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The HEAL Initiative

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, is an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Almost every NIH Institute and Center is accelerating research to address this public health emergency.

HEAL Data 2 Action (HD2A) Program

The HEAL Data2Action (HD2A) Program supports Innovation and Acceleration Projects that make data more real-time and useful to accelerate the implementation of evidence-based interventions for opioid use disorder and pain management. HD2A supports efforts across the four pillars of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy: Primary Prevention, Harm Reduction, Evidence-Based Treatment, and Recovery Support. HD2A also includes three Support and Resource Centers that each play a unique and essential role in transforming the way opioid use disorder treatment and pain management are delivered.

RASC

The Research Adoption Support Center (RASC) uses D&I science to improve the scalability and sustainability of evidence–based practices for opioid use disorder and pain. The RASC team supports Innovation and Acceleration Projects to increase and sustain effective evidence-based practices in substance use prevention, treatment, and pain management. In collaboration with the MERC and DISC, the Center also engages voices from the field in order to inform the work of the Innovation Projects. Lastly, through a series of rapid research projects, RASC addresses the barriers that hinder individuals and institutions from using evidence-based practices within their settings.

In the future, RASC will publish resources and materials:

  • Substance use disorder and pain management evidence-based practice summaries
  • A collection of strategies to overcome financing and other policy barriers to scaling up medications for opioid use disorder
  • Simple and practical tools to select, engage, co-design, and co-produce programs with key partners from outside the research team; evaluate factors that affect the implementation of evidence-based practices; track implementation strategy use over duration of a study; and document implementation outcomes (reach and adoption) in non-D&I focused studies

MERC

The Modeling and Economic Resource Center (MERC) supports the Innovation and Acceleration Projects by providing guidance on the application of modeling methods, cost analyses, and behavioral economic strategies. Scientists from MERC develop tools to assist the Innovation Projects in making informed decisions about costs of implementing evidence-based practices/interventions. They also conduct innovative research that highlights the complexities found in implementing evidence-based practices to address the overdose crisis. Through their work, the MERC team aims to contribute to knowledge about how evidence-based practices/interventions can be replicated across systems, communities, and circumstances.

In the future, MERC will post resources and materials including:

  • Cost trackers
  • Results of modeling studies

DISC

The Data Infrastructure Support Center (DISC) provides support, resources, and coordination of all data-related needs for the Innovation and Acceleration Projects. DISC leads meet regularly with the Innovation Project teams to assist them in building capacity for using data to select, launch, and monitor the impact of evidence-based services to address opioid use disorders and pain. DISC also provides seed funding to the Innovation Projects to respond to unforeseen or newly emerging, time-sensitive challenges and opportunities related to data acquisition and use.

In the future, DISC will post resources and materials including:

  • Best practices for developing data dashboards, including graphical literacy
  • Example data management and sharing templates
  • Lessons learned about how to effectively use existing datasets to inform the implementation of evidence-based practices for opioid use disorders and pain management

Publication Library

Posters from the 2023 HEAL Investigators meeting

Sabounchi and Heckmann HEAL conference poster

A qualitative system dynamics model of overdose bystander behavior in the context of Connecticut’s Good Samaritan Laws

Marshall Fryer HEAL PI meeting poster

CADENCE system mapping to improve clinical, community, and patient-centered care

Hoppe HEAL PI meeting poster

Improving pain management and opioid safety through a systemwide, data driven evaluation of the CDC opioid prescribing guideline best practices and the use of Clinical Decision Support: A HEAL Translating Data 2 Action to Prevent Overdose Project

Articles

antecedents

Antecedents of fatal overdose in an adult cohort identified through administrative record linkage in Indiana, 2015–2022

Clinics Optimizing MEthadone Take-homes for opioid use disorder (COMET)

Clinics Optimizing MEthadone Take-homes for opioid use disorder (COMET): Protocol for a stepped-wedge randomized trial to facilitate clinic level changes

Publication Library

Posters from the 2023 HEAL Investigators meeting

Sabounchi and Heckmann HEAL conference poster

A qualitative system dynamics model of overdose bystander behavior in the context of Connecticut’s Good Samaritan Laws

Marshall Fryer HEAL PI meeting poster

CADENCE system mapping to improve clinical, community, and patient-centered care

Hoppe HEAL PI meeting poster

Improving pain management and opioid safety through a systemwide, data driven evaluation of the CDC opioid prescribing guideline best practices and the use of Clinical Decision Support: A HEAL Translating Data 2 Action to Prevent Overdose Project

Articles

antecedents

Antecedents of fatal overdose in an adult cohort identified through administrative record linkage in Indiana, 2015–2022

Clinics Optimizing MEthadone Take-homes for opioid use disorder (COMET)

Clinics Optimizing MEthadone Take-homes for opioid use disorder (COMET): Protocol for a stepped-wedge randomized trial to facilitate clinic level changes