Training the Next Generation of Researchers in HEAL

Overview 

The Research Need 

Research is a human endeavor that relies on ingenuity, creativity, and dedicated partnerships between research teams and research participants. Strengthening system capacity by investing in training the next generation of scientists to do this work is essential for reaching the goals of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®.  

About the Program 

HEAL supports several programs to build capacity for conducting the wide range of projects in the initiative’s research portfolio. These include retraining existing talent to meet urgent national needs by funding early career scientists or clinicians working in addiction treatment to develop expertise in implementation science. The program will also expand the pain treatment workforce to provide novel pain management solutions into the future.   

Both pain and addiction are complex conditions consisting of physical, emotional, and social components. As such, effective treatment will require innovative ideas from a diverse cadre of scientists. HEAL supports transformative, boundary-pushing research, encouraging high-impact and out-of-the-box ideas from early career investigators proposing research in areas within the HEAL mission.  

Specialized expertise is needed to move basic discoveries into testable treatments in animals and humans. To meet this need, HEAL supports early- and mid-career scientists who have pain or opioid misuse expertise with hands-on training in translation in industry, academia, or government research laboratories.   

Research Examples

Research activities in this program include:  

  • Creating a networking system to connect pain researchers across the continuum of pain research, from all disciplines and at all career levels  
  • Fostering the research interests and experiences of residents and fellows  
  • Supporting programs that support laboratory-based and translational Ph.D. scientists to conduct clinical research  
  • Ensuring diversity within the pain research workforce, in terms of both demographics and professional background  
  • Facilitating communication between basic, translational, and clinical pain researchers  
  • Providing training in clinical trial start-up, regulatory documentation, recruitment and retention plans, study visits, and monitoring of study progress within the EPPIC-Net program  
  • Conducting deep phenotyping of patient populations within the HEAL Biomarker program  
  • Enabling trainee-led projects that take advantage of infrastructure developed as part of parent grants

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center – California  
  • Columbia University New York Morningside – New York 
  • Neurovations – California  
  • New York University School of Medicine – New York  
  • University of California at Davis – California 
  • University of California-Irvine – California 
  • University of Iowa – Iowa 
  • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor – Michigan 
  • University of New Mexico – New Mexico 
  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill – North Carolina 
  • University of Washington – Washington  

Funded Projects

2022
Fibromyalgia TENS in Physical Therapy Study (TIPS): An Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trial: Administrative Supplement
Sep 18, 2022
2022
Validation of Blocking TSP4/Cava2d1 Interaction as a New Target for Neuropathic Pain
Sep 18, 2022
2022
University of Michigan (UM) HEAL Initiative National K12 Clinical Pain Career Development Program (UM-HCPDP)
Sep 18, 2022
2022
Integrative Treatment for Achieving Holistic Recovery from Comorbid Chronic Pain and Opioid Use Disorder
Sep 18, 2022
2022
University of Michigan BACPAC Mechanistic Research Center
Sep 18, 2022