The University of Arizona Health Sciences Career Development Awards program recently selected Bridget Murphy, DBH, MEd, an assistant research professor of health promotion sciences at the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, as one of its five 2023 recipients.
Dr. Murphy said she feels “incredible” receiving the award. “The fact that UArizona Health Sciences Research Administration and the Zuckerman College of Public Health agreed to co-sponsor this award tells me they value investing in early career faculty to conduct research to achieve the UArizona mission to educate, innovate and tackle our world’s greatest challenges. Addressing pain and addiction is a public health priority in the United States,” she said.
CDA scholars must complete an independent research project, which is expected to generate sufficient pilot findings to enable the submission of an NIH K-series or R01 grant (or equivalent) by the second year of the program. Each scholar also must choose a lead mentor, or mentors if the project is multidisciplinary.
Dr. Murphy and colleagues at the Center for Rural Health developed an Opioid Stewardship Program strategy guide and implementation process for critical access hospitals. “OSPs are multi-component organizational strategies designed to address pain; reduce opioid misuse through judicious and appropriate prescribing and monitoring practices; and provide treatment for those who develop an opioid use disorder,” she said. “However, there are gaps in our understanding of OSP implementation barriers and facilitators within culturally and linguistically diverse rural health care settings.”
The CDA was awarded to address this gap by offering continuing education about OSPs and examining health care leadership perceptions of implementation fit, acceptability as well as training and technical assistance needs in Arizona rural health care settings. It will also assess readiness to implement OSPs to address pain and addiction among health care professionals.
“The long-term goal is to use these findings to develop an R01 within the University of Arizona Health Sciences’ unique strengths and infrastructure in rural health, pain and addiction to improve the health and quality of life of Arizonans,” Dr. Murphy said.
“Dr. Murphy is an outstanding behavioral scientist strongly committed to health equity and the implementation and dissemination of evidence based behavioral health programs for addiction,” said Patricia Haynes, PhD, an associate professor of public health with additional appointments in psychiatry and psychology, and Dr. Murphy’s mentor. “I am very excited to collaborate with Dr. Murphy on this impactful implementation project that has great potential to reduce opioid misuse on a larger scale.”
“Dr. Haynes is an expert in translational science,” Dr. Murphy said of her mentor. “She has a solid track record of research funding and is well connected to other experts across the country. Plus, Dr. Haynes has a mentoring style that encourages critical thinking and collaboration using a strength-based approach. I’m certain, through Dr. Haynes’s support I will receive the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to develop a research portfolio that aims to accelerate implementation of science into practice through effective and acceptable strategies. Additionally, the support I receive from the Arizona Center for Rural Health and Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center are invaluable to this research.”
The CDA program was established by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences in 2014 to provide research training and funding for early-career faculty members and foster academic careers in clinical and translational research. Each year, the recipients of the two-year award receive 75% protected time for research, plus salary support and funding for research-related activities and travel.
Other recipients of the 2023 CDA are:
- Lauren Benton, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine – Tucson
- Kellen Chen, PhD, assistant research professor of surgery at the College of Medicine – Tucson
- Hongxu Ding, PhD, assistant professor of translational pharmacogenomics at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy
- Tobias Jakobi, PhD, assistant professor of internal medicine at the College of Medicine – Phoenix