Drug users with and at-risk for HIV continue to have poor access to health care and poor treatment outcomes. In addition, opioid addiction involving prescription opioids has skyrocketed. In this proposal for a mid-career investigator award, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham proposes to address the opioid epidemic and its intersection with HIV infection by: 1) becoming an internationally recognized leader in the field of drug abuse and HIV, expanding her research to include advanced research methods (comparative effectiveness research [CER] methods and complex clinical trials methods);2) developing a standardized and structured mentorship approach to mentor junior investigators to conduct patient-oriented research related to drug abuse and/or HIV infection;and 3) becoming an effective leader in academic medicine, ensuring that the institutional infrastructure facilitates junior investigators obtaining skills necessary to become independent investigators. To achieve these goals, Dr. Cunningham will participate in courses and national conferences, have directed readings, and regularly meet with national leaders in related fields. Dr. Cunningham will particularly focus on mentoring women and racial/ethnic minorities-two groups who are under-represented in senior positions in academic medicine and NIH-funded research. Dr. Cunningham will utilize her existing research program as a foundation for which she will provide mentoring and expand her research skills to include CER and complex clinical trials methods.
The aims of her research are to: 1) test the efficacy of a 16-week abstinence-reinforcing contingency management intervention on HIV viral load suppression among opioid-dependent HIV-infected individuals, using a randomized controlled trial design;and 2) examine mechanisms of achieving viral load suppression with the abstinence-reinforcing contingency management intervention. Dr. Cunningham's future research will include the establishment of a comprehensive """"""""live"""""""" database of all opioid users within a large urban medical center. This database will be used to examine health outcomes associated with types of opioid use and to develop and test interventions focused on opioid use. Dr. Cunningham's long-term career objective is to improve access to care and health outcomes among drug-abusing populations with or at-risk for HIV infection by developing interventions that can reduce their disparities in health care and health.

Public Health Relevance

This application for a K24 mid-career investigator award seeks to provide support to Dr. Chinazo Cunningham to provide excellent mentorship, effective leadership, and expand her current research to include advanced research methods (comparative effectiveness research methods and complex clinical trials methods). Dr. Cunningham will mentor junior investigators in the areas of drug abuse and HIV, with an emphasis on providing mentorship to racial/ethnic minorities and women. Dr. Cunningham will use her existing research project as a foundation to provide much of her mentorship. In addition, expanding her research to include comparative effectiveness research and complex clinical trials focused on opioid use will allow her to conduct new research and provide additional mentorship that can ultimately improve health outcomes of drug users with and at-risk for HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Midcareer Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-F (03))
Program Officer
Lin, Yu
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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Felsen, Uriel R; Cunningham, Chinazo O; Zingman, Barry S (2016) Increased HIV testing among hospitalized patients who declined testing in the emergency department. AIDS Care 28:591-7
Safo, Stella A; Blank, Arthur E; Cunningham, Chinazo O et al. (2016) Pain is Associated with Missed Clinic Visits Among HIV-Positive Women. AIDS Behav :
Blackstock, Oni J; Cunningham, Chinazo O; Haughton, Lorlette J et al. (2016) Higher eHealth Literacy is Associated With HIV Risk Behaviors among HIV-Infected Women Who Use the Internet. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 27:102-8
Maradiaga, Jeronimo A; Nahvi, Shadi; Cunningham, Chinazo O et al. (2016) ""I Kicked the Hard Way. I Got Incarcerated."" Withdrawal from Methadone During Incarceration and Subsequent Aversion to Medication Assisted Treatments. J Subst Abuse Treat 62:49-54
Safo, Stella; Cunningham, Chinazo; Beckman, Alice et al. (2016) ""A place at the table:"" a qualitative analysis of community board members' experiences with academic HIV/AIDS research. BMC Med Res Methodol 16:80
Hawks, L; Norton, B L; Cunningham, C O et al. (2016) The Hepatitis C virus treatment cascade at an urban postincarceration transitions clinic. J Viral Hepat 23:473-8
Riggins, Daniel P; Cunningham, Chinazo O; Ning, Yuming et al. (2016) Recent incarceration and buprenorphine maintenance treatment outcomes among human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients. Subst Abus :1-6
Fox, Aaron D; Masyukova, Mariya; Cunningham, Chinazo O (2016) Optimizing psychosocial support during office-based buprenorphine treatment in primary care: Patients' experiences and preferences. Subst Abus 37:70-5
Smith, Laramie R; Earnshaw, Valerie A; Copenhaver, Michael M et al. (2016) Substance use stigma: Reliability and validity of a theory-based scale for substance-using populations. Drug Alcohol Depend 162:34-43
Patel, Viraj V; Masyukova, Mariya; Sutton, Desmond et al. (2016) Social Media Use and HIV-Related Risk Behaviors in Young Black and Latino Gay and Bi Men and Transgender Individuals in New York City: Implications for Online Interventions. J Urban Health 93:388-99

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