IDEAS Lab

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IDEAS LAB
IDEAS Lab: Interventions to Reduce DisparitiEs in AddictionS Research Program
IDEAS Lab Photo Collage
About the Lab The IDEAS Lab is based within NYU’s School of Global Public Health (GPH), NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and NYU Abu Dhabi, and concentrates on areas of study related to tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction and corresponding health disparities. Some of our research projects include investigating the impact of e-cigarette marketing strategies’ on youth use, researching e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy in smokers diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, and people living with HIV/AIDS. These research projects will help inform future tobacco and drug policies and interventions and will enhance our understanding of the health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations. 

Our Lab Mission is to create an engaging environment for both graduate and undergraduate students where they can learn quantitative and qualitative research and develop valuable research skills, such as writing and publishing manuscripts, conducting literature reviews, grant writing, and collecting and analyzing data.

What will IDEAS Lab Offer?

Within the IDEAS Lab, you will have the opportunity to: 
• Gain research experience before grad school/medical school 
• Earn letters of recommendation 
• Help with scientific literature reviews, grant writing, research study design, and writing IRB applications 
• Develop skills related to data collection and analysis 
• Develop skills related to smoking intervention development and execution 
• Co-author and publish manuscripts 
• Apply for leadership positions within lab

IDEAS Lab Member Requirements: 
• Attend weekly meetings
• Actively participate in at least one project
• Complete up to 8 hours of work per week within lab

Lab Projects
We are working in collaboration with NYU School of Medicine and NYU Abu Dhabi and we have several ongoing research and training projects going on in Egypt, UAE, and the U.S. Our lab will also collaborate with other universities such as John Hopkins University and UC San Diego.
 
Overview of Current Projects

E-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy in individuals diagnosed with AUD/OUD

  • Aim of study: A 12-week long study following individuals with Alcohol or Opioid Use Disorder to evaluate e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy versus traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
  • Student Opportunities:
    • Harm Reduction Counseling & Participant Interviews
      • With appropriate training and IRB approval, you may be able to participate in harm reduction counseling and motivational interviewing to participants in this study. In learning this, you will be directly involved in research study processes and gain valuable experience through working directly with study participants. You will be trained by highly experienced counselors.
    • Data Collection
    • Create/Submit IRB Amendments (add to other studies)

Evaluating barriers and facilitators of telehealth adoption post COVID-19

  • Aim of study: Discover how physicians make decisions on endorsing or opposing e-cigarette use in light of the available scientific literature, recent EVALI and COVID-19 outbreaks, and the use of telehealth in clinical practice.
  • Student Opportunities:
    • Conducting Physician Interviews
      • With appropriate training and IRB approval, you may be able to participate in interviewing physicians. In learning this, you will be directly involved in research study processes and gain valuable experience through working directly with study participants. You will be trained by highly experienced counselors.
    • Qualitative Data Collection/Analyzing

NYUAD Clinical Research Training Program

E-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy in individuals living with HIV/AIDS

  • Aim of study: A 12-week long study following individuals with HIV/AIDS to evaluate e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy versus traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
  • Student Opportunities:
    • Harm Reduction Counseling & Participant Interviews
      • With appropriate training and IRB approval, you may be able to participate in harm reduction counseling and motivational interviewing to participants in this study. In learning this, you will be directly involved in research study processes and gain valuable experience through working directly with study participants. You will be trained by highly experienced counselors.
    • Data Collection

