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Mark Edlund

Mark J. Edlund

Senior Research Scientist


MD, Medical School, University of Michigan
PhD, Health Services Organization and Policy, University of Michigan
MA, Economics, University of Michigan
BS, Chemistry and Biology, University of Utah

Mark Edlund, PhD, MD, is a senior research scientist at RTI with more than 20 years of experience in mental health and addiction services research. Dr. Edlund is also a practicing psychiatrist, and his research interests are primarily driven by questions and issues that he encounters in clinical practice. His research focuses on the intersection of chronic pain, opioid use, and mental and substance use disorders. To investigate these issues, Dr. Edlund uses randomized clinical trials, quantitative and qualitative data collection, secondary data analysis, and systematic reviews.

His clinical epidemiology studies were among the first to demonstrate the large increase in opioid prescribing over the last two decades. More importantly, they demonstrated that people with mental and substance use disorders were more likely to receive opioids and were at the highest risk for opioid misuse and adverse outcomes. Illustrating the broad impact of his work, Dr. Edlund’s findings have been widely published in peer-reviewed literature, displayed at talks, discussed in news articles, and presented at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing.

He has served as a principal investigator on projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Edlund was a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Addiction and the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s committee to update opioid use disorder guidelines.

Currently, he is one of multiple principal investigators on the SAMHSA-funded Mental and Substance Use Disorders Prevalence Study, a large nationally representative psychiatric epidemiology survey designed to produce estimates of mental and substance use disorders among U.S. adults and investigate factors associated with receiving treatment. The survey includes representation of household and non-household—incarcerated, institutionalized, and homeless—populations.

Dr. Edlund is also co-principal investigator on the Integrated Health Services to Reduce Opioid Use While Managing Chronic Pain project. This study investigates the comparative effectiveness of two approaches for reducing or discontinuing opioids for chronic pain patients receiving chronic opioid therapy: (1) opioid pharmacotherapy following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for opioid prescribing, plus a shared decision-making intervention, and (2) opioid pharmacotherapy following CDC guidelines, plus motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain.

He was a fellow in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Michigan. Dr. Edlund completed a psychiatry residency and a health services research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Neuropsychiatric Institute.

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