Austin Kilaru, MD

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

"Connecting Emerging Policy and Research to Improve Linkage to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder"
SAEMF/NIDA Mentor-Facilitated Training Award




The opioid crisis is devastating American communities. The emergency department (ED) provides life-saving care to patients who overdose and offers opportunities to engage patients in long-term treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Early initiation of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and referral to community treatment resources from the ED are evidence-based strategies for preventing opioid overdose death. However, few patients who are treated for opioid-related illness in the ED are thought to receive MAT and successfully transition to followup treatment. State and local governments have recognized this gap and are rapidly enacting policy to facilitate treatment and transitions for ED patients with OUD. Previous work has shown that policymakers may benefit from early engagement and collaboration with researchers. The goal of this project is to facilitate early dissemination of research regarding ED initiation of MAT and referral to follow-up treatment. We will partner with CHERISH (Center for the Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV), a NIDAfunded Center of Excellence. We plan to identify policymakers and stakeholders who are actively working on this topic and will conduct an environmental scan to understand state-level policy efforts across the nation. We then plan to identify researchers with new, ongoing, or pending investigations in this field, focusing on work related to implementation science and health economics. Finally, we plan to connect researchers and policymakers through multiple innovative approaches. This proposal not only seeks to improve dissemination of high-impact research related to opioid use disorder, but also seeks to provide mentorship and educational opportunities for the principal investigator as he plans to apply for a K08 career development award following conclusion of this training award.

Research Results

Dr. Kilaru is still completing the project.