4th Annual NIH HEAL Initiative Investigator Meeting

Tue, 2/21/2023 - 9:00am - 5:30pm
Wed, 2/22/2023 - 9:00am - 5:00pm

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


The NIH HEAL Initiative convened the fourth annual meeting of more than 350 HEAL-funded researchers across the career stage spectrum, federal officials, community partners, and other stakeholders to share research findings, explore trends and shared interests, and identify opportunities to advance the goals of the initiative.

This meeting brought together researchers from around the country who are taking on the pain and opioid crises from all angles, studying a broad range of topics. The meeting highlighted program accomplishments, data advancements, and new research that is meeting the moment with the changing landscape of polysubstance use and a worsening overdose crisis.

The winners of the inaugural NIH HEAL Initiative Director’s Awards were honored at the meeting. The HEAL Director’s Awards recognize researchers for excellence in Research, Mentorship, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, and Community Partnership.

Read about the 2023 winners.

Read articles about and see pictures from the meeting pdf  4.85 MB.

Day 1 - Tuesday, February 21, 2023

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®
Dr. Tara Schwetz, Acting Principal Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

9:15 – 10:05 a.m.
Early Foundations for HEALing: Preliminary Findings of the Eat, Sleep, Console Care Approach for Opioid-Exposed Infants
Facilitator: Dr. Diana Bianchi, Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


  • Dr. Lori Devlin, University of Louisville School of Medicine
  • Dr. Stephanie Merhar, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Dr. Leslie Young, University of Vermont Medical Center

10:05 10:20 a.m.
NIH HEAL Initiative Update
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

10:20 – 10:30 a.m.
A Holistic Approach to Pain and Substance Use Disorder
Dr. Rena D'Souza, Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

10:40 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Concurrent Scientific Symposia followed by Discussion Sessions (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.
Dialogue: Learning Across the HEAL Research Landscape


  • Dr. Lindsey Criswell, Director, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  • Dr. Helene Langevin, Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


  • Dr. Alejandro Almarza, University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Matthew Mauck, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Ziying Yin, Mayo Clinic

2:15 – 2:35 p.m.
Scientific Collaborations to Address the Overdose Crisis
Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

2:35 – 3:20 p.m.
The HEALing Communities Study: Empowering Communities to Combat Opioid Overdose Deaths
Facilitator: Dr. Scott Walters, University of North Texas Health Science Center


  • Dr. Nicky Lewis, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Edward (Ned) Nunes, Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Dr. Emmanuel Oga, RTI International

Day 2 - Wednesday, February 22, 2023

9:00 – 9:10 a.m.
Welcome Back
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

9:10 – 10:10 a.m.
Fireside Chat With Federal Leaders: Translating Evidence Into Policy and Practice
Moderator: Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Performing the Duties of the NIH Director,


  • Dr. Robert Califf, Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Mr. Stephen Ferketic, J.D., Chief of Staff, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Dr. Shari Ling, Deputy Chief Medical Director, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

10:10 – 10:30 a.m.
Forging a New Path in Pain Management
Dr. Walter Koroshetz, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

10:30 – 10:40 a.m.

10:40 – 11:40 a.m.
Making Data Speak: The Promise of the HEAL Data Platform
Facilitator: Dr. Jessica Mazerik, NIH HEAL Initiative


  • Dr. Stanley Ahalt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Robert Grossman, University of Chicago

11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.
The Future of HEAL: Trailblazer Awards Announcement and Presentations
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

2:00 – 3:50 p.m.
Concurrent Scientific Symposia followed by Discussion Sessions (CLOSED TO PUBLIC)

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Recognizing Excellence Among Us: Presentation of HEAL Director’s Awards
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Dr. Rebecca Baker, Director, NIH HEAL Initiative

Videos From the Event

Video recordings of the open sessions of this meeting are available. Please see links below and refer to the “Agenda With Speakers” section for session details.


Tuesday, February 21

Morning Plenary Sessions (9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.)

Afternoon Plenary Sessions (1:45 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.)


Wednesday, February 22

Morning Plenary Sessions (9:00 a.m. - 12:40 p.m.)

Afternoon Plenary Sessions (4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.)