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NEOMED Receives $500,000 OhioMHAS Grant

To collaborate with all Ohio medical schools to tackle pain management and opioid use disorder treatment

Northeast Ohio Medical University was recently awarded a $500,000 grant by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) to work with the other Ohio medical schools to develop a common medical school curriculum on pain management and opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment.

On June 4, representatives from all the Ohio medical schools will come together for a comprehensive planning and strategy retreat.

As part of the Ohio State Opioid Response (SOR) Project, the collaborative grant is designed to have development and implementation across all seven Ohio medical schools. Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Toledo and Wright State University are named as sub-awardees.

Each medical school will make a unique contribution to the collaborative curriculum, aligned with the disciplines and expert interests of their team members. The team includes medical faculty in the areas of family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry and pain management ― supported by psychologists, pharmacists and experts in curriculum development and community health.

The SOR Project focuses on building a community system of care (prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery support) that emphasizes service integration between physical health, emergency health care, behavioral health care, criminal justice and child welfare. The population of focus is adolescents and adults with a diagnosis of opioid use disorder and those at risk for misuse of opioids.

Primary care (family and general internal medicine) physicians and emergency medicine physicians represent the gateway of care for most as patients request care from them ―usually with a chief complaint of physical illness. However, data suggest that there is often an underlying mental health or substance use issue triggering the visit.
While psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health illness, including substance use disorders, the shortage of psychiatrists nationwide ― reportedly as high as 90% in some areas according to the Kaiser Family Foundation― necessitate mental health training occur across multiple specialties. And according to NEOMED, is the reason why the concept of coordinating all partners and aligning curricular elements for a comprehensive curriculum continuum was borne out of its Department of Family and Community Medicine.
“Our interprofessional education and team-based approach to patient-centered care have always been part of our College’s and our University’s missions,” said John Boltri, M.D., chair of the Department Family and Community Medicine. “And it’s only a matter of time before the entire health care sector embraces this new norm.”

Through an existing collaborative between NEOMED, CWRU, OU, UC, UT, OSU and WSU, NEOMED will develop and implement a train-the-trainer program that will train at least 21 faculty (three per school) during a three-day summit to teach and implement a medical student curriculum in response to the opioid epidemic. This resulting development will be a clinical workforce that improves systems of prevention and treatment for OUD and expand access to OUD medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

The improved systems will build upon the work already established by Ohio’s 21st Century CURES State Targeted Response initiative.

Core members of the NEOMED team who are involved in the project include Dr. Boltri, principal investigator; Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw, Ph.D., M.P.A., co-director and author; Rebecca Fischbein, Ph.D., program evaluator; L. Austin Frederickson, M.D., course director for prerequisite to the clinical curriculum; Russell Spieth, Ph.D., senior consultant, trainer/motivational interviewing; and Ryan Palmer, Ph.D., associate dean for curriculum.

Added Dr. Boltri, “According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the primary care workforce is ‘the answer’ to the opioid crisis. And that’s just what we’re doing: putting the entire team on it.”

About NEOMED
For more than 40 years, Northeast Ohio Medical University has worked in collaboration with its educational, clinical and research partners to successfully train health professionals and medical researchers who serve and impact the region and beyond. The University trains students in a team-based, interprofessional environment and offers Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degrees, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees and research opportunities in other medical areas. www.neomed.edu.

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