Dr. Clyde B. McCoy Wins International Award of Excellence

For more than three decades, Clyde B. McCoy, Ph.D., has directed the Comprehensive Drug Research Center and health services research at the Miller School – and mentored a generation of researchers along the way. In recognition of his tireless commitment to drug abuse research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has honored him with its Excellence in Mentoring Award.

McCoy and other Awards of Excellence winners were recognized June 9 at the 17th Annual NIDA International Forum in Palm Springs, California.

“I am so pleased to receive the NIH NIDA Excellence Award for mentoring,” said McCoy, professor and chairman emeritus of epidemiology and public health. “One of the most satisfying aspects of my long career has been working with such wonderful people. I have grown to understand that, in the mentoring relationship, the mentor receives just as much, if not more, than the mentee. It is especially energizing to work with young investigators who keep senior investigators like myself refreshed and excited about the research.”

One of three categories of NIDA’s International Program Awards of Excellence, the mentoring award honors individuals who have been instrumental in molding fellows into independent researchers and furthering NIDA’s efforts to develop global collaborations on drug abuse research.

“Dr. McCoy has spent more than 30 years preparing new drug abuse researchers and scientists to tackle pressing drug-related issues, such as HIV/AIDS, and helping communities around the world,” said Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., director of the NIDA International Program.

McCoy joined the medical school faculty in 1974, launching the interdisciplinary University-wide Comprehensive Drug Research Center, where world-renowned researchers convene to study the many implications of drug use. The center is nationally recognized as one of only two federally funded centers for community-based health services research for chronic drug users. As director, McCoy has built a multidisciplinary research team focused on drug abuse and HIV/AIDS in Greater Miami’s tri-ethnic community.

“The Comprehensive Drug Research Center has provided great opportunities for many scholars working in this significant area of substance abuse,” McCoy said. “Through the CDRC, we have positioned 12 academic chairs — most recently, Lisa Metsch, who is heading to Columbia University in New York to chair its prestigious Department of Sociomedical Sciences.”

McCoy, whose own personal annual NIH funding streak has remained unbroken since October 1974, also has impacted research communities across four continents. He and his team have forged partnerships with research allies throughout the Caribbean, China, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, helping developing countries address their AIDS epidemic and affected populations, especially chronic drug users, through epidemiological research, clinical trials, and other prevention programs.

With support from NIDA, McCoy also helped establish the Comprehensive Research Center (East) at Yunnan University to study drug use in China’s Yunnan Province. An active member of the NIDA Office of Special Populations mentoring group, McCoy, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, currently mentors a group of Native American researchers — among them, his daughter — and recently began a project with the Clínica Montserrat drug treatment program in Colombia.

McCoy’s expertise also extends to sports. As UM’s faculty athletic representative, he has been responsible for academic integrity and institutional control of intercollegiate athletics at the University since 1994. He served as president of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 2009-2010, and is the University representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and ACC.

NIDA’s Awards of Excellence winners are selected annually based on contributions to areas essential to the mission of the NIDA International Program — mentoring, international leadership, and collaborative research. This year’s forum theme, “New and Emerging Psychoactive Substances,” examined the impact of new synthetic and designer drugs.

As he celebrated with his extended family – wife Anne; daughter A. Jeanene McCoy-Bengoa; grandson Akiva; granddaughter Ainara; and mentees Min Zhao, M.D., Ph.D., from Shanghai Mental Health Center in China, who spent her NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award research exchange visit with Dr. McCoy, and Ana Maria Bueno, M.D., and Juan Camilo Varon Forero, M.D., from Colombia – McCoy said he felt “very fortunate to be so involved with the family activity of mentoring.”

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