Academic and community partners come together to discuss opioid epidemic

What are opioids?

Published March 20, 2019

By Megan Wilson-Crowley, MPA

Faculty, staff, students, providers and community partners gathered at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to discuss the progress that’s been made so far and what still needs to be done when it comes to addressing the opioid epidemic.

“Taking Action Together: A Community Conversation on Opioids” was held on February 28. Co-sponsored by Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) and UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the half-day event convened a diverse crowd for a discussion about the current state of the opioid epidemic and showcased how collaboration can inform research, policy and impact delivery of care.

A networking session kicked off the afternoon event where attendees engaged with university researchers and community organizations around community-friendly posters on opioid research and information tables on available community services.

Research posters and information tables at the event included the following:

Research Posters

Opioid tapering at an outpatient clinic in Buffalo, NY

Author(s): Kenhua Zhou; Gary G. Wang

Affiliation(s): Catholic Health Systems Internal Medicine Training Program; University at Buffalo

Chronic non-cancer pain and opioids: A literature review and perspectives on the opioid epidemic

Author(s): Kenhua Zhou; Gary G. Wang

Affiliation(s): Catholic Health Systems Internal Medicine Training Program; University at Buffalo

856 student and faculty from 9 professional programs come together to learn interprofessional strategies to treat opioid dependence

Author(s): Lisa Jane Jacobsen; Alan Lesse; Don Antonson; Kathy Boje; Diane Elze; Nick Fusco; Cynthia Stuhlmiller; Daniel Sheehan; Andrew Symons; Patricia J. Ohtake

Affiliation(s): UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; UB Office of Interprofessional Education

Developing a Curriculum for Primary Care Providers to Become Leaders in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Author(s): Tildabeth Doscher; Ranjit Singh; Shyamashree Sinha; Christopher Barrick; Bridget Foreshee

Affiliation(s): UB Jacobs School of Medical and Biomedical Sciences of Department of Family Medicine, Primary Care Research Institute

Opioid Safety: A Community Pharmacy Intervention to Prevent Opioid Adverse Drug Events

Author(s): Tanya Vadala; Robert G. Wahler; Anne Myrka; Marsha Nelson; Edward Bednarczyk

Affiliation(s): IPRO; UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Informatics Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis in Western New York

Author(s): Sarah Mullin; Shyamashree Sinha; Robert Lee; Jinwei Hu; Angie Li;
Arlen Brickman; Peter L. Elkin

Affiliation(s): UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Biomedical Informatics

Secondary use of Electronic Healthcare Record Data to understand and find solutions to the Opioid Epidemic

Author(s): Shyamashree Sinha; Sarah Mullin; Robert Lee; Jinwei Hu; Arlen Brickman; Angie Li; Peter L. Elkin

Affiliation(s): UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Biomedical Informatics

Evaluating Outcomes of a Pharmacist-Led Medication
Management Program for Outpatient Treatment of Opioid Dependence: A Retrospective Study

Author(s): Michelle Rainka; Traci Aladeen; Erica Westphal; Horacio Capote; Anna Eschler; Richard Blondell

Affiliation(s): Dent Neurologic Institute; UB Jacobs School of Medical and Biomedical Sciences of Department of Family Medicine; UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Information Tables

Cazenovia Recovery Systems

Clubhouse Buffalo - Restoration Society Inc.

Erie County Department of Health

Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center

Evergreen Health Services

Great Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization (GBAUCO)

Horizon Health Services

UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Audience.

“We really wanted to highlight how researchers, clinical practitioners and social services can work together to address a problem that is impacting our community,” said Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, PhD, director of Community Translational Research in UB’s Department of Family Medicine and director of Community Engagement for the CTSI. “In order to make a difference, we have to have spaces where we can engage in honest, genuine discussions.”

The formal part of the program was ushered in with opening remarks from Danise Wilson, MPH, executive director of ENAHEC and SUNY Distinguished Professor and CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD, who both spoke of the importance of collaboration between university and community partners. Following the opening remarks, Emma Fabian, MSW, Senior Director of Harm Reduction at Evergreen Health delivered an engaging keynote. Speaking to an audience of about 80, Fabian gave an overview of the principles of harm reduction and how it has informed the services provided at Evergreen. She concluded the presentation by exploring how data and research have informed treatments and best practices.

For the second half of the program, a panel took part in a community-friendly conversation about perceived barriers to treating and delivering care to substance users, and how community engagement in research is crucial when it comes to developing new and relevant approaches to treatment and reducing stigma. The panel, which presented different perspectives of the opioid epidemic, was moderated by Gale Burstein, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Erie County’s Department of Health which oversees the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force. Panelists included:

  • Roy Golia, LMSW, Clinical Supervisor of the Substance Use Program, Evergreen Health Services
  • Ivette Chavez-Gonzalez, Peer Outreach Navigation Worker, Evergreen Health Services
  • Tildabeth Doscher, MD, MPH, Medical Director at Cazenovia Recovery Systems, Associate Director UB’s Addiction Medicine Fellowship, Outpatient Treatment Provider at Horizon Medical Services
  • Christopher Barrick, PhD, Senior Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor, Primary Care Research Institute, UB Department of Family Medicine

“It is critical for all voices to be heard when discussing an issue as important as the opioid epidemic. Allowing for all stakeholder voices to be heard promotes collaboration and ultimately results in better outcomes for the community,” said Brittany Mitchell, MSW, program manager of ENAHEC. “I am grateful that we were able to have such a meaningful panel discussion with input from audience members and panelists alike. I hope this event results in new collaborations and partnerships between community members, community organizations and researchers.”