HEAL Headliners: From Crisis to Solutions: Innovations in Prevention and Risk Analysis Research

Fri, 7/14/2023 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm


Preventing opioid use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders is essential for addressing the nation’s opioid crisis and saving lives. Better understanding of the risks for adverse outcomes can inform prevention interventions for opioid use disorder, pain, and co-occurring mental health conditions. There is a particular need for interventions that can be used in systems and settings that reach populations most affected by the opioid crisis. This webinar featured research funded by the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, that is examining both risk and protective factors with real-world application benefiting two populations: youth experiencing homelessness and pregnant and postpartum populations. This webinar was held on Friday, July 14, 2023, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET.

Topics Covered

Prevention of Opioid Use Disorder: The HOME (Housing, Opportunities, Motivation and Engagement) Randomized Trial (Presenter: Natasha Slesnick, Ph.D.) 

Evidence suggests that youth experiencing homelessness have the highest rates of opioid use among U.S. youth subgroups. Addressing youth homelessness through housing and prevention services, often referred to as “Housing First,” has great potential to reduce risk for opioid use disorder and other problem behaviors associated with unstable housing. Dr. Slesnick explored how forthcoming research results will inform researchers and providers about the role of housing, prevention services, and other factors on health outcomes. 

Behavioral Health Insurance Coverage and Outcome Risks of Co-occurring Conditions Among Delivering Women With Opioid Use and Pain for HEAL: The BIRCH study (Presenter: Kara Zivin, Ph.D., M.S., M.A., M.F.A.) 

Health insurance coverage changes brought about by the introduction of mental health parity under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008 led to a dramatic expansion of behavioral health coverage, extending behavioral health provisions to more than 60 million Americans. Dr. Zivin’s analysis of insurance claims revealed how these unprecedented extensions of behavioral health coverage shifts maternal and infant outcomes among privately-insured women in the perinatal period. Additionally, she examined a role for risk factors such as substance use, chronic pain, co-occurring perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and suicidality.  


Natasha Slesnick, Ph.D., The Ohio State University 

Dr. Natasha Slesnick is Professor of Human Development and Family Science in the Department of Human Sciences and Associate Dean for Research and Administration of the College of Education and Human Ecology. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, and her research focuses on intervention development and evaluation with substance-using youth experiencing homelessness and substance-using mothers and their children. After opening a drop-in center for homeless youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, and opened her second drop-in center.  

Kara Zivin, Ph.D., M.S., M.A., M.F.A., University of Michigan 

Dr. Kara Zivin is the Marcia A. Valenstein, M.D., Collegiate Professor of Psychiatry; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Professor of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan. She is a research career scientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and senior health researcher at Mathematica. Her research uses social science and public health tools to improve health and functional outcomes for populations at increased risk for substance use or mental health disorders, including pregnant and postpartum women. 


Jennifer Humensky, Ph.D., The National Institute of Mental Health, Division of Services and Intervention Research 

Jennifer Humensky is the Chief of the Financing and Managed Care Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, Division of Services and Intervention Research, where she oversees the mental health economics research portfolio. Dr. Humensky has a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago, with a concentration in mental health economics. 

For More Information, Contact:

Carol Gianessi, Ph.D., at [email protected]

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