Secondary data analyses projects using several national datasets in the US

  • Using national datasets such as NYTS, PATH, NHIS, NHANES, to analyze different health conditions, attitudes, sociodemographic characteristics, and more.
  • Student Opportunities:
    • Analyzes secondary data using R/Stata
    • Write and publish manuscripts
    • Conduct literature reviews
  • Capacity building of healthcare providers in Egypt to counsel pregnant women and their families regarding smoking cessation and secondhand smoking avoidance
  • Integrating the “Monday Campaign” into smoking cessation treatment for smokers with mental health conditions
    • Aim of study: Test whether a novel intervention called the “Monday Campaign” is more effective at helping smokers with mental health conditions quit smoking than usual care.
    • Student Opportunities:
      • Participant recruitment and surveying
      • Connecting participants to smoking cessation treatment
      • Writing study abstracts and manuscripts
  • Qualitative research to understand challenges and preferences for assistance with food insecurity among minority cancer survivors who smoke
    • Aim of study: Discover challenges and preferences for assistance with food insecurity among racial and ethnic minority cancer survivors who smoke
    • Student Opportunities:
      • Developing qualitative interview guides
      • Conducting and analyzing semi-structured interviews
      • Writing study abstracts and manuscripts
  • A behavioral economic intervention to increase psychiatrist adherence to tobacco treatment guidelines
    • Aim of study: To test whether implementing an opt-out approach to smoking cessation treatment at the VA increases the rates at which psychiatrists screen and treat their patients for smoking.
    • Student Opportunities:
      • Because this study is conducted at the VA, students will not be able to participate in data collection or analysis. However, students can join study meetings and contribute to the writing of study abstracts and manuscripts.
  • Secondary analysis of a clinical trial testing a novel cessation intervention for low-income smokers
    • Aim of study: This study has already been completed. The aim was to test whether an intervention that integrated financial coaching into a smoking cessation coaching program for low-income smokers was more effective than usual care at increasing smoking abstinence and reducing financial hardship.
    • Student Opportunities:
      • We have a longitudinal dataset from this RCT that students can work with to develop abstract and papers.

Ongoing Lab ActivitiesWeekly Meetings

Our weekly meetings will be hosted by the Lab Research Coordinator and Communications Director. Our weekly check-ins will allow members to share any updates on their projects or papers, and ask any questions related to their projects. Members will have the opportunity to present on finished projects to the group. Updates will be made for available opportunities within the lab.

Writing Workgroup 

Are you interested in learning how to write and publish scientific manuscripts? Do you have a research question that you’d like to explore using a national dataset?

IDEAS Lab holds weekly writing meetings for individuals interested in learning the ins and outs of manuscript writing and literature reviews. Our Lab team has the expertise to guide you through scientific writing and writing in a group setting.

See our featured publications here.

Data Collection

Working on studies in the IDEAS Lab will give students experience on best practices on the recruitment and retention of participants from different populations. Additionally, students will gain experience in quantitative and qualitative data collection.

Quantitative Data Collection: If you’re interested in furthering your knowledge and experience in biostatistics, the IDEAS Lab will introduce students to survey design, best practices in developing survey questions, and modalities of survey administration.

Qualitative Data Collection: Several ongoing studies within the IDEAS Lab offer opportunities to collect and analyze qualitative data through participant interviews. Learn to conduct interviews and analyze common themes using software like Dedoose.

Contact Us & Get Involved

We are currently recruiting undergraduate and graduate students to become lab members in addition to two leadership positions.

APPLY NOW

Be sure to submit the following within the Google Form application:
  • Resume/CV
  • A brief academic writing sample (no more than 4 pages)
  • Cover letter describing your interests, relevant experiences, and position type preference (volunteer, course credit, etc)

The following skills are preferred, but not required for application:

  • Language skills (Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, etc.)
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Counseling experience
  • Familiarity with ENDNote
  • Proficiency with R, STATA, or other statistical analysis software

If you are interested in a leadership position within the lab, there will be an option to state this in the Google Form application.

Leadership Positions Available in the IDEAS Lab:

  • Lab Research Coordinator (LRC): The LRC will be organizing weekly meetings along with the communications director for all lab members. The LRC will oversee plans for the lab members to ensure they are meeting end of semester goals, and will serve as the main point of contact between the PIs, Lab Director, and lab members.
  • Communications Director: The communications director will organize the lab communication’s plan and meeting flow, as well as be in charge of the lab membership database. Other duties may include maintaining notifying members of new research opportunities and possibilities for training. The communications director will be working closely with the appointed LRC and Associate Lab Director (Meghan Durr).

