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In Memoriam: Dr. Thomas E. Hanlon

Dr. Thomas Hanlon
Dr. Thomas E. Hanlon

Dr. Hanlon had a long and distinguished career in the areas of personality assessment and treatment evaluation. His initial research experience involved conducting clinical psychopharmacological trials largely involving the treatment of schizophrenia and other serious and persistent disorders. During this same period, he also participated in early treatment evaluation studies of the effectiveness of opioid antagonists in the treatment of heroin addiction. The second stage of his involvement in treatment evaluation studies (which involved collaboration with Dr. David Nurco of the Friends Research Institute - Social Research Center) included designing and conducting numerous psychosocial outpatient treatment trials involving adults with substance use disorders under probation and/or parole supervision by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Examining the early developmental experiences of these individuals led to Dr. Hanlon’s interest and involvement in drug abuse prevention studies with incarcerated women as well as with at-risk adolescent minority youth, in community behavioral clinics and subsequently within the public school system. (Dr. Hanlon’s extensive list of peer reviewed publications reflects this transitional aspect of his professional experience.) The latter part of his professional career as a senior investigator also involved the mentoring of junior professional staff at Friends Research Institute (FRI) on the analysis, interpretation, and write-up of prevention research findings, with more recent emphasis on the avoidance of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Originally a Maryland State employee, Dr. Hanlon entered Maryland State service as a research scientist assigned to the research center at Spring Grove State Hospital, which subsequently became the internationally-known Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) following receipt of a Center foundation grant from the federal government. Having obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology from Catholic University of America in 1958, Dr. Hanlon became a faculty member of the University of Maryland Medical School when the MPRC was incorporated into the Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr Hanlon retired from State service in July of 1991.

Dr. Hanlon had a long association with FRI, initially working in conjunction with Dr. Albert Kurland and other founding members in establishing a program of research at Maryland State Psychiatric Center at Spring Grove involving treatment efforts targeting chronic psychiatric illness. During these early years, Dr. Hanlon was the first recipient of educational support from FRI that enabled him to complete his doctoral training. During his long-term association with FRI, Dr. Hanlon served for 11 years as the Chairman of the IRB, served as Principal-Investigator and Co-Investigator of research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Nursing Research, and contributed importantly to the early growth of FRI as a significant non-profit research organization.


FRI Welcomes APRL

Dr. Cathy Reback was recently awarded the Women in Leadership Award

FRi is pleased to announce that Dr. Cathy Reback was recently awarded the Women in Leadership Award by the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for her work with gay/bisexual men and transgender women living with or at risk of acquiring HIV. Dr. Reback was presented the award at the 21st Annual Women in Leadership Awards ceremony on March 23, 2016.

In Dr. Reback’s acceptance speech she stated “I would like to thank the City of West Hollywood and the Women’s Advisory Board for this honor.  I am truly fortunate to do the work that I do, and I am truly fortunate that after 30 years, I still love doing the work I do.  I would like to take a moment to recognize my colleagues who contribute to making the work we do enjoyable and meaningful.  To my staff at Friends Research Institute, the frontline staff, the field workers, counselors, and Project Directors who work every day with our participants, many of whom suffer from substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and multiple health disparities including homelessness, you have my gratitude and my deep respect.”


FRI Welcomes APRL

Friends Research Institute is pleased to announce that the Addiction & Pharmacology Research Laboratory (APRL) under the leadership of Drs. John Mendelson and Gantt Galloway has recently joined FRI. The Addiction & Pharmacology Research Laboratory uses the tools of psychology, pharmacology, and cognitive science to understand the impact of non-medical drug use and to find better treatments for addiction. It develops innovative methods for conducting clinical trials and measuring the effects of drugs on the mind and body. Its research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, private industry, and generous donors.  FRI welcomes Dr. Mendelson, Dr. Galloway, and their research staff.


2014 FRI Awards

FRI recently held its biennial Awards Reception at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Inner Harbor in Baltimore.  During the reception several awards were presented to successful nominees.

The main award of the evening was the FRI Daniel Mendelsohn New Investigator Award.  Nominees for this award are new investigators who show future promise, evidenced by commitment and achievement in research activities that address prevention, treatment or education issues during the early stage of their research careers. 

Jan GryczynskiJan Gryczynski, Ph.D., Research Scientist, who began his career at FRI in 2006, was nominated for this award by Dr. Robert Schwartz, Medical Director/Senior Research Scientist.  Dr. Schwartz stated that “[Dr. Gryczynski] is one of the smartest young investigators I have had the pleasure to collaborate with during my career” and “I cannot think of a single grant application or paper in which Jan was involved that he has not made considerably better though his creative and intellectual rigor, his hard work, focus, and his passion to improve the lives of others through science.”  It was with great enthusiasm that FRI awarded Dr. Gryczynski with the 2014 FRI Daniel Mendelsohn New Investigator Award

The FRI Mentoring Award was also awarded.  Eligible nominees for the FRI Mentoring Award are Principal Investigators associated with FRI who encourage, enhance, and mentor scientists who are new to the field. The mentor assumes the role of a trusted friend and advisor to the new researcher.

