Opioid Crisis Response

The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research’s response to the opioid crisis was first stimulated by Christopher Austin, MD, Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), during the October 2017 meeting of all Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program hubs in Washington, DC. Dr. Austin made a call-to-action to address the opioid crisis and develop potential strategies that maximize the special capacities at each CTSA Program hub and of the overall CTSA Program network.

In response, the Irving Institute began an extensive internal environmental scan and brainstorming process and in December 2017, convened a group of over 60 Columbia University experts across the spectrum of opioid research ranging from the mechanisms of pain to community interventions, drug abuse treatment research, neuroscience, implementation research, and education. Multiple schools and departments throughout Columbia University have been engaged including engineering, nursing, dentistry, social work, psychology, business, and chemistry, as well as Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Four working groups developed through the brainstorm and a steering committee was formed and convened twice in 2018. The Irving Institute hopes that these efforts will foster new collaborations among researchers, industry partners, and the community to address the opioid crisis. These new partnerships will facilitate our response to future funding opportunities and implementation of new strategies.

Read our white paper for more details on how we are responding to the opioid crisis.

Working Groups

Four working groups were developed through the brainstorm:

  • Improving prescribing and pain management
  • Improving addiction treatment
  • Improving engagement of community resources
  • Facilitating bench to bedside discoveries and translation

Contact us if you are interested in joining a working group. 

Funding Initiatives

NIH's HEAL initiative has numerous funding opportunities. For more information and to subscribe to its listserv, visit NIH Heal Initiative Funding Opportunities.

Federal and Non-Federal Opportunities in Opioid Research contains additional opportunities, updated in real-time, from Pivot, a funding opportunity database. For more information about Pivot, see Find Funding using Pivot


Columbia Opioid Brainstorm – December 21, 2017

On Thursday, December 21, 2017, the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hosted a brainstorm session about the opioid crisis. Experts were convened from across Columbia University (CU), New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), and northern Manhattan community organizations. Columbia University experts represented the spectrum of opioid and pain research ranging from the mechanisms of pain to community interventions, implementation research, and education for pain and opioid addiction. The brainstorm was held from 11:30am – 2:00pm and featured a pre-meeting lunch (11:30am-12:00pm), an introduction and overview (12:00 – 12:05pm), brief talks from six experts (12:05 – 12:35pm), four individual breakout group sessions (12:40 – 1:30pm), a discussion session integrating all breakout groups (1:30 – 1:50pm), and a closing summary (1:50 – 2:00pm). 

Columbia Opioid Symposium – June 22, 2018

On June 22, 2018 the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hosted a symposium to stimulate collaborations among researchers, industry partners and the community to advance new efforts to address the opioid crisis. More than 200 attendees gathered for the Columbia Opioid Symposium titled “New Collaborations Towards New Solutions”.  The day began with plenary talks and presentations from across several domains including local efforts from Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and national efforts from Carlos Blanco from the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) to address the opioid crisis, as well as research updates from Columbia faculty. A networking lunch followed where attendees, including researchers, community leaders and members of industry organizations were able to collaborate and connect. The day ended with two concurrent networking sessions – one focused on business synergies and the other on community engagement. Both of these sessions included presentations from each field and a panel discussion. The community session was co-hosted by the Irving Institute’s Community Engagement Core Resource (CECR), NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia School of Social Work and the Washington Heights Corner Project. The industry session was co-hosted by the Columbia Business School Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program and Columbia Technology Ventures.

Steering Committee

  • Suzanne Bakken, Alumni Professor of the School of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Informatics
  • Nigel Bunnett, Gerald and Janet Carrus Professor of Surgical Sciences
  • Sandra Comer, Professor of Neurobiology in Psychiatry
  • Nabila El-Bassel, Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work
  • Bunny Ellerin, Director, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program
  • Henry Ginsberg, Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine
  • Deborah Hasin, Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry
  • Elizabeth Hillman, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology
  • Denise Kandel, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences in Psychiatry
  • Isaac Kastenbaum, Director of Strategy, IDS, New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Joel Lavine, Professor of Pediatrics
  • Frances Levin, Kennedy-Leavy Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Substance Abuse
  • Guohua Li, Mieczyslaw Finster Professor of Anesthesiology and Professor of Epidemiology
  • Nasir Naqvi, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Ed Nunes, Professor of Psychiatry
  • James Peacock, Associate Chief Medical Office, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Harold Pincus, Professor of Psychiatry (in Health Policy & Management)
  • Muredach Reilly, Director, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research