5th Annual NIH HEAL Initiative Scientific Meeting

Wed, 2/7/2024
Thu, 2/8/2024

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The NIH HEAL Initiative® convened its 5th annual meeting of more than 800 HEAL-funded researchers across the HEAL research portfolio and career stage spectrum, NIH staff, people with lived and living experience, community partners advising HEAL-funded projects, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders to:

  • Share research advances and cutting-edge science.
  • Discover opportunities, challenges, and approaches to build on HEAL progress.
  • Connect and explore collaboration with other HEAL-funded researchers and stakeholders to enhance HEAL-funded research.

The 2024 NIH HEAL Initiative Awardees were honored at the meeting. The awards recognize researchers for Excellence in Research, Mentorship, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, and Community Partnership. Early to middle-career stage researchers were recognized with the Trailblazer Award.

Read about the 2024 awardees.

See below for links to the plenary session recordings. Sign into the virtual meeting platform to access and download recordings of all sessions until May 2024.

Videos From the Event

The following videos are of the plenary sessions that were livestreamed via NIH VideoCast. Sign into the virtual meeting platform to access and download recordings of all sessions (available until May 2024).

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Morning Plenary Sessions (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)
Afternoon Plenary Sessions (1:30-2:45 p.m.)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Morning Plenary Sessions (9:00-10:45 a.m.)
Afternoon Plenary Sessions (2:00-4:15 p.m.)

Community Choice Awards

The Community Choice Awards were new to the HEAL Scientific Meeting Poster Session. People with lived and living experience of pain conditions and/or substance use disorders and other community members evaluated research posters on how well they communicated information to people who need it most. The 2024 awardee posters were clear, understandable, and relevant to the audience.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

9:00‒10:00 a.m.
Poster Session #1

10:00‒10:10 a.m.
Nora Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

10:10‒10:30 a.m.
Toward Evidence-Based Care for All
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health

10:30‒11:15 a.m.
Building Sustainable Research-Practice Partnerships: Insights from the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN)

Facilitator – Tisha Wiley, Ph.D., NIDA


  • Michele Staton, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
  • Katherine Marks, Ph.D., Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health
  • Elizabeth Evans, Ph.D., M.A., University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Ed Hayes, Franklin County (Massachusetts) Sheriff’s Office

11:15 a.m.‒12:00 p.m.
Empowering Open Science Practices: The HEAL Data Ecosystem

Facilitator – Jessica Mazerik, Ph.D., National Institute of Neurological Disorders
and Stroke (NINDS)


  • Laura Simons, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Charlie Knott, M.P.A., RTI International
  • Maryann Martone, Ph.D., University of California San Diego

12:00‒1:30 p.m.
Lived and Living Experience & Community Networking Lunch

This networking session was open to anyone with lived or living experience and community organizations that partner with HEAL-funded projects, as well as pain and addiction advocacy groups. Attendees shared experiences, fostered connections, and engaged in dialogue on patient and community engagement in research.

1:30‒1:45 p.m.
HEAL vs. Pain: What Do We Have to Do? How Best to Do It?
Walter Koroshetz, M.D., Director, NINDS

1:45‒2:00 p.m.
Scientific Strategies to Address Disparities in the Overdose Crisis
Nora Volkow, M.D., Director, NIDA

2:00–2:45 p.m.
HEAL Leadership Roundtable: Looking to the Future

Moderators – Walter Koroshetz, M.D., Director, NINDS, and Nora Volkow, M.D., Director, NIDA


  • Lindsey Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  • Helene Langevin, M.D., Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
  • Joni Rutter, Ph.D., Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

3:00–4:45 p.m.
Concurrent Scientific Symposia and Discussion Sessions

Advancing Translation: Human-Based Research Models

Facilitator – Michael Oshinsky, Ph.D., NINDS


  • Harmonized Cross-Species Cell Atlases of Trigeminal and Dorsal Root Ganglia
    William Renthal, M.D., Ph.D., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Defining Mechanisms of Pain Relief Associated With Dorsal Root Ganglion and Spinal Cord Stimulation
    H. Richard Koerber, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • Novel Electrophysiological and Ultrasound Biomarkers for Trigger Point Assessmen
    Askhat Mukushev, M.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Human iPSC-Derived PreBötC-Like Neurons and Development of an Opiate Overdose and Recovery Model
    Xiufang (Nadine) Guo, Ph.D., University of Central Florida

Creative Therapeutic Strategies

Facilitator – Alex Tuttle, Ph.D., NCCIH


  • Bacteriophage Virus-Like Particle-Based Vaccines Against Opioids
    Isabella Romano, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
  • Clinical Translation of Ultrasonic Ketamine Uncaging for Precision Pain Pharmacotherapy
    Raag Airan, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Preclinical Development Update on Disease Modifying Analgesia With CA8 Gene Therapy
    Roy Levitt, M.D., Adolore BioTherapeutics, Inc., University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Data-Driven Decision Making in the HEALing Communities Study

