Dear HEAL Community,
Last week, we gathered for the Fourth Annual NIH HEAL Initiative Investigator Meeting to take stock of our research amid the evolving crises of opioid overdose, addiction, and pain. This event provides a yearly opportunity to interact with colleagues and meet many new investigators who are part of this large research endeavor. After 2 years of remote-only attendance, seeing 400 HEAL investigators and community partners in person was invigorating! Many more attended virtually. This coming year, there will be even more opportunities to connect via our monthly HEAL Headliners webinar series that will shine a light on the wide array of HEAL-funded projects addressing pain, opioid use disorder, overdose, and the important intersections between those topics.
Real improvements for people affected by pain and opioids are in view, made possible based upon the hard work of our incredible research community. In recognition of these accomplishments, we debuted the NIH HEAL Initiative Director’s Awards for advancing the HEAL mission in four key dimensions: research excellence, interdisciplinary science, mentoring, and community partnerships. Of note, the new HEAL Trailblazer Award recognizes HEAL-funded scientists in the early to middle stages of their careers who are breaking ground and expanding research in new directions.