Thursday, November 10, 2022 11:00am, EST
Extending a helping hand to another

Center Initiatives & Programs


Testing the Effects of an Integrated SUD Training Program (ISTP) in Underserved Communities
People with substance use disorders (SUDs) often have co-occurring mental and physical health conditions, though integrated care is uncommon due to service fragmentation. Furthermore, few health professionals are trained in evidence-based SUD services, especially those treating opioid use disorder in medically underserved communities. To address these issues, a collaboration between Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (project team), Rutgers Center for Prevention Science (evaluation team), and urban and rural community health clinics in New Jersey (implementation sites) was awarded the Integrated Substance Use Disorder Training Program (ISTP) through a $2.575 million federal grant from HRSA in 2021.

The evaluation of the Integrated SUD Training Program is led by Dr. Jamey Lister (PI), alongside the Director and Associate Director of the Center for Prevention Science, Dr. Andrew Peterson (Co-I) and Dr. Kristen Gilmore Powell (Co-I), respectively. This study, through a $425,000 sub-award, will investigate whether the training program changes healthcare utilization and outcomes in the clinical sites and local communities. Multiple and mixed methods will be used to analyze primary data from surveys and focus groups with varied stakeholders and secondary data from electronic medical records (EMR) and community health measures.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Outreach Program

Project Background:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) uses strategic initiatives to achieve its mission of reducing the impact of mental illness and substance misuse on individuals and communities. The Targeted Capacity Expansion: Medication Assisted Treatment Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) program supports two of these initiatives, the Strategic Initiative on Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness and the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative. The New Jersey Division of Mental Health (DMHAS), as the Single State Agency (SSA) for substance use, was awarded a grant to implement MAT-PDOA as the Medication-Assisted Treatment Outreach Program (MATOP) in three communities in New Jersey. DMHAS seeks to expand access to medication-assisted treatment by providing funding for treatment for people who would not be able to access it otherwise, and educating the public, healthcare providers, and the community about medication-assisted treatment.

Evaluation Activities:
The Center for Prevention Science was charged with the creation and selection of data collection materials, collection and management of data, and generation of monthly, quarterly, biannual and annual project reports. The evaluation team at Rutgers partners with DMHAS, and project-affiliated opioid treatment providers to carry out these activities. Activities and project outcomes reported on will include but are not limited to: outreach activities, data collection activities, participant demographics, and participant quality of life.

Evaluation of the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) for High Risk Men of New Jersey

Racial minority men are at high risk for infectious diseases, which may present particular challenges for men with substance use disorders. However, few men receive coordinated treatment for substance use and infectious diseases, and even fewer receive concurrent services for mental health disorders and other psychosocial hardships. To address these issues, a collaboration between the Rowan University School of Medicine (project director), Rutgers Center for Prevention Science (evaluator), and Maryville Addiction Treatment Center (implementation site) was awarded the Minority Aids Initiative (MAI) for High Risk Men of New Jersey through a $2.5 million federal grant from SAMHSA in 2019.

The evaluation of the Minority AIDS Initiative is led by Dr. Jamey Lister (PI), alongside the Director and Associate Director from the Center for Prevention Science, Dr. Andrew Peterson (Co-PI) and Dr. Kristen Gilmore Powell (Co-I). The evaluation, through a $500,000 sub-award, will examine whether the initiative improves service coordination for infectious diseases, co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and recovery coaching among African American and Hispanic men in treatment for substance use. The evaluators will investigate program and client factors that predict performance and treatment outcomes using consumer interview data they manage at multiple time points, as well as help develop data collection tools and study design strategies.

New Jersey Opioid Overdose Recovery Program

In October 2015, the Division of Mental Health Services (DMHAS), the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA), and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) granted funds to five agencies to develop the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP). This program was created to respond to individuals who have been reversed from opioid overdoses and who are afterward treated at hospital emergency departments. The program’s main objective is to link those individuals who have been reversed from an opioid overdose to withdrawal management, substance use disorder treatment, continued recovery support services, and a follow-up.

The program employs the strengths of Recovery Specialists and Patient Navigators to engage reversed individuals and provided recovery support, link them to treatment services, and also follow-up with these individuals for at least eight weeks. Recovery specialists, many of whom are in recovery themselves, are on call for majority of the week and respond to calls from the hospitals as needed.

