The purpose of the Institute of Research Education and Services in Addiction (IRESA) of the Universidad Central del Caribe, School of Medicine is to promote and develop research, education, and services for substance use and other behavioral health conditions in Latino communities in the United States and Puerto Rico. Established in 1992, and formerly known as the Center for Addiction Studies, it has conducted an array of initiatives in prevention and substance use treatment services, criminal justice, homelessness, HIV, and workforce development.
• Provides clinical and demonstrative research expertise to assess and address health disparities among individuals with substance use disorders.
• Serves as a key resource in the presentation of gender-specific treatment approaches and trauma-related services.
• Supports in the development of intervention models aimed to reduce HIV risk behaviors and substance use.
• Offers consultations on the implications and interpretations of data on substance use, correlations and consequences that have strengthened education/teaching/methods and interventions in the substance use field.
• Delivers technical assistance and consultation to program directors, clinical managers/supervisors, and trainers on implementation issues, and sustainability of treatment best practices.
• Designs and develops curricula for multidisciplinary personnel who offer treatment for substance use disorders.
• Supports academic programs for allied health professions and provides continuous technical assistance for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Health Science in Substance Abuse Counseling.
• Provides continuing education courses in a wide range of topics including prevention efforts, especially for adolescents’ and adults’ mental health first aiders, treatment and recovery support services for mental health and substance use disorders for all type of service providers.
• Offers a demonstrative and practicum site to disseminate best practices to treat substance use disorders.
• Serves as liaison with other behavioral health services for persons with substance use disorders.
• Develops intervention manuals that have proven useful in practice with the Puerto Rican populations, and providers serving Hispanics and Latinos in the United States.
• Provides a program evaluation component to support policy development, decision-making, and accountability to determine program effectiveness and organizational capacity.
The evolution of the Institute provides an excellent example of the seamless integration of research, education, and services into the substance use field. The expertise and network capabilities allows for international collaborations in substance use core concepts for the areas of criminal justice, primary care, recovery and support services, trauma and gender-specific services, clinical supervision, medication assisted treatment, motivational interviewing, cultural elements in treating Hispanics and Latinos and their clinical application, family therapy for Latino adolescents, and US Latino youth street gangs, among other topics.