Qato Awarded Grant from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts

Dima M. Qato, Hygeia Centennial Chair at USC Mann, was awarded a $437,920 grant from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE). The grant supports research assessing trends and impact of the availability of the medication buprenorphine for opioid-use disorder at pharmacies in communities across the U.S.

Just 18% of people with opioid-use disorder report using lifesaving medications such as buprenorphine in their recovery—despite efforts to increase the number of providers who can prescribe it.

Qato will work with colleagues on a comprehensive evaluation of the availability and dispensing of buprenorphine at chain and independent pharmacies, examining whether and how disparities in access to buprenorphine influence disparities in buprenorphine discontinuation rates. The project seeks to determine which patients and communities are most at risk for gaps in buprenorphine availability.

“The aim is to identify trends and disparities to medications for opioid-use disorder access at the national, state and local level to inform future policy discussions,” according to FORE. The grant is part of $900,000 in funding recently awarded as part of the organization’s commitment to ameliorating the nation’s opioid crisis.

Qato directs the Mann School’s Program on Medicines and Public Health. She is also a senior fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and member of the USC Institute for Addiction Science and USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute.

Her research utilizes population-based methods to better understand and address systemic or structural barriers in equitable access and safe use of essential medicines and reduce health disparities.

Collaborators will include Adam Leventhal of the USC Institute for Addiction Science and Keck School of Medicine, Sarah Axeen of the USC Schaeffer Center and Keck, Robert Vos of the USC Spatial Sciences Institute and USC Dornsife, and Jenny Guadamuz, a former postdoctoral research fellow at USC Mann and the Schaeffer Center, now an assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.