Massachusetts Tackling Addiction Determinants of Health Through Research (MATADOHR)

Support for this work was provided by the AIR Equity Initiative.

With support from AIR CARES and the AIR Equity Initiative, AIR launched the MATADOHR project in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in October 2021. The goal of the project is to explore the associations of overdose death with individual- and community-level social determinants and how residential segregation may condition the impact of social determinants on overdose death.

Addiction and overdose is about so much more than drugs. It’s about the context of people’s lives. We are trying to capture that context in MATADOHR and translate our findings to support the work of decision-makers in Massachusetts.

The proposed analysis will support a better understanding of the relative and collective contribution of various social determinants of health to overdose fatality rates and how this differs for communities of color in Massachusetts. The MATADOHR team engages in participatory research alongside local stakeholders to integrate local knowledge with quantitative findings and develop theories of change that identify key policy and program barriers and facilitators to health in Massachusetts. 

The project also seeks to respond to a critical gap in public health research by developing a Residential Segregation Toolkit (ReSeT) with considerations for researchers looking to incorporate measures of residential segregation into their analyses. The toolkit is informed by a panel of national experts and is accompanied by a systematic literature review of measures used to assess residential segregation in the field of addiction research.

Massachusetts Public Health Data Warehouse

In 2017, Massachusetts policymakers passed legislation to establish the Public Health Data Warehouse, a large public health dataset that links more than 29 administrative data sources across state government agencies. The data warehouse links data on medical and behavioral health claims, unemployment, homelessness, public food benefits, corrections, and social supports at the individual level, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is tasked with supporting research that examines these data to understand trends in fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses in the state.