Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Around the Globe

A Speaker Series

This workshop, hosted jointly by the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery and Brigham Health Program in Opioid and Pain Innovation (POPI), aims to bring together stakeholders and scientists from different countries to examine and showcase a number of practice-based approaches and public health policies from around the world that address opioid use disorder and opioid-related overdoses and deaths. See below for the speaker lineup for each session and their accompanying bios. Registration details can be found here.

Tuesdays | June 1, 8, 22, 29, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 8:00 - 9:00 AM


BWH Logo          Center for Global Health Delivery    Program in Opioid and Pain Innovation Logo


The United States & Canada

Deepa Avula, MPHDeepa Avula, MPH
Former Director, Office of Financial Resources
Substance Abusre and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Deepa Avula is a senior executive with over 20 years of experience in issues related to behavioral health policy, programming, budget and data at the federal level. Most recently, Ms. Avula served as the Chief of Staff and Chief Financial Officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the agency charged with addressing behavioral health in the country. She had direct responsibility for overseeing the successful execution of the agency's $10B budget for mental and substance use disorder prevention and treatment. Ms. Avula was instrumental in leading the agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic including securing additional funding for behavioral health providers across the country. Ms. Avula began her federal career in the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment where she was responsible for overseeing the performance measurement, evaluation and quality improvement of substance use disorder treatment programs nationwide.

Mark Tyndall, MD, ScDMark Tyndall, MD, ScD
Professor, University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health

Dr. Mark Tyndall is a Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health. He is an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist with a focus on urban health, drug use and harm reduction. He was formerly the Executive Director of the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Deputy Provincial Health Officer. His current work includes innovative solutions to prevent overdoses and the adverse health outcomes of drug use. Dr. Tyndall is a strong advocate and leader for public health in Canada and has fostered a number of community-based collaborations that have led to health policy changes. Building on years of clinical experience and research work in harm reduction, his main goals are to establish a safer drug supply and work to change drug policy.


Robert Heimer, PhD

Robert Heimer, PhD
Professor, Yale University School of Public Health

Robert Heimer is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University School of Public Health and a Professor of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Heimer has spent three decade conducting research at the intersection of infectious diseases and substance abuse. Areas of investigation have included syringe exchange and other harm reduction programs, HIV and hepatitis C survival in syringes, overdose prevention and resuscitation, and treatment of opiate use disorder. This work, conducted in domestic and international settings, seeks to provide prevention and healthcare practitioners with information needed to assist their educational and advocacy efforts. 

190John Hamilton, LMFT, LADC
President and CEO, Liberation Programs


John Hamilton is the president and CEO of Liberation Programs, having previously served as the agency’s Vice President of Clinical Services and Senior Vice President from 1996-2006. He is nationally recognized as an expert in the field of addiction treatment and prevention, and brings three decades of experience to his role as President and Chief Executive Officer. John chairs the advisory board for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and serves on the Governors Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. Previously, John was the Chief Clinical Outreach Officer at Mountainside Treatment Center, a nationally acclaimed drug rehabilitation center with locations in New York and Connecticut. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Recovery Network of Programs, a non-profit behavioral health agency serving the Greater Bridgeport Community. John is Past Chair of the Dissemination Committee for the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network, Past Chair of the Community Treatment Providers Caucus, Past President of the Southwest Connecticut Mental Health Board, Past President of the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals, and co-Founder of the Greenwich Father’s Forum. He has consulted for NIDA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA).

South Africa & Portugal

Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson, MPH
Advance Access and Delivery

Michael Wilson is the Executive Director of AA&D South Africa and the Global Harm Reduction Lead for AA&D. He is a co-founder and Director of the Bellhaven Harm Reduction Centre, Durban, South Africa’s first comprehensive harm reduction center.
Michael also works to establish and support existing partnerships across AA&D’s global TB, harm-reduction, and refugee health projects and activities. In his current role, Michael is supporting the rollout of a service delivery grant to integrate screening and linkage to care for TB and non-communicable diseases in Durban, South Africa.

Steve RollesSteve Rolles, MA
Transform Drug Policy Foundation


Steve Rolles is Senior Policy Analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation, a UK based charity focused on drug policy and law reform analysis and advocacy, where he has worked for 20 years. Steve is lead author on a range of Transform publications including 2009’s ‘After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation’, 2013's 'Regulating cannabis: A Practical Guide', and 2020 'How to regulate stimulants, a practical guide'. Steve has been a regular contributor to the public debate on drug policy and law; in the media, at UK and international events, in various UN and Government forums, and has been published in The Lancet, The BMJ, Addiction and The International Journal of Drug Policy. Steve has served as an adviser for the Uruguayan, Canadian and Luxembourg Governments on cannabis regulation, and was lead drafter and technical coordinator for two reports for the Global Commission on Drug Policy.


