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Dr. Svetla Slavova is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Interim Associate Dean for Research. She is also a faculty associate in the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) at the University of Kentucky. Her research applies modern statistical methods to address important public health issues.

Dr. Slavova has been the principal investigator on grants funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). She is nationally and internationally recognized for her research, especially in drug overdose surveillance, which has informed drug overdose prevention policy and practice. Her research has been critical in combating the opioid epidemic and has been featured in Politico, FiveThirtyEight, and other venues. Dr. Slavova’s research has been published in prominent academic journals and widely cited. 

In 2019, she received the Jess Kraus Award for the best paper published in Injury Epidemiology. A manuscript for a study led by Dr. Slavova is listed as the Top Cited paper in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence among papers published after 2018.

Dr. Slavova served as the chair of the Overdose Subcommittee at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) from 2015 through 2018. In 2018, she was recognized as a national leader in building analytical capacity for drug overdose mortality surveillance, receiving the CSTE Distinguished Leader Award. In 2018, she was also named the Lexington Public Health Hero for “leading the charge both nationally and locally for clear, actionable data on which to base sound public health policy and programs” and for expanding free access in the community to the lifesaving medication naloxone.

From 2018 through 2020, Dr. Slavova served on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Board of Scientific Counselors Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Drug Work Group, providing input on strategies for improved collection and analysis of national data for research on drug use, misuse, and overdose.

Dr. Slavova is a co-director of the UK’s Data, Informatics, and Biostatistics Core for the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) that includes 67 communities across 4 research sites (Kentucky, Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York), to test the effect of an integrated intervention to reduce opioid overdose deaths. This is the largest research grant ever received by the University of Kentucky. She also leads the HCS Consortium’s Data Capture Work Group that developed the HCS study outcome measures.

The University of Kentucky recognized Dr. Slavova’s excellence in scholarship and named her a University Research Professor for 2019-2020.

Dr. Slavova enjoys teaching as well as individual mentoring of students with interests in substance use disorder research, pharmacoepidemiology, public health surveillance, and health informatics.

Dr. Slavova's Curriculum Vitae

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  • PhD, Statistics
    • University of Kentucky
  • MS, Statistics
    • University of Kentucky
  • MS, Computer Science
    • Sofia University, Bulgaria

Research Interests

  • Injury Surveillance
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Big Data Application to Drug Overdose Prevention
  • Motor Vehicle Crash Modeling

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