placeholder image

Nickolas D. Zaller Assistant Professor of Medicine (Research)

Nickolas D. Zaller, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in (Research) at the Alepert Medical School and Research Associate at The Miriam Hospital. Dr. Zaller has a strong background in conducting research among substance using and marginalized populations and experience in study design, implementation and data analysis work on numerous federally funded studies. Dr. Zaller received his PhD training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and completed a two-year NIDA-sponsored T32 clinical research post doctoral training fellowship at The Miriam Hospital. Dr. Zaller's research interests include: access to addiction treatment and support services for out of treatment drug using populations at high-risk for HIV infection; role of pharmacies in providing HIV prevention related services to substance users and other marginalized populations; linkage to HIV primary care and substance use treatment upon release from correctional settings; alternatives to incarceration for substance using populations; and integration of behavioral and primary healthcare. Recent projects on which Dr. Zaller is a lead or co-Investigator include four NIDA funded R01 studies among substance using populations in the correctional setting, the Open Society Institute funded Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative which seeks to expand resources for drug addiction focusing on improving efficiencies in treatment delivery and diversion of individuals away from corrections into community based drug treatment, the CDC funded RARx overdose and prevention response study and the Brown Global Health Initiative funded study examining sexual health among female migrant workers in China. Dr. Zaller has also served as either Project Director or lead evaluator on three SAMHSA funded Targeted Expansion Capacity (TCE) grants to expand and enhance substance use treatment among marginalized substance users at risk for HIV infection. Additionally, Dr. Zaller is part of the evaluation team of the HRSA funded multi-site project EnhanceLink which provides linkage to HIV care upon release from jail settings.

Research Areas

scholarly work

Zaller N, Taylor LE, et al. Hepatitis C in Correctional Institutions. Current Hepatitis Reports, 2007, In press.

Zaller N, Gillani F and Rich JD. A Model of Integrated Primary Care for HIV Positive Patients with Underlying Substance Use and Mental Illness. AIDS Care. 2007, In press.

Zaller N. Drug Court as an Alternative to Incarceration. Rhode Island Medicine and Health 2007; 90(5): 154-56.

Beckwith C, Zaller N and Flanigan T. HIV counseling and testing of injection drug users: The objective has not yet been met. American J of Public Health 2007; 97(7): 1161.

Rich JD, Hogan JW, Wolf F, Delong A, Zaller N, et al. Lower Syringe Sharing and Re-Use After Syringe Legalization in Rhode Island. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2007; 89: 292-97.

Brim N, Zaller N, et al. Twinrix Vaccination Schedules Among Injection Drug Users: a Review. Expert Opinions in Biological Therapies 2007; 7(3): 379-89.

Zaller ND, Thurmond P, et al. Linkage to methadone treatment from acute opiate detoxification treatment. Journal of Opioid Management. 2007; 2(6): 341-346.

Zaller N, Thurmond P, et al. Limited Spending: An Analysis of Correctional Expenditures on Antiretrovirals for HIV infected Prisoners. Public Health Reports. 2007; 121(1): 49-54.

Zaller N, DaWalt M, et al. Routine HIV Testing in US Jails and Prisons: Seizing the opportunity to provide healthcare and protect public health. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2007; 7(7): 440-41

Beckwith, C Moreira C, Aboshady H, Zaller N, Rich JD and Flanigan TP. A success story: HIV prevention for injection drug users in Rhode Island. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy. 2006; 1(34)

Beckwith C, Zaller N, Rich, J. Addressing the HIV Epidemic Through Quality Correctional Healthcare. Criminology & Public Policy 2006; 5(1): 149-156.

Zaller N, Nelson K., Ness P, Wen G, Kewir T, Bai X and Shan H. Demographic Characteristics and Risks for Transfusion Transmissible Infection Among Blood Donors at the Largest Blood Center in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, PRChina. Transfusion. 2006; 46(2): 265-71.

Zaller N, Noak A, Poshkus M, McDonald L and Rich J. The Overlapping Epidemics of Viral hepatitis/HIV, Addiction and Incarceration: The Current Situation in Rhode Island. Rhode Island Medicine and Health. 2005; 88(12): 424-27.

Zaller N, Nelson K, Ness P, Wen G, Bai X and Shan H. Knowledge, attitude and practice survey regarding blood donation in a Northwestern Chinese city. Transfusion Medicine. 2005; 15: 277-286.

Zaller N, Nelson K, Aladashvili M, Badrize N, del Rio C and Tsertsvadze T. Risk Factors for HCV Infection Among Blood Donors in Georgia. Eur J of Epidemiol. 2004; 19(6): 547-553.

research overview

Current research interests include: the overlap of infectious diseases, illicit substance use, and incarceration; social and behavioral interventions for substance use; epidemiology of HIV and viral hepatitis infection; health disparities and structural determinants in accessing substance use and mental health treatment services; alternatives to incarceration among substance using populations; integration of primary healthcare and behavioral healthcare.

funded research

RO1DA027211 (Rich) 8/1/2009-5/31/2014 3.0 calendar
NIH $431,390
A Randomized Trial of Continued Methadone Treatment Maintenance vs. Detoxification in Jail

• The goal of this project is to compare methadone detoxification with continued methadone maintenance treatment using a randomized trial and examine continuing treatment post release, relapse to drug use, HIV risk behaviors, reincarceration, and the costs associated with continued MMT vs. methadone detoxification.

20023067 (Zaller) 9/1/2008-8/31/2011 6.6 calendar
Open Society Institute $200,000
Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap Initiative

• The goal of this project is to assess and strengthen the availability of addiction treatment options to individuals.

R01DA030771 (Rich) 9/30/10-6/30/15 .6 calendar
NIH $240,806
A Randomized Controlled Trial and Cohort Study of HIV testing and Linkage to Care at Community Corrections

• The goal of this study is to conduct both a randomized trial of HIV testing in community corrections, and a single arm intervention (cohort) study of linkage to HIV care for people with HIV recruited through community corrections (probation and parole).

R21CE001846-01 (Green) 9/1/10- 8/31/12 .6 calendar
CDC $113,249
Unintentional Prescription Opioid Poisoning Deaths in Connecticut & Rhode Island

• The overarching goal of this proposal is to explore the utility and effectiveness of two statewide prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), in Connecticut (CT) and Rhode Island (RI), in reducing prescription opioid-involved accidental intoxication deaths among adults.

1H97HA08535 (Flanigan) 9/1/07-8/31/12 1.5 calendar
HRSA $312,493
Community Partnerships and Supportive Services for HIV-infected People Leaving Jail

• The goal of this project is to evaluate linkage to care interventions for HIV positive persons leaving jails.

Rhode Island Foundation (Zaller) 7/1/12- 6/30/13 1.2 calendar
A Substance Screening Model for RI Primary Care Offices

• The goal of this project is to develop training around screening, brief intervention and referral to substance use treatment in primary care settings.