HHRI researchers awarded NIH HEAL Initiative funding to tackle the nation’s opioid crisis

NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to accelerate scientific solutions to stop the nation’s opioid crisis. Its research focus is on improving prevention and treatment for opioid misuse and addiction and enhancing pain management. HHRI investigators across disciplines are at the forefront in addressing this public health emergency.

New Hennepin Healthcare Transitions Clinic will be part of nationwide network aimed at improving treatment of opioid use disorder and reducing opioid overdose among justice-involved individuals

The Hennepin Healthcare Transitions Clinic is scheduled to open in January 2020 at HCMC. Located in the Hennepin Health Access Clinic, the center will provide health care services to individuals recently released from the Hennepin County jail, including those who are in need of ongoing treatment for opioid use disorder. At the heart of the Transitions Clinic will be a community health worker with a history of incarceration, who will assist patients with reentry into the community.

Tyler Winkelman, MD, MSc, and his team at HHRI are collaborating with Yale University and other clinical research sites to evaluate whether the Transitions Clinic model improves engagement in treatment for opioid use disorder and reduces opioid overdose among justice-involved individuals. HCMC is one of six sites across the country that are involved in this study. The research is funded by NIH as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative.

HHRI researchers study pain management treatments to reduce opioid use and improve pain in patients on hemodialysis

Patients on hemodialysis report a high prevalence of chronic pain and are more likely than others to receive long-term opioid therapy. However, they may also be at higher risk of adverse events related to opioid treatment. HHRI investigators were recently awarded $2.6 million in NIH HEAL funding to conduct a randomized trial to investigate the efficacy of pain care management and pain self-management interventions in reducing opioid dosing and improving pain in patients on hemodialysis. HHRI researchers Dr. Gavin Bart, Dr. Kirsten Johansen, Dr. Jiannong Liu and Dr. James Wetmore, and Minneapolis VA Health Care System investigator Dr. Erin Krebs are leading the study.

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