Mark Edlund is a senior research scientist with more than 15 years of experience in mental health and addiction health services research. He is also a practicing psychiatrist, and his research interests are primarily driven by questions and issues he encounters in clinical practice. These interests focus on the intersection of chronic pain, opioid use, and mental health and substance use disorders. To investigate these issues, he uses randomized clinical trials, primary data collection (both quantitative and qualitative), secondary data analysis, and systematic reviews. He was a fellow in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Michigan, where he received his MD and a PhD in health services organization and policy. He subsequently completed a psychiatry residency and a health services research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute.
As a principal investigator (PI), he has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Veterans Affairs, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among his current projects, Dr. Edlund is a multiple principal investigator (PI) on the Mental and Substance Use Disorders Prevalence Study (MDPS), a surveillance effort designed to produce national estimates of mental and substance use disorders among U.S. adults. The survey will include representation of household and non-household (incarcerated, hospitalized, and homeless) populations. He is co-PI on the Integrated Health Services to Reduce Opioid Use While Managing Chronic Pain integrated study, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating the comparative effectiveness of two approaches to reduce or eliminate opioids in chronic pain patients receiving opioids, and he is the senior medical advisor on the Evaluation of Medication-Assisted Treatment study.
Dr. Edlund's clinical epidemiology studies were among the first to demonstrate the large increase in opioid prescribing in the past two decades. More importantly, they demonstrated that people with mental health and substance use disorders were more likely to receive opioids than those without these disorders, and that these people with mental health and substance use disorders were also at highest risk for opioid abuse and adverse outcomes from opioids. Illustrating the broad impact of his work, his findings have been widely published in the peer-reviewed literature, presented at invited talks, discussed in newspaper articles, and presented at a Senate subcommittee hearing.