The purpose of this national education award is to provide an unrestricted monetary award to a medical, dental, postdoctoral or graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in educating the public, health professionals (e.g., medical faculty and students), treatment professionals, and other non-scientists about the latest addiction science research. 

Background for the Award: John and Pat O’Neill served as counselors, writers, and educators during their 30 year career in the addictions field. They pioneered the effort to introduce scientifically validated material about alcohol and drug use, abuse, and dependence into the training and education of helping professionals and the general public. In their several books, hundreds of presentations, and many national media appearances they advocated for greater funding and support for addictive disease research. It is their belief that stigma stemming from erroneous folklore or outdated information is what prevents more persons from seeking help, so it is critical that researchers communicate new findings to the professional community and concerned citizens and correct erroneous or outdated information.

This award is to be given in their honor to worthy applicants who state a willingness and motivation to develop their communications skills and seek opportunities to speak out on behalf of their own research work and that of their colleagues.    

Eligibility:  Only current medical, dental, postdoctoral or graduate students are eligible for this award. Students nominated do not have to be working only in alcohol research (e.g., the applicant could be a communications major who has demonstrated excellence in communicating addiction research findings).  Previous nominees are welcome to apply, especially if they have continued to strengthen their addiction science educational activities, and are still students in one of the above categories.

Requirements: The person who receives this award must agree to make a presentation about their efforts in educating the public about the latest addiction science research during the RSA Annual Scientific Conference. The award covers conference registration. Travel, accommodations and other related expenses will be the responsibility of the awardee. However, the awardee can apply for an RSA Travel award that will offer a minimal stipend – travel award applications can be found on the RSA website (www.rsoa.org) and submission typically opens in October.

Form of Application:

1) A one-page letter justifying the nomination.  Include a summary of the successful project.

2) Nominee’s curriculum vitae or biosketch.

3) Sample(s) of how the nominee has demonstrated excellence in educating the public, health professionals (e.g., medical faculty and students), treatment professionals, the recovering community, or other non-scientists about the latest addiction science research.

4) Two letters from people familiar with the project for which the individual is being nominated.

Evaluation of Application:  The application will be evaluated using the following criteria: (1) importance or significance of the project, (2) originality, and (3) ability to communicate complex research clearly.

Review of Applications:  Reviews will be performed by a committee of TRSA staff and RSA members, using the above criteria.  Each applicant, whether successful or not, will be notified of the outcome of the review.  There will be no detailed feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal. 

Research Mission of TRSA:  Taken from the constitution and bylaws of TRSA, the “purpose of the Society shall be to serve as a meeting ground for research scientists who are interested in alcohol and drug use, and alcohol and other drug-related problems; to extend knowledge in this field; to promote the acquisition and dissemination of that knowledge; to give voice to the protection of rights for researchers and human subjects; to point out and assess research goals and needs; and to enlighten and direct public opinion in regard to these problems; to promote the methodological quality of research in these fields by awarding grants to qualified scientists in Texas.”  The research mission of TRSA is to help find the fundamental causes of and effective prevention, intervention, and treatment of addictive diseases.


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