The New England Consortium Node (NECN) was formed in 2010 through a merger of 2 highly productive nodes; the New England Node, led by Kathleen Carroll, and the Northern New England Node, led by Roger Weiss.
The New England Node entered the CTN in 1999 as part of the first wave of nodes, and Kathy Carroll and her team of collaborators immediately left their mark on the CTN. As one of 4 founding nodes in 1999, the New England Node, under Kathy’s direction led two early protocols, “Motivational Enhancement Therapy to Improve Treatment Engagement” and “Motivational Interviewing to Improve Treatment Engagement and Outcome” which set the standard for subsequent CTN behavioral trials: meeting recruitment and retention goals, and highly productive, generating over 30 peer-reviewed papers. The Node also conducted the first CTN trial for monolingual Spanish speakers. Kathy’s contribution to the CTN was immeasurable; as arguably the leading addictions behavioral therapy researcher in the world, she set the standards for incorporating the highest-quality behavioral research standards into CTN trials.
The Northern NE Node, under Roger Weiss’ direction, entered the CTN in the second wave, in 2002. When prescription opioid dependence emerged as a prevalent but little-studied problem, Roger and his colleagues at McLean Hospital led the Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS). In 2010, Betty Tai, the director of the Center for the Clinical Trials Network (CCTN), announced that the CTN would be reducing the number of nodes in the network, and she encouraged geographically proximate nodes to merge. The merger of the New England and the Northern New England nodes provided an ideal opportunity for integration, based on our geographical proximity, complementary scientific expertise, and history of successful collaboration. The merger occurred seamlessly, as the newly formed NECN was founded in 2010.
In 2015, the mission of the CTN expanded; there was now an increasing emphasis on conducting addiction treatment research in general medical settings. This change led to the incorporation of a new group of researchers in the node, including Gail D’Onofrio and David Fiellin from Yale, Richard Saitz and Jeffrey Samet from Boston University, Sharon Levy from Boston Children’s Hospital, and Sarah Wakeman from Massachuessets General Hospital; all are national leaders in addiction medicine research.
In 2020 Gail D’Onofrio became a PI of the NECN along with Roger and Kathy. Gail’s expertise in the treatment of substance use in the Emergency Room setting, conducting implementation research, and her leadership of two major Emergency Department trials, made her an ideal addition to the multiple PI leadership of the NECN. With the devastating loss of Kathy, Gail has assumed the role of contact PI. NECN researchers are now leading multiple trials and demonstrating CTN leadership in other ways, exemplified by Shelly Greenfield’s continued leadership of the CTN Gender Special Interest Group since 2002, where numerous high impact publications have resulted from the groups’ dedicated effort to the field. .
This Node was founded by a heart whose depth centered on genuine concern for the welfare of all individuals, a heart who opened to those in need, not only to those suffering from addiction, but those who needed a colleague, a mentor, a friend who would accept and love them. Kathy is light, both in life, and in death. She’ll never extinguish.