A team of interprofessional scientists and student scholars at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), a university with an emerging comprehensive Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC) in Central Appalachia, is collaboratively working toward strategies to mitigate the negative impact of prescription drug abuse/misuse (PDA/M) in the region and beyond. This team has formed the East Tennessee State University Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (ETSU DIDARP). The team proposes to build institutional substance abuse research infrastructure and develop a cadre of skilled researchers to combat PDA/M in the region by performing three research projects aimed at interprofessional communication (Projects 1 &2) and drug disposal (Project 3). Overarching aims for the inaugural 5-year ETSU DIDARP period are to: 1.) Provide leadership and support within the ETSU Academic Health Sciences Center to increase the number of successful prescription drug abuse researchers from disadvantaged backgrounds;2.) Provide mentored training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, postgraduate fellows, and junior faculty members that increase the likelihood of pursuing prescription drug abuse research careers;3.) Develop institutional infrastructure that supports the successful conduct of prescription drug abuse research and attracts external funding for prescription drug abuse research;4.) Advance the field of prescription drug abuse prevention research and practice using institutional resources and the DIDARP studies;and 5.) Evaluate effectiveness of the DIDARP activities and disseminate the findings. These activities leverage unique assets that will contribute to the success of the program: 1) the geographical location of ETSU in Central Appalachia where PDA/M is disproportionately high;2) AppNET, a novel Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded interprofessional practice-based research network (PBRN);and 3) significant interdisciplinary PDA/M expertise.
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