The proposed Mason Coordination and Translation Center (MCTC), led by Dr. Faye S. Taxman of George Mason University (Mason) are leaders in the health-justice disciplines: Mark O?Brien of Addiction Policy Forum (APF); Amy Murphy (Mason); Pam Rodriguez at Center for Health and Justice (CHJ), Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities; Drs. Danielle S. Rudes and Rebekah Hersch (Mason); Dr. Todd Molfenter at University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Warren Ferguson at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (UMass); and, Dr. Peter Friedmann at University of Massachusetts-Baystate (UMMS). The collective team are leaders in both research and practice arenas to facilitate new policies, practices, and interventions at the individual and organizational level. This makes the MCTC team uniquely qualified to achieve the collaborative, transdisciplinary approach necessary for the success of JCOIN. Individually and collectively the team has a strong belief in, and track record for, improving the quality of care for justice-involved individuals and growing the number of scholars researching this critical justice-health arena to improve individual- and system- level outcomes, increasing the number of justice and/or health organizations engaging in research studies, and advancing the care provided to people with opioid use disorder and their families. And, our team has extensive and dynamic experience working with populations affected by both mass incarceration and substance abuse policies. The alignment of our values with JCOIN goals, along with our discipline and geographic diversity, makes this team uniquely situated to serve JCOIN and NIDA. MCTC goals will include: 1) coordination among partners and infrastructure for day-to-day activities; 2) facilitation of multidirectional JCOIN communication; 3) wide dissemination of research findings; 4) development and maintenance of an education infrastructure to grow experienced justice researchers; and 5) build coalitions to better serve research-to-practice, practice-to-research goals. Five Cores will support MCTC: 1) Administrative (Admin) Core, facilitating communication across internal and external JCOIN stakeholders; 2) Rapid Response and Pilot Research (RRPR) Core, providing funding for pilot or small innovative studies; 3) Dissemination and Stakeholder Engagement (D/SE) Core, creating a participatory research partnership and providing NIDA with easy access to stakeholder groups; 4) Research Education (Learning Experiences to Advance Practice [LEAP]) Core, educating and mentoring researchers and practitioners to expand knowledge and skills; and 5) Implementation and Translational Research (I/Trans) Core, executing rigorous studies to test Dissemination and Implementation strategies to understand mechanisms that impact the effectiveness of messages and materials used with various audiences. Collectively, the MCTC has breadth and experience to garner JCOIN success. MCTC will leverage techniques and methods to design, test, and produce interactional educational and dissemination products that contain state-of-the-art science, pertinent to varied audiences. JCOIN is an important chapter to highlight where practice and research intertwine, and are mutually beneficial.
With 6.7 million adults in the justice system each day, and the system low resourced to provide evidence-based treatments, a team with on-the-ground scientific leadership and expertise in both justice and health research and practice arenas is needed to craft new pathways to coordinate and translate scientific knowledge into practice.