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About the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP)

Substance abuse is one of our nation's most pressing health problems, responsible for half a million preventable deaths annually. The morbidity and mortality from tobacco use, alcohol abuse, and other drugs are staggering, as are the direct and indirect costs to society. These costs include violence, crime, overburdened service systems, reduced productivity, and higher health care costs.

It is the mission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to focus on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. The Foundation developed the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program as part of a comprehensive set of strategies to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by the misuse of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

The Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) is a $66 million Foundation initiative that focuses on analyzing and informing public and private policies aimed at reducing the harm caused by alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and multiple-substance use by encouraging experts in public health, law, political science, medicine, sociology, criminal justice, economics, psychology, and other behavioral and policy sciences to address issues related to substance abuse.

The goals of SAPRP are to:
• Support policy relevant, peer-reviewed research that increases understanding of policies for reducing harm caused by substance abuse
• Stimulate, help define, and inform the policy process with sound scientific information
• Grow the field of substance abuse policy research

Projects supported by SAPRP are expected to increase understanding of public and private policy interventions to prevent, treat, and reduce the harm caused by the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs—including the advantages, development, implementation, disadvantages, and potential impact of these policies. Results from SAPRP-funded grants can help policy-makers, government administrators, judicial systems, the media, advocacy groups, community organizations, and private organizations such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), employers, associations, and trade groups.

To date SAPRP has funded over 360 projects. SAPRP-funded research has been published in major peer-reviewed journals, featured in national and local media, and included in testimonies before Congress, state legislatures, and city councils.

Program Direction
Direction and technical assistance for this program are provided by the Center for Creative Leadership, which serves as the National Program Office.

Substance Abuse Policy Research Program
Center for Creative Leadership
One Leadership Place
Post Office Box 26300
Greensboro, NC 27438-6300
Web site:

Responsible staff members at the NPO are:
David G. Altman, Ph.D., Program Director
Marjorie A. Gutman, Ph.D., Co-Director
Andrea E. Williams, M.Ed., Deputy Director
Prabhu Ponkshe, M.A., LL.B., Communications Director
Susan James Frye, M.M., Grants Administrator
Michele Collins, M.P.H., Review Coordinator

Additional program direction is provided by the following senior program consultants:
Lawrence Brown, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President, Division of Medical Services, Evaluation and Research, Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation, Brooklyn, N.Y.
R. Lorraine Collins, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Research Institute on Addictions, State University of New York, Buffalo, N.Y.
Michael Eriksen, Sc.D., Professor and Director, Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University
Arthur Evans, Director, Office of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services, Philadelphia, P.A.
Richard Frank, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Dennis McCarty, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Oregon Health and Science University
Lorraine T. Midanik, Ph.D., Acting Dean and Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley
Robert R. Rabin, J.D., Ph.D., A. Calder Mackay Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
Stephen D. Sugarman, J.D., Roger J. Traynor Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley

Responsible staff members at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are:

Elaine Cassidy, Ph.D., Program Officer, Research and Evaluation

James Marks, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Director, Health Group

C. Tracy Orleans, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, and RWJF Distinguished Fellow

Joseph F. Marx, Senior Communications Officer

James Mendez, Grants Administrator




  About SAPRP  | SAPRP Staff | Questions | P: 336.286.4548 | F: 336.286.4550 

SAPRP . One Leadership Place . Greensboro, NC 27410 .