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PhenX Substance Abuse and Addiction (SAA) Project

Background

The PhenX (Phenotypes and eXposures) Toolkit (www.phenxtoolkit.org) is a catalog of well-established, standard measures of phenotypes and exposures recommended for research studies with human subjects. The PhenX Toolkit includes 21 research domains (fields of research). PhenX measures that are relevant to substance abuse and addiction (SAA) research are included in several research domains, including 14 measures in the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Substances domain, four measures in the Cancer domain, three measures in the Respiratory domain, and one measure each in the Reproductive Health, Oral Health, Environmental Exposures, and Infectious Diseases and Immunity domains. The Toolkit is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) through a cooperative agreement with RTI International, with additional support provided by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

To expand the depth and breadth of SAA-related measures in the PhenX Toolkit, the SAA project was launched in early 2011, with support from NIDA. As a result of the SAA project, a “Core” Collection and six “Specialty” Collections were selected by the SAA Scientific Panel (SSP) and SAA Working Groups (WGs), respectively. Altogether, 43 new measures in support of SAA research were added to the Toolkit. The “Core” Collection contains SAA measures that are recommended as highly relevant for all SAA researchers. The 19 measures in the “Core: Tier 1” Collection are highly recommended, and take approximately 10 minutes to administer. The 8 measures in the “Core: Tier 2” Collection are also highly recommended, but require a greater time commitment.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Scientific Panel (SSP)

To provide guidance, the SSP, composed of Dr. Kenneth Sher (Chair) and nine other academic and Federal government scientists, was assembled to select and define the initial scope of the following six areas of research in the SAA field using a consensus-building process:

  • Assessment of substance use and substance use disorders
  • Substance-specific intermediate phenotypes
  • Substance use-related neurobehavioral and cognitive risk factors
  • Substance use-related psychosocial risk factors
  • Substance use-related community factors
  • Substance use-related comorbidities and health-related outcomes

For each of these research areas, the SAA WGs selected consensus measures to include in the six corresponding “Specialty” Collections. SSP members served as liaisons to the WGs, providing on-going guidance through the consensus-building process to identify well-established SAA measurement protocols. The SSP was also charged with constructing the “Core” Collection from measures in the research domains as well as new measures released by the SAA project.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Working Groups (WGs)

Three SAA WGs (WG1, WG2, and WG3) were assembled to select consensus measures for each of two “Specialty” Collections. The SAA WGs were composed of seven to nine scientists with expertise in the two selected specialty areas, two SSP liaisons, an RTI WG supervisor, and an RTI WG manager. The SAA WGs were tasked with selecting up to eight measures for each specialty area. Inclusion of PhenX measures will make it easier for investigators to compare results from different studies and to combine data sets to create larger sample sizes, thus increasing statistical power and the ability to detect more subtle and complex associations among variables.

The SAA WGs and the SSP used a variation of the standard PhenX consensus-based process to select measures for inclusion in the Toolkit. This process included consideration of input from the scientific community prior to final deliberations. All SAA measures were added to the Toolkit in February 2012.

PhenX SAA Senior Management Team

Kevin Conway, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Deborah Maiese, MPA
Consensus Coordinator


Carol M. Hamilton, PhD
Principal Investigator

Amanda Riley, PMP
Project Manager

Tabitha Hendershot, B.A.
Co-Investigator, WG3 supervisor 

Erin Ramos, PhD, MPH
Project Scientist 
Dana Hancock, PhD
SSP Coordinator, WG1 Supervisor
Marcia Scott, Ph.D.
National Institute on 
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Wayne Huggins, Ph.D.
Investigator, WG2 supervisor

Lisa C. Strader, BS, MPH
Co-Investigator 

Heather Junkins, MS
Scientific Program Analyst 
 

PhenX SAA Funding Organizations

National Human Genome Research Institute

Erin Ramos, PhD, MPH
Project Scientist               
Heather Junkins, MS
Scientific Program Analyst

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Kevin Conway, PhD
Deputy Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research

 

Information and materials about PhenX are posted at www.phenx.org or www.phenxtoolkit.org

 

 

 

 

 

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