For Immediate Release

Contact: Rob Grant, Communications Director
202.966.7300, Ext. 119

AACAP Awards Millions In Federal Funding For Child Substance Use And Addiction Research To Eight Scholars

NIDA awards over $7 million in research training for Substance Use and Addiction for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists

Washington, DC, January 4, 2022 – The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) announced today the final selected awardees for the 2021-2025 AACAP Physician Scientist Program in Substance Use K12 Career Development Award. In recognition of the dearth of child and adolescent psychiatrists trained to conduct clinical and basic research, especially in the area of substance use, AACAP and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have joined forces to create a four-year program with over $7 million in dedicated federal grant funding to train aspiring investigators in the area of substance use and addiction research.

Between 1998 and 2020, 24 scholars in four cohorts have completed this NIDA/AACAP program. Those scholars have significantly contributed to the advancement of the field of child and adolescent substance use research and clinical practice. Together, previous K12 scholars have contributed over 900 publications to the scientific and clinical literature and presented over 1,500 scientific presentations. Subsequent to their training, this productive group has obtained more than 200 new research grants to support their research.

AACAP has selected an expanded fifth cohort of eight scholars for the AACAP Physician Scientist Program in Substance Use K12 Career Development Award, supported by NIDA. Scholars for the premiere career development program hail from a diverse array of backgrounds and will serve as leaders in the field of pediatric substance use research. They have demonstrated remarkable professional achievement early in their careers and a commitment to research.

Scholars advanced through a highly competitive selection process, including a comprehensive written application and review of their proposed research project. A complete list of awardees appears below:

Colin W. Burke, MD
Harvard University
Massachusetts General Hospital
Primary Mentor: Timothy Wilens, MD

Jesse D. Hinckley, MD, PhD
University of Colorado Denver
Primary Mentor: Christian Hopfer, MD

Aviva K. Olsavsky, MD 
University of Colorado Denver
Primary Mentor: Kent Hutchison, PhD

Natalia Ramos, MD, MPH 
University of California Los Angeles 
Primary Mentor: David Miklowitz, PhD

David C. Saunders, MD, PhD
Columbia University
New York State Psychiatric Institute 
Primary Mentor: Jonathan Posner, MD

Kevin M. Simon, MD
Harvard University
Boston Children’s Hospital 
Primary Mentor: Sharon Levy, MD, PhD

Ryan Sultan, MD
Columbia University
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Primary Mentor: Frances Levin, MD

Carol Vidal, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University
Primary Mentor: Carl Latkin, PhD, MS

Awarded scholars and their mentors will meet with AACAP’s K12 Principal Investigator and Advisory Committee for AACAP’s K12 Annual Retreat each June throughout the program. Awardees will present their research plans to the K12 committee and refine career development and research training programs together with their research mentors, which will enable them to establish academic careers as independently funded investigators in basic science, clinical, or translational research related to child and adolescent psychiatry addiction research.

Questions regarding the program may be directed to the grant Principal Investigator, Kevin Gray, MD, by email:



The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry promotes the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families through advocacy, education, and research. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are the leading physician authority on children’s mental health. For more information, please visit