UH Moment

UH Moment: “Center for Drug and Social Policy Research”

Drug abuse impacts Latinos and other ethnic minorities disproportionately in the U.S. Still there is little research, few researchers and even fewer entities to train new researchers to study this growing health problem. One center in the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work is working to change that. Listen to this week’s UH Moment.

UH Professor Avelardo ValdezIt is a growing health issue in the Latino population—drug abuse and its related health and social policy issues.  But the number of researchers to pursue studies in this area is few.   The annual Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse aims to develop up and coming scientists.

“We want to increase the quality of research on minority health and health disparities,” said Professor Avelardo Valdez, director of the Center for Drug and Social Policy Research at the Graduate College of Social Work.  “An institute like this focuses on creating a pipeline for young scientists who are following this career path.”

Sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the institute selects pre- or post-doctoral fellows, sharpens research and grant-writing skills and introduces emerging research.  More than a hundred fellows have gone through the program in the last five years.  Their successes in graduation and securing of grants are being tracked. 

“What this institute does is provide an institutional framework to work with these young scientists over a two-year period to increase their capacity through networking and through a mentoring process,” Valdez said.   Four cohorts of 10-12 fellows over the next five years will participate in the program and mentoring process. 

Center for Drug and Social Policy Research logo“We feel that by developing quality young scientists, in the course of their careers, they are going to develop new knowledge in how to address this problem,” he said.   

The Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.