Our Commitment to Advancing Racial Equity in Health Economics and Substance Use Research


April 1, 2021

Text on image says, "Our Commitment to Advancing Racial Equity in Health Economics and Substances Use Research"

A Message from the Director

There is ample research that points to one glaring truth: Black, Indigenous, and People of color, also referred to as BIPOC, are disproportionally harmed and disenfranchised because of substance use policies rooted in systemic racism. We know inequities also exist in academic settings that support funding opportunities and career advancement for economists and substance use researchers.

As researchers who focus on informing policies and treatments that impact people who use substances, the Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH) recognizes our position and responsibility to advance racial justice for populations affected by substance use.

CHERISH joins the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and our NIDA-funded colleagues in sharing our commitment to creating pathways in our work that will challenge discriminatory narratives of substance use and help BIPOC professionals succeed in substance use health economics research.

We also recognize that fostering diversity and inclusion is an ongoing commitment. The work calls for us to examine biases in the research we conduct and the support we provide to researchers. CHERISH Investigators will look to NIDA, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Economic Association to inform our diversity initiatives. We will implement more inclusive research practices and support BIPOC investigators in accordance with these goals:

  1. Cultivate a community of researchers that includes the diverse perspectives and experiences of our society with regards to race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and socio-economic background.
  2. Recruit, train, and engage students, trainees, and early-stage investigators from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and perspectives to conduct health economics research that focuses on substance use. CHERISH will conduct targeted outreach and address barriers faced by historically underrepresented groups to conducting health economics research on substance use disorders and HCV and HIV care of people who use substances.
  3. Incorporate a racial and ethnic equity perspective across the research process – development of the research question; study design and implementation; and interpretation and dissemination of results – and use economic methods to examine how substance use policies and treatments affect groups that have been marginalized.

I share this commitment with you today and on our website and look forward to sharing updates in the coming months as we implement this initiative.

On behalf of the CHERISH leadership,

Bruce R. Schackman, PhD, MBA
CHERISH Director