• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Receives Multiple Grants from the National Institutes of Health to Help Conquer the Opioid Crisis

Four Mount Sinai researchers receive grants to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis

  • New York,NY
  • (September 27, 2019)

Four faculty members of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have been chosen to receive research awards as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative (NIH HEAL Initiative), a multi-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid crisis.

Launched in 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and to enhance pain management, the NIH HEAL Initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction. Mount Sinai’s awards are four of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the NIH in fiscal year 2019.

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain, and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

The Mount Sinai faculty members from multiple disciplines who have been chosen to lead the efforts funded by the NIH HEAL Initiative include:

  • Paul Kenny, PhD (Neuroscience), will focus on the development of novel therapeutics for opioid dependence (funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse).
  • Yasmin Hurd, PhD (Psychiatry and Neuroscience), will explore cannabidiol for the treatment of opioid use disorder (funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  •  Veerle Bergink, MD, PhD (Psychiatry), will investigate opioid exposure and neurodevelopment and explore cannabidiol for the treatment of opioid use disorder (funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse; Yasmin Hurd is co-investigator).
  • Jessica Robinson-Papp, MD, MS (Neurology), has received a Mount Sinai infrastructure grant as part of the Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). 

“We are honored to take part in this very important initiative to help conquer the opioid crisis,” says Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, and Director of The Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai, which is one of the world’s premier institutions dedicated to advancing the understanding of brain and spinal cord disorders, and driving innovative approaches to new treatments and diagnostic tests through translational research across multiple disciplines. “Having multiple faculty members across several disciplines chosen to receive these awards is a testament to the outstanding quality of our faculty and reflects the cutting-edge research conducted in our laboratories and clinical programs.”

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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