Oregon Social Learning Center receives $9 Million grant to create Translational Drug Abuse Prevention Center

August 14, 2014

Eugene, Ore.—The Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC), in collaboration with the University of Oregon, New York Foundling, and the University of Southern California, recently received a $9 Million grant from National Institute of Drug Abuse to launch the Translational Drug Abuse Prevention Center (TDAP). The grant is one of the largest ever received by OSLC.

The project, led by scientists Drs. Patricia Chamberlain (OSLC) and Phil Fisher (University of Oregon), includes ten other scientists from OSLC and its partner organizations, who will collaborate to create a national resource for cutting-edge, multidisciplinary, innovative research with studies spanning from basic science to implementation research in U.S. child welfare systems. Children and adolescents involved in child welfare are among the most disadvantaged individuals in American society and are at greatly elevated risk for drug use and related problems including delinquency, teen pregnancy, poor physical and mental health, homelessness, incarceration, and HIV-risk behaviors.  Moreover, long-term follow up studies show that even with existing community-based services, for many children involved in child welfare these problems prove intractable in to adulthood.

“This research will have high potential impact on shaping future science, practice, and policy,” Chamberlain says.  “We will build upon a foundation of more than 25 federally funded studies in child welfare that have been conducted at the Oregon Social Learning Center.”

The TDAP extends the researchers’ previous work in three research project areas:

Project #1 is aimed at developing a comprehensive understanding of the neural basis of risk-taking behaviors for adolescents in the child welfare system.  This work could shed light on how to decrease long-term vulnerabilities.

Project #2 focuses on preventing HIV-risk behaviors and on factors that go in to intimate partner selection choices in high school girls.  This project builds on existing OSLC intervention work previously done with middle school girls.

Project #3 studies the implementation of two OSLC-developed, evidence-based parenting models delivered by New York City case workers to foster, kinship, biological, and adoptive parents involved in the City’s child welfare system.  Currently OSLC scientists are working with more than 200 case workers who serve more than 2000 children and families in that system.
The Translational Drug Abuse Prevention Center is a National Institute of Drug Abuse Center of Excellence.  Centers of Excellence are selected because they have outstanding innovative science, and serve as national resources to provide educational/ outreach activities to drug abuse research communities, educational organizations, the general public, and policy makers.  The Center will also support the development of carefully selected small-scale studies designed to lead to innovative, new independent research projects led by early career, and minority researchers in the area of prevention of drug abuse and HIV-risk in the CWS.  An external Advisory Board is comprised of leaders, policy makers, and experts in CWS.