UC San Francisco professor Marina Tolou-Shams, PhD, a clinician-researcher working to address the opioid crisis as part of the National Institute of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL)® Prevention Cooperative (HPC), reflected on her career journey and research agenda on the latest episode of the Women Leading Prevention Science podcast.
In a recent episode titled "Using Innovative Research to Support Youth in Contract With the Legal System," she discussed her work in developing evidence-based mental health, substance use, sexual, and reproductive health interventions for justice-impacted youth and families. Tolou-Shams is also the vice chair for community engagement, outreach, and advocacy and a deputy vice chair for research in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, director of the UCSF Juvenile Justice Behavioral Health program, and a member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, as well as the director of Community Health Advanced by Next Generation Efforts in San Francisco (CHANGE SF).
The Women Leading Prevention Science podcast series features conversations between two women researchers at the forefront of substance use prevention science. Conversations cover a variety of topics, including work-life balance, challenges breaking into the field, intervening in specific youth populations, and life experiences that fuel a passion for research.
"Prevention really matters," Tolou-Shams told podcast host Jasmine Ramirez during the episode, which was released on Feb. 21, 2023. "...We don't see the impacts of prevention in the same way that we do for immediate intervention, but that doesn't take away the necessity of interventions to prevent substance use for individuals because the long-term impact of that is huge"
"We need to fight for prevention, we need to continue to do this work, and I encourage young people to really think about pursuing this area because it still really, really matters," she continued.
The podcast aims to inspire and inform women researchers, early career investigators, and students in public health about career avenues in prevention science. Additionally, the podcast provides a platform for women prevention researchers to tell stories, share perspectives, and uplift one another in professional and personal pursuits. The HPC is funded by the National Institutes of Health's Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®.
Each episode consists of an approximately 30-minute conversation with two prevention scientists who are investigating strategies to curb adolescent and young adult opioid misuse as part of the HPC. Podcasts for the second series have been released biweekly since January 10. They include discussions of journeys through graduate school, establishing intervention partnerships with the educational system, elevating the voices of indigenous people in research, serving populations of youth who are housing insecure or homeless, allowing your passions to drive your research goals, exploring public health research roles with a federal agency, and much more.
The series is produced and distributed by the HEAL Prevention Coordinating Center (HPCC), part of the HPC, based at RTI. It will be available on most podcast platforms including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Player FM, Podcast Addict, Podcast Index, Stitcher, Overcast, iHeartRadio Podcasts, Castbox, Pocket Casts, TuneIn, Pod Chaser, and Deezer by searching "Women Leading Prevention Science."
About the HPC
HPC supports the development and dissemination of strategies to prevent opioid misuse and opioid use disorder among young people. The HPC consists of 10 research projects and a coordinating center that work across a variety of settings and populations to test preventive intervention strategies. For more information, visit the NIH website.
About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.
About the NIH HEAL Initiative
The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, is an aggressive, trans-NIH effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for harmful opioid use and addiction and enhancing pain management. For more information, visit heal.nih.gov.
About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.
UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including the UCSF Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building; UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.
About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.
The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neurology, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.