Best and Brightest Converge on UH to Learn From Leading Experts About Drug Abuse and the Latino Community

Drug abuse, particularly among minorities and youth, continues to rise throughout the nation. The number of researchers committed to investigate the issue, however, declines. What's more, the venues to discuss and share new ideas and research remain few.

The University of Houston's Office for Drug and Social Policy Research (ODSPR) hosts the seventh annual National Hispanic Science Network Summer Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse from June 10-16 at the Hilton-University of Houston Hotel. The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse also sponsor the event.

A dozen of the next generation of Hispanic drug abuse researchers will learn from leading experts about new issues and approaches to the study. Participants come from all over the country, some from as far away as Spain.

"This institute is meant to train promising graduate students in drug research methods, increase their knowledge of drug research issues and promote their professional commitment to Hispanic drug abuse," said Avelardo Valdez, professor and director of the ODSPR, which is housed in the UH Graduate College of Social Work. "In addition, we want to foster a mentoring relationship between the students and leading Hispanic drug abuse researchers."

Speakers and topics include:

  • William A. Vega, Ph.D., (David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA) - Genes and the Environment
  • Yonette F. Thomas, Ph.D., (National Institute on Drug Abuse) - The Epidemiology of Drug Abuse
  • Merrill C. Singer, Ph.D., (University of Connecticut) - Drug Use and HIV/AIDS
  • Antonio Estrada, Ph.D., (University of Arizona) - Historical, Cultural and Social Influences on Substance Abuse among Latinos in the United States
  • Felipe González Castro, Ph.D., (Arizona State) Identifying Research Needs and Gaps on Hispanic Drug Abuse: Prevention and Intervention Among Adolescents

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Desiree Martinez, at 713-743-8345 or

WHO: UH Graduate College of Social Work, Office for Drug and Social Policy Research 
WHAT: National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse
Summer Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., June 10-16
WHERE: For directions and parking information, visit