• 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

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and Mount Sinai South Nassau is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai South Nassau are ranked regionally.

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