Doctoral students receive NIDA dissertation awards

October 21, 2018

Two epidemiology doctoral students at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health have received two-year R36 dissertation awards from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Sara Levintow

Sara Levintow

Jessica Young

Jessica Young

Jessica Young and Sara Levintow each were awarded $50,000 per year to support completion of their doctoral dissertation research projects in the field of drug use research.

Young’s project, with a Sept. 30 start date, will use University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill EPIC medical records linked to Medicare claims to estimate the effect of a physician’s initial postoperative opioid prescription and the perioperative administration of gabapentinoids, another set of drugs given for pain relief, on risk of long-term opioid use, adverse opioid-related outcomes and mortality across a broad range of surgeries.

She also will estimate agreement between insurance claims and data from patients’ electronic medical records, which will enable, in studies limited to claims- or EMR-only data sources, analyses of quantitative bias.

Levintow, whose grant period began Aug. 1, is investigating the role of depression in HIV transmission among people who inject drugs in Vietnam. She will combine traditional epidemiologic methods with mathematical modeling to estimate the effect of depression on transmission risk behaviors and HIV viral load.
This key population drives the HIV epidemic in many parts of Asia and Europe, and Levintow’s research will quantify the benefits of interventions in potentially preventing HIV transmission.


Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

Recent News