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Relational Rounds

Sep 27, 2018

Monica Bharel, M.D., MPH, is the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, appointed in February of 2015. She is responsible for spearheading the state’s response to the opioid crisis, implementation of health care cost containment legislation, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives. Dr. Monica served as the Chief Medical Officer of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. In this episode, Dr. Monica explains the origins of the opium epidemic, as well as the program that is being implemented in Massachusetts after a rapid increase in the number of deaths by overdose. Prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery — the plan to face an addiction that has risen exponentially and needs an integral approach to stop threatening the lives of Americans.


Key Takeaways:

[:40] Dr. Monica Bharel career briefing.

[1:50] What else does Dr. Monica want to accomplish in healthcare?

[2:50] Thoughts only days away from the health care reform.

[4:23] Health in all policies.

[5:30] The opium epidemic.

[6:44] Plan in Massachusett against the opium epidemic: Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery.

[8:25] The Opium epidemic took everyone by surprise, how did it happen?

[9:16] Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful (and deadly) than heroin.

[11:33] Recently more attention has been paid to pain.

[13:06] Doctors are not been trained to treat addiction properly.

[15:50] Pain is subjective and doctors are being trained to help people screen that pain.

[17:33] In a society that wants instant gratification, pain is treated the same way.

[19:34] The role of interventions.

[20:16] The use of methadone.

[22:44] Individuals with a non-fatal overdose when treated with methadone, decreased the chances of death by overdose in 50%.

[24:47] Opium used disorder is political.

[26:05] Highlighted attention to addiction nowadays.

[28:26] Recovery and treatment.

[28:55] The other crisis: the Me Too Movement.

[30:30] Being a woman in healthcare.

[32:41] Best advice Dr. Monica received in her career: You can have more than one mentor.

[34:15] The artificial division between public health and the traditional medical space.

[37:41] Use your strength to help individuals that do not always have a voice.


Mentioned in this episode:

Relational Rounds at Primary Care Progress

Primary Care Progress on Twitter

Elizabeth Metraux on Twitter

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Twitter.