Facilitator – Jennifer Villani, Ph.D., NIDA


  • Setting the Stage: An Approach to Data Access, Visualization, and Engagement in the Massachusetts Site of the HEALing Communities Study
    Carly Bridden, M.A., M.P.H., Boston Medical Center
  • Case Study 1 – Engaging an Urban Massachusetts Community in Data Walks to Understand Service Gaps and Opportunities to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths
    Rebecca Smeltzer, M.P.H., Boston Medical Center
  • Case Study 2 – Engaging People With Lived Opioid Use Experience From Rural Massachusetts in Photovoice to Understand Factors Fueling the Local Opioid Epidemic
    Peter Balvanz, M.P.H., Boston Medical Center
  • Case Study 3 – Engaging Community-Based Organizations and Community Coalition Members in Process Evaluation With Web-Based Monitoring Report
    Sarah Kosakowski, M.P.H., Boston Medical Center

Equity-Focused Pain Management

Facilitator – Cheryse Sankar, Ph.D., NINDS


  • You Get Tired of Saying, “This Doesn’t Work”: A Qualitative Study of Chronic Pain Treatment Experiences Among Older Spanish-Speaking Latinos in a Community Setting
    Natalia Giraldo-Santiago, Ph.D., LCSW, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Addressing Chronic Pain Inequities Through Multimodal Care in Primary Care Safety-Net Clinics
    Ariana Thompson-Lastad, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
  • Providing Telehealth Physical Therapy in Rural Communities: Lessons Learned From Two Pragmatic Trials
    Julie Fritz, Ph.D., P.T., University of Utah

Pragmatic Implementation Science Tools to Enhance the Impact of Your Research

Facilitators – Heather Gotham, Ph.D., Stanford University, and Tamara Haegerich, Ph.D., NIDA


  • HEAL Data2Action Research Adoption Support Center Tools: Evaluating the “Implementability” Potential of an Intervention, Program, or Service
    Heather Gotham, Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Meaningfully Engaging and Integrating Partners Into the Research Proces
    Terrinieka Powell, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Understanding the Context in Which Interventions Are Implemented
    Cecelia Calhoun, M.D., M.P.H.S., M.B.A., Yale School of Medicine
  • Documenting Strategies That Support Implementation of Effective Intervention
    Bryan Garner, Ph.D., Ohio State University College of Medicine
  • Integrating Implementation Outcomes Into Effectiveness Studies
    William Becker, M.D., Yale School of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System

5:00–6:00 p.m.
Poster Session #2

Thursday, February 8, 2024

9:00‒10:00 a.m.
Engineering Treatments for Pain and Opioid Use Disorder

Facilitator – Will Aklin, Ph.D., NIDA


  • Personalized Brain Stimulation for Chronic Pain: A Scientist’s and Patient’s Story
    Prasad Shirvalkar, M.D., Ph.D., and Edward Mowery, University of California San Francisco
  • Nucleus Accumbens Deep Brain Stimulation and Focused Ultrasound for Opioid Use Disorder
    Ali Rezai, M.D., West Virginia University

10:00‒10:45 a.m.
Disentangling the Patient-Level Factors That Drive Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: Overview of the Back Pain Consortium (BACPAC) Research Program


  • Gwendolyn Sowa, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • Abel Torres Espin, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
  • Matt Mauck, M.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina
  • Kevin Anstrom, Ph.D., M.S., University of North Carolina

11:00 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Concurrent Scientific Symposia and Discussion Sessions

Better Together: Community-Informed Research

Facilitator – Marcy Fitz-Randolph, D.O., M.P.H., NIDA


  • Implementation Intervention Development With Alaska Native and American Indian Community Partners to Culturally Center Delivery of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
    Aimee Campbell, Ph.D., Columbia University
  • Considerations for Increasing Equity Within Randomized Control Trials for Underserved, Diverse Patient Populations
    Elondra Harr, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • Equitable EEG Data Collection in the HBCD Study: The Role of Curly Hair Specialists
    Maria Isabella Natale Castillo and Monique Marsh, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Clinical Trial Innovations

Facilitator – Geetha Subramaniam, M.D., NIDA


  • A Data-Driven Approach to Site Selection: Use of the Trial Innovation Network’s Expression of Interest Process in the HEAL Pain Effectiveness Research Network
    Sarah Nelson and Brooklyn Henderson, R.N., Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Rapid Initiation of Naltrexone and Buprenorphine: Findings From the NIDA Clinical Trials Network
    Matisyahu Shulman, M.D., Columbia University
  • Individual Level Risk Prediction of Return-to-Use During Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
    Sean Luo, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University

