from the hospital and the substance abuse consultation liaison service. Participants will be assessed at study entry and again at 3-, 6-, and 12-months follow-up on various measures of healthcare utilization, substance use, and functioning. The primary outcome of interest is rehospitalization through 12 months. In addition, a range of secondary outcomes spanning domains of individual health, functioning, and service utilization will be assessed. The study will include an economic evaluation of NavSTAR from the service provider perspective. If NavSTAR proves to be effective and cost-effective in reducing rehospitalizations and improving outcomes in this high-risk patient group, it would have important implications for designing hospital discharge planning services, informing national cost containment initiatives, and improving public health.

Top Work Places 2014

FRI Named Top Workplace 2014

Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2014. This is FRI’s fourth year in a row 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 fourth year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!

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2014 FRI Awards

FRI recently held its biennial Awards Reception at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Inner Harbor in Baltimore. During the reception several awards were presented to successful nominees.

The main award of the evening was the FRI Daniel Mendelsohn New Investigator Award. Nominees for this award are new investigators who show future promise, evidenced by commitment and achievement in research activities that address prevention, treatment or education issues during the early stage of their research careers.

Jan Gryczynski, Ph.D., Research Scientist, who began his career at FRI in 2006, was nominated for this award by Dr. Robert Schwartz, Medical Director/Senior Research Scientist. Dr. Schwartz stated that “[Dr. Gryczynski] is one of the smartest young investigators I have had the pleasure to collaborate with during my career” and “I cannot think of a single grant application or paper in which Jan was involved that he has not made considerably better though his creative and intellectual rigor, his hard work, focus, and his passion to improve the lives of others through science.” It was with great enthusiasm that FRI awarded Dr. Gryczynski with the 2014 FRI Daniel Mendelsohn New Investigator Award.

The FRI Mentoring Award was also awarded. Eligible nominees for the FRI Mentoring Award are Principal Investigators associated with FRI who encourage, enhance, and mentor scientists who are new to the field. The mentor assumes the role of a trusted friend and advisor to the new researcher.

Robert P. Schwartz, M.D., Medical Director/Senior Research Scientist, who began working at FRI in 2000, was nominated for this award by Dr. Jan Gryczynski, Research Scientist. Dr. Gryczynski stated that “Working with Robert has been a transformative experience that has greatly accelerated my development as a researcher and allowed me to flourish professionally and intellectually.” It was with great pleasure that FRI awarded Dr. Schwartz with the 2014 Mentoring Award. Dr. Schwartz also received this award in 2008 when he was nominated by Dr. Shannon Mitchell, Senior Research Scientist.

Eligible nominees for the Friend of Friends Award are individuals (who may or may not be employees) whose outstanding work has improved the lives of people spiritually, mentally, and physically, and reflect the mission of FRI, or whose work on behalf of FRI supports FRI in the fulfillment of its mission.

Arethusa Kirk, M.D., F.A.A.P., Pediatrician and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Total Health Care, was nominated for this award by Dr. Shannon Mitchell, Senior Research Scientist. Dr. Mitchell stated that “In developing community-centered research studies, it is rare to find a physician leader such as Dr. Kirk who has the vision, energy, and commitment to support the successful implementation of clinical research projects.” It was with great delight that FRI awarded Dr. Kirk with the 2014 Friend of Friends Award.

Eligible nominees for the FRI Employee Service Award are FRI employees who have had many years of service with FRI, exhibit outstanding work performance as well as dedication and loyalty to FRI, and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Ms. Jane Ellen Gannod, Payroll Administrator/HR Assistant, who began her career at FRI in 2001, was nominated for the FRI Employee Service Award by Ms. Michele Hipsley, Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Hipsley stated that “Jane has demonstrated a strong work ethic, willingness to go over and above the call of duty, and immense dedication to her position and the FRI organization over the course of her employment.” It was with great pleasure that FRI awarded Ms. Jane Ellen R. Gannod with the 2014 FRI Employee Service Award.

Dr. Frank Vocci

Dr. Frank Vocci Delivers Annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture

Frank J. Vocci, President and Senior Research Scientist at FRI, delivered the annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy on April 8, 2013. His lecture, titled “The Interplay of Dose and Dosage Form in the Development of Medications to Treat Addictive Disorders,” examined the evolution of pharmaceutical treatments available to individuals with substance abuse disorders, particularly those addicted to opioids, including illicit drugs such as heroin and prescription painkillers such as oxycodone.
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s website.

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COG Analytics Website Debut

FRI is pleased to announce the debut of the COG Analytics website. Founded in 2012, through a partnership with FRI, COG Analytics is a research and technology company committed to identifying and addressing the social and environmental determinants that contribute to poor health outcomes. The company’s focus is on the development of technologies that are designed to promote healthy behaviors.

Top Work Places 2013

FRI Named Top Workplace 2013

Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2013. This is FRI’s third year in a row 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 third year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!

Dr. Robert P. Schwartz

Dr. Robert Schwartz Invited to Serve As IAS-NIDA Fellowship Mentor

FRI is pleased to announce that its Medical Director, Robert Schwartz, M.D., was recently invited to serve as a mentor for the IAS-NIDA International Fellowship Program. Prospective fellows will be able to choose a mentor in their field of interest and contact the mentor to discuss the possibility of working on a specific research project. Dr. Schwartz will act as a mentor for prospective fellows in the 2012 Round.

The application for the stipend of US $75,000 for an 18-month post-doctoral training or an eight-month long professional development training will be open from December 8, 2011 to February 10, 2012. Fellows will be selected by mid-April 2012. They and their mentors will be invited to the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C. July 22-27, 2012. The fellowships will be officially awarded at the conference and there will be additional activities planned for fellows at the conference.

Top Work Places 2012

FRI Named Top Workplace 2012

Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2012. This is FRI’s second year in a row 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 second year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!