My practice at UBMD Family Medicine is focused on treating patients with substance dependency and on preventing addiction. My responsibilities with UBMD include collaborating with Horizon Health Services and Renaissance Addiction Services, Inc. (RASI) as medical director for these Western New York organizations. Both provide rehabilitation services in supportive residential environments to help patients stabilize from drug and/or alcohol withdrawal. I take an interdisciplinary approach in my work and collaborate with expert colleagues in social work, psychiatry and pain management to arrive at the best possible care for my adolescent and adult patients.
Prior to expanding my training to specialize in addiction medicine, I practiced medicine as a primary care physician trained in both functional medicine and medical acupuncture, which I incorporated into a holistic practice. My motivation to concentrate in the addictions field was in part driven by my own personal and family history. I realized that my experience and insights are valuable assets to recognizing and treating the common, often fatal, yet treatable disease of addiction. Using my background in functional medicine, I take a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to address the underlying causes of addiction, looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence the long-term health of individuals with this complex and chronic disease. I spend time with my patients in a comfortable setting, listening to their histories and engaging them in a therapeutic partnership that addresses their needs.
The science behind understanding addictions and related behavioral disorders is fascinating and rapidly expanding. Addiction affects individuals and families and has far-reaching societal effects. As such, preventing addiction is also an important part of my work. I collaborate with UB’s Department of Pediatrics to educate children and adolescents in order to prevent addiction—an approach that is more successful than focusing on end-stage disease, the treatment modality that has been the norm for decades.
As a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine, I am dedicated to educating others and to contributing to the field through research and community involvement. I teach medical students and residents: I coordinate the curriculum for the Addiction Medicine elective for them and enjoy having them on site with me for rotations. And as program director for the department’s Addiction Medicine Fellowship, I work with the Buffalo-based National Center for Addiction Training to advance this discipline and maintain high standards for educating and preparing future fellows for American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) certification. The center’s mission helps equip future physicians with the best knowledge to identify signs and symptoms of addiction in its earliest stages--or possibly prevent it altogether.