Pilot Grant Recipients Receive Funding to Examine Health Disparities Related to the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, HCV, and HIV

Shoshana Aronowitz, Ravi Gupta, Thanh Lu, and Xiao Zang awarded seventh cycle of CHERISH pilot grant funding


July 27, 2021

Profile image of Shoshana Aronowitz

Follow Shoshana Aronowitz, PhD, MSHP, FNP-BC, on Twitter @shoshiaronowitz.

Shoshana Aronowitz, PhD, MSHP, FNP-BC

Shoshana Aronowitz is a family nurse practitioner, community-engaged health services researcher, and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her research examines innovative delivery models to promote equitable access to substance use treatment and harm reduction services, as well as racial disparities in pain management in the context of the opioid overdose crisis. In one of her latest publications, she evaluated a partnership between two community-based organizations and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that provide free mailed naloxone kits and other harm reduction supplies to Philadelphians.

With the guidance of the CHERISH Dissemination & Policy Core Director Zachary Meisel and CHERISH Research Affiliate Laura Starbird, Aronowitz’s pilot project, “An Exploration of Barriers and Facilitators to Buprenorphine Access via Telehealth,” will study low-barrier treatments for substance use disorder and expand healthcare services to marginalized populations who use drugs.

Aronowitz provides opioid use disorder treatment at Prevention Point Philadelphia and Ophelia Health and is a harm reduction community organizer with SOL Collective. She received her undergraduate degree from McGill University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Vermont and University of Pennsylvania. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Clinician Scholars Program University of Pennsylvania site.

Profile photo of Ravi Gupta

Follow Ravi Gupta, MD, on Twitter @rgupta729.

Ravi Gupta, MD

Ravi Gupta is an internal medicine physician and National Clinician Scholars Program fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on evaluating policies on the use of prescription drugs and has been published in several high-impact journals. Notably, his investigation into rising naloxone prices led to congressional investigations of companies that manufacture naloxone.

Under the mentorship of the CHERISH Dissemination & Policy Core Director Zachary Meisel and former pilot grant recipient Austin Kilaru, Gupta’s pilot project, “Adoption of Extended-Release Buprenorphine Monthly Injections for Opioid Use Disorder,” will allow him to further examine the potential of extended-release buprenorphine and how racial disparities influence treatment adherence for people with opioid use disorder.

He received his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University, graduated from Yale School of Medicine, completed his clinical residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Urban Health track, and practices medicine at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center.

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Follow Thanh Lu, PhD, on Twitter @thanh2lu.

Thanh Lu, PhD

Thanh Lu is a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine and a CHERISH Research Affiliate. Lu has robust expertise in conducting economic analyses with a range of data sources including emergency department encounters, hospital discharge records, and surveys. One of her recent publications examined the relationship between recreational marijuana laws and household spending on food and alcohol.

Under the guidance of CHERISH Methodology Core Co-director Sean Murphy and Yiye Zhang, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, Lu’s pilot project, “Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment Paths and Factors Contributing to Health Disparities,” will allow her to identify driving factors that exacerbate health disparities in treatment outcomes related to stimulant use disorder and address the emerging public health concern of stimulant-related overdoses.

Lu received her undergraduate degree from the Clarion University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Temple University with a master’s and doctoral degree in economics.

Follow Xiao Zang, PhD, on Twitter @XiaoZang5.

Xiao Zang, PhD

Xiao Zang is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at Brown University where he has demonstrated expertise in disease simulation modeling, model calibration, and health economic evaluation. Working with his postdoctoral supervisor CHERISH Research Affiliate Brandon Marshall, Zang has led valuable research projects including examining the impact rural syringe service program closures have on the HIV epidemic in Indiana, and the development of a microsimulation model to inform community-level naloxone distribution strategies to minimize opioid overdose fatalities.

With the mentorship of Marshall, Zang’s pilot project, “Improving Health Equity and Naloxone Access Among People at Risk for Opioid Overdose: A Distributional Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Community-Based Naloxone Distribution Strategies,” will offer him an opportunity to evaluate and improve naloxone access for different racial and ethnic groups.

Zang received his undergraduate degree from Southeast University in China and a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California. He earned his doctoral degree in health sciences from Simon Fraser University in Canada.