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Haeny Awarded K23 Career Development Award from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

July 29, 2021
by Jordan Sisson

Angela Haeny, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has been awarded a K23 career development award by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Black people who use alcohol experience more alcohol-related consequences and severe disordered use than other racial/ethnic groups, and while Black people who complete treatment tend to have similar outcomes as white people, they are overall less likely to complete treatment and are less likely to be satisfied with that treatment. Haeny’s grant, “Understanding Race-Related Stress as a Mechanism Associated with Alcohol Craving to Inform Culturally-Adapting Alcohol Treatment for Black Adults,” aims to improve treatment retention and satisfaction, to increase the likelihood that Black people will benefit from treatment.

Stephanie O’Malley, PhD, Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Substance Abuse Research in Psychiatry, will be Haeny’s primary mentor. Co-mentors and collaborators include: Monnica Williams, PhD, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities at the University of Ottawa; Rajita Sinha, PhD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience, and Director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Larry Davidson, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Founder and Director of the Program for Recovery and Community Health; the late Kathleen Carroll, PhD, Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Psychosocial Research; and Ralitza Gueorguieva, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Biostatistics and Director of Biostatistics in Psychiatry.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with so many incredible investigators and to be working with women who are incredibly successful,” Haeny said.

Haeny will accomplish her research by analyzing Sinha’s personalized imagery stress and craving data, and then adapt those procedures to specifically evaluate the impact of race-related stress on alcohol cravings. Then she will develop a culturally-adapted Coping with Craving cognitive behavioral therapy model.

Treatment models historically have not been developed by Black people or people of color in general, and Black adults are typically not considered when developing the models, Haeny explained. She hopes her research will help identify factors not currently being addressed in treatment and that should be considered when enhancing treatment retention among Black adults.

“I’m interested in addressing all racial inequities, but it makes sense to start somewhere and work from there,” she said.

Haeny first arrived at Yale to complete her internship in Clinical and Community Psychology. She initially trained as an alcohol researcher but expanded her to include other substances and shifted her focus toward ways to improve treatment for substance use disorders, with a concentration on Black adults.

“It’s important that the NIH is funding grants focused on subgroups of racially- and ethnically-diverse folks. The fact they’re funding a grant focused on Black adults is not something that typically happens. It’s important and exciting that they’re funding this type of work,” Haeny said.

Submitted by Jordan Sisson on July 28, 2021