PHC Researcher Dr. Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes receives CIHR New Investigator Award

Dr. Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, CHÉOS Scientist at the Providence Health Care Research Institute and Assistant Professor in UBC's School of Population and Public Health, has received a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for her work in the field of addiction research.

The CIHR New Investigator Salary Award program provides outstanding new investigators with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their independence in conducting health research. With funding granted for five years, this award will assist Dr. Oviedo-Joekes in establishing her Innovation in Addiction Treatment (IAT) research program, which focuses on studying alternative drug addiction treatments to reach and retain vulnerable populations into the health care system.

Based on a previous study, one of the things the IAT research program is testing is whether licensed pain medications can successfully treat the most severe cases of heroin dependency, and is studying how this approach compares to medically prescribed heroin in the ongoing Study to Assess Longer-Term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME). After patients are effectively stabilized with injection treatment, SALOME will determine if pain medication administered as an oral liquid can be used instead of injections.

The IAT research program pays special attention to sub-populations of women and Aboriginal people that have experienced high rates of victimization, including physical and sexual abuse, or violent or traumatic experiences which dramatically impact their health. These treatments might directly benefit the people with the most severe cases of heroin addiction and will also measure the beneficial impacts in their communities as well.

“I am honoured to have received CIHR's New Investigator Award,” Dr. Oviedo-Joekes says, “and I look forward to continuing and increasing our efforts to find meaningful ways to improve addiction treatment, especially for those in our communities who are the most vulnerable.”