Robert P. Schwartz, M.D., Medical Director/Senior Research Scientist, who began working at FRI in 2000, was nominated for this award by Dr. Jan Gryczynski, Research Scientist.  Dr. Gryczynski stated that “Working with Robert has been a transformative experience that has greatly accelerated my development as a researcher and allowed me to flourish professionally and intellectually.”  It was with great pleasure that FRI awarded Dr. Schwartz with the 2014 Mentoring Award.  Dr. Schwartz also received this award in 2008 when he was nominated by Dr. Shannon Mitchell, Senior Research Scientist.

Eligible nominees for the Friend of Friends Award are individuals (who may or may not be employees) whose outstanding work has improved the lives of people spiritually, mentally, and physically, and reflect the mission of FRI, or whose work on behalf of FRI supports FRI in the fulfillment of its mission.

Arethusa KirkArethusa Kirk, M.D., F.A.A.P., Pediatrician and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Total Health Care, was nominated for this award by Dr. Shannon Mitchell, Senior Research Scientist.  Dr. Mitchell stated that “In developing community-centered research studies, it is rare to find a physician leader such as Dr. Kirk who has the vision, energy, and commitment to support the successful implementation of clinical research projects.”  It was with great delight that FRI awarded Dr. Kirk with the 2014 Friend of Friends Award.

Eligible nominees for the FRI Employee Service Award are FRI employees who have had many years of service with FRI, exhibit outstanding work performance as well as dedication and loyalty to FRI, and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Jane Ellen GannodMs. Jane Ellen R. Gannod, Payroll Administrator/HR Assistant, who began her career at FRI in 2001, was nominated for the FRI Employee Service Award by Ms. Michele Hipsley, Chief Operating Officer.  Ms. Hipsley stated that “Jane has demonstrated a strong work ethic, willingness to go over and above the call of duty, and immense dedication to her position and the FRI organization over the course of her employment.”  It was with great pleasure that FRI awarded Ms. Jane Ellen R. Gannod with the 2014 FRI Employee Service Award.



The connection between New Year's resolutions and a landmark study regarding heroin addiction among returning Vietnam War veterans.

Jerome JaffeRead a 2012 NPR article that refers to FRI Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Jerome Jaffe, about a connection between New Year’s Resolutions and the landmark study about heroin addiction among returning Vietnam War veterans commissioned by Dr. Jaffe and led by the late Dr. Lee Robins.
[ What Vietnam Taught Us About Breaking Bad Habits ]


FRI Named Top Workplace 2014

TOP Workplaces 2014Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2014. This is FRI’s fourth year in a row for making the list. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program continues to be based upon feedback from employee surveys, of which FRI received high ratings from its employees. FRI is honored to be included for a fourth year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!


FRI Named Top Workplace 2013

TOP Workplaces 2013Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2013. This is FRI’s third year in a row for making the list. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program continues to be based upon feedback from employee surveys, of which FRI received high ratings from its employees. FRI is honored to be included for a third year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!


COG Analytics Website Debut

COG AnalyticsFRI is pleased to announce the debut of the COG Analytics website, indicated on the FRI homepage by a new tab. Founded in 2012, through a partnership with FRI, COG Analytics is a research and technology company committed to identifying and addressing the social and environmental determinants that contribute to poor health outcomes. The company’s focus is on the development of technologies that are designed to promote healthy behaviors.


Dr. Frank Vocci Delivers Annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture

Frank VocciFrank J. Vocci, President and Senior Research Scientist at FRI, delivered the annual Andrew G. DuMez Memorial Lecture at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy on April 8, 2013. His lecture, titled “The Interplay of Dose and Dosage Form in the Development of Medications to Treat Addictive Disorders,” examined the evolution of pharmaceutical treatments available to individuals with substance abuse disorders, particularly those addicted to opioids, including illicit drugs such as heroin and prescription painkillers such as oxycodone.
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s website.


FRI Named Top Workplace 2012

TOP Workplaces 2012Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2012. This is FRI’s second year in a row for making the list. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program continues to be based upon feedback from employee surveys, of which FRI received high ratings from its employees. FRI is honored to be included for a second year in a row and to work with such a great group of employees!


New Senior Research Scientist Joins FRI

Jami ObermayerFRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Jami Obermayer, formerly the Director of Research at PICS, Inc., has accepted a position as a Senior Research Scientist at FRI. Dr. Obermayer has been conducting small business innovation research for the past nine years and has been the Principal Investigator for projects focused on health-related behaviors, including smoking cessation, drug and alcohol monitoring, diet and exercise, HIV prevention and intervention, and cancer risk factor monitoring. FRI is extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Obermayer to FRI and wishes her a prosperous career with the organization.




