Sponsored Presentations
2021-2022 event Series
CDUHR AIDS Seminar – Maia Szalavitz – December 14, 2021
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 10:30 am-11:30 am
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: Maia Szalavitz
Presentation title: What is the History of Harm Reduction? Who Developed the Idea and How Did it Become an International Movement?

From its roots in the U.K. and the Netherlands to the spread of harm reduction throughout the United States, this talk will explore how the HIV pandemic led to a new way of thinking about drugs that is the first real threat to the war on drugs.

maia-szalavitz-2021Maia Szalavitz is the author of Undoing Drugs:  The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction (Hachette Go, 2021), the first history of the harm reduction movement and its success in moving America towards more compassionate and effective approaches to addiction.

Her previous book, Unbroken Brain:  A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, first published in 2016, was a New York Times bestseller and received the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Her earlier book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by the “tough love” business that dominates youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings on the matter.

She has also authored or co-authored six other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, with Bruce. D. Perry, MD, PhD. In addition, she has written essays and features for numerous publications from High Times to the New York Times.

CDUHR AIDS Seminar – Jules Netherland & Alex Kral – November 9, 2021 (Video)
Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 10:30 am-11:30 am
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: Jules Netherland, PhD & Alex Kral, PhD
Presentation title: Principles and Metrics for Evaluating Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Measure: Centering the Voices of People who Use Drugs

netherland-kral-2021-11-09Link to Video




In November 2020, Oregon voters passed an historic measure to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all drugs and invest substantially in healthcare, substance use disorder treatment, harm reduction, and social services for people who use drugs. Already, there is broad interest in evaluating the measure, and evaluations of the policy will be critical to the many jurisdictions that are seeking to replicate it. In an effort to improve evaluations of the measure and avoid some of the pitfalls of drug policy research, we convened a working group of experts and consulted with people who use drugs in Oregon to develop principles for an effective evaluation as well as metrics to measure the success of policy. This presentation will describe both the process we used as well as the principles and metrics derived from interviews with people who use drugs in Oregon.

Jules NetherlandJules Netherland, PhD, is the Managing Director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement for the Drug Policy Alliance. In that role, she advances drug policy reform by supporting scholars in doing advocacy, convening experts from a range of disciplines to inform the field, and strengthening DPA’s use of research and scholarship in developing and advancing its policy positions.

Prior to DPA, she worked at the New York Academy of Medicine on a range of public health research and policy projects. Dr. Netherland is the editor of Critical Perspectives on Addiction (Emerald Press, 2012). Her work with Helena Hansen, MD, PhD on the racialization of the opioid epidemic has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Biosocieties, and Culture, Psychiatry and Medicine. She holds a PhD in sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center, a Masters in Social Work from Boston University, and BA from Bryn Mawr College.

Alex KralAlex Kral, PhD, is Distinguished Fellow at the nonprofit research institute RTI International. He is an infectious disease epidemiologist with expertise in policy-relevant, community-based research with urban poor populations. Dr. Kral is the principal investigator or co-investigator on several National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded and Laura and John Arnold Foundation-supported studies of the relationship between infectious diseases, criminal justice involvement, substance use, and poverty. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, American Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Public Health, and Drug and Alcohol Dependence. He holds a doctoral degree in epidemiology from University of California Berkeley, a master’s degree in epidemiology from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

CDUHR Methods Presentation – David Vanness – October 21, 2021
Thursday, October 21, 2021, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: David Vanness, PhD
Presentation title: An Introduction to Bayesian Statistics for Evaluation and Decision-Making

Uncertainty is the reason why we do evaluation research… and the reason why our research often fails to lead to change. When we use Bayesian principles to quantify uncertainty, we can help decision-makers to better understand the consequences of making decisions based on current knowledge and the potential benefits and costs of engaging in further research. In this talk, we will introduce the fundamental principles of Bayesian statistical inference and briefly talk about commonly-used statistical packages, including WinBUGS, JAGS and STAN. We will then briefly discuss applications of Bayesian inference to multi-level modeling, meta-analysis and clinical trial design. We will conclude with a preview of how Bayesian principles are being incorporated into the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) to provide a new platform for optimizing and evaluating multi-component behavioral and biobehavioral interventions.

David VannessDavid J. Vanness, PhD, is a Professor of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University (University Park, Pennsylvania). He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has served on the faculty of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Professor Vanness has taught short courses in Bayesian statistics for the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) for over 15 years and was the founding Chair of ISPOR’s Statistical Methods in Health Economics and Outcomes Research Special Interest Group. He currently serves as methodological Associate Editor for the journal Value in Health.

Dr. Vanness’ research uses computational methods to translate statistical evidence into improved decision-making in the areas of health technology assessment, health care policy evaluation and intervention optimization. He is currently working with Professor Linda Collins to incorporate Bayesian statistical decision-making principles into the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) and serves as a methodological consultant to the Heart-to-Heart 2 project (Professors Gwadz and Collins).

CDUHR AIDS Seminar – Yusuf Ransome – October 12, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 10:30 am-11:30 am
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: Yusuf Ransome, DrPH
Presentation title: Social Cohesion and Social Capital: Their Role in HIV Prevention in the United States

In this presentation, Dr. Ransome will discuss social capital and social cohesion as a determinant of HIV infection risk for individuals, and HIV incidence at the population level, by providing a theoretical overview and empirical results from his work and others, as well as results from randomized controlled studies. He will conclude with paths forward and how researchers can integrate social cohesion and social capital into their current work and build modules to add to their existing behavioral or biomedical interventions.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to describe the differences between structural and cognitive forms of social capital, explain some of the limitations of current metrics to assess social capital in public health, and explain why alternate measures are being proposed and the reasons why social capital development is being recommended. They will be able to list some mechanisms through which social capital influences several HIV care continuum outcomes (e.g., diagnosis and ART adherence), and evaluate published studies on social capital and HIV with respect to theory and measurement, and the quality of the articles conclusion.


