Current Research Projects

Our funded faculty research projects enhance community health and the quality of patient-centered primary care.

  • 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.
  • Advancing Geriatrics Infrastructure & Network Growth (AGING) Initiative
    Using novel analytic methods with systemwide Health Information Exchange (HIE) data, we will explore new risk factors relevant to Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCCs) in older adults. This pilot study is also using a participatory patient-care partner approach to gain insight on MCC patient experiences and ensure the relevance of risk factors developed for future patient-provider interactions.  
  • An Epidemiological Study on the Health Effects and Coke Oven Emissions from Tonawanda Coke
    This project will conduct a 10-year cohort study of 38,000 residents of Tonawanda and Grand Island to examine the health effects of industrial environmental pollutants.
  • Center for Ecosystems Data Integration and Pandemic Early Warning (PIPP Phase I)
    With an interdisciplinary team, including but not limited to biochemists, epidemiologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, we aim to develop and implement a robust system to detect signs of a potential pandemic in our environment and within our populations. Early detection is key to responding to public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic quickly, effectively, and thoughtfully as a community. This requires true partnership and trust among researchers, public health officials, government, and the public. We actively, continuously engage and partner with members of diverse community groups to directly inform each other and provide feedback about what changes in the community should be monitored as part of this predictive system. We consider the unique needs of different communities in the event of a future pandemic to promote community strengths and proactively allocate resources. 
  • Community Health Worker Training Program (CHWTP)
    As part of this collaborative initiative, led by Dr. Renee Cadzow of D'Youville University, PCRI's role is to create an advanced community health worker (CHW) training for workforce in research and in primary care using a participatory approach. This training will follow guidelines set forth by CoNECT: The Community Health Network of Buffalo and the Patient Voices Network.
  • Community-Based Participatory Research for Reducing Medication Harm Among Retirees
    This project works to translate known medication safety evidence into practice for frail elders through system-based interventions that address fragmentation through a variety of innovative strategies for providers to initiate deprescribing of inappropriate medications. Such a focus on patient- or caregiver-initiated deprescribing conversations with their doctors has never before been funded or attempted in the United States.
  • Creative Arts and Healing Among Veterans: Impacts of Community-based Photography Workshops on Veterans’ Well-Being and Quality of Life
    The Odyssey Project: Warriors Come Home uses photography as a tool of community engagement to help veterans explore the journey home from war in a safe space. The goal of the exercises is to help participants consolidate their memories and communicate a narrative of their experiences more comfortably. Using a mixed-methods approach, this project will constitute the first formal evaluation of the Odyssey Project's impact on veterans' social connections, well-being, and quality of life, as well as how veterans describe the experience of participating in the Odyssey Project in the context of reintegration into civilian life.
  • Drug Court Smiles: Addressing Dental Care Equity for Justice-Involved People
    This study addresses gaps in the current scholarly understanding of dental care and oral health disparities among drug treatment court clients by examining dental care utilization, access to care, and self-reported oral health among people in the local drug treatment courts in the 8th Judicial District in Western New York. We will conduct two surveys: (1) a survey of drug treatment court participants’ dental needs and barriers to dental care, and (2) a brief dental needs assessment of the 8th Judicial District drug court coordinators and judges. The results will inform a larger, externally funded grant to improve access to dental care and oral health for justice-involved people in Western New York.  
  • 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. 
  • Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program
    This program will plan, develop and deliver trainings to health care students, residents, professionals, paraprofessionals, trainees, public safety officers and employers of such individuals throughout New York state in rural and medically underserved areas. These trainings will utilize evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies designed to reduce and address burnout, suicide, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders, as well as promote resiliency.
  • Healthy Cattaraugus County: A Drug-Free Community Coalition
    The primary goal of this grant is to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. We will accomplish this by strengthening collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, and federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.
  • Healthy Cattaraugus County: Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act Grant
    Serving as an extension to the strategic action plan of the Drug-Free Community Coalition grant, funds for this project will be used to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth and adults aged 12-20 years. This grant seeks to reduce opportunities for underage drinking while also limiting access to alcohol and expanding enforcement opportunities.
  • 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.
  • Identifying Determinants of Produce Prescription Implementation and Usage
    The chief aim of this grant is to evaluate new and ongoing produce prescription programs being offered at Neighborhood Health Center in partnership with the Massachusetts Avenue Project’s Growing Green Mobile market and FreshFix. This research will use focus groups with patients to help determine barriers and facilitators to program usage at both mobile produce markets and a new delivered produce prescription model. These programs have shown significant promise across the country for improving diet and health and reducing health care costs, particularly for those living in food insecurity or with chronic health conditions.
  • Naloxone Expansion with Local First Responders and Emergency Department-initiated Care Coordination for People Who Use Opioids
    This project works to reduce the number of opioid overdose fatalities by training and supplying first responders and enhancing the connection of first responder rescues to follow-up treatment. The Erie County, NY Department of Health (ECDOH) conducts trainings for first responders and community members on naloxone administration and has distributed naloxone throughout Western New York through numerous channels, including trainings, a Text-for-Narcan line, and wall-mounted boxes that organizations and businesses can keep on their premises as an emergency supply of naloxone.
  • New York State Area Health Education Center System (AHEC)
    The New York State Area Health Education Center (NYS AHEC) was founded by the UB Department of Family Medicine, and PCRI is home to the statewide office of the NYS AHEC system. NYS AHEC enhances access to quality health care across New York. It was created to improve health care outcomes by addressing the health workforce needs of medically disadvantaged communities and populations through partnerships between the institutions that train a diverse, culturally competent primary care workforce and the communities that need them most.  
  • 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. 
  • Patient-Driven Medication Safety Learning Laboratory in Care Transitions
    This AHRQ-funded initiative aims to better understand barriers and facilitators to preventing, identifying and resolving medication safety problems in transitions across levels of care within the healthcare system. We will utilize a combination of patient and caregiver surveys and interviews, workflow analyses, and insights from clinical data. Following data collection and synthesis, we will work with patients, providers, and staff from across the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) and with the Community Advisory Board to design prototype interventions to overcome medication safety problems for older adults during transitions of care.
  • Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Training Primary Care Champions
    This program develops and implements an advanced training program for currently-practicing primary care providers to become leaders of health care transformation and education, with a special emphasis on population health approaches to addiction medicine.
  • 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 Early Diversion Enhancement Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Disorders
    This project seeks to enhance and expand an existing Erie County, NY Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model for pre-booking diversion of adults with co-occurring disorders in partnership with police departments and treatment networks. We aim to increase the number of individuals experiencing a crisis due to serious mental illness who are diverted from the criminal justice system and towards community-based treatment resources, as well as the number of law enforcement officers trained in CIT practices. Diverted individuals receive long-term case management care, and behavioral health outcomes are tracked over the duration of their involvement with the program.
  • 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.  
  • The UB Family Medicine Residency Training Program in Behavioral Health Improvement
    This five-year program aims to create an interprofessional team to train family medicine residents in the integration of behavioral health and primary care. Our enhanced training program emphasizes the implementation of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) protocol into primary care clinical settings and expands both clinical and didactic learning experiences in behavioral health. We are preparing our residents to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to our local communities struggling with mental health and substance use in their critical role as family doctors.
  • UB Clinical Scholar Program in Implementation Science to Achieve Triple Aims
    The UB Faculty Scholar Program in Implementation Science is an institutional research career development (K12) program that supports mentored research and career development for faculty scholars in dissemination and implementation (D&I) research to address the complex process of bridging research and practice in real-world settings.