New Research Scientist Joins FRI

Erica PetersFRI is pleased to announce that Dr. Erica Peters has accepted a position as an Assistant Research Scientist at FRI. Dr. Peters is a clinical psychologist specializing in treatment efficacy, human laboratory, and natural history studies for marijuana and tobacco cessation. Her research aims are to: (1) enhance behavioral interventions for marijuana dependence, (2) identify factors that interfere with marijuana cessation, (3) understand the combined effects of marijuana and tobacco use, and (4) promote tobacco cessation among high-risk populations. Dr. Peters has provided empirically-supported treatments to adults and young adults with substance and alcohol use disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, insomnia, and pain. From 2006 to 2008, she served on the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board, a state board that oversees the independent evaluation of the Vermont Tobacco Control Program. Dr. Peters received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine. She is licensed to practice psychology in Maryland and is a member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and American Psychological Association. FRI is extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Peters and wishes her a prosperous career with the organization.


FRI President Joins Journal of Addiction Medicine

Frank VocciDr. Frank Vocci has been named as the third Co-Editor of Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). 

Dr. Vocci joins Journal of Addiction Medicine at a critical time, with the journal experiencing such recent changes as inclusion in PubMed, a commitment to increase issue count from four issues to six issues a year, and an addition of electronic publication ahead of print.

FRI congratulates Dr. Vocci on his selection.

See full article regarding Dr. Vocci’s appointment at:
http://www.asam.org/pressroom/read/2012/05/30/leading-clinical-researcher-frank-vocci-joins-journal-of-addiction-medicine


FRI employee, Jan Gryczynski, Awarded Doctoral Degree

Jan GrycynskiFRI is pleased to announce that Jan Gryczynski, Research Scientist at FRI, recently received his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. For his doctoral research, Dr. Gryczynski conducted a national study of on-site HIV testing in nearly 10,000 substance abuse treatment programs across the United States. His research employed multilevel statistical modeling to examine specific organizational, community, and state policy determinants of HIV testing adoption in the substance abuse treatment sector. The study sheds light on the complex interplay between policies, local contexts, and organizational characteristics in shaping the diffusion of an evidence-based service throughout a specialty sector of the healthcare system.

 Dr. Gryczynski came to FRI in 2006 as a research assistant to work on disease prevention issues in American Indian communities. Since then, he has been involved in a number of projects at FRI and is currently working with FRI investigators on several substance abuse health services studies. He plans to continue his work at FRI to identify ways of improving behavioral health services for individuals affected by substance abuse and related issues.


FRI is pleased to welcome Dr. Melicia Whitt-Glover as an Affiliated Senior Research Scientist.

Melicia Whitt-GloverDr. Whitt-Glover is President and CEO of Gramercy Research Group in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is a community-based researcher with background, training, and experience in exercise science and epidemiology. Her research activities include developing and assessing interventions to increase physical activity in racial/ethnic minority communities.

FRI researchers look forward to collaborating with Dr. Whitt-Glover on future research initiatives.



FRI Named Top Workplace 2011

TOP Workplaces 2011Friends Research Institute was recently named to the list of “The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces” for 2011. The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based upon feedback from employee surveys. FRI had a high survey response rate from its employees. Of 115 companies that participated in the program, 75 companies were selected for the Top Workplaces award. FRI is honored to be included, particularly as the judges were our employees!


Dr. Robert Schwartz Presents Findings in Russia

Robert SchwartzFRI is pleased to announce that its Medical Director, Robert Schwartz, M.D., was recently invited by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to present on evidenced-based drug abuse treatment guidelines and his recent research findings at an International Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was held at the Bekhterev Research Psychoneurological Institute on October 25th and 26th, 2011. Dr. Schwartz's presentation was entitled "Evidence-based Addiction Psychiatry: A view from the United States." FRI congratulates Dr. Schwartz for his important ongoing contributions to studying effective approaches to substance abuse treatment.


Dr. Robert Schwartz Invited to Serve on Editorial Board

FRI is pleased to announce that its Medical Director, Robert Schwartz, M.D., was recently invited to serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (JSAT). The Journal features original research, systematic reviews and reports on meta-analyses on addictive disorders, including alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs, and nicotine. Dr. Schwartz's appointment is from 2012-2014.


Dr. Robert Schwartz Invited to Serve As IAS-NIDA Fellowship Mentor

FRI is pleased to announce that its Medical Director, Robert Schwartz, M.D., was recently invited to serve as a mentor for the IAS-NIDA International Fellowship Program. Prospective fellows will be able to choose a mentor in their field of interest and contact the mentor to discuss the possibility of working on a specific research project. Dr. Schwartz will act as a mentor for prospective fellows in the 2012 Round.

The application for the stipend of US $75,000 for an 18-month post-doctoral training or an eight-month long professional development training will be open from December 8, 2011 to February 10, 2012. Fellows will be selected by mid-April 2012. They and their mentors will be invited to the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C. July 22-27, 2012. The fellowships will be officially awarded at the conference and there will be additional activities planned for fellows at the conference.

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