The Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health (IUPUI) is thrilled to have three projects in phase one of the IU Addictions Crisis Grand Challenges initiative. Dr. Robin Newhouse, dean of the IU School of Nursing, announced sixteen pilot projects that will target critical needs in addictions crisis as part of IU’s $50 million commitment to prevent, reduce and treat addictions in Indiana. The Fairbanks School of Public Health will conduct three projects in phase one, which include the 2018 Indiana Public Health Conference, the recently launched ECHO Center, and the Legal and Policy Best Practices in Response to the Opioid Epidemic project.
Headed up by Dr. Joan M. Duwve, associate dean for practice and associate professor at Fairbanks School of Public Health, the 2018 Indiana Public Health Conference will engage a diverse set of statewide stakeholders who will host a conference that advocates a comprehensive public health approach to harm reduction, with a focus on its life-saving and cost-saving impact and policy merits.
Dr. Duwve will also lead the ECHO Center project, implementing a web-based learning hub that empowers local clinicians with expert medical education to help meet the need for diagnosis, treatment and extended care for patients throughout the state. This effort is a partnership with IU, the state department of health, and MedIQ, and is already in the works. The first Project ECHO, launched by the Fairbanks School of Public Health, will address the growing epidemic of hepatitis C in Indiana by using videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics between specialists in Indianapolis and primary care doctors in rural Indiana. Many rural counties where the outbreaks are occurring in tandem with the opioid crisis have few, if any, doctors who specialize in liver care or infectious diseases. “So patients there often must travel to a large city to see a specialist, or in some cases just don’t get care,” said Dr. Duwve to Mr. John Russell of the Indiana Business Journal.
Fairbanks School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, Mr. Ross Silverman, will also tackle substance abuse issues through phase one of the IU Addictions Crisis Grand Challenges initiative, but from a legal standpoint. Working with Mr. Nicolas P. Terry, the Hall Render Professor of Law and executive director of the Hall Center for Law and Health, they will develop evidence-based law and policy recommendations that improve substance use health outcomes as part of the Legal and Policy Best Practices in Response to the Opioid Epidemic project.