Katie Witkiewitz named director of UNM Center on Alcohol, Substance Use and Addiction : UNM Newsroom

After a nationwide search, Ellen R. Fisher, vice president of research at the University of New Mexico, named Professor Katie Witkiewitz director of the Center on Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Addictions (CASAA). Witkiewitz will succeed J. Scott Tonigan, who will retire effective June 30. Tonigan has served as Director and Acting Director of CASAA since 2017 and has been affiliated with CASAA since its inception in the late 1980s, working with CASAA’s Founder and UNM. Emeritus Professor William Miller.

“My dream is for CASAA to be an organization with a culture of appreciation, openness to diverse research methods and different worldviews, and where every CASAA member is committed to team science, engaged work in the community and the shared vision.” – Katie Witkiewitz, professor at UNM

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Witkiewitz as the new Director of CASAA, an important role at UNM and for New Mexico,” Fisher said. “She brings an excellent track record of funding, publications and mentorship, and I look forward to working with her and the staff and researchers at CASAA to bring one of UNM’s flagship centers to the next level. superior. I truly appreciate all the time, energy and dedication that the members of the Main Campus and Health Sciences Center Search Committee put into making the search for this important position a success.

Witkiewitz was recruited to UNM in 2012 as a tenured associate professor in psychology and a cross-appointment to CASAA. She was promoted to professor in 2017 and regents professor in 2018. She earned her doctorate in psychology in 2005 from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in psychology in 2000 from the University of Montana, and her bachelor of arts in psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1999. Witkiewitz is also a first-generation graduate.

“My lived experience as a first-generation college student, who experienced significant socio-economic and rural disadvantage throughout my childhood, also shaped my commitment to helping the people of New Mexico and my willingness to helping mentees from historically disadvantaged communities succeed and thrive,” she says.

His research program examines and treats substance use disorders, with an emphasis on harm reduction, recovery processes, and the application of advanced quantitative research methods to better understand changes in behavior. alcohol and drug use over time. Witkiewitz is also a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience treating people with substance use disorders and has worked extensively developing, evaluating, and disseminating mindfulness-based treatments for substance use disorders. She trains clinicians to deliver mindfulness-based treatments for substance use in New Mexico, nationally and internationally.

“I am deeply committed to improving access to treatment and improving the quality of treatment for substance use disorders,” Witkiewitz said. “My clinical work and research has focused on prevention, treatment, dissemination and implementation with specialization in the treatment of alcohol use disorders, substance use disorders opioids and polysubstance use, as well as precision medicine approaches for substance use disorders.”

Witkiewitz has published six books, over 265 peer-reviewed publications, and 25 book chapters. Her research and scholarship have been cited over 17,000 times and she has given over 70 invited lectures at national and international meetings. Additionally, Witkiewitz has provided professional training in the United States, as well as in Canada, Brazil and Australia.

Since beginning his career at UNM in 2012, Witkiewitz has submitted more than 80 grant applications to the National Institutes of Health as a principal investigator, co-investigator, or consultant, with 11 applications submitted as a principal investigator. Of these applications, 45 grants were funded and nine of the 11 grants she submitted to UNM as Principal Investigator were funded. Witkiewitz recently co-led a team with Matthew Pearson, associate research professor at CASAA, UNM researchers at CASAA and the Health Science Center, successfully receiving the UNM IMPOWR grant from the National Institutes of Health Center which will focuses on the treatment of opioid use disorders and chronic pain. The UNM IMPOWR Center will provide over $10 million in total costs to CASAA over the next five years.

Witkiewitz said she is focused on the future of CASAA, which has hired several promising early-career researchers and postdoctoral fellows over the past few years.

“We have been working to recruit several new investigators to CASAA, and I want them to have everything they need to succeed as the next generation of phenomenal CASAA investigators who are making major contributions to the field of substance abuse. “Witkiewitz said. “Furthermore, I have personally achieved everything I could have hoped to accomplish as an individual scientist. I see the next phase of my career as ‘climbing lift’ and doing whatever I can to support the incredible group of scientists we have recruited to CASAA in recent years, as well as supporting those who will be recruited in the future through the T32 Training Grant and the UNM IMPOWR Center.

“Katie and CASAA will play an important role in continuing to study the ravages of the opioid overdose epidemic in New Mexico and nationally.” – Ellen R. Fisher, UNM Vice President for Research

Prior to being named Director, Witkiewitz served as Director of Training for a National Institutes of Health T32 Training Fellowship and served as primary or secondary mentor to six postdoctoral fellows and six predoctoral fellows. Four of the postdoctoral fellows and four of the predoctoral fellows she mentored through this project received career development and training fellowships funded by the National Institutes of Health. Witkiewitz currently leads the Grand Challenge of Substance Use Disorders Student Scholars Program, which provides funding to UNM graduate students from multiple disciplines focused on the study of substance use disorders and health equity issues in New Mexico.

“This is a very exciting and important time to be a researcher in the field of addictions and to be a scientist at CASAA and New Mexico. I believe Katie has a unique opportunity to position CASAA to successfully maintain her status as a center at the forefront of addiction research with increased funding for substance use disorders,” says Fisher. “Katie and CASAA will play an important role in continuing to study the devastation of the epidemic of opioid overdose in New Mexico and nationally, as well as the impacts of the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in New Mexico.”

Witkiewitz said she’s okay with it, but that she won’t just maintain CASAA’s status as a leader in addiction research, and that she has her sights set on the CASAA “upgrade”.

“My dream is for CASAA to be an organization with a culture of appreciation, openness to diverse research methods and different worldviews, and where every CASAA member is committed to team science, engaged work in community and shared vision My long-term goal is for CASAA to be a resource for all New Mexicans, to be strongly integrated into the communities we serve, and to be an international leader in harm reduction research and education,” she said. “My short-term goals are for CASAA to be successful in renewing our T32 Training Grant and UNM IMPOWR Center Grant, and to apply for a larger grant to National Institutes Health Centers over the next two years Dr. Matthew Pearson and I are also currently planning several grant applications for CASAA to serve as a resource for organizations. recovery support organizations in our community and to serve as a coordinating center for further National Institutes of Health-funded research on harm reduction approaches to substance use disorders. .”

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