Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Seton Hall University Opioid Conference to Feature Addiction Experts Working to Combat National Crisis

July 19, 2021

The July 30 virtual conference is part of a three-year grant to train clinicians to prescribe medications to treat addiction.

Experts from Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine will host a virtual conference July 30 to address the record number of opioid deaths in the nation, treatment options and training clinicians to prescribe
addiction medication.

The virtual conference, “Recovery from Opioid Use Disorders: State-of-the-Art Science to Advance Clinical Care,” will cap a three-year federal grant shared between the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the Seton Hall University College of Nursing, and the Seton Hall University School of Health and Medical Sciences.

“The opioid epidemic is one of our nation’s greatest health challenges,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, the chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are deeply committed to expanding access to care for addiction and mental health issues, better coordinating care and innovating treatment.’’

More than 93,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, a staggering record that reflects a nearly 30 percent increase from 2019, according to the CDC. Nearly 450,000 people died from overdoses involving both prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2019, according to the CDC.

The conference features keynote speaker Beth Macy, an award-winning journalist and the New York Times best-selling author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, as well as industry leaders in the field of opioid-use disorders. Experts will discuss compelling research and treatment protocols considered best practices.

“This is the product of three years of highly collaborative interprofessional work into training future clinicians to be best prepared to combat this epidemic,” said Kathleen Neville, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Seton Hall College of Nursing.

“This presentation shows what’s at stake, and what we can do to save as many lives as possible in the years to come,” said Stanley R. Terlecky, Ph.D., associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and chair of Medical Sciences at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

According to Brian B. Shulman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow, FASAHP, FNAP, dean of the School of Health and Medical Sciences, “Research conducted by SHMS faculty and administrators working interprofessionally has helped to expand our knowledge in various disciplines and push the established boundaries of this national epidemic to target the widespread misuse of opioids.”

This event caps the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant which was awarded in 2018 to an interprofessional leadership team with members from Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine: College of Nursing Associate Dean Neville; School of Health and Medical Sciences Department Chair and Assistant Professor Christopher Hanifin, Ed.D., PA-C; and Hackensack School of Medicine Professor Terlecky. The purpose of the grant, “Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health Interprofessional Medication Assisted Treatment Training Program,” is to train nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical students on medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid-use disorders.

Additional conference speakers will present on their respective areas of study. Alexis LaPietra, D.O., Chief of Pain Management/Addiction Medicine at the Alternative to Opioid Program at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, will present the Alternative to Opioids Program, a unique alternative to opioid treatment for acute pain in the emergency room. Ramon Solhkhah, M.D., Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, will speak
on the current status of the opioid-use crisis and evidence-based solutions, and Steve Drzewoszewski, MSW, LCSW, LCADC, CCS, Former Director of Substance Abuse Counseling Services at HMH Carrier Clinic, will present on motivational
interviewing and OUDs.

During the event, each project director will also present their respective schools’ outcomes of their grant, with CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health Robert C. Garrett introducing the conference with Seton Hall University Provost and Executive Vice-President Katia Passerini.

“Recovery from Opioid Use Disorders: State-of-the-Art Science to Advance Clinical Care” is on Friday, July 30, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. CME will be offered to healthcare professionals. This educational activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™

To register for the event and to learn more about the agenda and speakers, visit here.