Substance use disorders are among the leading causes of disability in the world, and improved strategies to reduce their burden are needed. The goal of this training program is to produce the next generation of drug dependence epidemiologists who can address this need by conducting research that will advance our understanding of the etiology and natural history of substance use; developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to prevent and control substance use; and critically examining substance abuse services and systems of care to improve substance abuse outcomes including HIV-related risk. Recent scientific advances such as in genomics, brain imaging, and informatics present new opportunities for accelerating the discovery and translation of findings into public health gains. This training program will capitalize on the interdisciplinary resources at Johns Hopkins University and collaborations within outside institutions to provide trainees with the skills and experiences needed to lead multi-disciplinary research that takes advantage of these emerging opportunities and promotes overall health and well being of communities. Trainees will achieve this through a rigorous program of coursework, research apprenticeships, and integrative activities that provide a solid foundation in the core proficiencies of drug dependence epidemiology. The program will include 7 predoctoral students and 5 postdoctoral fellows who are supported by an experienced group of 14 Core Faculty and 6 Affiliate Faculty. The trainees will be prepared to assume leadership positions in academia carrying out drug dependence epidemiology and HIV research typically as faculty in Schools of Public Health or Medicine, in government formulating research priorities and substance abuse policy at the local, state, national, and international levels, in private industry conducting applied research for pharmaceutical companies, and in non-profit agencies or nongovernmental organizations advocating for those with substance use disorders. This training program has successfully trained drug dependence epidemiologists for close to 20 years. The former Director of the program, Dr. William Latimer, recently transitioned to a new position at the University of Florida and leadership was transferred to Dr. Debra Furr-Holden, a former DDET pre-doctoral trainee. Dr. Furr-Holden is now an accomplished Associate Professor with expertise in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology and prevention science. In this competing renewal, she is poised to build on the rich tradition of the program and lead it in new directions that will prepare the next generation of leaders in drug dependence epidemiology and HIV research who will advance the field beyond traditional studies of the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse disorders (i.e., descriptive epidemiology) and drive research that focuses on etiologic mechanisms, targeted interventions, and delivery of services (i.e., analytic epidemiology).
The NIDA Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training (DDET) Program is designed to increase the number and quality of expert drug dependence epidemiologists, with special focus on HIV and advanced statistical methods to the design and analysis of epidemiologic study data and all forms of research dissemination.
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