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Addiction Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) 2009 Conference

Wednesday, October 28, - Friday, October 30, 2009
Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco, CA
450 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Hotel Rates: $164

To be placed on a registration waiting list, please contact Matt Trojnar at


About AHSR 2008

The 2008 Addiction Health Services Research (AHSR) conference will convene at the Hyatt Harborside, Boston, Massachusetts on October 20-22. AHSR welcomes researchers, practitioners, and policymakers interested in health services research as it relates to drug and alcohol dependence, as well as the intersection with mental health and other behavioral healthcare issues.


Advancing the Quality Agenda

Using addiction health services research to advance the quality agenda by:

  • Identifying Quality - evidence and measurement
  • Accessing Quality - consumers, providers, other stakeholders
  • Implementing Quality - practice, evaluation, outcomes
  • Ensuring Quality - purchasing, monitoring, incentives, management, organization

This theme encompasses a wide range of topics to meet the needs of stakeholders from different disciplines. Through plenary speakers, abstract presentations, symposia, and poster sessions, AHSR provides opportunities to share our research, enhance opportunities to move research into practice, promote discussion among various stakeholders, and network with colleagues. The AHSR conference traditionally has excellent attendance by senior researchers, funders, and those new to the field.


Several pre-conference workshops will be available Monday afternoon:

  • New Investigator Workshop

    Conducted by NIDA and NIAAA

    Monday October 20, 1-3pm

    Staff from NIDA’s Services Research Branch and NIAAA’s Division of Treatment and Recovery Research will conduct a grantsmanship workshop for new investigators. This workshop is intended to provide an overview of strategies for developing a successful research grant application for submission to NIDA and NIAAA. Topics to be covered include: Career Development, Grant Mechanisms, Essential Elements of the Grant Application, Grant Writing Tips, Common Pitfalls to Avoid, Human Subjects, IRBs, and Data Safety Monitoring Issues, The Review Process, and The Grant Decision-Making Process. The workshop is appropriate for junior investigators interested in pursuing a career in drug and alcohol abuse research. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to receive feedback from NIDA and NIAAA staff on concept papers. Participants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and submit an advanced copy of a concept paper to Sarah Duffy at by October 6.

    Guidance on how to prepare a concept paper can be found here.

  • Grantsmanship for Established PIs:
    Everything you ever wanted to know about NIH, but never asked.

    Thomas F. Hilton, PhD, NIDA

    Monday October 20, 1-3pm

    This workshop is limited to researchers who have served in the role of PI of an R01 grant for at least two years. It is intended to refine PIs’ knowledge about NIH business practices to enable more thoughtful strategic planning for new project initiatives that will sustain a long-range program of research and leadership of the field. Attendees may ahead of time submit anonymously all the questions they have been saving up over the years, which will be answered in the didactic portion of the program. Topics that will be addressed include: demystifying multiple-PI applications, cooperatives, centers, STTR/SBIR, and international projects. Emerging pending changes in NIH review procedures and project support levels will be discussed. There will also be a lively philosophical group discussion regarding what it takes to become and remain competitive

  • Methods Workshop:
    Accounting for Pre-Treatment Differences: Techniques of Casemix Adjustment

    Daniel McCaffery, PhD, RAND

    Monday October 20, 3-4pm (Part 1)   •   4-5pm (Part 2, limited to 20 participants)

    Part 1: This workshop will introduce the need to more validly account for uncontrollable pre-treatment differences when patients or patient groups are to be compared. After a review of problems in the published literature, Dr. McCaffery will introduce attendees to methods for accounting for pre-treatment differences in risk and protective factors and adjusting for moderators due to intermittent institutionalization or imprisonment. Included will be a discussion of balancing adjustment approaches with power. The workshop will focus on propensity score approaches to estimating causal effects with observational data (what to do when everything but the kitchen sink may affect outcomes). Dr. McCaffery will show how to weight propensity scores to estimate average treatment effects on the treated population (estimating effectiveness for the target treatment population vs. all patients).

    Part 2: This presentation will be followed by approximately 60 minutes hands-on familiarization with “twang,” a program for making casemix adjustments to research data. Freeware and dummy data will be provided. Part 2 attendees must bring a Windows-based laptop and power cord.

  • Understanding, Accessing and Using SAMHSA Data Sets: Opportunities for Research

    Peter J. Delany, PhD, LCSW-C, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

    Monday October 20, 3-5pm

    This special workshop will orient participants to the numerous data sets available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration ( Attendees will learn about on-line analytic services and reports as well as how to access data and utilize for research.

Registration for the conference is $300 ($250 for students enrolled in a degree program). Visit our registration page for further details.


The AHSR2008 conference is co-sponsored by the Institute for Behavioral Health, Heller School for Social Policy & Management, Brandeis University; the School of Public Health, Boston University; and the Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University.

Members of the 2008 conference planning committee are are Constance M. Horgan, Richard Frank, Richard Saitz, David Rosenbloom, Sharon Reif, Deborah Garnick, Wanda Rifkin, and Terri White.

We thank Brandeis University’s Institute for Behavioral Health for supplemental funding.

Travel Awards

A limited number of Junior Investigator Travel Awards for the 2008 AHSR Conference will be available for the most outstanding applicants who meet the eligibility requirements outlined below. Awardees will receive $500 each to defray travel expenses.

We thank the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for providing the travel awards.

To be eligible, the Junior Investigator must:

  1. Submit a presentation abstract to the 2008 AHSR Conference (applicant must be first author)
  2. Currently be in a pre-doctoral or post-doctoral position (i.e. a temporary, non-tenure track position)
  3. Be no more than 5 years removed from earning the doctorate
  4. Have not served as PI on any research grant (other than R03 doctoral dissertation award)

If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact Terri White.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and would like to be considered for one of these awards, please submit your abstract and curriculum vitae as attachments in an email addressed to conference coordinator at The subject line of the email should be "AHSR Travel Awards".

Recipients of travel awards should plan to attend the pre-conference New Investigator Workshop on Monday October 20, 1-3pm.


Registration is now open through October 6, 2008. See registration page for further details or go to


If you wish to present your research at AHSR2008, see abstract page for details on submitting an abstract and/or symposia. Abstract submission is expected to close on May 15. Space for presenting in sessions is limited. Those not selected for a session presentation are eligible to be invited to present in the poster session.

Tips on presenting in a paper session:

  • Sessions will be 1-1/2 hours long, with 4 speakers per session.
  • All of the conference rooms are equipped with computers and LCD projectors.
  • Classroom style overhead transparency projectors are not available.
  • Bring your presentation on a flash drive or CD/DVD. Please test in advance.
  • PC formats are preferred, as there is limited Mac support available onsite.
  • Arrive at your assigned conference room in advance to upload your presentation.
  • If you wish to distribute handouts, please bring them with you. Our staff cannot provide photocopying services.

Tips on presenting in the poster session:

  • We will provide the exact dimensions of the poster display stands as soon as this information is available.
  • All poster display stands will be marked with a number that corresponds to the numbered list of posters in the preliminary Program. Please note your number.
  • You may set up your poster on Tuesday beginning at 8:00 am. Please remove your poster at the conclusion of the poster session on Tuesday afternoon.