Telemedicine and Mental Health Support for People who use Opioids: Considerations for Treatment, Community Engagement, and Public Policy

Telemedicine and Mental Health Support for People who use Opioids: Considerations for Treatment, Community Engagement, and Public Policy

Telemedicine and Mental health support for People who use Opioids (TeMPO) is a new pilot study funded by the Center for Nursing Research at Duke University’s School of Nursing and supported by the Duke School of Medicine Opioid Collaboratory. In North Carolina, opioids contribute to nearly 2,000 overdose deaths each year, making it the leading cause of injury death in the state. The COVID-19 epidemic has been a catalyst for developing telemedicine services broadly; however, early data are showing increasing incidence of opioid overdose and ongoing lack of treatment options, particularly among rural residents. In this Think Global panel, investigators from the TeMPO study team will discuss their past work in addressing the overdose epidemic and plans to develop new telemedicine and mental health services for people who use opioids.

About the speakers:

Theresa Coles, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences. She specializes in the development and psychometric evaluation (reliability, validity, responsiveness, and responder thresholds) of patient-reported outcome measures and other clinical outcomes assessments. Her research interests include evaluating COA measures in clinical practice, improving the interpretability of COAs (e.g., responder thresholds, minimal important change), and facilitating patient-provider communication using patient-reported outcome measures.

Dr. Coles received her PhD in Health Policy and Management (decision sciences and outcomes research) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. Prior to joining the Duke faculty in 2018, Dr. Coles worked in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Assessment group at RTI Health Solutions for almost 10 years, where she developed and evaluated COA measures for use in clinical trials and clinical practice.

Brandon Knettel, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and Assistant Research Professor in the Duke University School of Nursing with a secondary appointment in the Duke Global Health Institute. His areas of specialization are global mental health and health behavior, with a focus on care engagement, stigma reduction, and mental health support for people living with HIV. At DGHI, he teaches a course in Global Mental Health for the Master's of Science in Global Health program. 

Dr. Knettel’s international projects are primarily located in Moshi, Tanzania, where he completed a one-year VECD Fogarty Global Health Fellowship to evaluate a community health worker program for HIV care engagement. Upcoming work will be focused on developing interventions for suicide prevention and treating depression among people living with HIV in Tanzania. He is also leading pilot research to extend rural access to treatment for opioid use disorder in North Carolina. 

Nidhi Sachdeva, MPH, is a Senior Research Program Leader who built and leads a portfolio of prevention research, implementation science, and evaluation projects focused on reducing harms and saving lives from the opioid epidemic. She came to Duke from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch where she led strategic planning, partnership development, policy and program implementation, and local capacity building for state-wide injury and violence prevention efforts with a special focus on the prevention of drug poisoning and overdose death. Ms. Sachdeva also served as a Program Manager at the University of North Carolina’s Injury Prevention Research Center where she coordinated several poisoning prevention policy and program evaluation studies. She has worked in public health in various capacities and on multiple levels within government (local and state) and research universities.

Ms. Sachdeva holds a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia.

Padma Gulur is board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine, and specializes in advanced interventional pain management. She is recognized for her care of patients with acute and chronic pain, cancer‐related pain, sports injuries, and pain from disorders of the spine. 

As Professor of Anesthesiology and Population Health, Dr. Gulur is dedicated to training the next generation of physician leaders in pain medicine. She both teaches and advises medical students and trainees on both the resident and fellowship level.

Dr. Gulur is Vice Chair for Continuing Certification (MOCA) for the American Board of Anesthesiology. 

Dr. Gulur is committed to researching innovative techniques to assess and manage pain, and optimize existing pain therapies. Her research interests include pain management for high resource utilizers, underserved populations, and pediatric, cancer, and spine patients.  Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

Dr. Gulur is a CPT Advisor on the American Medical Association CPT Editorial Panel responsible for coding medical services in the United States and is the Chair of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee on Compounding. 

Dr. Gulur is an at‐large member of the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) Board of Managers. 

Dr. Gulur is the Director, Pain Management Strategy and Opioid Surveillance for the Duke University Health System (DUHS) and in this role provides overall direction, coordination and leadership for the pain management and opioid surveillance programs across DUHS.

Hilary Campbell is a Research Associate at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, and recently served as the Acting Special Assistant for the Chief Data Officer of the NC Department of Health and Human Services. She provides guidance on a wide variety of clinical, legal, regulatory, policy, and technology issues, with a recent focus on COVID-19, including contributing to a state modeling collaborative and the communication of related policy implications.
She also works closely with the Education Team on programs including the Margolis Internship and Margolis Scholars, manages projects, drafts grant applications and publication manuscripts, advises health data analysts, builds custom Smartsheet solutions, and contributes to course design and implementation in several schools and departments.