Multi-Disciplinary Working Group


The Multi-Disciplinary Working Group serves as a fact-finding body of experts external to NIH to provide input to guide Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, research. The working group assists the NIH Institute and Center (IC) Advisory Councils to help ensure that NIH HEAL Initiative research meets the bold, trans-NIH goals for the initiative. Its meetings serve as a forum to engage partners in the private sector and research community, provide a transparent venue for stakeholders and members of the public, and help facilitate exchange of scientific information among NIH HEAL Initiative projects.

The working group provides input on NIH HEAL Initiative research in the following areas:

  • Share expertise in the pain and opioid misuse and addition fields.
  • Provide perspective and input on the overall initiative.
  • Prioritize upcoming areas of research in the NIH HEAL Initiative by developing gap analysis to suggest where more research is needed.
  • Harmonize existing NIH HEAL Initiative projects by suggesting mechanisms to connect and coordinate across all projects, including how to integrate new projects.
  • Consider possible options for specific pain conditions to be addressed through the NIH HEAL Initiative clinical trials networks.
  • Suggest ways to integrate topics that involve multiple different NIH ICs or projects, but are not directly collaborating.
  • Assess proposed funding plans for NIH HEAL Initiative projects (possibly in closed session).
  • Form subgroups focused on specific NIH HEAL Initiative research areas.
    • For example: the NIH HEAL Initiative Partnership Committee will convey expert input on analgesic development and other relevant functions
  • Integrate reports from subgroups to include in overall findings to the working group.

These findings will be presented to individual IC Advisory Councils for deliberation and NIH leadership for final decision making.


Allan Basbaum, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco

Gail D'Onofrio, M.D., M.S.

Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine

Lynn DeBar, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Affiliate Professor, the Department of Psychiatry, University of Washington

Eric Garland, Ph.D.

Professor and Associate Dean for Research, University of Utah College of Social Work; Director, Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development; Associate Director of Integrative Medicine-Supportive Oncology, Huntsman Cancer Institute

Robert Gereau, Ph.D.

Director, Washington University Pain Center, Washington University School of Medicine

Patrice Harris, M.D.

2019–2020 President, American Medical Association

Christian Heidbreder, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Indivior

Sharon Henry, Ph.D.

Professor of Physical Therapy Emerita, Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science, University of Vermont

Terry Jernigan, Ph.D.

Professor of Cognitive Science, Psychiatry, and Radiology and Director, Center of Human Development, University of California, San Diego

Hendrée Jones, Ph.D.

Director, Horizons Program and Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Richard Kuntz, M.D.

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Medtronic

Edward Nunes, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center

Judith Paice, Ph.D., RN

Director, Cancer Pain Program, Division of Hematology and Oncology and Research Professor of Medicine, Northwestern University

Wally Smith, M.D.

Professor and Scientific Director, Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Health Disparities; Director, Adult Sickle Cell Program, Florence Neal Cooper Smith Professor of Sickle Cell Disease, Virginia Commonwealth University

Christin Veasley

Cofounder and Director, Chronic Pain Research Alliance