RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Wendee Wechsberg, Ph.D., director of substance abuse treatment evaluations and interventions at RTI International, received the 2013 Excellence in Mentoring award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The award recognizes Wechsberg for her outstanding contributions to international cooperation in drug abuse research and training. Specifically, it honors her leadership and mentoring of researchers committed to issues involving at-risk women who are substance abusers.
“Wendee’s passion for her work is inspiring,” said Tim Gabel, executive vice president of Social, Statistical and Environmental Sciences at RTI. “Many of our staff members have been the beneficiaries of her mentoring talents over the years. This award is particularly meaningful in that it demonstrates her commitment to the community of research professionals who are dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk women around the world, and I'm thrilled that NIDA has recognized her in this way.”
Wechsberg has mentored drug abuse researchers around the globe in substance abuse treatment research and practice, particularly in South Africa and Russia. She also founded and chairs the NIDA International Women's and Children's Health and Gender working group, known as InWomen. InWomen is a multidisciplinary forum that addresses all aspects of the consequences of substance use.
“Dr. Wechsberg is an outstanding mentor to researchers from around the world,” said Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., director of the NIDA International Program. “Thanks to her leadership, InWomen is a vibrant source of information and professional opportunities for researchers focusing on the consequences of substance use among women and children.”
Wechsberg focuses on applied research, using quantitative and qualitative methods, to develop and test the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions among diverse populations of substance abusers. She has conducted international research in South Africa and mentors young scientists throughout the world about drug abuse and drug-related applied research.
In addition to her role at RTI, Wechsberg is an adjunct professor at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, as well as an adjunct associate professor at Duke University. At the Universities she mentors U.S. graduate students and postdocs and encourages their participation in international collaborative research on gender and ethnicity, outreach, HIV risk, and substance abuse among women.
“Mentoring is energizing when you meet people with the same passion,” Wechsberg said. “It offers insurance in the future that these people will be the next leaders in the work we are committed to – addressing social and behavioral determinants around women’s substance abuse.”
Wechsberg was presented the award on June 15 at the 18th annual NIDA International Forum in San Diego, California. The 2013 Forum focused on “Improving Evidence-Based Treatment.”
NIDA’s International Excellence in Mentoring award recognizes the leadership of researchers who have guided and helped NIDA Fellows achieve research independence. Awardees have furthered NIDA’s efforts to create a global community of scientists who collaborate on drug research regionally, nationally and internationally.