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CHERISH, a NIDA-Funded Center of Excellence, Renewed to Conduct Studies and Provide Guidance on Health Economic Research

Kathryn McCollister, Ph.D., a professor in the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, has been awarded as subcontract principal investigator on a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant under a 5-year renewal, where she and an interdisciplinary group of experts in health economics, infectious diseases, and health services research will continue to conduct innovative research and provide consultation and training services from the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH).

The center director of CHERISH is Bruce Schackman, Ph.D., from Weill Cornell Medicine. Along with Dr. McCollister Dr. Schackman, researchers from Boston Medical Center/Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania complete the multi-institutional and multidisciplinary leadership core of CHERISH.

CHERISH was founded in 2015 and in the past four and a half years, the center has developed and disseminated health economic research on healthcare utilization, health outcomes, and health-related behaviors that have informed substance use disorder treatment policy, HCV and HIV care of people who use substances. CHERISH has also increased the impact of this research, supporting researchers in addressing the needs of integrated healthcare system providers and payers.

“In this renewal period, we propose to expand our focus to add economic components, develop economic methodologies, and improve knowledge of translation strategies for health outcomes and implementation research that is conducted at the individual, system, and community levels,” Dr. McCollister said.

CHERISH is currently comprised of five cores, including research-oriented cores of methodology, population data and modeling, and dissemination and policy. There are also cores in pilot grants and training, as well as an administrative core.

“The new population data and modeling core will draw on a recent experience of core members in Massachusetts,” Dr. McCollister said. “We aim to promote new approaches to state data linkages for population-level economic evaluations and will support a research consortium that advances simulation modeling methods for these populations.”

The methodology core will continue its highly successful consultation service and will develop and apply methods related to economic evaluation in implementation studies and adaptive interventions.

Adam Carrico, Ph.D. professor and director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Keith Horvath, Ph.D., associate professor in San Diego State University, and Sabina Hirshfield, Ph.D., a principal research scientist at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, for example, recently received funding from NIDA to conduct a randomized clinical trial of a mHealth intervention to improve HIV treatment engagement and viral suppression among men who have sex with men who use stimulants. With input from the CHERISH methodology core consultation service, they were able to include an economic evaluation for the mHealth intervention in for their research plan.

“The input strengthened our application and we look forward to collaborating on this important and timely project that will provide valuable information on both the effectiveness and cost of this mHealth intervention,” said Dr. Carrico.

With the renewed NIDA grant, CHERISH’s methodology core, dissemination and policy core, the pilot grant and training core, as well as an administrative core will also continue to provide services to support expansion and impact of health economics research in the substance use disorder, HCV, and HIV fields. A few of these highly effective services include:

  • Engaging in dissemination science activities that directly assist research teams and further the science
  • Hold bi-annual stakeholder conferences
  • Develop a new knowledge dissemination curriculum
  • Use experts from the other cores and research affiliates to select, evaluate, and mentor competitive pilot grant awardees
  • Conduct new training and mentorship activities
  • Lead a diversity initiative for CHERISH
  • Provide infrastructure and leadership to all cores

Visit CHERISH for more information.

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on July 29, 2020