Psychology student wins scholarship to study treatments for alcohol use disorders in marginalized populations – URI News

KINGSTON, RI – October 1, 2021 – A PhD student at the University of Rhode Island has been awarded a national grant to examine more effective treatments for alcohol use disorders in underserved populations.

This disparity in the management of certain groups for disorders linked to alcohol consumption is the subject of a study carried out by a doctoral student in the fourth year. student in clinical psychology. Silvi Goldstein received a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award, a two-year grant that will fund her efforts to educate the scientific community about culturally competent treatment, helping to lead to more effective and accessible treatment options for underserved populations. .

The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is a secondary analysis of data collected in a study Goldstein participated in when she was a student at the University of Washington in Seattle. This study, led by Susan Collins, now a professor at Washington State University, looked at extended-release Naltrexone and harm reduction advice as ways to reduce alcohol-related harm and d ” improve the quality of life of people who are homeless and suffer from severe alcohol consumption disorders.

The researchers looked at the typical services participants received at shelters and community health centers, and compared the results among three groups of participants – one receiving only harm reduction therapy; one is in harm reduction therapy and is taking naltrexone, a drug to reduce cravings for alcohol; and one receiving harm reduction therapy with a placebo. Behavioral harm reduction treatment combined with the drug has been shown to reduce alcohol consumption and improve quality of life.

Goldstein will now take the study further, examining whether these improvements are similar across different race and gender groups. It aims to find out whether treatment results vary for underserved populations.

“We know that alcohol use disorders have disproportionate negative effects among racial minorities, particularly among Native Americans and black Americans, who suffer disproportionate damage from alcohol use disorders,” Goldstein said. “Women also suffer disproportionate damage from alcohol use disorders and are also under-studied. If the goal of harm reduction treatment is to reduce harm and improve quality of life, we want to make sure that it works just as well for clients who experience disproportionate harm as, say, white people.

Working with College of Health Sciences professors Nicole Weiss, Sarah Feldstein-Ewing, and Manshu Yang, Goldstein will spend the next two years examining the data to determine the health outcomes of underserved racial and gender populations she target. She ultimately hopes to advise the health community on how to best serve these populations.

“In addition to alcohol-related health disparities, my interests include historical trauma and racial discrimination; also access to resources, ”said Goldstein. “We know that people with more access to resources still drink, but suffer less damage, so we are looking at social inequalities that can contribute to more damage when people consume alcohol. Is it linked to a historical trauma? Is it related to racial discrimination? Is it related to social policy? My opinion is that it’s probably related to all of these things.

In addition to finding answers to these questions, the Kirchstein Prize also aims to teach young researchers how to do it. The two-year award is intended to “enable promising undergraduate students with the potential to become productive and independent scientific researchers.” Goldstein aims to improve treatment outcomes for its underserved populations, while gaining experience to propel his career in academic research.

“My goal for this study is to be able to capture health disparities and inequalities that are racialized and to be able to say how we can best adapt and develop culturally appropriate treatments for underserved people,” Goldstein said. “By educating the scientific community about culturally competent treatments, we can see how we tailor different treatments to make them more accessible and help those who really need them the most. What really motivates me is the social justice aspect, so finding ways to improve racial and health inequalities, and finding ways to create better treatments.

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