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Contact: Steven Lee, 210-450-3823, lees22@uthscsa.edu

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 13, 2022 – With the United States facing an unprecedented opioid overdose crisis, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) has received a grant of 1.8 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health to research peer recovery support services for people living with opioid use disorder.

Although medications for opioid use disorder may reduce rates of illness or death, data suggest that some support services aid treatment and sustain long-term recovery.

These services may include emergent “peer” support, in which people with lived experience of addiction are specially trained to support others in their recovery by providing non-clinical links to treatment, such as mentoring, referrals for illnesses medical, occupational training, housing and education. However, there are gaps in knowledge of the approach that limit wider adoption.

Portrait of Jennifer PotterJennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD

“That’s what this new grant is designed to address,” said Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD, MPH, vice president for research and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UT Health San Antonio, and principal investigator of the grant funding. NIH. She is also the executive director of Be Well Texas, a statewide initiative of UT Health San Antonio funded by Texas Health and Human Services, which provides equitable access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and care.

“We propose a research network that will provide systematic integration and collaboration between researchers and community organizations and develop a pipeline of future recovery scientists to close empirical and practice gaps in Peer Recovery Support Services, or PRSS Potter said.

Focus on stakeholder engagement

The stakes are high for the effort, amid a backdrop of 107,000 opioid-related drug overdose deaths in the United States in the 12 months ending in January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control .

The Peer Recovery Innovation Network, the name of the new research network under the grant effort, will focus on stakeholder engagement in setting the research agenda, improve the infrastructure for scientific research of PRSS recovery and will accelerate the growth of the PRSS evidence base in priority areas and populations, with training and telementoring as key approaches.

“We will use the innovative Extension for Community Health Outcomes model, ECHO,” said Adrienne Lindsey, DBH, MA, director of the Center for Substance Use Training and Telementoring at UT Health San Antonio. “This telementoring model will be used to expose researchers and clinicians interested in recovery support services and recovery science to the latest research findings and best practices, as well as provide a platform to vet the work of ongoing research to obtain critical feedback from peers and subject. experts in a growing field.”

Expanding the science of recovery

The effort will expand the science of recovery by developing a research program on PRSS during opioid use disorder medication through a novel research agenda-setting approach and a process of associated collaboration, training and mentoring and infrastructure development.

Specific objectives include:

  • Establish a Recovery Science Collaboratory to include multiple stakeholders, including people with lived recovery experience, to accelerate the pace of innovation in recovery science.
  • Establish a recovery science training and telementoring program within the UT Health San Antonio Substance Use Training and Telementoring Center to rapidly expand the recovery science workforce.
  • Conduct process-, outcome-, and implementation-based evaluations of the Peer Recovery Innovation Network and Networked Recovery Science Initiative to optimize impact, efficiency, and effectiveness in advancing recovery science and monitoring outcomes through defined measures.

“We believe all of this will inform the development and expansion of services and strengthen the system of care that people with opioid use disorders can use to initiate and maintain recovery,” Potter said.

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), a major driver of San Antonio’s $44.1 billion health and life sciences sector, is the largest research institution in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of $360 million of dollars With substantial economic impact with its six professional schools, a diverse workforce of more than 7,900, an annual operating budget of $1.08 billion, and clinical practices that provide 2.6 million patient visits each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher wages. jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas. To learn about the many ways we “Make Lives Better®,” visit UTHealthSA.org.

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Source: UT Health San Antonio awarded $1.8 million NIH grant for addiction recovery support services research

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