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2020 Webinar Series, Speaker Biographies

9th Annual Community Engagement and Research Symposium

Webinar Series 2020

Presenter Biographies


Community Research to Address the Opioid Crisis

Dr. Peter Friedmann MD, MPH, DFASAM, FACP

September 22, 2020, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Peter D. Friedmann, MD, MPH, DFASAM, FACP, Chief Research Officer and Endowed Chair for Clinical Research at Baystate Health, Associate Dean for Research, and Professor of Medicine & Quantitative Health Sciences, UMass Chan, is an addiction medicine physician and researcher.  Dr. Friedmann began a two-year term as President of the Massachusetts Society of Addiction Medicine (MASAM) on May 17, 2019. He is a primary care internist, addiction medicine clinician, & established substance abuse researcher who has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles on the organization of treatment services, treatment process & outcomes, implementation of evidence-based practices for substance use disorders (SUDs) in medical, specialty addiction and correctional settings and the role of the physicians in the care of patients with SUDs. He has had continuous funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and Department of Veterans Affairs since 1996, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar.  He is past president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), and former director on the American Board of Addiction Medicine. 

Justice-engaged research collaborative: Findings and lessons learned from Western  Massachusetts

October 14, 2020, 1:00PM – 2:00 PM

Liz Evans, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at UMass Amherst.  Dr. Evans is a public health scientist, with training and expertise in leading research on how to better promote health and wellness among vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly for individuals at risk for opioid and other substance use disorders.  Dr. Evans’ research career began in 1999 at UCLA where she directed a portfolio of more than 30 federally funded addiction research studies and evaluation projects.  Much of her research has originated from longitudinal study designs.  Dr. Evans also creates knowledge via secondary analysis of nationally representative epidemiologic data and mining of linked administrative “big data.”  In Fall 2017, Dr. Evans joined the tenure track faculty at the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences, where she developed several projects as PI or Co-I to address the opioid epidemic. These efforts resulted in grants awarded by federal, foundation, and state sources totaling $12.2 million.  As one of the PIs of the NIDA-funded MassJCOIN Research Hub, over the next five years she will work with partners to assess the impact and effectiveness of efforts to expand capacity to address opioid use disorders among individuals involved with the criminal justice system.

Ed Hayes is the Assistant Superintendent at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), located in rural Western Massachusetts and has served for seven years as the Director of Treatment.  During his tenure as Treatment Director, FCSO he has been recognized nationally as a demonstration site by SAMHSA for its work with co-occurring clients and by the National Reentry Resource Center for its work collaborating with community partners to case management shared clients. The FCSO treatment program was the first in Massachusetts and one of the first in the nation to offer a comprehensive treatment approach for incarcerated clients living with opioid use disorder by becoming  a fully licensed Opioid Treatment Program.

Developing a Strategic Plan for Community Based Research in Springfield

October 29, 2020, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Paul Pirraglia, MD, MPH, Chief of the Division of General Medicine and Community Health at Baystate Medical Center, Associate Professor of Medicine at UMass Chan-Baystate.  He attended Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate, graduated from Cornell University Medical College with Honors in research, did his residency training at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, and earned an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health.  Prior to joining Baystate in September 2019, Dr. Pirraglia was at the Providence VA Medical Center/Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  He received a VA research career development award in 2005, and his research focused on the overlap of medical conditions and mental health.  He was the Chief of Primary Care at the Providence VA Medical Center for the 8 years prior to coming to Baystate.  He was the New England Regional President of the Society of General Medicine in 2010.  He is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Andrew Balder, MD, Medical Director, Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, Assistant Professor of Medicine, T.H. Chan School of Medicine. Dr. Balder is a graduate of Amherst College (BA), the University North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine (MD) and did a dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester.‚Äč  He served 10 years as a Medical Director for the Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, at the time a Medicaid MCO operating in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Dr. Balder serves also as Chief Medical Officer for the City of Springfield Health Services for the Homeless, a federally qualified health center operating in the 3 counties of the Pioneer Valley.  He chairs Project Baby Springfield a community health effort aimed at reducing inequities in pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality.  He is the past recipient of the Springfield Public Health luminary award as well as the Massachusetts Public Health Association Physician in Public Health award.  He serves on the board of directors of Holyoke, Chicopee Springfield Head Start and Home City Development.

