Nabila El-Bassel, PhD

Opioid-related deaths are rising: How the HEALing Communities Study is tackling this serious crisis in four states 

Dr. Nabila El-Bassel is a University Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Director of the Social Intervention Group, a multidisciplinary center that focuses on developing and testing effective prevention and intervention approaches to address the drug overdose crisis, HIV, and gender-based violence. Dr. El-Bassel is also the Director of Columbia University’s recently established Center for Healing of Opioid and Substance Use Disorders (CHOSEN). She is the Principal Investigator on the NIH-funded HEALing Communities Study (HCS), which aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% within three years in 67 communities in four states (New York, Kentucky, Ohio and Massachusetts). HCS is a joint effort by Columbia’s School of Social Work, the Department of Psychiatry, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Data Science Institute, and also includes a number of researchers from other major universities in the area.

With main offices in New York City and Almaty, Kazakhstan, Dr. El-Bassel also directs Columbia University’s Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, where she leads a team of prominent faculty, scientists, researchers, and students who are committed to advancing solutions to health and social issues in their region through research, education, training, policy analyses and dissemination. 

Over the past 30 years, Professor El-Bassel has designed and tested many cutting-edge, multilevel HIV and drug use prevention and intervention models for women, men, and couples in diverse settings such as drug treatment and harm reduction programs, primary health care clinics, and within the criminal justice system. She has published extensively and has made a significant scientific contribution to the fields of addiction, HIV and gender-based violence research.