Marsha Zibalese-Crawford, an associate professor in the School of Social Work, has been deployed to the Centers for Disease Control to work on the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Heroin Response Strategy, a collaborative effort in 20 U.S. cities including Philadelphia.
Her yearlong assignment is to assess the unfoldment of the CDC’s heroin response strategy, suggest strategies for bringing together public safety and public health, examine the impact and diversity of prevention and treatment resources in high-risk communities, and develop the first evidence-based menu of heroin interventions.
Zibalese-Crawford also serves on a regional opioid task force encompassing a five-county region surrounding Philadelphia, helping counties to learn from one another what interventions are effective in various locations and why. She also is looking for high-level indicators of heroin use across the region. “This will help tell a story about Pennsylvania regarding heroin use,” she says.
According to the CDC, heroin use has more than doubled among adults ages 18 to 25 in the past decade. More than 9 in 10 people who have used heroin also have used at least one other drug, and 45 percent of heroin users were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.
Zibalese-Crawford emphasizes interdisciplinary interventions and approaches to address the opioid crisis. She recently returned from the 4th International Conference on Practice Research in Hong Kong, where she was invited to lead an experiential workshop that demonstrates her research approach: building bridges between stakeholders including community members, healthcare workers, public safety and law enforcement, and government. She also had the opportunity to present on the results of a three-year Bedouin study titled “The Perception of Self and Safety in Bedouin Villages of the Negev,” funded by Cordaid: Building Flourishing Communities in the Netherlands.
“How I see research is in partnership, and it is always community driven,” she says.
Marsha Zibalese-Crawford combines a focus on the needs of women, children, and adolescents with a wide array of experience developing organizational partnerships, both public and private. She is the principal investigator for the Bedouin Women’s Voices Barometer in Negev, Israel, and a co-investigator for the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Temple University translational research on interventions for adolescents in the Juvenile Justice System: TRIALS.
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