Kickoff Event in Washington D.C. Highlights Rutgers’ Innovations in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Drug Use and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders

November 2018

On November 9th, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) faculty Dr. Denise Hien and Dr. Lesia Ruglass, and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Skye Fitzpatrick, threw a kick-off event with collaborators from the Medical University of South Carolina and the Research Triangle Institute. Hosted at the 34th annual International Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress convention in Washington D.C., this event marked the kick off of the Virtual Clinical Trials (VCT) study for alcohol and other drugs (AOD) use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD). The VCT study is a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism R01-funded study that will synthesize disparate data from 50 existing AOD/PTSD treatment studies (resulting in a total of 4,544 study participants) to examine the relative efficacy of different AOD/PTSD treatments. Such an undertaking is important because PTSD and AOD use disorders are frequently co-occurring. Individually, they each pose significant public health problems, which are substantially exacerbated by their comorbidity. Therefore, led by a team of experts in AOD/PTSD treatment and clinical trials design from Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies (Hien (MPI) & Ruglass), Research Triangle Institute (Morgan-Lopez (MPI) & Saavedra), Medical University of South Carolina (Back, Brady & Killeen) and Columbia University (Campbell), the VCT study will use three novel and sophisticated data analytic approaches- meta-analysis of individual patient data, integrative data analysis, and propensity score weighting- to provide clear and definitive recommendations regarding which AOD/PTSD treatment is optimally effective. It will also indicate whether specific individuals are more or less likely to benefit from specific treatments, and whether the mechanisms of change in these treatments are similar or distinct.

To mark the significance of this undertaking to the advancement of AOD/PTSD treatment, principal investigators from all 50 VCT studies were invited to the kick-off in Washington D.C. At the kick-off, this critical mass of AOD/PTSD treatment researchers were able to connect, network, discuss new lines of collaboration and inquiry, and learn more about the launch of the VCT study for AOD/PTSD.

This event was the first of a series of efforts to bring together researchers from all over the world who study the treatment of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol and other drug disorders (AOD). It also reflects a step towards advancing Rutgers’ role as a central site of research collaboration and innovation in the AOD/PTSD treatment field.

Click here for more event photos.

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