Cristina Huebner Torres, PhD, MA, Caring Health Center, Vice President-Research and Population Health (RPH).  Dr. Huebner Torres is a community-based social epidemiologist and healthcare leader whose research and public health practice aims to inform sustainable interventions and policy to eliminate health disparities among low-income, ethnically diverse community health center patients. She has expertise in mixed-method community-responsive research focused on the social determinants of chronic disease prevention and management. She is currently leading a research project that links Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) screening data, including self-reported stress and community health worker assignment, with clinical and claims data from five community health centers to examine the relationship and etiology of SDoH, disease control, hospital utilization and cost. Dr. Huebner Torres holds several leadership roles in the Medicaid BeHealthy Partnership (BHP) Accountable Care Organization (ACO). She is an Adjunct Fellow with the Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science (IHDPS) at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate and an Affiliated Researcher with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) Center for Community Health Equity Research (CCHER).  Dr. Huebner Torres is the incoming Board Chair of Public Health Institute of Western MA and policy council member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

Peter Lindenauer, MD, Assistant Dean for Population Health at UMass Chan Medical School - Baystate, Director of the Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science, and Professor of Medicine and Quantitative Health Sciences. A practicing hospitalist, Dr. Lindenauer’s research is broadly aimed at improving outcomes for patients with obstructive lung disease. With support from the NHLBI Dr. Lindenauer and his team are conducting observational studies aimed at determining the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in 'real world' settings, and developing and testing novel strategies for increasing the percentage of patients who participate in Pulmonary Rehab after hospitalization.  He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed papers, which have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, Health Affairs, Medical Care, and leading general internal medicine and subspecialty journals. In 2008 he received the excellence in research award from the Society of Hospital Medicine, was named a Master in Hospital Medicine in 2012, and received Baystate’s Weinberg Family Award for academic excellence in 2013. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Hospital Medicine and the Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, and has served on and chaired multiple NIH study sections focused on health services research, dissemination and implementation, and career development. Dr Lindenauer is a graduate of the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

Frank Robinson, PhD, Vice President, Public Health, Baystate Health.  Dr. Robinson has over 45 years of public and nonprofit experiences in building healthy communities. He led many “collective action” initiatives aimed at eliminating health disparities and restoring health equity. For the past five years, Dr. Robinson has served as Vice President of Public Health at Baystate Health. In this role, he architects social impact investment strategies and administers outcome-based programs which address social determinants of health. In his prior position, as the founding Executive Director of Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. (PHC), he transitioned PHC into the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, a leader in local, regional, and state-wide public health efforts.  Dr. Robinson is well-known for his work in breaking down siloed approaches to solving community problems, replacing them with multisector coalition-styled actions. His trademark comment – “People support what they help to create” – starts off community building. There are several exemplars of this community-led approach (1) “Safe Schools Healthy Students” program, a communitywide approach to creating safe and drug-free schools and promoting healthy childhood development; (2) “Strengthening Families Program,” a best practice approach for the Safe Schools Initiative that developed violence prevention interventions in-school children and adolescents; (3) “Building Exemplary Systems for Training Adult Youth Workers,” a community youth development initiative; and (4) “Community Health Advocate Program,” a forerunner of today’s practices that use community health workers as a bridge between health care organizations, community resources and vulnerable populations.

Kathleen Szegda, PhD, MPH, MS, Director of Community Research and Evaluation at the Public Health Institute of Western MA, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate.  Dr. Szegda holds a Ph.D. in Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts, an M.P.H. from Emory University, and an M.S. in Counseling from Georgia State University. She is co-PI for a community-based participatory research project funded through Robert Wood Johnson’s Policies to Action program focused on understanding the impact of Complete Streets policy on health through an equity lens. Dr. Szegda co-led the development of Project ACCCES (A Collaboration to Develop Capacity to Conduct Community Engaged Research in Springfield), a PCORI funded project aimed at building community-based research partnerships in Springfield that foster health equity. Her research interests are in maternal and child health, mental health, and health disparities. She is also interested in research aimed at identifying effective community-level systems, policy and environmental changes to improve health equity, which is informed by her experience working to promote policy and systems change at the national level at the U.S. CDC’s Office of Genomics and at a local level as the Director of the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition. Dr. Szegda is a fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science at UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate, and an adjunct faculty in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she has taught a health impact assessment class.