The program was introduced in five counties in 2016 and six additional counties were added between March and May of 2017. Later in the year, New Jersey was awarded a State Targeted Opioid Response Initiative grant from SAMSHA from which funds were granted to expand OORP to the remaining counties. Between September 2017 and January 2018, nine additional counties were added to the program and the final two counties are expected to begin serving clients in February 2018. 

The Center for Prevention Science was tasked with creating the data collection instruments, collecting and managing the data, generating quarterly and annual reports, and orienting newer providers to all relevant OORP material and procedures.  The OORP team reports to DMHAS on various topics including but not limited to: meetings and state activities, evaluation activities and accomplishments, data collection/management, analysis of survey data, focus groups and key informant interviews. 

Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths Initiative (PDO)

The federally funded Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-related Deaths (PDO) Initiative in New Jersey

A collaboration among New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Rutgers Center for Prevention Science, School of Social Work, and other partners including the Rutgers Division of Addiction Psychiatry and NJ State Police, the Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-related Deaths (PDO) Initiative was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to address the consequences of the increasing rates of opioid misuse. Utilizing real-time data to identify high need communities in New Jersey, the PDO initiative implements multi-strategy prevention interventions including community education to first responders, organizations, and community members; prescriber training using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prescribing for chronic pain; and expanded distribution of naloxone into high need communities throughout the state.

Dr. Kristen Gilmore Powell, associate director of the Rutgers School of Social Work's Center for Prevention Science (CPS), is the principal investigator of the sub-contract with DMHAS, along with Dr. Andrew Peterson, co-principal investigator. Dr. Powell and her team from CPS will engage in a comprehensive evaluation of this statewide project.

Partnerships for Success

Further increasing the capacity and synergy of New Jersey’s substance misuse prevention community, New Jersey’s Division for Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) was granted a Partnerships for Success (PFS) grant in late 2013 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (SAMHSA CSAP), which is being largely implemented by the Rutgers PFS team and the 17 regional coalitions. The Rutgers PFS team was hired to lead the PFS initiatives at the state level, to participate in the federal evaluation, and conduct an evaluation of the community-level efforts. The coalitions will implement the community-level efforts and are required to participate in the federal PFS cross-site evaluation.

Required PFS substance misuse priorities being addressed by all grantees are:

  • Underage drinking among persons aged 12 to 20;
  • Prescription drug misuse among persons aged 12 to 25.

New Jersey is also focusing on substance misuse among:

  • Adults age sixty and older;
  • Returning military members, and;
  • Tobacco use across all populations. In NJ, PFS subrecipients are receiving tobacco prevention technical assistance from the team at the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

PFS key projects at the state-level include:

1) A military veterans survey to assess substance misuse prevalence among this population;
2) Development of a mobile application, called "Be the One," to further the environmental prevention strategies at the community-level;
3) Development of the NJ SEOW website;
4) Infographics to educate and inform the public on substance misuse issues in NJ and beyond;
5) An expanded survey of older adults to assess substance misuse prevalence and consequences of drug use; and
6) An update of DMHAS’ Chartbooks of Social and Health Indicators, used to identify health problems related to substance use and to aid in assessment of needs for services (NJ PFS Annual Performance Assessment and Coalition Process Evaluation, 2016).

Promising Path to Success 2.0

In 2019, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded the New Jersey Division of Children and Families (DCF) a System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant to continue DCF’s ongoing work of building a more trauma-informed, healing centered, youth- and family- driven, statewide Children’s System of Care for New Jersey. The Promising Path to Success 2.0 (PPS 2.0) initiative builds on the successes of the original Promising Path to Success (PPS 1.0) program that began in 2015. The PPS 1.0 program employed trauma-informed training and implementation coaching on the Six Core Strategies (SCS) and the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) in 130 behavioral health out-of-home treatment settings and for treatment providers across the CSOC.

PPS 2.0 expands the work of PPS 1.0 by (1) Implementing SCS and NHA to reduce the number of restraints and other disciplinary incidents at the DCF Office of Education schools and 12 other NJ schools that serve youth with complex behavioral health needs (2) Increasing the number of NHA-trained DCF staff and resource/kinship parents (3) Increasing youth and family engagement within 15 Care Management Organizations, 15 Family Support Organizations, and 15 Mobile Response and Stabilization Services across NJ (4) Increasing child and family participation on the Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council meetings and committees.

