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2020 Webinar Series, Presentation Descriptions

9th Annual Community Engagement and Research Symposium

Webinar Series 2020

Presentation Descriptions


The Opioid-related Syndemic in Rural Northern New England:
Findings from the DISCERNNE Study

September 22, 2020, 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Peter D. Friedmann, MD, MPH, DFASAM, FACP

This presentation will discuss the risk and resource environment surrounding the syndemic of opioid use disorder, HCV and overdose in rural communities in the northern New England, and opportunities to prevent Scott County-like HIV outbreaks.

A criminal justice-engaged research collaborative: Findings and lessons learned from Western  Massachusetts

October 14, 2020, 1:00PM – 2:00 PM


Elizabeth Evans, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Policy, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Ed Hayes, Assistant Superintendent, Franklin County Sheriff's Office

Session Description:

The Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Re-entry Initiative was one of several projects funded in 2018 by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand capacity to deliver medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD).  Nationwide, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) was the only criminal justice institution to be awarded a grant.  The project created a new criminal justice-engaged evaluation and research collaborative in Western Massachusetts that now involves the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), the Hampshire County House of Corrections, and several community-based providers of health and social services.  Building on this foundation, the collaborative is now a key component of several NIH-funded research projects.

Presenters will provide an overview of the SAMHSA-funded project, report on findings, and present lessons learned from the first year of implementation.  This session will also provide guidance on how to launch, sustain, and grow criminal justice-engaged evaluation and research collaboratives.

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


Andrew Balder, MD, Medical Director, Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, Assistant Professor of Medicine, T.H. Chan School of Medicine.

Cristina Huebner Torres, PhD, MA, Caring Health Center, Vice President-Research and Population Health (RPH).

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

Frank Robinson, PhD, Vice President, Public Health, Baystate Health

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.

Session Description:

There is a unique opportunity to improve the health of the residents of Springfield.  In combination, the Baystate affiliated Community Health Centers (CHC’s) and Caring Health Center—a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)—care for a large percentage of the total population of Springfield.  Baystate’s and Caring’s CHC’s have partnered through the BeHealthy ACO to provide much of this care.  Because a large and concentrated population with substantive challenges is served, focus could be downstream (i.e. healthcare oriented) or upstream (i.e. policy, social, political) or some combination thereof.  Many faculty, staff, and trainees in these systems in general and in the CHC’s specifically are interested and have the content knowledge regarding social determinates of health and health care delivery but would benefit from a coordinated system and mentoring structure to make a more meaningful impact. Creating a community based infrastructure for alignment and coordination among key stakeholders (e.g healthcare delivery systems, academic institutions, community based organizations, government entities, and others) will help assure common goals, efforts, and sustainability are maximized.

The purpose of this session is to brainstorm how to further leverage existing and potential partnerships towards research that emanates from needs of the community and addresses these needs in a systematic, rigorous, and sustainable manner.  The ideas generated in this session will serve to guide the development of a strategic plan for community based research in Springfield.

An open panel discussion of current state (stakeholders, resources, ongoing efforts) and early steps to begin developing a strategic plan will be followed by an open forum to brainstorm for next steps.  The brainstorming topics include, but are not limited to: potential avenues of inquiry, model for engagement by CHC faculty and trainees, establishing and/or enhancing collaborations between local institutional stakeholders, assuring input and engagement of the community, and grant procurement strategies. 

Strategies for reducing adverse outcomes for criminal justice-involved populations

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


Dyana Nickl, JD, Director, Health and Criminal Justice Program


Warren J. Ferguson, MD, Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health

Ekaterina Pivovarova, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Meaghan Dupuis, LMHC, Senior Director of Operations, Health and Criminal Justice Program

Session Description:

In the United States, we spend $81 billion taxpayer dollars annually on the costs of incarceration according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, but including other costs may increase that estimate to $181 billion. Data from Worcester suggest that the cost of incarcerating individuals in the Piedmont neighborhood of Worcester eclipse the entire annual budget of the Division of Public Health in Worcester. With a hard line on petty crime, lack of substance use disorder treatment in jail and prison, concentrated policing and racial profiling in low income communities of color and poor reentry support services, mass incarceration is destined to continue.

The opioid crisis in Massachusetts has affirmed that individuals with a history of incarceration and opioid use disorder are at greatest risk for nonfatal and fatal overdose. Furthermore, homelessness and serious mental illness increase that risk dramatically. In turn, the Governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services in concert with the Massachusetts Medicaid Program, the Department of Public Health and the Trial courts have undertaken a multi-pronged strategy to mitigate those risks. This panel will present three interventions to improve those outcomes.

Three panelists will describe and present findings on three studies completed and in process to reduce the health risks for justice-involved persons in Massachusetts. Dr. Ferguson will describe an implementation science study of four correctional systems which embarked on medication assisted therapies for opioid use disorder which has helped to inform current mixed methods research to study a pilot of medication assisted treatment in seven Massachusetts jails; Dr. Pivovarova will describe her study of health status for individuals participating in Drug Court, a diversionary program that mandates substance use disorder treatment in the community for individuals arrested for drug related offenses; and Ms. Dupuis will describe the MassHealth funded Behavioral Health Justice Involved project to provide returning citizens with navigators to assist them in linking to community-based treatment and to address social determinants of health such as housing and employment. During the presentations, attendees will be asked to formulate questions or reflections for discussion. These will be collected and prioritized by the moderator of the session for further discussion.