This evening, I hosted the CNLM ambassador’s panel “How Addiction Hijacks the Brain: What Animal Models Can Tell Us About the Neurobiology of Drugs of Abuse”. This panel features four UCI addiction experts Dr. Christie Fowler, Dr. Ariana Nelson, Dr. Jessica Childs, and PhD candidate Mitchell Farrell. This is the second panel hosted by CNLM Adult Outreach Committee and we have over 60 attendees from the Irvine community. Although the audience size in summer is smaller than during the school year, I really enjoyed facilitating the panel discussion, learned about neural mechanisms underlying drug addiction, and was deeply inspired by scientists who are determined to devote their lifelong career to improving people’s mental health.
Learning from our last panel on “sleep and mental health”, we improved question organization and changed our free-answer question mode to a semi-directed question style. The semi-directed question mode seems to work more effectively this time as we managed to go over many questions within the 1.5 hour. This hosting experience is also a great learning process for me. I gained a new perspective in thinking about academic activities: how to get involved in a discussion while I am not a scientist in that specific sub-discipline (my field is spatial neuroscience, which is very different from drug abuse).
This experience also boosted my knowledge back-up as a teacher. Interestingly, just around two weeks ago, I gave a mini-lecture in my Psychology Fundamental class on how to use classical conditioning to explain why people got overdose easily in a new environment. I will have more to share with my students in the future if I were to teach related topic again. How nice :)
Here are some relevant resources:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Quit smoking: https://smokefree.gov
Prevent Overdose on Opioids - Naloxone for All: https://www.naloxoneforall.org
Suicide Prevention Hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Alcoholics Anonymous Orange County: https://oc-aa.org