Overview

Broad strategies for patient-centered research that adapts to a dynamic public health challenge include meaningful patient and community engagement and inclusion in research, sufficient capacity of expertise, effective approaches to reducing stigma and health inequity, collection and analysis of existing data, and embracing innovation from the nation’s small business community. This cross-cutting research is critical to meeting the goals of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®. 

Open Funding Opportunities

2022
HEAL Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral-to-Independent Career Transition Award in PAIN and SUD Research to Promote Diversity (K99/R00 Independent Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)
Dec 15, 2022
2022
HEAL Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral-to-Independent Career Transition Award in PAIN and SUD Research (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Dec 15, 2022
2022
HEAL Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral-to-Independent Career Transition Award in PAIN and SUD Research to Promote Diversity (K99/R00 Independent Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Dec 15, 2022
2022
HEAL Initiative Advanced Postdoctoral-to-Independent Career Transition Award in PAIN and SUD Research (Independent Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)
Dec 15, 2022
2020
Notice of Special Interest to Encourage Eligible NIH HEAL Initiative Awardees to Apply for PA-20-222: Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (Admin Supp - Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Oct 19, 2020

Research Programs

Meaningful engagement of populations experiencing pain and opioid use disorder is essential for HEAL research. These research efforts are developed in the context of individual studies, settings, and patient populations to enhance engagement of patients, communities, and other stakeholders – as well as to improve recruitment, retention, and inclusion of participants from racial and ethnic minority populations. 

Sharing, integration, and dissemination of HEAL data and findings is a critical goal of the initiative. Research leverages and integrates diverse data streams (such as from health records, mortality records, and pharmacy dispensing databases) and tools to provide the most accurate, real-time assessments of the opioid crisis and its changing dynamics.

This research invests in small businesses developing therapies and technologies to enhance non-opioid pain management as well as to prevent, diagnose, and treat substance use disorders. These efforts can span the entire spectrum of strategies from medications to devices and digital solutions, and include data analysis, information technology, and educational or training materials. 

Stigma occurs at many levels affecting people with opioid use disorder or chronic pain and can prevent people from seeking and receiving treatment. This research is finding solutions to mitigate stigma in its many forms toward improving health and preventing unnecessary deaths from overdose.

A diverse, dedicated, and sustainable research workforce is needed to address the evolving opioid and pain public health challenges. System-wide barriers limit the availability of scientists and clinicians to understand, treat, and prevent complex conditions like chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and overdose – and, increasingly, the common use of multiple drugs. Comprehensive, patient-centric research training  is especially important since most individuals with pain, addiction, or both have co-occurring conditions such as mental illness.

The synthesis and real-world application of existing data has the potential to guide and monitor improvements in service delivery to prevent or treat opioid use disorder and pain. HEAL research in the Data2Action program will address gaps in the delivery of evidence-based practices in each of the four pillars of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Overdose Prevention Strategy: primary prevention, harm reduction, treatment of opioid use disorder, and recovery support. 

Funded Projects

2023
Novel Models to Study Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons in Knee Osteoarthritis Pain
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Improving Analgesic Effectiveness and Safety with Proactive Precision Pain Management in Thoracic Surgical Patients with Lung Lesions
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Elucidating the Neuroimmune Mechanisms Underlying Pain and Inflammation in Autoimmune Arthritis
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Adapting and Implementing a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program for Primary Care Patients with Opioid Use Disorder and Serious Mental Illness
Nov 28, 2023
2023
Advancing precision pain medicines to the clinic
Nov 28, 2023

Closed Funding Opportunities

2021
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Administrative Supplements for Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative awardees to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) through the HEAL Data Ecosystem
Dec 06, 2021
2022
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Administrative Supplements for Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative awardees to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) through the HEAL Data Ecosystem
Apr 22, 2022
2022
Emergency Awards: HEAL Initiative: Translational Science Career Enhancement Awards for Early and Mid-career Investigators (K18 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
Jan 21, 2022
2021
HEAL Initiative: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Limited Competition to Support Mentorship of Junior Investigators
Apr 09, 2021
2021
HEAL Initiative: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) regarding the Availability of Administrative Supplements to Support Strategies to Increase Participant Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement in Clinical Studies
Mar 05, 2021