If you have any questions when filling out the application, please contact Meghan Durr at Meghan.durr@nyulangone.org.

Lab Members

Lab Members

Dr. Omar El Shahawy MD, MPH, PhD

Principal Investigator

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Dr. Erin Rogers DrPH, MPH

Principal Investigator

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Meghan Durr, MPH

Associate Lab Director

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Stacy Hsu

Lab Research Coordinator

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Ria Pinjani

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Tanmik Shah

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Dr. Liz Stevens, PhD, MPH

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Siddhi Savla

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Core Team

Principal Investigator: Dr. Omar El Shahawy MD, MPH, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health, Section on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and an affiliated faculty at the Division of Global Health, NYU School of Global Public Health. Dr. El Shahawy focuses on alternative tobacco product use among vulnerable populations including people with substance use disorder. His current research interests include novel tobacco products and harm reduction, smoking cessation among vulnerable populations, and patient-physician decision making. 

Principal Investigator: Dr. Erin Rogers DrPH, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Rogers focuses on gaps in tobacco treatment for smokers with psychiatric diagnoses and develop interventions to enhance the implementation of tobacco use treatment into behavioral health settings. Her research also aims to understand economic determinants and costs of tobacco use and to develop interventions that reduce financial insecurity as a barrier to cessation in low-income populations. 

Associate Lab Director: Meghan Durr, MPH is a Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She currently overseas several research studies pertaining to harm reduction with e-cigarettes and manages the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program. Prior to joining NYU, Meghan obtained her B.S. in Biology from Iona College in 2017, and her MPH from New York University in 2019.

Lab Research Coordinator: Stacy Hsu is a senior at NYU’s College of Arts and Science pursuing a degree in Global Public Health with a concentration in Biology, and minor in Chemistry. As a pre-medical student, she is interested in integrating the public health paradigm into primary care, as well as exploring the health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and is involved in work on campus that promotes mental health literacy in Asian Pacific American communities. Previously, she has spent time at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine to researching linkage between atherosclerosis and dementia, and provides support for care partners in NYU Langone’s emergency department. Outside of her studies, she dances and manages NYU’s Ballroom and Latin dance team.

 

Data Analysis Core

Ria Pinjani holds a Masters in Applied Statistics from New York University, from which she graduated in May of 2020. She currently works as a part-time Research Assistant at the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health. Additionally, she holds a B.Sc. in Economics from LUMS, from which she graduated in 2017. She enjoys learning about systems in a data context.

Tanmik Shah is a biostatistician working alongside healthcare professionals and organizations to assess population health data. He has experience in analyzing and delivering insights for population level health data using Stata, SAS and Tableau with technical expertise in Excel and R Studio. He recently completed his Masters of Public Health with a major in Biostatistics from New York University. While in school, he was elected as a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Public Health Society for his achievements and contribution to the advancement of public health.  In his free time, he enjoys watching sci-fi movies and playing video games.

 

Lab Mentors and Collaborators

Dr. Liz Stevens, PhD, MPH in an investigator of Population Health at NYU Langone Health and a Health Science Specialist with the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System. Her research aims to improve tobacco-related health outcomes in hard-to-treat populations. In particular, her research focuses on the role of e-cigarettes in smoking and symptom reduction in patients with COPD as well as intervention cost-effectiveness. Additionally, she studies the role of collaborative research behaviors in the enhancement of implementation research quality and productivity. 


Current Student Lab Members

Siddhi Savla is a graduate student at Temple University pursuing Master of Public Health with majors in Epidemiology. She has experience in managing and analyzing scientific data and has competent skills of SAS and ArcGIS. She has completed her Bachelors of Dental Surgery and has experience conducting independent clinical research projects. Siddhi is a Research Assistant in the Department of Epidemiology at Temple University and her main area of research is identifying mental health associations with numerous health problems. Siddhi loves traveling, cycling and trying new cuisines.