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Family Medicine in the News

A report on the work of the Western New York Center for Survivors of Refugee Trauma and Torture, the only program of its kind outside of New York City, quotes Kim Griswold, MD, MPH, the center’s medical director and an associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry.
An article on providing clinical experiences early in medical education quotes Andrew B. Symons, MD, clinical associate professor and vice chair for medical student education in the Department of Family Medicine, who describes UB’s Clinical Practice of Medicine course where students are matched with a local clinician within a month of coming to medical school.
Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine, spoke at a Hilbert College symposium concerning the opioid epidemic.
A story on UB HEALS, a street medicine outreach program conducted by medical students that makes rounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays to offer preventive care to Buffalo’s homeless, interviews medical student Moudi Hubeishy and others involved in the program, including Kim Griswold, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine.
A report by the U.S. Surgeon General said the county’s addiction epidemic is “one of America’s most pressing public health concerns.” Western New York has seen its impact; as of November 2016, 296 people died in 2016 from suspected opioid related overdoses, according to the Erie County Department of Health. “We have to look at these people as damaged individuals and offer them hope and help,” says addictions expert Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine. “Not judgment and ridicule.”
The University at Buffalo aims to recruit more participants in its clinical trials by working with a group of patients led by Laurene M. Tumiel Berhalter, PhD, associate professor of family medicine and director of community translational research. According to SUNY Distinguished Professor Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research, people in the community should be involved in all phases of clinical research. Additionally, Peter L. Elkin, MD, professor and chair of biomedical informatics and professor of internal medicine, has developed a cell phone application that helps patients access information about available clinical trials.
Several news outlets reported on the work of UB addictions researcher Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine, in getting addiction medicine recognized as a sub-specialty for doctors by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Speaking about the growing opioid epidemic and efforts to equip first responders with naloxone to treat an overdose in an emergency situation, Torin J. Finver, MD, clinical instructor of family medicine and program director for the addiction medicine fellowship, said “there will not be any opportunity to provide a person who has overdosed a meaningful course of treatment if they don’t survive the day.”
Concerns abound that two bills passed by the New York State legislature this year may be opening up new loopholes to allow exemptions to I-STOP, the state’s e-prescribing system to monitor distribution of opioid drugs.
In a news story about drug addiction, Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine, emphasizes that there is no cure for addiction. “We have treatment for this chronic illness that can keep it controlled, but our treatments are imperfect, and the disease can recur,” he says. “There is a distinction between labeling someone as a drug addict who relapses as opposed to recognizing them as a person afflicted by a disease,” he notes.
A report about the growing number of refugees in Buffalo who have come from active conflict zones and the way that health care systems and cultures are changing in response to these populations interviews a number of UB faculty members and alumni.
Articles about the role that culture, law enforcement and the medical system can play in the deaths of celebrities due to substance addiction quote Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine, and Torin J. Finver, MD, clinical instructor of family medicine.
A controversial plan to open a methadone clinic in Niagara Falls has spurred comments from leading authorities on addiction treatment.
Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor and vice chair for addiction medicine in the Department of Family Medicine, talks about the unexpected shutdown of an Amherst pain management practice that has sent thousands of patients scrambling to find new doctors. Finding a new doctor to prescribe pain medications might not be so easy, he said.
The opioid epidemic is taking a toll on the workplace, according to Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions, who said a secondary impact of addiction is the effect on the family and friends of the addict, and Richard D. Blondell, MD, professor of family medicine and vice chair of addiction medicine, who said many addictions start with legitimately prescribed pain medications through employer-sponsored insurance and can end by buying pills on the street or turning to heroin when they lose their jobs.