The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research’s response to the opioid crisis was first stimulated by Dr. Chris Austin, Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), during a the October 2017 meeting of all Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program in Washington, D.C. Dr. Austin made a call-to-action to address the opioid crisis and develop potential strategies that maximize the special capacities at each CTSA Program hub and of the overall CTSA Program network.

In response, the Irving Institute began an extensive internal environmental scan and brainstorming process and in December 2017, convened a group of over 60 Columbia University experts across the spectrum of opioid research ranging from the mechanisms of pain to community interventions, drug abuse treatment research, neuroscience, implementation research and education. Multiple schools and departments throughout Columbia University have been engaged including Engineering, Nursing, Dentistry, Social Work, Psychology, Business and Chemistry as well as the Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Four working groups developed through the brainstorm and a Steering Committee was formed and convened twice in 2018. The Irving Institute hopes that the Columbia University Opioid Symposium will foster new collaborations among researchers, industry partners, and the community to address the opioid crisis. These new partnerships will facilitate our response to future funding opportunities and implementation of new strategies.
Read our white paper for more details on how we are responding to the opioid crisis.

Working Groups

The four working groups developed through the brainstorm include:
  • improving prescribing and pain management
  • improving addiction treatment
  • improving engagement of community resources
  • facilitating bench to bedside discoveries and translation

If you are interested in joining a working group, please contact irving.institute@columbia.edu


Columbia Opioid Brainstorm – December 21, 2017

On Thursday, December 21, 2017, the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hosted a brainstorm session about the opioid crisis. Experts were convened from across Columbia University (CU), New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), and Northern Manhattan community organizations. Columbia University experts represented the spectrum of opioid and pain research ranging from the mechanisms of pain to community interventions, implementation research, and education for pain and opioid addiction. The brainstorm was held from 11:30am – 2:00pm and featured a pre-meeting lunch (11:30am-12:00pm), an introduction and overview (12:00 – 12:05pm), brief talks from six experts (12:05 – 12:35pm), four individual breakout group sessions (12:40 – 1:30pm), a discussion session integrating all breakout groups (1:30 – 1:50pm), and a closing summary (1:50 – 2:00pm). The following document is a summary of the brainstorm session. When applicable, references are made to corresponding presentation slide sets.
Brainstorm Materials:

Columbia Opioid Symposium – June 22, 2018

On June 22, 2018 the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hosted a symposium to stimulate collaborations among researchers, industry partners and the community to advance new efforts to address the opioid crisis. More than 200 attendees gathered for the Columbia Opioid Symposium titled “New Collaborations Towards New Solutions”.
The day began with plenary talks and presentations from across several domains including local efforts from Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and national efforts from Carlos Blanco from the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) to address the opioid crisis, as well as research updates from Columbia faculty. A networking lunch followed where attendees, including researchers, community leaders and members of industry organizations were able to collaborate and connect. The day ended with two concurrent networking sessions – one focused on business synergies and the other on community engagement. Both of these sessions included presentations from each field and a panel discussion. The community session was co-hosted by the Irving Institute’s Community Engagement Core Resource (CECR), NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia School of Social Work and the Washington Heights Corner Project. The industry session was co-hosted by the Columbia Business School Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program and Columbia Technology Ventures.


Symposium Materials:

Steering Committee:

Suzanne Bakken 
Alumni Professor of the School of Nursing and Professor of Biomedical Informatics

Nigel Bunnett   
Gerald and Janet Carrus Professor of Surgical Sciences

Sandra Comer  
Professor of Neurobiology in Psychiatry

Nabila El-Bassel
Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work         

Bunny Ellerin 
Director, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program

Henry Ginsberg
Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine

Deborah Hasin 
Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry

Elizabeth Hillman 
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology 

Denise Kandel 
Professor of Sociomedical Sciences in Psychiatry

Isaac Kastenbaum 
Director of Strategy, IDS,
New York Presbyterian Hospital

Joel Lavine 
Professor of Pediatrics in the Institute of Human Nutrition

Frances Levin 
Kennedy-Leavy Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Substance Abuse

Guohua Li 
Mieczyslaw Finster Professor of Anesthesiology and Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Anesthesiology 

Nasir Naqvi
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Ed Nunes
Professor of Psychiatry 

James Peacock 
Associate Chief Medical Office, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Harold Pincus 
Professor of Psychiatry (in Health Policy & Management)

Muredach Reilly
Director, Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research