Jake Samora is a first year doctoral student in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and has 3 years of experience as a Research Associate in the Addiction Research Institute. His research interests involve the utilization of community-based participatory research methods and implementation science to better understand and improve health inequalities experienced by people who use drugs (PWUD).

Jake’s interests draw heavily on his experience with TxCOPE (Texans Connecting Overdose Prevention Efforts), which is an innovative digital platform designed to improve data on overdose incidents experienced in Texas. TxCOPE was developed via community-based methods and the perspectives of stakeholders in overdose care throughout the state, including PWUD, outreach providers, and first responders. In this work, Jake has developed strong competencies in qualitative methodology and implementation support, as well as a passion for providers and clients most heavily affected by the overdose crisis.

Additionally, Jake  is interested  in examining the intersections of substance use and overdose with sexually diverse populations (i.e., LGBTQA+). Serving as a clinician on a randomized control trial with PWUD who also were diagnosed with HIV, Jake obtained insight into the unique experiences and challenges that sexually diverse individuals had related to substance use and services utilization for substance use disorder care. Jake intends to examine how stigma and adverse experiences in sexually diverse populations contribute to substance use outcomes in this population.

Jake’s interests are also shaped by his experience as a principal investigator on a project designed to disseminate and implement TxCOPE among college students. Through this  research project, Jake obtained experience in the design and piloting of strategies to increase engagement and adoption of TxCOPE among college students. Jake intends to use these competencies towards developing interventions that support the adoption and dissemination of innovations for substance use-related outcomes.

He  will use his professional experience and doctoral studies to identify understudied areas and opportunities aimed at better outcomes for vulnerable populations of PWUD and their service providers. Jake received his BA in Psychology from UT Austin and received his Master’s in Psychology at Boston University. Jake is mentored by Dr. Kasey Claborn, PhD.