NYU Silver School of Social Work Associate Professor Ellen Tuchman has joined New York University’s Substance Abuse Research Education and Training (SARET) program, a 10-year, $2.8-million education project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
Based at NYU’s School of Medicine, Professor Marc Gourevitch, chairman of the medical school’s Department of Health, is the project’s principal investigator, and Tuchman will join in the role of co-investigator as SARET now enters its sixth year.
An interdisciplinary collaboration that also includes the NYU College of Nursing and NYU College of Dentistry, SARET educates health professional students about addiction and the fundamentals of clinical research. The program exposes graduate students to the field of substance abuse early in their education in an effort to encourage and prepare them for careers in clinically oriented substance abuse research. Tuchman’s addition to the team will ensure that social work students will be formally trained in the field of clinical substance abuse research.
In the sixth year of the NIDA/NIH grant, the SARET team will work to expand the program to social work students and create a pilot program that disseminates the curriculum to other health professional schools across the country. The program uses learner-directed, web-based learning modules hosted by NYU faculty. A subset of students participates in a summer-long program centered on an intensive substance abuse-related research experience paired with faculty mentors engaged in this area of research.
“Social work has been deeply involved in the clinical care of substance abusers and their families; however, substance abuse-related research conducted by and for social workers is limited in quantity and impact,” said Tuchman. “The NIH Roadmap emphasizes the need to train an interdisciplinary workforce, drawn from the fields that treat people dealing with substance abuse. The Silver School of Social Work is now taking up this research training challenge.”
Tuchman’s program of NIH-funded research is focused on two interrelated areas: 1) the feasibility of expanded access to methadone treatment through existing primary care health settings and 2) the health, mental health, and HIV risk-taking behavior of opiate dependent women in methadone treatment and other harm reduction programs. Her current research focuses on women’s self- vs. partner-injecting drug practices and HIV risk. Tuchman’s long-term goal is to develop effective integrated health, mental health, and HIV risk reduction interventions for intravenous drug injecting women. Additional research interests include gender differences in substance abuse treatment, intervention research, and evidence-based mental health practice.