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Sociology Faculty Member Awarded Prestigious Fellowship


A Saint Louis University faculty member who studies strategies to address the opioid crisis has been selected for an elite fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Liz Chiarello, Ph.D.

Liz Chiarello, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, whose research also is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is exploring health care and criminal justice strategies to fight the opioid crisis in the U.S.

As a member of the 2019-2020 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study cohort, Chiarello is among a  group of 50 scholars, scientists and artists from 10 countries who will spend the year directing their energy to solve some of the most complex and urgent challenges of today’s era.

Chiarello, who is taking a sabbatical, says she will spend the time writing a book that examines the impact of the U.S. opioid crisis on how health care providers and law enforcement officials do their job.

With an acceptance rate for the highly competitive residential fellowship of 3.7%, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is a unique space within Harvard—a school dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines.

Chiarello also is in the second year of a five-year NSF Faculty Early Career Development grant. These awards are given to early-career faculty who demonstrate potential to serve as leaders within their institutions and academic role models in research and education. 

Chiarello’s research examines how current efforts to curb the opioid crisis affect health care and criminal justice workers. She delves into such questions as how does policing patients affect health care practice? And, how does targeting health care providers affect law enforcement?

 “Addressing these questions is important because requiring workers to venture beyond their traditional scopes of practice could undermine their professional commitments and negatively impact professional community members,” Chiarello says. 

Her findings will inform policymakers and clinicians about ways to address the opioid crisis while avoiding unintended consequences.