In 2020, the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation donated $75,000 to the Addiction Policy Forum to support the Stop the Stigma campaign and the Physician Education Initiative.

Stop the Stigma Campaign

Stigma refers to when individuals are discriminated against, devalued, rejected or excluded as a result of belonging to a particular group. Addiction-related stigma prevents people who are struggling from reaching out for help and isolates families affected by addiction who fear being judged by their communities.  


  • The campaign has reached 161,847 individuals throughout the U.S. through the launch of a podcast series, public service announcements, a nationwide event with top experts in the field, and workshops on the ground to tackle the stigma of addiction with a variety of stakeholders.
  • The event Substance Use Disorders and Stigma: Research, Racial Disparities and Promising Approaches featured leading researchers, policymakers, and advocates and discussed the latest research on stigma, the intersection between racial disparities and stigma, and promising approaches to end the stigma surrounding addiction. 
  • In the PSA “Addiction is a Disease”, Dr. Nora Volkow breaks down the science of addiction and discusses why addiction is a disease similar to diabetes and cancer.

Physician Education Initiative 

Most medical schools do not require that their students take any courses on addiction. In fact, there are many gaps in addiction education and training today: only 12 of 125 surveyed accredited U.S. medical schools reported providing separately required substance abuse education, and only 13 percent of patients have reported that they were screened and counseled for medical conditions like nondependent problem drinking. A National Academy of Science report recommended that “all treatment professionals should have some knowledge of basic neuroscience and how alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs work on brain pathways, influence behavior, and interact with diverse conditions.”


  • Development and dissemination of an issue brief for key policymakers on physician education on substance use disorders. 
  • Development of program and policy recommendations to improve physician education on addiction, including engagement with medical schools and continuing education requirements for current physicians and medical professionals. 

In 2021, the Foundation donated $5,000 to the Addiction Policy Forum to support the Stop the Stigma campaign and anti-stigma initiatives, including:

  • Research has shown that the words we use to describe substance use disorders (SUD) have a significant impact on those struggling with addiction and how they are treated. The campaign launched a three-minute explainer video on why five commonly used addiction terms need to be erased from your vocabulary and offers suggestions for what to say instead.