Rebecca G. Baker, Ph.D.

Rebecca G. Baker, Ph.D., is the director of the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM. Read more about Dr. Baker.

Dear HEAL Community,

Spring is always a time of renewal, but this year especially, it feels like a season of new growth. The HEAL Community has been hit hard by the isolation and collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. People on the front lines have continued work to address the opioid crisis amid the pandemic; through this truly heroic work, researchers, clinicians, people with lived experience, and communities have been helping us carry out the HEAL mission. I am also continually amazed at the creativity and diligence of research teams who have met the moment in admirable ways. Thank you for all the work behind the scenes, as signs of hope surround us.

In these changing times, we at HEAL are working to maintain open communication with our diverse stakeholder communities. There are many ways to interact: through these messages from me, the HEAL Initiative Digest (view email subscribe page), and via the many workshops that convene scientists, community members, and NIH leadership and staff.

One more way is through an exciting new communications project: Moving HEAL Research Into Action Idea Exchange.

Research is only useful when its findings make their way into the lives of people. With that in mind, today we are announcing the Moving HEAL Research Into Action Idea Exchange communications platform (view "Register" on registration page). We are designating this online communication and collaboration space for members of the HEAL Community to communicate with us – and with each other. Your feedback is valuable not only for shaping the future of HEAL research on pain and addiction, but also for helping us figure out what information will help you and identifying effective ways to share HEAL Initiative research results with you.

The Moving HEAL Research Into Action Idea Exchange will be open until June 1, 2021. We invite you to visit the site frequently to share your ideas. This crowdsourcing platform allows you to join discussions with others that have similar (or even, different) ideas – and also weigh in with support of other’s ideas. We’ll collect this rich set of inputs toward maximizing the HEAL Initiative research results as broadly as possible. After you’ve registered, join the conversation by answering any or all of these questions:

  • What kind of information are you looking for to strengthen the impact of your efforts around treatment and prevention of pain management or opioid use disorder?
  • What limits your ability to implement evidence-based practices?
  • What are the most effective ways for us to communicate about scientific solutions to the opioid crisis?

HEAL is a unique community of people: scientists and healthcare providers, people in recovery and community organizations, and many others who develop and implement policy. People with lived experience and their families are one of our greatest assets for solving the public health crises of untreated pain, opioid misuse, addiction and overdose. We are better together, and your voice really matters.

Once again, HEAL is a true community, and we all have a role to play to make sure research results are shared and implemented toward ending the opioid epidemic long-term.

As always, share information about HEAL with your networks and remember that we want to hear from you. It just takes a quick email to [email protected].