Finding Pain Patterns: Role of Biomarkers

Facilitator – Ram Arudchandran, Ph.D., NINDS


  • Baseline Questionnaires and Longitudinal Headache Diary Data Predict Headache Improvement in Patients With Acute Post-Traumatic Headache Attributed to Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Balancing Prediction Accuracy and Patient Burden
    Catherine Chong, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, and Jing Li, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Imaging Changes in Muscle Structure and Function in Patients With Active Versus Latent Post Stroke Shoulder Pain
    Preeti Raghavan, M.B.B.S., Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Discovery and Validation of Prognostic and Robust Biosignatures to Predict Recovery or Persistence in Pediatric Pain
    Laura Simons, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine

New Targets and Mechanisms for Pain and Addiction

Facilitator – D.P. Mohapatra, Ph.D., NINDS


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists Reduce Opioid Craving and Seeking Behaviors in Rats and Humans
    Patricia Sue Grigson, Ph.D., M.S., and Scott Bunce, Ph.D., Penn State College of Medicine
  • Targeting a Cryptic Pocket in CB1 Receptors Drives Peripheral and Functional Selectivity
    Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Validation of Neuropilin-1 Receptor Signaling in Nociceptive Processing
    Rajesh Khanna, Ph.D., M.Sc., University of Florida

Prevention in Diverse Communities: How Can Digital Interventions Help?

Facilitators – Elvira Elek, Ph.D., RTI International, and Amy Goldstein, Ph.D., NIDA


  • Understanding Risk and Protective Factors Associated With Opioid Use and Misuse Risk Groups Among Adolescents and Young Adults in the Emergency Department
    Maureen Walton, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Michigan
  • The Incorporation of Risk and Protective Factors Into a Digital Intervention to Promote Mental Health and Prevent Opioid Misuse in Adolescents in a School-Based Setting
    Lindsey Bonilla, M.A., Yale University
  • Pain Among Urban Native American Emerging Adults: Exploring Socioeconomic and Cultural Factors
    Elizabeth D’Amico, Ph.D., RAND Corporation

2:00‒3:00 p.m.
Trailblazing Paths Toward Innovation in HEAL

Facilitator – Tamara Haegerich, Ph.D., NIDA


  • Beyond Opioids: SRP-001’s Journey From Lab to Clinic as a Non-Opioid Targeting the Brain’s Pain Center
    Hernan Bazan, M.D., FACS, South Rampart Pharma, Inc., Ochsner Health
  • A Biomarker Signature for Predicting Post-Traumatic Headache Persistence
    Catherine Chong, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
  • www.PainResearchers.com: A Network Empowering Pain Research Through PURPOSE: Fostering Collaborations, Developing Careers, and Supporting Innovations
    Jacob Coverstone, Neurovations Education
  • Leveraging Emergency Departments to Initiate Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
    Kathryn Hawk, M.D., M.H.S., Yale University
  • Translating Experience Into Practice: Using Human-Centered Design to Engage People With Lived Experience and Improve Equity
    J. Deanna Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., University of Pennsylvania

3:00‒4:00 p.m.
HEAL Connections: Engagement in Action

Facilitator – Jessica Hulsey, Addiction Policy Forum


  • Denise Bertin-Epp, R.N., M.S., National Association for Children of Addiction
  • Michael Litterer, CHES, CPS, RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery
  • Patty McCarthy, M.S., Faces & Voices of Recovery
  • Kate Nicholson, J.D., National Pain Advocacy Center
  • Sarah Wurzburg, Council of State Governments Justice Center

4:00‒4:15 p.m.
Closing Remarks – Reflecting, Recognizing, and Looking Ahead
Helene Langevin, M.D., Director, NCCIH

These HEAL research programs held satellite meetings on Friday, February 9, 2024. Other HEAL programs may have hosted closed satellite meetings.

Biomarkers of Myofascial Tissues for Clinical Pain Management, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Organizer: Alex Tuttle, [email protected]
Open to all HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees.

HEAL Initiative Devices and Technology Satellite Event, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Organizer: Eric Hudak, [email protected]
Open to HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees involved in the HEAL Translating Discoveries Into Effective Devices to Treat Pain program, NIDA-led Small Business Programs, NINDS-led Small Business Programs, and any other attendees using devices and technology in their projects.

HEAL Biomarker Program Investigators' Meeting, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Organizer: Ram Arudchandran, [email protected]
Open to all HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees.

Health Equity in Pain Management, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Organizer: Cheryse Sankar, Ph.D., NINDS, [email protected]
Open only to HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees involved in this research program.

Polysubstance Use & Treatments Initiative Meeting, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Organizer: Marcy Fitz-Randolph, [email protected]
Open to all HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees from 8:30–10:00 a.m.

Harm Reduction Research Network (HRRN) and JCOIN Cross-Network Meeting, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Organizer: Julia Zur, Ph.D., NIDA, [email protected]
Open only to HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees involved in the HRRN and/or JCOIN research programs.

CoARS Meeting, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Organizer: Sarah Duffy, [email protected]
Open to all HEAL Scientific Meeting attendees from 1:00–2:00 p.m.

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