2024 SAEMF NIDA Mentor-Facilitated Training Award - $12,000

"Community Paramedicine Interventions for People Who Use Drugs"

The goal of this project is to develop a training program and new standard operating procedures and protocols for community paramedics to better address the acute on chronic care needs of people who use drugs. Training topics will include medication-assisted treatment, harm reduction, and complications resulting from injection drug use, followed by clinical practice-based sessions focused on the application of skills required to care for people who use drugs within the developed protocols. Finally, these protocols will be piloted in collaboration with the clinical leadership of the emergency department, mobile integrated health providers involved with community paramedics operations, and addiction medicine specialists.


  • Joan Chen, MD

    Mount Sinai Emergency Medicine

    "Community Paramedicine Interventions for People Who Use Drugs"

    Dr. Chen is currently a third-year emergency medicine resident at Mount Sinai Hospital. Their work with people who use drugs started many years prior to their entry into medicine: first with their local community in street-based syringe distribution, HIV/STI testing and harm reduction counseling, and then as outreach worker to unhoused and transiently housed street populations in San Francisco. They witnessed how the compassionate and evidence-based methods of harm reduction could transform people’s lives. Working alongside a community paramedic in a program targeted to high utilizers of emergency services left the greatest impression on them, showing them the potential of out-of-hospital interventions linked with emergency services to serve public health. With this, they were inspired to pursue a career in addiction medicine based in the field of emergency medicine. Their motivation has only deepened in their current residency training in the emergency departments of New York City, as they learn the skills and acquire the tools to care for people who use drugs on both individual and public health levels, with creativity and compassion.