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The Newsletter of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation OCTOBER 2017  



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PIRE News Staff
  • Joey Dacanay – Designer & Production
  • Jill Dougherty – Editor & Production
  • Alexis Lumpkins – Production
Contributors to this Issue
  • Katie Carr
  • Elinam Dellor
  • Laura Finan
  • Elise Trott Jaramillo
  • Diane McKnight
  • Ted Miller
  • Roland Moore
  • Bernie Murphy
  • Julie Murphy
  • Eduardo Romano
  • Sue Thomas
  • Rebecca Yau


From the CEO
Bernie Murphy

by Bernie Murphy

Fall News & Updates

I am pleased to share that Ted Miller is the recipient of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) Award of Merit. This award is “Given to an outstanding individual who has made significant scientific contributions to an aspect of automotive medicine over many years or for a single outstanding contribution. The Nominations and Awards Committee evaluates and recommends candidates to the Board” (AAAM webpage). Ted is accepting the award at the 61st annual meeting in Las Vegas this week.

But Ted does not rest on his laurels. Following the recent Las Vegas shooting, a significant number of publications (including Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report) picked up his team’s work on the costs of the Las Vegas incident. The gun violence cost analysis is the most frequently cited PIRE work product, as noted in 2017 by Google Alert.

The Opioid Work Group continues to refine and improve the Community Opioid Abuse Prevention Model, a logic model. We are attempting to showcase the model before various Federal Agencies and State implementation groups. Most recently this group’s work discussions helped to create the foundation for a proposal to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The best in PIRE’s flexibility, responsiveness, and skills were demonstrated and led by Al Stein-Seroussi, who in 6 days put our proposal together featuring the logic model. Unfortunately, PIRE did not win, but we have received some feedback and are scheduled to receive additional feedback on the logic model, which ONDCP staff said was most helpful.

Joining the work group this month was Bill Wieczorek, a visiting scholar/collaborative partner from SUNY Buffalo State.  Bill is known by many and has published with several at PIRE. He will be exploring proposal opportunities with us to address the opioid crisis through community-level interventions and his other interests in traffic safety.

To help expand our marijuana studies, we have established a second supporting organization. PIRE California, Inc., a California-based 501(c)(3), similar to HBSA, our Maryland-based 501(c)(3). We are now ready to service anticipated marijuana research (2018) via the California marijuana tax and have new 2018 Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) awards serviced by this new supporting organization. The Board of Directors includes H. Westley Clark, Larry Green, Harold Holder, Roland Moore, and Bob Saltz. As with PIRE and HBSA, the PIRE California, Inc., Board is a blend of outside and Staff Directors, appointed by the PIRE Board. 

Continuing our traffic safety work, PIRE has been awarded a subcontract via our partner Dunlap and Associates, Inc. Anthony Ramirez is the PI and will lead the data collection for one state (TBD) with contract options for additional states for the “State-Level Roadside Study of Drug and Alcohol Driving” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) project. This study will examine the prevalence of marijuana-positive drivers on the road in a state before and after legalization of recreational use, or medicinal use, of marijuana in that state. The study will also examine the prevalence of alcohol and other drugs, as increased use of marijuana may be related to decreased use of other drugs—namely alcohol or opioids. Based on breath and oral fluid samples obtained from drivers, the results will estimate the prevalence of:

  • Drivers with the presence of selected over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs in their system—including marijuana;
  • Drivers at various BACs (breath alcohol concentrations); and
  • Drivers with both drugs and alcohol in their system.

PIRE Information Technology (IT) has had a lot going on behind the scenes, as we continue the implementation of a service model orientation, transitioning away from an IT maintenance model. To make the service model happen, we have applied multiple system enhancements and products:

  • Large contract negotiations resulting in (1) 75% reduction in Office 365 licensing, (2) 22% reduction in Qualtrics (survey tool) response costs, and (3) a small increase in annual costs for moving Deltek (accounting and billing system) to the cloud.
  • Qualtrics improvements—updating the approach taken during survey development—resulting in (1) a survey redesign for the South Carolina Alcohol Enforcement Teams that allows faster and more intuitive entry by police officers and (2) the development and successful launch of the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest (BHRCS) Prescriber survey.
  • Web application development improvements resulting in four websites currently in the works: BHRCS, NMPrevention, Resources.PREV, and Native Elder/Changing Seasons.
  • Modernizing PIRE systems and web application portfolio resulting in (1) PIRE now supporting Windows 10 and having the ability to easily add support for new Microsoft OS as released and (2) introducing Microsoft Teams to projects that would benefit from its debut release.
  • And each of the office moves for Calverton, Albuquerque, and Chapel Hill and the Louisville internet infrastructure upgrade has required significant planning and trips to the sites.

IT is also working with Centers and PIs to implement new solutions and reduce costs. For example, Dedoose (which BHRCS Staff discovered and looks very promising) provides not only cloud-enabled qualitative analysis but could reduce annual license costs by one third. Contact Paul Lavoie or the IT Staff to see how IT might assist your project.