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Global Collaborations in Harm Reduction: University of Jordan and Yale

January 18, 2023
by Devina Buckshee

From September 19th – 23rd, 2022, five faculty members from the University of Jordan (UJ) traveled from Jordan to New Haven to meet with Yale students and faculty as part of the Yale-UJ Joint Training Program in Addiction Medicine.

In late 2021, faculty from the Yale Institute for Global Health Global Addictions Network and faculty from The University of Jordan School of Pharmacy received a $158,466 two-year grant from the U.S. Department of State to create a joint addiction training program between the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health and the School of Pharmacy at The University of Jordan.

Dr. Srinivas Muvvala, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Program Director for the Addiction Psychiatry Residency at the Yale School of Medicine said, “The purpose [of the program] is to facilitate exchange in the treatment of substance use disorders, foster collaboration between faculty and students to improve addiction-related teaching in both institutions, along with paying attention to cultural competency.”

As the key facilitator of the collaboration, Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood, Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) at the Yale School of Public Health, said that the collaboration started with a broad call for proposals on addiction and to strengthen the collaboration between US and Jordan universities.

Dr. Khoshnood and Dr. Mayada Wazaify had previously worked together. Their collaboration helped strengthen Dr. Khoshnood’s grant application for the Hecht Global Health Faculty Network Award, which he was awarded in the spring of 2022. The grant provided funding to implement stakeholder interviews in Amman, Jordan and New Haven, as Dr. Khoshnood was interested in collecting data on mental health and substance use to turn into a larger project. The Hecht award acted as the catalyst for further study to improve population health and highlighted the fruitful collaboration between the two universities which soon opened the door for more opportunities. Because of the positive relationship with the U.S. embassy, the group was awarded another 2-year grant to develop this collaborative project.

“Our [project] is a capacity-building project. The aim is to increase the amount of training regarding addiction medicine at the University of Jordan and to try to incorporate the guidelines for the treatment of addiction in practice settings in Jordan,” said Dr. Wazaify. She added that the different perspectives on harm reduction and addiction enriched the project.

Dr. Muvvala said that it is vital to foster these global collaborations and bring people together “there is so much to learn from various cultures and positive and negative aspects of health care delivery in other parts of the world.” Dr. Khoshnood added that the nature of global health work is often sensitive and “needs trust and time.”

Dr. Muvvala said that this project was possible because of the Global Addiction Network. “The meeting brought together faculty from the School of Public health, School of Medicine, and other departments. Yale can further invest and support interest groups and collaboration between students and faculty from various specialties, departments, schools within Yale and with other Universities.”

Submitted by Alyssa Cruz on January 19, 2023