Second Annual NIH HEAL Initiative Investigator Meeting

Mon, 5/17/2021 - 10:00am
Wed, 5/19/2021 - 5:30pm

Past event. This event already took place. Visit this webpage for upcoming events.


The NIH HEAL Initiative convened the second annual meeting of the more than 500 NIH HEAL Initiative awardees, federal officials, people with lived experience, and other stakeholders to share research findings, explore trends and shared interests, and identify opportunities to advance the goals of the initiative.

This virtual meeting brought together researchers from around the country that are taking on the pain and opioid crises from all angles. These researchers study a broad range of topics, such as innovative technology-based therapies for pain management; community-based integrated solutions for prevention, overdose, and medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder; and a variety of new approaches for managing pain.

The meeting included a conversation between NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and presentations from other leadership of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Topics Covered

  • Emotional well-being and the power of connections to fight the opioid epidemic.
  • Empowering discovery and collaboration with the HEAL Data Ecosystem.
  • Advancing health equity and inclusion through HEAL research.
  • Perspectives on community-engaged research.
  • Adapting and responding to the collision of the COVID-19, pain, and opioid public health crises.
  • Harnessing innovation in pain and addiction research.

Key Takeaways

  • As the COVID-19 pandemic collided with the pain and opioid public health crises, there was a significant increase in opioid overdoses and unmanaged pain.
  • The HEAL research community adapted to the changing landscape and embraced telemedicine for research and care, enabling scientific advancements in spite of the challenges.
  • Data and information sharing are essential to the HEAL mission, and resources are available to support these efforts.
  • For clinical research to be successful, researchers must engage people and communities where they are. Sustainability planning is key to long-term success.
  • Many people have both chronic pain and opioid use disorder. Stigma reduction and care coordination are essential.

View the Meeting Summary pdf  273.12 KB.

Presentation slides are available upon request. Please email [email protected].

Day 1 (May 17, 2021)

10:00 – 11:00 am 
Welcome and Introduction | Emotional Well-Being and the Power of Connections to Fight the Opioid Epidemic
Speakers: Drs. Francis Collins, Director, NIH, and Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General

11:00 – 11:30 am
Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative Overview and Accomplishments
Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Plenary: Helping to End Addiction Long-term – NIH Trends and Perspectives
Speaker: Drs. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Intersection of Pain and Addiction
Speaker: Walter Koroshetz, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

12:30 – 1:00 pm 
Poster Session Preview

1:00 – 2:30 pm
Panel: Empowering Discovery and Collaboration: The HEAL Data Ecosystem
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Jessica Mazerik, NIH HEAL Initiative 

Strengthening the Discoverability and Searchability of Data in a Secure Compute Environment for Analysis
Dr. Robert Grossman and Phil Schumm, University of Chicago 
Empowering Discovery and Collaboration: the HEAL Data Ecosystem
Drs. Stanley Ahalt and Kira Bradford, Renaissance Computing Institute at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2:30 – 2:45 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Networking Café

2:45 – 4:30 pm
Scientific Symposia: Advancing Research in Opioid Misuse and Pain
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Helene Langevin, Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
PI Facilitator: Dr. Donald Penzien, Wake Forest University

Dr. Anna C. Wilson, Oregon Health & Science University
Dr. Jeffrey Samet, Boston Medical Center
Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, Yale University
Dr. Ajay Wasan, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Sindhu Srinivas, University of Pennsylvania

4:30 – Until (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Poster Session #1 and Networking

Day 2 (May 18, 2021)

10:00 – 10:30 am 
Plenary: Engaging Communities for Action
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Walter Koroshetz, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Engaging Communities for Action: Campaigns to reduce stigma and drive demand for evidence-base practices
Jennifer Reynolds, Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Faces & Voices of Recovery
Philip Rutherford, Faces and Voices of Recovery

10:30 – 11:00 am (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Morning Coffee

11:00 – 11:30 am
Plenary: Advancing Health Equity and Inclusion Through HEAL Research
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Monica Webb Hooper, Deputy Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Strategies Towards Health Equity & Inclusion in the HEALing Communities Study (HCS)
Dr. Nabila El-Bassel, Columbia University
Can we achieve health equity without addressing the US criminal legal system?
Dr. Emily Wang, Yale University

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Panel: Perspectives on Community Engaged Research 
NIH Facilitator:  Dr. Rena D’Souza, Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
PI Facilitator: Dr. Jessica Robinson-Papp, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Richard Schottenfeld, Yale University
Success Strategies and Recommendations for Engaging Patients in Research
Jessica Hulsey Nickel, Addiction Policy Forum
Internet-delivered Management of Pain Among Cancer Treatment Survivors
Dr. Megan Irby, Wake Forest University
Dawn Edwards, Patient Advocate
Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Trial of Guided Relaxation and Acupuncture for Chronic Sickle Cell Disease Pain
Dr. Ardith Doorenbos, University of Illinois at Chicago

12:30 – 2:00 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Hot Science Lunch Q&A

2:00 – 2:45 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Early Investigator Data Blitz

2:45 – 3:45 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Cross-Cutting Discussion Session

3:45 – 4:00 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Networking Café

4:00 – 5:30 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Poster Session #2 and Networking

Day 3 (May 19, 2021)

10:00 – 11:00 am 
Plenary: The Collision of National Public Health Crises
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Shannon Zenk, Director, National Institute of Nursing Research

The Collision of National Public Health Crises: Impact on [Pain-related] Clinical Care and Research Approaches/Challenges
Dr. Lynn DeBar, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
Substance Use Disorders Research and COVID-19 Adapting Designs, Interventions, Data Collection
Dr. Edward Nunes, Columbia University

10:30 – 11:30 am
Panel: Adapting in a Time of Change: Responding to the Collision of Public Health Crises
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Shannon Zenk, Director, National Institute of Nursing Research
PI Facilitator: Dr. Francis Keefe, Duke University

HEALing Communities Study
Dr. Sharon Walsh, University of Kentucky
Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN)
Dr. Faye Taxman, George Mason University
Pain and Opioids: Integrated Treatment In Veterans
Dr. Kevin Vowles, Queen’s University Belfast
Traditions and Connections for Urban Native Americans
Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico, RAND Corporation

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Panel: Moving Research Into Action
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Principal Deputy Director, NIH

Tom Coderre, Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
CDC’s Response to the Evolving Overdose Epidemic
Dr. Debra Houry, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration

12:30 – 1:00 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Poster Session #3 and Networking

1:00 – 2:30 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Discussion Groups

2:30 – 2:45 pm (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)
Networking Café

2:45 – 4:30 pm
Scientific Symposia: Harnessing Innovation in Pain and Addiction Research
NIH Facilitator: Dr. Michael Oshinsky, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
PI Facilitator: Dr. Marco Pravetoni, University of Minnesota

Dr. Sandra Comer, Columbia University
Dr. David Clark, Stanford University
Dr. Paul Kenny, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Dr. Yu-Qing Cao, Washington University Pain Center

4:30 – 5:00 pm
Closing Remarks: HEAL Direction, Funding Opportunities
Speakers: Drs. Francis Collins and Rebecca Baker


NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy discuss how chronic stress and isolation have profound implications for health, productivity and happiness, and how love, compassion, and kindness show us the way forward.

Second Annual Investigator Meeting Director’s Message

Dr. Baker provides an overview about the Second Annual Investigator Meeting.

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2020 HEAL Investigator Meeting

The HEAL Investigator Meeting in January 2020 brought together more than 350 researchers who are part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative.

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Research Programs

Research from the NIH HEAL Initiative® includes more than 30 distinct programs. These programs are led by most NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices.

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