2023 Symposium on Substance Use Research

November 07-09, 2023

Virtual 2023 Symposium on Substance Use Research

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About the Symposium

The annual Symposium on Substance Use Research (SOSUR) focuses on leveraging research, knowledge, and insight on substance use from across the country. This year it will be held on November 07-09, via Zoom. The virtual format will include expert keynotes, panels, and research presentations on a wide variety of substance use topics (see below for the agenda.) There is no cost to attend and it is open to the public.

2023 SOSUR will be co-hosted by:


About our Partnership

In September 2019, two newly funded COBREs (the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose at Rhode Island Hospital and the Rural Drug Addiction Research COBRE at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) began small efforts to collaborate with one another, with the intention of increasing access to research around substance use and addiction science more broadly. This started with phone calls between Center PIs and administrators and quickly expanded to shared programming, as we saw synergies across almost all areas of our work. Our early goal to share information across COBREs has grown into a significant partnership that includes hosting joint seminars, events, workshops, trainings, and our annual symposium.

During the organization of our first virtual symposium in 2020, a third collaborator emerged and the symposium expanded to include the expertise and support of an IDeA-CTR: the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI). In planning for our second virtual symposium in 2021, the COBRE for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation (CADRE) at Brown University and the West Virginia INBRE joined as symposium sponsors. Their addition expanded our efforts to include all three types of IDeA-funded programs and increased opportunities to collaborate on substance use-focused research and intervention development across our institutions. We are excited to announce that the 2023 Virtual Symposium on Substance Use Research will again include participation from these five partners.

We are appreciative to all of the faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to this joint endeavor and who have engaged in this knowledge-sharing effort. We hope that this partnership will increase future collaborations across our programs and continue to grow our collective memberships as we build on the resources and expertise that the COBRE, CTR and INBRE programs provide. We look forward to expanding these partnerships, as we grow our successful IDeA-State collaborations with other centers across the US in the coming years.


The Symposium Agenda

Pre-Symposium Activities: Tuesday, November 07, 2023

10:00am – 11:00am CT (11:00am –12:00pm ET)
Pre-Symposium Workshop - Designing Effective Preventions/Interventions and Considerations in Clinical Trials
This virtual workshop will include discussion on various aspects of designing successful clinical trials focused on preventions and interventions. Panelists will draw from their experiences to provide insights on the coordination of effective programs, considerations regarding community participation and sampling, and reflections on planning trial infrastructure and sustainability. The panel will also discuss some specific considerations in designing clinical trials, including factors to consider in developing grant applications, key features of clinicaltrials.gov reporting requirements, and the importance of translational impact when disseminating clinical trial findings.

  • Headshot of Judith Feinberg

    Judith Feinberg, MD

    E.B. Flink Vice Chair of Medicine for Research and Professor of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry and Medicine/Infectious Diseases at the West Virginia University School of Medicine

  • Headshot of Melissa Walls

    Melissa Walls, PhD

    Bloomberg Associate Professor of American Health at Johns Hopkins University and Co-Director of the Center for Indigenous Health

  • Headshot of LaTrice Montgomery

    LaTrice Montgomery, PhD
    Research Associate Professor in the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

  • Headshot of Todd Davies

    Todd Davies, PhD
    Associate Director of Research and Development for the Division of Addiction Sciences at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine


Day One: Wednesday, November 08, 2023

9:00am – 10:00am CT (10:00am – 11:00am ET)
Keynote 1

Stacey Sigmon Profile Photo title=

Stacey Sigmon, PhD | "Expanding Addiction Treatment in Rural Areas: Experimental and Implementation Science Efforts"
Dr. Sigmon is a Professor in the University of Vermont's Department of Psychiatry, with a secondary appointment in Psychology. In this presentation, she will share her recent and ongoing scientific efforts to develop and evaluate innovative platforms for delivering opioid agonist treatment to individuals with OUD, including primary and secondary outcomes from her recently-completed two randomized trials evaluating a technology-assisted buprenorphine protocol for use with rural-residing patients. She will also provide an overview of the implementation science efforts taking place through the UVM Center on Rural Addiction.


10:30am – 11:30am CT (11:30am – 12:30pm ET)
Panel Discussion on Health Impacts of State Policies, Drug Decriminalization and Service Access
In the US system of government, individual states have wide authority to create drug policies that can profoundly impact health. In this session, panelists will examine the evolving range of state-level policy responses that address substance use, addiction, and overdose. Taking up issues such as syringe service programs, overdose prevention centers, Medicaid expansion, and treating incarcerated populations, they will discuss where approaches adhere to, or depart from, the best available research. Panelists will suggest research agendas and partnerships that can help states protect and improve the health of people with substance use disorders.

  • Headshot of Brandon del Pozo

    Brandon del Pozo, PhD

    Assistant Professor in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

  • Headshot of Roberto Abadie

    Roberto Abadie, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Headshot of Sheila Vakharia

    Sheila Vakharia, PhD
    Deputy Director of Research and Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance

  • Headshot of Steve Davis

    Steve Davis, PhD
    Associate Professor of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership at West Virginia University

12:30pm – 1:30pm CT (1:30pm – 2:30pm ET)
Poster Session
This will be an energetic, fast-paced session showcasing a multitude of projects in substance use research.


Day Two: Thursday, November 09, 2023

10:00am – 11:00am CT (11:00am – 12:00pm ET)
Keynote 2

Nii Addy Profile Photo title=

Nii Addy, PhD | "Addressing Substance Use and Misuse with Neuroscience, Advocacy, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Tools"
Dr. Addy is the Albert E. Kent Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and the inaugural Director of Scientist Diversity and Inclusion at Yale School of Medicine. He will present research findings on the brain biology of substance use and misuse, and consider these findings in the context of community, belonging, diversity, equity and inclusion approaches. Dr. Addy will also discuss the power of integrated mental health approaches that combine insights from neuroscience and psychology with considerations of faith, culture, and social justice.


11:30am – 12:30pm CT (12:30pm – 1:30pm ET)
Short Research Presentations 1
This session will feature research presentations, 10-15 minutes each, on various topics relating to substance use.

1:00pm – 2:00pm CT (2:00pm – 3:00pm ET)
Short Research Presentations 2
This session will feature research presentations, 10-15 minutes each, on various topics relating to substance use.

2:30pm – 3:30pm CT (3:30pm – 4:30pm ET)
Panel Discussion on ACEs, Stress, Trauma and Substance Use
This virtual panel will focus discussion on the interplay of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), stress, and trauma with substance-related attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes. Panelists will provide insights into current trends in the literature by discussing identified gaps in our understanding of how ACEs, stress, and trauma influence one another and increase risk for substance misuse. The panel will also discuss important considerations in designing rigorous studies focused on ACEs, stress, and trauma, including the importance of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and rural/urban locations.

  • Headshot of Alex Mason

    Alex Mason, PhD

    Professor of Child, Youth, and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Headshot of Lesley Cottrell

    Lesley Cottrell, PhD

    Professor at West Virginia University

  • Headshot of Frankie Tack

    Frankie Tack, MS
    Service Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Mental Health and Addiction Studies Program at West Virginia University

  • Headshot of Adriana Espinosa

    Adriana Espinosa, PhD
    Associate Professor of Psychology at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York

This event is supported by the Rural Drug Addiction Research COBRE at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln [P20GM130461], the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose at Rhode Island Hospital [P20GM125507], the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute [5U54GM104942], the WV-INBRE at Marshall University [P20GM103434], and the COBRE Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation at Brown University [P20GM130414]. All are funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.