Strategies for reducing adverse outcomes for criminal justice-involved populations

November 16, 2020, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Dyana Nickl, JD is the Executive Director of the Health and Criminal Justice Program at UMass Chan Medical School.  Ms. Nickl provides strategic and tactical leadership for all aspects of the Health & Criminal Justice service line, including planning, policy, operations, performance, and oversight of clinical, academic and research activities. Ms. Nickl is an attorney with over 20 years of experience in the criminal justice and health care risk management fields, the last 12 years of which are in leadership positions within UMass. Ms. Nickl launched her career in correctional health care in 2005 as the Director of Risk Management, responsible for the identification of patient safety, regulatory, and risk management issues, and working with correctional facility site management to develop strategic approaches to assess and mitigate operating risk.  She oversaw the Massachusetts Department of Corrections comprehensive health care contract for eight years. She coordinated contractual relationships, managing day-to-day clinical operations and ensuring program compliance in 17 correctional facilities.  Throughout her career, she has presented on multiple topics in the area of correctional health risk management, including patient/inmate rights, confidentiality, medical record documentation, and provider communication. Prior to her work with UMass, Ms. Nickl worked in legal and risk management roles with the District Attorney’s Office, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and New Hope, Inc., a comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault service provider.  Ms. Nickl is an Associate Professor at UMass Chan’s Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and T.H. Chan Medical School.

Warren J. Ferguson, MD serves as Professor and Vice Chair for Community Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass Chan Medical School.  His academic career has centered on achieving health equity among vulnerable populations. A career community health center physician, Dr. Ferguson has 30 years of continuity in his current practice at Family Health Center of Worcester, where he served as chief medical officer for 10 years.  In 2002, Dr. Ferguson took on a new challenge to assist UMass to develop a comprehensive medical care program for detainees in the state’s prisons.

Struck by his steep learning curve to gain understanding of the vexing issues of mass incarceration in the United States, Dr. Ferguson sought to engage academic medicine in the field of criminal justice health.  He founded the Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health, now in its 13th year, as well as the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health. With funding from NIH and AHRQ, Dr. Ferguson completed an implementation science project on Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in four New England prisons and jails, the results of which were recently published in Health and Justice. He will be speaking on this project.

Currently, he serves as co-principal investigator for the Capacity Building Core of the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) for the JCOIN Coordinating and Translation Center based in George Mason University and serves as a Co-Investigator for the Baystate/UMass JCOIN hub studying implementation of MOUD in seven Massachusetts County Jail systems.

Ekaterina Pivovarova, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health and in the Department of Psychiatry at UMass Chan Medical School and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Pivovarova is currently the recipient of a NIDA K23 award to examine the implementation of Medications for Opioid Use Disorders in drug treatment courts. She recently completed the UMass Chan Career Mentored Award KL2 that investigated quality of life and experiences of drug treatment court participants, and has previously been awarded the UMass Chan Life Sciences Moment Fund award. Dr. Pivovarova is a co-Investigator on a NIDA UG1 implementing Medications for Opioid Use Disorders in jails across the Commonwealth. Dr. Pivovarova’ primary research focuses on 1) evidence based treatments of addiction in the legal system, 2) bioethics of research, and 3) psychological assessment of individuals involved with the legal system.

Meaghan Flaherty Dupuis, LMHC, is a mental health clinician with 12 years of clinical experience within the correctional health care field and she currently works with HCJ as the Senior Director of Operations. She oversees the day-to-day operations and administrative practices for the HCJ program’s contracts and oversees operations for the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health (ACCJH) and its Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health. Ms. Dupuis previously worked at DOC in various clinical and administrative roles to ensure that staff were appropriately trained and working ethically with the inmates they served. She has extensive experience in policy development and compliance. A large part of her work with the DOC focused on response and management of traumatic events from a clinical perspective. In addition, she has presented and trained staff on suicide prevention and intervention as well as debriefing after traumatic events. She has been a guest lecturer at several conferences, colleges, and high schools in New England.