Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)
Exploring the health and social impacts of cannabis use during an ongoing opioid crisis among people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver, Canada
Graduate trainees and post-graduate-level fellows are invited to express their interest in working on two funded studies involving the health of marginalized people who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada:
1. The AIDS Care Cohort to evaluate Exposure to Survival Services (ACCESS): This United States National Institutes of Health-funded open observational prospective cohort follows more than 1,000 people who use illicit drugs and are living with HIV in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In this study, data from regular behavourial interview is confidentially linked to comprehensive HIV clinical data (e.g., antiretroviral therapy dispensations, HIV viral loads, etc.) allowing for longitudinal investigations into the links between prevalent behavioural and social/structural exposures, clinical exposures, and disease outcomes. With more than fifteen years of follow-up, 10,000 interviews and hundreds of thousands of clinical datapoints, the study is a poewrful platform for retrospective and prospective analyses. Studies using ACCESS data have been published in a wide variety of journals (including AIDS, Clinical infectious diseases, BMJ, and Addiction) and have made important contributions to the science of HIV disease progression, HIV treatment and care among people who use drugs and addiction medicine. ACCESS, alongside its sister cohorts (the Vancouver Injection Drug User Study and the At-Risk Youth Study) have provided valuable research and training opportunities to dozens of research and clinical trainees. Graduate trainees and post-doctoral fellows will have a strong background in analytic epidemiology with experience in longitudinal analyses and infectious disease an advantage. They will be expected to develop analyses and write first-author publications in collaboraton with the principal investigator, study statisticians, and co-investigators.
2. Generalizable Experiments in Medical Marijuana and Addiction (GEMMA): The GEMMA project aims to generate urgently-needed evidence on whether and how cannabis can beneficially address drug-related harms during the ongoing opioid overdose crisis. These controlled trials will evaluate the risks/benefits of cannabis use identified in observational research among people who use drugs living with chronic pain, trauma, or substance use disorders. Under the direction of the principal investigator and supported by an advisory panel of scientists, clinicians, and people with living experience, these trals will test the effect of intentional cannabis use on outcomes such as illicit opioid use, exposure to fentanyl, accidental overdose, retention in treatment for substance use disorders, and experiences of cravings, withdrawals, and pain. These investigator-initiated trials are fully funded through an arms' length gift to the university from Canopy Growth, a licensed producer of cannabis. Graduate trainees and post-doctoral trainees will have a strong background in analytic epidemiology, with expertise in clinical trial design an analysis an advantage.
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The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.