The Center for Prevention Science was contracted by DCF’s Children’s System of Care to serve as evaluator for the Promising Path to Success 2.0 initiative. Dr. Cory Morton, Assistant Research Professor, is the Principal Investigator on this project. Dr. Morton and the team at CPS including Loren Greene, Project Coordinator, and Lillian Alexander, Graduate Research Assistant, will evaluate this statewide initiative to document the process, progress, challenges, and outcomes of PPS 2.0.

Prevention Technology Transfer Center

In the fall of 2018, Dr. Kristen Powell (PI and Director), along with Dr. Andrew Peterson (Co-PI and Co-Director),was awarded a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish the Northeast & Caribbean Prevention Technology Transfer Center (Northeast & Caribbean PTTC), covering New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. The Northeast and Caribbean PTTC team provides capacity building and development services to the prevention workforces in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through technology transfer activities, including the delivery of multifaceted, culturally informed training, technical assistance, and research to improve knowledge and skills based on prevention science and evidence-based prevention practices. The Northeast & Caribbean PTTC strives to foster empowerment within the prevention community to employ effective strategies that can help to strengthen the conditions that contribute to societal consequences of substance misuse and population-level behavioral health disparities.

The Northeast and Caribbean PTTC works within a framework of empowerment and organizational capacity, focusing on community level approaches to improving prevention systems, and utilizing collaborative team science within local, state or territory, and national efforts to improve policy and prevention systems to increase positive health outcomes. Our research focuses on identifying prevention workforce capacity needs and readiness to effectively identify, select, and implement promising approaches to address substance use-related challenges and later measuring improved outcomes.

Our team includes Dr. Cory Morton (Co-I), Clare Neary (Project Coordinator), and Emilie Mankopf (Data Manager) as well as many graduate and undergraduate students. We partner with a team at Education Development Center and with Michael Chaple, Director of the Northeast and Caribbean Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC).

For more information, visit the Northeast and Caribbean PTTC website.

Regional Coalition

In January 2012, the Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services awarded grants to 17 regionally-based prevention coalitions around the state of New Jersey, with the goal of implementing the SPF model statewide. This initiative of DMHAS to fund regionally-based coalitions further develops and supports New Jersey's data-driven alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) prevention infrastructure. As a result of the work of the DMHAS Prevention Strategic Planning committee, which was convened in August 2010 to update the state’s strategic plan, the prevention priorities for New Jersey were refined to include a focus on reduced underage drinking, reduced use of illegal substances, with a special focus on the use of opioids among young adults 18-25 years of age, reduced prescription medication misuse across the lifespan, and reduced use of new and emerging misused drugs across the lifespan.

This current initiative with the 17 regionally-based prevention coalitions is intended to strengthen the capacity of New Jersey to implement the SPF model and reduce the harmful consequences associated with ATOD use and misuse in New Jersey’s communities by creating policy and other environmental changes that can result in sustainable improvements in the conditions that cause ATOD use and its harmful consequences. The NJ Coalitions are supported by the New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN), who provide them with training, monitoring, and evaluation.

Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drug Misuse

In 2016, NJ DMHAS was awarded the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drug Misuse (SPF-Rx) state grant from SAMHSA. The NJ SPF-Rx initiative expands interagency sharing of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program data and gives DMHAS the capability to use data analytics to identify prescribers, prescriber groups, and patients at high risk for inappropriate prescribing and nonmedical use of opioid drugs. Informed by the data, DMHAS and its prevention partners will strategically target communities and populations needing services, education or other interventions. DMHAS has recently begun receiving de-identified data from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), SPF-Rx will move towards a more PMP data-driven approach as a result of this project. The target population is youth (ages 12-17) and adults (18 years of age and older) who are being prescribed opioid pain medications, controlled drugs, or HCG, and are at risk for their nonmedical use.

Part of NJ’s efforts will focus on young athletes, since this population may be more likely than non-athletes to receive prescription pain medication for sports related injuries. DMHAS will conduct epidemiological analysis on the NJPMP data and employ geographic information systems (GIS) to identify communities and issues that require targeted interventions and public health initiatives. DMHAS’ Regional Prevention Coalitions will obtain data reports that will inform their planning in local communities. These reports will also be the basis for a public awareness campaign and for training of providers and the health care community on addictions and the risks of opioid prescribing. DMHAS will work with its state and community partners in promoting evidence-based practices on the prescribing opioid analgesics. DMHAS and its partners will use plans to implement soon to be released recommendations of a state workgroup, the Pain Management Council, which will be incorporating the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Medical practitioners and pharmacies will also be involved in efforts to promote awareness of naloxone and its availability. SAMHSA’s Overdose Prevention Toolkit will be used to educate at risk individuals and their families in strategies to prevent opioid overdoses.

