Special Populations

Our research seeks to understand the needs of specific underserved populations and ultimately improve the health care they receive.

Our faculty and staff have expertise conducting health services research involving special populations, including refugees, veterans/military service members, people involved in the criminal justice system, and racial and ethnic minority groups. Projects in this area cover a wide variety of topics and utilize diverse methodologies, including qualitative and quantitative methods, program evaluations, community-based participatory research, and public health and health services approaches. 

Current Research Projects

  • A Rigorous Evaluation of the Opioid Intervention Court Strategy- A Public Health Response
    This project aims to rigorously compare the treatment, health, recovery, and justice outcomes of participants in the Opioid Intervention Court (OIC) to those in a traditional drug treatment court. Results from this study will answer key questions related to the translation of the nation’s first “public health court” and will inform future practice and policy to address the ongoing opioid crisis by infusing public health into the public safety and justice system.
  • Evidence Based Case Management Initiative for Adult Drug Treatment Courts in Erie County
    This project enhances case management capacity to accelerate linkage to MAT services and trauma informed services, particularly for those with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness which are often common in low-income minority communities. We employ the MISSION-CJ (Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking - Criminal Justice) recovery support model. 
  • High Risk Critical Time Intervention (CTI)
    Hope of Erie County will use a Critical Time Intervention (CTI) approach to coordinate care and services for justice involved individuals who are identified as high risk with regard to physical and behavioral health care needs (i.e., individuals with co-occurring and/or multiple morbidities). Hope of Erie County will work with clients to identify relevant focus areas, provide linkages to formal and informal support systems, and gradually taper back case management as linkages become stable and enduring. We expect this process will generate improved health outcomes, better integrated health care, and reduced institutionalization including incarceration and hospitalization.
  • Operation: SAFETY (Soldiers And Families Excelling Through the Years)
    Operation: SAFETY is a longitudinal research study which will examine the health and well-being of U.S. Army Reserve/National Guard soldiers and their partners. The purpose of Phase 1 was to explore how reserve soldiers and their partners impact each others’ physical and mental well-being. The knowledge gained from the study can be used to help design interventions that improve the physical and mental well-being of military reserve soldiers and their families. Phase 2 will continue the work of Phase 1, but we will also examine experiences with non-deployment and separation from the military. 
  • Substance Use Disorders Reentry Initiative (SUDRI)
    BestSelf Behavioral Health will expand its treatment services in Erie County's two jails and provide community-based treatment services in a newly established reentry support center in downtown Buffalo called the Service Link Stop (SLS). The goal is to increase the number of participants receiving medication assisted treatment (MAT) as well as cognitive behavioral intervention-based SUD and reentry services. This initiative serves individuals who are released from jails as they transition back to the community, and pre-trial clients and probation clients from Erie County Probation who may have been briefly detained in regional lock-ups and then were released by the courts directly to probation.
  • The Erie County Jail Co-occurring Enhancement Reentry Initiative
    This project adapts the MISSION-CJ evidence-based practice by fully integrating behavioral and medical treatment for jail inmates with criminogenic risk, and substance abuse and mental health needs.
  • The Erie County Law Enforcement & Mental Health Response Program
    This project centers around the planning and implementation of the enhancement and expansion of cross-system collaboration in Erie County to improve public safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who come into contact with the justice system.
  • The Mothers Justice Project
    This research project investigates the experiences of pregnant and parenting women who are also dealing with substance use disorder and justice system involvement. These women face multiple health-related and social structural challenges compounded by stigma. This study addresses the research gap by examining women’s experiences in the justice system in relation to motherhood and recovery from substance use. Findings from this initial exploratory study will be used to develop a larger NIH-funded study and to inform clinical practice and public health policy. 
  • The Opioid Intervention Court Expansion Project
    This project supports the expansion of capacity and access to an evidence-based care coordination model (MISSION-CJ with rapid MAT transport) in the Opioid Intervention Court. We also will expand the capacity of the court over five years.  

Associated Faculty

  • Abdelsayed, Sarah

    Sarah Abdelsayed, MD

    Assistant Professor; Fellowship Program Director of Addiction Medicine

    UB Gateway Building Department of Family Medicine 77 Goodell Street, Suite 220HC Buffalo, NY 14203

    Email: sabdelsa@buffalo.edu

  • Kahn, Linda

    Linda Kahn, PhD

    Research Professor, Primary Care Research Institute

    UB Gateway Building Department of Family Medicine 77 Goodell Street, Suite 220D Buffalo, NY 14203

    Phone: (716) 816-7254; Fax: (716) 845-6899

    Email: lskahn@buffalo.edu

  • Vest, Bonnie

    Bonnie Vest, Ph,D.

    Research Associate Professor

    77 Goodell Street Suite 220 Buffalo, NY 14203

    Phone: 17168167287

    Email: bvest@buffalo.edu