Marshall University announces creation of new position and interdisciplinary coalition to address opioid crisis

Monday, Oct. 17, 2016
:  Leah C. Payne, Director of Public Affairs, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, 304-691-1713
                  Ginny Painter, Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing, 304-696-4621

Marshall University announces creation of new position and interdisciplinary coalition to address opioid crisis

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Confident Marshall University can be a leader in helping abate the region’s addiction crisis, President Jerome A. Gilbert today announced that the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will conduct a national search for a director and professor of addiction sciences.

Gilbert said the new position will be key to linking medicine and pharmacy with the social, economic and psychological disciplines needed to address addiction. 

“We have an incredible amount of talent and expertise here at Marshall already focused on the opioid crisis,” he added. “This position will strengthen our ability to have a significant impact by working across disciplines to find holistic solutions to the addiction problem.”

It is expected the new addiction sciences specialist will join Marshall University by summer 2017.  

Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, said the person who assumes the new position will coordinate efforts in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the Marshall School of Pharmacy and will interface with a newly created Substance Abuse Coalition that spans the entire university community.

The coalition is being led by three people:  Dean Kevin W. Yingling, who heads Marshall’s School of Pharmacy; Amy Saunders, who leads the university’s Student Health Education Programs; and Jim Johnson, who is the director of drug control policy for the City of Huntington.

“We realize that addiction medicine will be an increasingly important component of medical education in the future,” Shapiro said. “Our goal will be to develop a comprehensive approach to dealing with addiction, including the development of an addiction medicine residency program.”

The position will reside in the medical school, and there will be a close relationship and cooperation with addiction sciences initiatives in the School of Pharmacy.

Yingling said, “The opportunity to have an impact in our community is significant because of the higher-than-normal incidence of addiction of our population. There is tremendous synergy among all partners in Huntington as we work together to reduce this epidemic.”

Gilbert commented that Huntington has already made tremendous strides by implementing a drug court, establishing Lily’s Place for the care of addicted newborns and developing a harm reduction program as an important community service in the addiction/abuse battle.

Shapiro said that because of the rate of addiction in the region, Marshall physicians are more experienced than any in the world in dealing with both infant and adult addiction.

“We want to build our capacity with this position and share our knowledge in treating addiction,” he added. “Ultimately, our goal is to have our patients recover and return to being valued members of our society.”


Date Posted: Monday, October 17, 2016