CRISM: Prairie Node


Researchers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are investigating substance misuse (SM) interventions delivered in the clinic, community, and academic research settings. Each Province funds treatment and prevention of SM and has developed strategic plans through their respective Ministries of Health and Regional Health Authorities. But to date, these assets have operated either in isolation, or as part of small provincial teams. This is a missed opportunity for collaboration and impact in light of three challenges shared across the Prairie provinces: (1) treatment and prevention services that serve a diverse case mix of SM clients drawn from urban and rural populations – the latter who are often highly geographically dispersed; (2) high prevalence of SM among Indigenous peoples, the fastest-growing segment of urban populations in this Canadian region; and (3) relatively limited research capacity (i.e., few faculty positions and trainees specifically allocated to SM; limited in-house capacity for SM research among service providers).

The CRISM Prairie Node was developed to address these challenges. We have engaged a diverse group of over 170 researchers, system and program managers, policy makers, and consumer advocates, each of whom recognizes the need for enhanced regional collaboration to address SM, and who have committed to participate in a Prairie regional CRISM Node.

Nominated Principal Investigator

Cameron Wild, PhD; Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta;

Cam earned a PhD in Psychology from the University of Alberta, completed a postdoctoral Fellowship in the Human Motivation program at the University of Rochester (New York), and was a Staff Scientist at the (former) Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario. He was the inaugural Associate Dean of Research in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, where he is currently a Professor and Nominated Principal Investigator of the CRISM Prairie Node. Cam’s research program includes (1) community-based epidemiologic and qualitative studies of addictive behaviours (injection drug use, use and misuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and prescription drugs) and comorbid mental disorders, (2) research on community-based screening and brief interventions as first-line services for the general public, (3) health services research on motivational factors influencing client retention in addiction treatment and the impact of compulsory treatment policies, and (4) system-level work designed to inform the organization of prevention and treatment services in relation to problem severity and population needs for care. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and chapters on these topics and has supervised 33 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Principal Investigators


Node objectives are to (1) create effective and trusting collaborative working relationships among our members, and (2) develop accessible resources for SM interventions that are of value to researchers, service providers, and consumer advocates. Three sets of interrelated activities will be undertaken. First, we will develop infrastructure resources, each designed to enhance capacity for a viable regional research-practice-advocacy network. Second, a regional engagement strategy will build the Prairie CRISM Node as an integrated cross-provincial collaboration. Third, the proposed infrastructure and engagement strategy will be used to support two demonstration projects designed to kick-start collaborative regional collaboration on retention in substance abuse treatment and screening and brief interventions for SM. One of the demonstration projects will address retention in specialty addiction treatment; the other will address screening and brief interventions for SM.

These activities will lay the groundwork for conducting future intra- and inter-Node research on SM interventions. Our long-term goals for the Node are to (1) facilitate regional uptake of evidence-based treatment and prevention interventions for SM, including polydrug misuse and related comorbidities; (2) increase regional capacity to test the efficacy and effectiveness of new treatment and prevention interventions; and (3) effectively collaborate with other CRISM Nodes and other research partners on intervention trials, secondary analyses, and related research.

Contact information

Node Manager:
Denise Adams, PhD
University of Alberta
Tel.: 780-492-0135
Fax: 780-492-0364

4-061 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T6G 1C9

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