Yusuf RansomeYusuf Ransome, DrPH, completed a Bachelor of Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, an MPH from the University of Michigan, a DrPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a postdoc at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale School of Public Health.

Dr. Ransome investigates how social and cultural determinants (specifically, social capital & social cohesion, religion & spirituality) influence health and socioeconomic mobility, and can be leveraged to reduce disparities in HIV infection and alcohol use disorders. Dr. Ransome currently has a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the direct association and underlying mechanisms between social capital and late HIV diagnosis in the United States.

CDUHR Methods Presentation – John W. Jackson – September 29, 2021
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: John W. Jackson, ScD
Presentation title: An Introduction to Causal Decomposition Analysis for Studying Disparities in Health

Brief Description: Two of the most popular tools to describe how factors contribute to disparities are mediation analysis (from epidemiology) and the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition (from economics). In this talk, Dr. Jackson will review their different inferential goals and introduce a unifying perspective under the potential outcomes framework. He will also show how this unifying perspective builds upon both approaches by allowing us to separately consider how covariates are used to define disparities and adjust for confounding of explanatory factors.


John JacksonJohn W. Jackson is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Jackson earned his ScD in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013 with a concentration in psychiatric epidemiology. From 2011 to 2014, he trained in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a predoctoral trainee and postdoctoral research fellow, where his work focused on the safety and utilization of antipsychotic medications, as well as methods for comparative effectiveness research. Dr. Jackson’s current research focuses on understanding and reducing the excess morbidity and mortality in patients with mental illness, and uses state-of-the-art methods to provide insight about the effectiveness of potential interventions.


CDUHR Pilot Projects and Mentoring (PPM) Core Presentation – Dustin Duncan – September 21, 2021
Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 10:00 am-11:30 am
Location: Zoom webinar
Presented by: Dustin T. Duncan, ScD
Presentation title: Meet Dustin Duncan, CDUHR's New PPM Core Director

Dr. Dustin Duncan is the new CDUHR Pilot Project and Mentoring (PPM) Core Director. In this session, he will discuss his current research interests, and his mentoring experiences as a mentor and mentee. He will review the services offered by the Core and CDUHR pilot project funding opportunities.

New and early stage investigators are encouraged to attend to ask questions and to make suggestions about services and workshops offered by the Core.

Dustin DuncanDustin T. Duncan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he directs the Columbia Spatial Epidemiology Lab and co-directs the department’s Social and Spatial Epidemiology Unit. He received CDUHR pilot project funding in 2014 and 2015, which led to subsequent funding by NIDA, NIMH, NICHD, NIAID and the CDC. In 2020, he was the inaugural CDUHR Visiting Scholar.

Dr. Duncan is a Social and Spatial Epidemiologist, studying how neighborhood characteristics and mobility across geographic contexts influence population health and health disparities. His research has a strong domestic focus — including in New York City, Chicago and the Deep South (e.g., New Orleans) — and his recent work is beginning to span across the globe such as in West Africa, especially with Columbia’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP). Methodologically, his research utilizes an ecologically-intense and a geospatial lens to apply geographic information systems, web-based real-time geospatial technologies, and geospatial modeling techniques. Working in collaborations with scholars across the world, he has nearly 200 high-impact scientific articles, book chapters and books; his research has appeared in major media outlets including US News and World Report, Politico, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN. Dr. Duncan’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the HIV Prevention Trials Network, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, and the Aetna Foundation. He currently leads three NIH-funded R01 studies, as well as studies funded by other sources, and mentors K and other awards of junior scientists.

He has received several early career and distinguished scientific contribution, mentoring and leadership awards including from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS). In 2020, he received the Mentor of the Year Award from Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. Dr. Duncan has mentored numerous early-stage scientists, doctoral students, and post-docs who have gone on to attain positions at academic institutions and successfully compete for research funding, including NIH R01-level funding. He thus has a strong perspective on how to ensure junior researchers launch successful research careers.

CDUHR AIDS Seminar – Manuel Cano & Camila Gelpi-Acosta – September 14, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021, 10:30 am-11:30 am
Location: Zoom Webinar
Presented by: Manuel Cano, PhD & Camila Gelpi-Acosta, PhD
Presentation title: Drug Overdose Mortality in Different Hispanic Heritage Groups

Although Hispanics as an overall group experience lower rates of drug overdose mortality than their Non-Hispanic White or Black peers, the overall Hispanic category masks wide variation in risk of overdose mortality. In this presentation, we will compare recent US rates of drug overdose mortality between different Hispanic heritage groups, also examining variation by age, sex, nativity, and specific drugs involved in overdose. In addition to highlighting mortality data, the presentation will also discuss possible explanations and implications for the alarmingly high rates of drug overdose deaths in Hispanics of Puerto Rican heritage living stateside.

manuel-canoManuel Cano is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying racial/ethnic differences in outcomes related to alcohol and drug use, with emphasis on drug overdose mortality.




gelpi-acosta-276x303Camila Gelpí-Acosta is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at LaGuardia Community College. She co-founded and sits on the Board of a syringe services program in Puerto Rico (El Punto en la Montaña) and is also the Advisory Board Chair of Bronx Móvil, a mobile syringe services program in the Bronx. Her research focuses on the disease and overdose vulnerabilities of Puerto Rican PWID residing in Puerto Rico and NYC.