Dr. Emily Rothman, professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), has been selected to participate in Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leadership development program that equips and connects leaders across the country to address systemic inequities and find solutions to pressing national health challenges. Through the program, RWJF aims to build a “culture of health” in every community across America so that every person has the opportunity to reach their best health and well-being.
Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program supports engaged and innovative research, in which participants explore a problem and apply a solution in real time, to make an immediate positive impact in the leaders’ home communities. The three-year program provides participants with annual support of up to $25,000 and a one-time research grant of up to $125,000 per team.
Dr. Rothman will serve as the community leader in Washington County, Vt., where she lived for three years, from 1994 to 1997. Her research team partners are Dr. Rebecca Stone, assistant professor of sociology at Suffolk University, and Ms. Diane Kinney, coexecutive director of CIRCLE, a domestic violence shelter in central Vermont. A BUSPH MPH student will join the project as a research assistant.
The team will focus on a project that will benefit survivors of intimate partner violence who are struggling with opioid use disorder and poverty in rural Vermont. According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2016, there were 101 opioid-related overdose deaths in Vermont—a rate of 18.4 deaths per 100,000 persons and higher than the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons.
“Memories of the women and children who came to stay in the shelter have stayed with me for more than 20 years, and their experiences are what have inspired me,” Dr. Rothman says.
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