Resources and Training for Academics

Our Department of Research and Academic Engagement (DRAE) is committed to working with drug researchers and academics to insure that their work has the greatest possible impact. We provide group and one-on-one training and guidance on how to make research accessible to the media and general public and how to engage in policy advocacy. If you are interested in one-on-one support or having DRAE staff come speak to your group, please contact Aliza Cohen at

We are also interested in supporting innovative and critical teaching about drugs and drug policy, and to that end, have started a pedagogy project.


Check out our series of webinars designed to enhance the ability of researchers and academics to reach a broader audience and better influence policy with their work.

Upcoming Webinars

Global Drug Survey COVID-19 Edition: Preliminary Findings and Lessons Learned – Online – September 2020

Past Webinars

Dissemination Science to Enhance the Policy Impact of Substance Use Research
This webinar presents results from a series of studies that sought to understand how mental health and substance use research findings can be more effectively communicated to state legislators and state agency policymakers. The webinar also describes a three-phase approach to conducting research to improve the communication of scientific findings to policy and practice audiences.

How to Design and Rapidly Disseminate Policy-relevant Research: The Case of the FORECAST Study on Fentanyl Exposure
The gap between research and policy can be wide, and with urgent problems in drug policy, such as the rapid increase in fentanyl deaths over the last several years, it is more important than ever that our policy responses reflect the most evidence-based, up-to-date research. Drs. Susan Sherman and Ju Park discuss how they design policy-relevant research, quickly and effectively disseminate findings, and ensure that conclusions reach policymakers and the media.

Communicating Research through Visual Abstracts
In this webinar, Dr. Joel Topf discusses the use of visual abstracts to communicate scientific research over social media. The purpose of visual abstracts is to distill the nuance and complexity of a study to a few panels and simple graphics. Visual abstracts expand the reach of scientific research, enabling key findings to extend to audiences beyond that particular academic discipline. Dr. Topf discusses the history and scientific research on visual abstracts and then show how to design and create your own visual abstract. (See the slides)

Taking Your Research to the Next Level: Talk to Your Statistician Early and Often
This webinar, featuring experienced statistician Peter Flom, introduces under-utilized analytical techniques to help you think outside the box. He also talks about how to improve the presentation of your data so that it is tailored to your audience.

Becoming a Public Scholar
This webinar is led by City University of New York, Chief Librarian, Polly Thistlewaite and her colleagues. They focus on how academics can make their scholarship more available and useful to the public without violating copyright laws, using tools like Google Scholar profiles and open access repositories. The more accessible your academic work is, the more likely it is to be found and used by policymakers, the general public, and the media.

Knowledge Translation
Featuring, Nazlee Maghsoudi, the Knowledge Translation Manager at the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP), this webinar helps scholars better disseminate and translate their work to larger and more diverse audiences. As those working in drug policy know quite well, the creation of new knowledge often does not, on its own, lead to widespread implementation or impacts on health. Knowledge translation (KT) is about raising research users’ awareness of research findings and facilitating the use of those findings, in order to maximize the impact of research. This webinar provides an introduction to KT, cover case studies of applied KT in the area of drug policy, and explain how KT can insure that advances in research become advances in society.

Social Media for Activist Scholars
This webinar features Professor Jessie Daniels, a sociologist from the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College, the author of two books on public scholarship, and an expert in using Twitter for scholarly activism. Daniels speaks about how academics can build a social media presence on both Twitter and Facebook. She featured “to do’s” and examples that clearly highlight the benefits of engaging with the public.

Introduction to NIH Grant Funding
This webinar is led by Danielle Ompad, PhD, a NIH-funded researcher offering recommendations on grant writing and funding. This webinar covers: NIH grant mechanisms and how to decide which you should apply for, strategies for junior scholars, communicating with program officers, and tips drafting a fundable proposal.

Media Training for Scholars
Former Drug Policy Alliance Communications Director, Sharda Sekaran, leads this webinar providing an overview of how to build relationships with the media, craft an op ed or letter to the editor, and frame research in ways that are appealing to the media. Joseph Palamar, a researcher at NYU, offers his perspective as a scholar whose work is often featured by media outlets.

Visualizing and Presenting Data
This webinar covers the principles of data presentation and slide design, with a variety of examples and a practical guide of how to visualize data in an informative and aesthetically-pleasing manner. Presenters include Holly Engstrom, Lucy De Souza, and Ellen Jopling of the British Columbia Scientists for Evidence-Based Policies.


Many scholars studying drugs also teach about them. In an effort to improve the quality of education about drugs and drug policy at the undergraduate and graduate level, DRAE has created a syllabi-sharing project. If you have a syllabus you are willing to share in a private dropbox or would like to see the syllabi of others, please email Jules Netherland at