Germany & United Arab Emirates

Heino Stover

Heino Stöver, PhD
Professor, Social Scientific Addiction Research, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences

Heino Stöver is a social scientist, PhD and Professor of Social Scientific Addiction Research at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences in Germany, Faculty of Health and Social Work. Since 1987 he has been director of the Archive and Documentation Centre for Drug Literature and Research at the University of Bremen (www.archido.info). He is the president of the national umbrella organisation working on harm reduction for drug users, called akzept e.V. (Bundesverband für akzeptierende Drogenarbeit und humane Drogenpolitik;
www.akzept.eu). Since 2009 he is the director of the “Institute of Addiction Research” (Frankfurt-university.de/isff).

Heino Stöver’s main fields of research and project development expertise are health promotion for vulnerable and marginalized groups, drug services, prison health care and related health issues (especially HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, drug dependence, and gender issues), and the potential of e-cigarettes. His international research and consultancy expertise includes working as a consultant for the European Commission, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Health Organization (WHO), European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Open Society Institute (OSI) in various contexts.

He has published several articles in peer reviewed international journals and books on preventing and treating infectious diseases adequately (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STIs, and TB), opioid substitution programmes (including the provision of heroin) in the community and in prisons, and general health care issues. He is co-founder of the International Journal of Prisoner Health (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Heino_Stoever).

Heino Stöver has gained project experiences by participating in and leading of several projects in the European Union, Africa, Central Asia, and Asia (https://twitter.com/HeinoStoever).

Hesham ElarabiHesham Elarabi, PharmD, PhD
Consultant, National Rehabilitation Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Dr. Hesham Elarabi is a consultant at the National Recovery Center in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emriates. He brings over 20 years of experience in mental health treatment and research. He has overseen landmark clinical trials, like the Suboxone Treatment and Rehabilitation Trial (STAR-T), in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences, King’s College London. START has set the stage for a paradigm shift in the treatment of opioid use disorders and has facilitated safe access to opioid assisted treatment (OAT). Previously, Dr. Hesham held many roles, including head of health education, research, and studies and contributed to establishing school and family based prevention programs and social mobilization. He has contributed to policy, advocacy and legislative amendments and contributed to the transformation of treatment and care services within the UAE. Dr. Hesham has also established key capacity-building programs, including the Diploma in Applied Psychological Skills in collaboration with Maudsely International and College of Medicine and Health Sciences-UAE University.


Australia & Malaysia

Paul Dietze, PhDPaul Dietze, PhD
Program Director, Behaviours and Health Risks, Burnet Institute

Professor Paul Dietze is one of Australia’s leading alcohol and other drug epidemiologists with a significant national and international profile. With over 20 years’ experience he is one of the leading researchers in the alcohol and other drug sector in Australia with an extensive history of significant and innovative research into the impact of alcohol and other drugs in the community. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, Professor Dietze is currently supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellowship. He has been awarded a large number of competitive grants from funding bodies such as the NHMRC for work that has had significant impact, particularly in the area of opioid overdose. He has been involved in work examining naloxone for the reversal of heroin overdose since 2000, and was part of the Guidelines Development Group whose work underpinned the guidelines for community management of opioid overdose produced by the WHO in 2014.

Vicknasingam Balasingam Kasinather, PhDVicknasingam Balasingam Kasinather, PhD
Director, Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Vicknasingam B Kasinather is currently Director and Professor of Addictions at the Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia.  

His research is focused on understanding and developing behavioral interventions for people who use drugs. He conducts behavioral surveys to identify treatment gaps and barriers for people who use drugs. His research also focuses on the integration of substance use treatment with other medical services. Currently, he is the Malaysian principal investigator of a nationwide 5-year study entitled “Implementation of seek, test, treat and retain strategies among people who inject drugs in Malaysia” funded by the National Institute of Health US.

Since 2015, he has been member of the Scientifc Advisory Committee of the World Drug Report, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Vienna. In 2014 the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) USA presented the Award of Excellence in International Collaborative Research to Marek Chawarski from Yale University and Vicknasingam for their collaborative research work.

He is also an EXCO member of the newly formed, International Society for the Study of Emerging Drugs (ISSED) based in Europe and is Associate Editor of the society’s recently launched journal “Emerging Trends in Novel Psychoactive Substances and the Health Consequences”.