Board of trustees approves center for substance use research


CW File

The Capstone College of Nursing will be the site of the Center for Substance Use Research and Related Conditions.

Cat Clinton, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama System board of trustees approved the Center for Substance Use Research and Related Conditions on Friday, Feb. 4. 

Funding for the center, which is set to open in April, was acquired through federal grants and charitable donations. 

The center will be housed inside the Capstone College of Nursing and led by Mercy Mumba, associate professor of nursing. Faculty and graduate students will run the center. 

“A center will really be that unifying force behind everybody doing work in substance use research and anything related, including mental health, associated infectious diseases, and really trying to see how we provide a platform for integrated behavioral health that is informed by the community needs and harnesses the expertise of different people,” Mumba said. 

Alabama currently has the highest per capita opioid prescription rate at 120 prescriptions per 100 persons, which is two times the national average. The center aims to provide a resource for students, researchers and community members affected by the statewide prescription crisis.

“Across the country and in our state, substance use disorders are a critical public health concern made more challenging by limited resources in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery, particularly in rural areas with poor access to health care,” said Dr. Suzanne Prevost, dean of the Capstone College of Nursing. “The focus of this center fits perfectly with the College, particularly our graduate programs preparing nurse practitioners, nurse administrators, nurse educators and nurse researchers to address the needs of rural communities in Alabama and throughout the U.S.”

Mumba said building community partnerships is the best way to do research in rural Alabama that is informed by the needs of the community.  

In the process of creating a website, the next focus is building the center’s infrastructure through strategic partnerships and collaborative research efforts.