State Targeted Opioid Response Initiative

In 2017, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) was awarded a State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis (Opioid STR) grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). New Jersey implemented the grant as the State Targeted Opioid Response Initiative (STORI), which aims to address the growing nationwide opioid crisis by increasing access to treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (OUD). Programs supported by the STORI include:

  • STORI fee-for-service treatment network that provides additional funding for opioid use disorder treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP), which provides recovery support and treatment linkages for individuals reversed from an opioid overdose
  • Support Team for Addiction Recovery (STAR), a program delivered by a community-based group of case managers and recovery specialists which provide case management and recovery support to individuals with opioid use disorder
  • Telephone Recovery Support (TRS), a peer-delivered statewide telephone recovery support service
  • Family Support Centers (FSCs) to support family members of individuals with opioid use disorder
  • Naloxone reversal information packets and naloxone training and distribution
  • Trainings for health care practitioners on best practices for prescribing opioids, non-opioid management of pain, and recognizing addiction in primary care and pain management patients
  • Trainings to expand the use of medication-assisted treatment in primary care and behavioral health care

The Center for Prevention Science is conducting the overall evaluation of the STORI, and is assisting DMHAS with SAMHSA-required data collection and performance measurement.

SURE MatCH Group

The Substance Use Research, Evaluation, and Maternal and Child Health (SURE MatCH) Group

The SURE MatCH Group is a research lab directed by Dr. Qiana L. Brown. Dr. Brown established this lab on October 1st, 2018 at the Rutgers University School of Social Work’s Center for Prevention Science. The SURE MatCH Group conducts research and program and policy evaluation at the intersection of substance use and maternal and child health.

We specialize in:

  • Substance Use Disorder Epidemiology
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Program and Policy Evaluation
  • Health Equity Research
  • Clinical and Translational Science
  • Analyzing Large Datasets
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Mixed-Methods Research

Our vision is to be a leading authority in improving the health and well-being of women, youth, families and communities as it relates to recovery from and preventing substance use disorders.

Our mission is to improve maternal and child health through conducting and disseminating research that informs practices and policies that help individuals, families and communities recover from and prevent substance use disorders. Key to our mission is partnering with communities, scientists, practitioners and policymakers to translate knowledge and develop prevention strategies to promote maternal and child health and prevent problematic substance use.

NIH funding opportunities for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows

February 2020: Research study led by SURE MatCH Group's director, Dr. Qiana Brown, lands in top 5% of all research outputs ever.

October 2019: Dr. Qiana Brown, SURE MatCH Group director, awarded a Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program career development award from the NJ ACTS.

June 2019: Women in addiction interview with the SURE MatCH Group director, Dr. Qiana Brown

June 2019: SURE MatCH Group consultant, Dr. Stephen Crystal, named one of the most influential contemporary social work faculty.

November 30, 2020: The SURE MatCH Group hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on women’s health with Dr. Vivian Pinn, MD. 

November 3, 2020: Dr. Qiana Brown, SURE MatCH Group's director, gave a talk entitled, Prenatal Cannabis Use: Who, When, Where, Why, as part of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research CATALiST Seminar Series.

August 20, 2020: Dr. Qiana Brown, SURE MatCH Group's director, gave the closing remarks at the Association for Women in Science-NJ & RWJ Medical School Women's Health Institute 2nd Annual NJ Women in Health Symposium.

June 18, 2020: Dr. Qiana Brown, SURE MatCH Group's director, hosted the Twitter chat, Dismantling Systemic Racism: The End Game.

January 9, 2020: Dr. Qiana L. Brown, SURE MatCH Group's director, was invited to New Jersey's listening session on maternal health and panel discussion moderated by U.S. Surgeon General VADM Dr. Jerome Adams to contribute to discussions to improve maternal and child health.

December 18, 2019: Dr. Qiana Brown, SURE MatCH Group's director, was a panelist at the Rutgers 2019 Medical Cannabis Symposium. 

September 23, 2019: The SURE MatCH Group’s director, Dr. Qiana Brown, spoke at the New Jersey Department of Health’s Population Health Summit, Maternal Outcomes Matter.


Contact Us
For consultation contact Dr. Qiana L. Brown

The SURE MatCH Group at the Center for Prevention Science
Rutgers University School of Social Work
390 George Street, Suite 508
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-8443

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