Clinical Associate Professor
Addictions; Gastroenterology; Infectious Disease; Internal Medicine; Liver (Hepatology)
I care for patients with liver disease and addiction disorders, including opiate dependency, viral hepatitis, alcoholic and fatty liver disease, in an outpatient setting at Erie County Medical Center where I am the medical director of hepatology. In collaboration with the division of infectious diseases, I also evaluate and treat patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV co-infection. I also treat veterans with opiate dependency at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, in the addiction medicine unit. My patient-care efforts include digital outreach: I co-authored an article for the inaugural issue of the patient-oriented online magazine “HCV Next.”
My research involves improving hepatitis C treatments in populations disproportionately affected by HCV but with limited access to health care (including many American veterans, ethnic minority groups, injection drug users, and patients with psychological disorders) as well as developing novel modalities to deliver care. The goal of my research is to expand HCV treatment services to a wide-ranging group of patients, especially those without immediate access to care, in an effort to reduce global disease burden. This may include training primary care or other providers to treat HCV and using telemedicine and co-localization as a way to increase treatment uptake in areas such as rural primary care clinics and methadone clinics.
My team is also investigating barriers to hepatitis C screening and treatment. Using the data we collect (e.g., patients’ knowledge of the disease, their perceptions regarding treatment, their willingness to be treated), we can design initiatives to improve patient-based HCV education and work toward the goal of increasing treatment uptake. This component of my research also looks at the same issues on the provider side: provider HCV knowledge and screening, referral and treatment practices. These data will help us understand what the provider-level barriers are to disease control, and we can design provider-based HCV educational initiatives to improve screening and referral for care.
I am also a co-investigator on numerous clinical trials related to new therapeutic agents for hepatitis C and fatty liver disease, including a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the use of telemedicine to treat HCV in methadone maintenance clinics.
I present and lecture nationally about hepatitis C with an emphasis on opiate dependence and special populations. I am a member of the New York State Hepatitis C Demonstration Project expert panel.
I teach medical students in small group settings in the area of gastroenterology and hepatology. I also precept internal medicine residents and gastroenterology fellows in the outpatient clinics.