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Fiellin, play2PREVENT Lab Awarded Grant Through NIH HEAL Initiative

September 30, 2019
by Julie Parry

Lynn E. Fiellin, MD, associate professor of medicine (general internal medicine) and the Child Study Center; and founder/director, play2PREVENT Lab at Yale and the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, was recently awarded a grant through The Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or the NIH HEAL Initiative.

The National Institutes of Health launched the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The NIH HEAL Initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

Fiellin’s project, “A digital intervention to prevent the initiation of opioid misuse in adolescents in school-based health centers,” will be run through the play2PREVENT (p2P) Lab at the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games. The p2P Lab focuses on the use of “play,” in the form of videogame play, for the purposes of health promotion, risk reduction, social good, and educational interventions. p2P harness videogame technology to create engaging and effective methods to convey information and teach skills that lead to behavior change, translating to healthier and safer lives.

“This funding is critically important to support our work with adolescents and deterring opioid misuse,” said Fiellin. “By working with our partners at the national School-Based Health Alliance (SBHA) and Schell Games, this project holds the potential of significantly impacting the area of prevention in adolescents and expands on our Lab’s 10 years of building and evaluating video game interventions to improve the lives of adolescents and young adults.”

Five faculty within the Department of Internal Medicine won awards as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, which funded 75 grant awards across 41 states in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis. Fiellin’s grant falls under the “Preventing At-Risk Adolescents Transitioning into Adulthood from Developing Opioid Use Disorder” category within the NIH HEAL Initiative.

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

The p2P lab is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019. To learn more about the lab, visit play2Prevent.

The Section of General Internal Medicine is one of the eleven academic sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about their work, visit General Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Julie Parry on September 30, 2019