Old home week for NIATx: Addiction Health Services Research Conference 2017

Submitted by: 12/01/2017 by Maureen Fitzgerald

Some NIATx researchers didn’t have to travel far to attend the Addiction Health Services Research Conference 2017, held October 18-20 at Madison’s Monona Terrace. Others came from across the country to join nearly 200 colleagues to learn about the latest findings in addiction health services.

Drs. Randy Brown and Andy Quanbeck of the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) hosted the event, with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Plenaries focus on effective treatment

Kimberly Johnson, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and former NIATx Deputy Director, opened the conference as a plenary speaker. Her presentation focused on the continuing need for research on what really works in treating substance use disorders. Johnson called on researchers to keep building the evidence base for the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions. She also proposed a model for a cascade of care, based on the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets for the AIDS epidemic.

H. Westley Clark, former SAMSHA/CSAT director, joined the plenary lineup with an overview of Facing Addiction in America, The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.

Dave Gustafson, Director of the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies and NIATx, dedicated his closing plenary to Tim Kopetsky, who died earlier in October 2017 of an opioid overdose. “Tim was just 30 and had fought addiction for over half his life,” said Gustafson, adding that “the problem is that the vast majority of health services research products that have been proven to be affective are just sitting on a shelf.” He asked attendees what the field can do move good research into the real world more effectively.

NIATx researchers share findings

Quanbeck, who led several NIATx projects at the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies before joining the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health earlier this year, chaired a breakout session on Dissemination and Implementation Research in Addiction Health Services. NIATx projects and researchers in this session included: 

·       Todd Molfenter, Ph.D., NIATx Deputy Director and Great Lakes ATTC Director, who shared findings from the Ohio Buprenorphine Implementation Study. This study, conducted from 2011-2016, tested using the NIATx approach to increase use of buprenorphine. It resulted in a bundle of practices that are now being tested to expand prescriber capacity for medication-assisted treatment in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

·       Lynn Madden, Ph.D., CEO of the APT Foundation in New Haven, CT and NIATx coach, presented findings from a NIATx open-access model for methadone maintenance treatment. Over a ten-year period, the open-access model at APT Foundation decreased admissions waiting time, increased treatment access and capacity, and had no negative impact on retention, illicit opioid use, or financial stability. The APT Foundation also had a 183% increase in patient census compared to 37% nationwide.

In the Quality of Care track, Dennis McCarty, Ph.D., of Oregon Health and Science University presented on Oregon’s Medicaid expansion and expansion of the use of medications for alcohol use disorder. McCarty has participated in several NIATx research studies.

In the Implementation Research track, Jay Ford, Ph.D., presented on adherence and fidelity for implementation strategies. He described use of the NIATx States of Implementation Checklist and the NIATx Implementation Fidelity Tool. These tools are being tested in a Washington state project that aims to increase access to integrated services for persons with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Ford, who previously served as research director for NIATx, now leads research at the UW-Madison Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis, also at UW-Madison.

Bri Deyo, program manager in DFMCH, has attended previous AHSR conferences and took care of the planning and logistics for the 2017 event.  “I’ve always enjoyed AHSR as an opportunity for researchers to reunite once a year,” says Deyo. “As a conference planner, I appreciated the many positive evaluations we received, which will be used in planning next year’s conference.”

The 2018 Addiction Health Services Research Conference will take place in Savannah, Georgia. 

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