NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has announced the 2021 recipients of the Avenir Awards for HIV/AIDS research. The Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Use Disorders and HIV/AIDS supports creative early-stage investigators who wish to pursue innovative research at the nexus of substance use and HIV/AIDS. Awardees receive up to $375,000 per year for 4 years to support their projects. The Avenir Awards program (“Avenir” is French for "future") was created to provide funding to early-stage investigators whose work will inform the future of addiction science and interventions.
The 2021 Avenir Award recipients are:
Matthew Akiyama, MD, MSc
Dr. Akiyama is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and physician-investigator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Akiyama’s research project, Leveraging HCV Phylogenetic Networks to Prevent HIV and Other Blood Borne Infections Among People Who Inject Drugs, will characterize hepatitis C virus phylogenetic networks to identify people who inject drugs who are highly central in injection networks and model the impact of targeted approaches to prevent HIV and other blood-borne infections in Kenya, East Africa.
Hansel Tookes, MD, MPH
Dr. Tookes is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. His research focuses on innovative interventions to improve health outcomes in people who inject drugs. Dr. Tookes’ Avenir Award-supported project, Tele-Harm Reduction for Rapid Initiation of Antiretrovirals in People who Inject Drugs, seeks to engage people who inject drugs into HIV care by bringing healthcare out of the traditional healthcare system and leveraging syringe services programs (SSPs) as trusted venues to deliver telehealth-enhanced access to antiretrovirals, medications for opioid use disorder, and hepatitis C cure.
Dr. Tookes was a featured presenter during the July 2021 EHE Quarterly Stakeholder webinar on the impact of syringe services programs (SSPs) to end the HIV epidemic. Read a re-cap and view the webinar recording.
Visit NIDA’s website for more information about the Avenir Awards.