Massachusetts Medical Society: Medication Assisted Treatment Summit - Speaker Biographies

Medication Assisted Treatment Summit - Speaker Biographies

Edward J. Markey
United States Senator for Massachusetts

Senator Edward Markey has been serving the Commonwealth since 1976 when he was first elected to the US House of Representatives. When he was Dean of the Massachusetts delegation in the House, he worked to harness the energy and influence of his colleagues on behalf of the entire Commonwealth.  In 2013, he became a US Senator, and continued to champion the causes of Massachusetts families. He has a prolific legislative record on major issues across the policy spectrum and a deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Massachusetts and our country.  Senator Markey has been an active proponent of legislation to address the opioid epidemic and a vocal advocate for more treatment.

Dan Alford, MD, MPH
Boston University School of Medicine Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit

Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH is Professor of Medicine, Assistant Dean of Continuing Medical Education and Director of the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). He is on staff in the Section of General Internal Medicine and director of the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit at Boston Medical Center (BMC). He is also Medical Director of the Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) program, the Boston University Evidence-based SBIRT Student Training (BESST) Project and the Massachusetts SBIRT Training and Technical Assistance (MASBIRT TTA) program. He is immediate past-president of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA). He is course director of the BUSM Immersion Training Programs in Addiction Medicine funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2011 he was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House. In 2014 he received the American Medical Association “Award for Health Education” and in 2016 was awarded the Educator of the Year Award by the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Behavioral Medicine by the American College of Physicians. His clinical, educational and research interests focus on opioid use disorders and safe and competent opioid prescribing for chronic pain.

Monica Bharel, MD, MPH
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Monica Bharel, MD, most recently served as Medical Director at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in Boston, MA.  She is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center. Her areas of interest include preventive health care and chronic disease management for underserved populations through system-based improvements. Her areas of research have included cervical cancer screening in homeless women, treatment of alcohol use among homeless women, hepatitis C in vulnerable populations and medical resident education.  Dr. Bharel received her medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1994 and in 1998, completed a residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston Medical Center.

Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH
Associate Professor of Law and Health Sciences
School of Law & Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University

Adjunct Professor
Division of Global Public Health, University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Leo Beletsky is an Associate Professor of Law and Health Sciences at Northeastern University and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  His expertise is in the role of law in shaping health, especially in the domains of substance use, infectious disease, and evidence-based patient care. His interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on improving the design and implementation of policies aimed at improving public health—work that he communicates to legal, policymaking and health care practitioner audiences. Throughout his career, Professor Beletsky has applied his skills and expertise in service to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations and New York City Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene. He received his undergraduate training in geography from Vassar College and Oxford University, a Master’s in Public Health from Brown University, his law degree from Temple University School of Law, and his post-doctoral training at the Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS.

Paul Bowman
Certified Methadone/Buprenorphine Advocate
National Alliance Medication Assisted Recovery 

For 28 years, Paul has been a state social worker and is going on 9 years in recovery on Suboxone. Paul has been a licensed horse and carriage driver for four years. Paul is also a board member of Great Dane Club of America Chapter, Director NAMA Recovery.

Kathryn Cates-Wessel
Executive Director
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

Kathryn Cates-Wessell is the Executive Director of American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and the PI/Project Director of Provider Clinical Support Services programs. AAAP is a lead organization in the effort to educate health care providers about safe opioid prescribing and evidence-based practices in medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorders. Ms. Cates-Wessell has helped to bring much needed attention and training to health care providers in the use of opioids in pain management and treating opioid use disorders with medicated assisted treatment.

Dennis M. Dimitri, MD
Massachusetts Medical Society Task Force on Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication

Dennis M. Dimitri, MD, is a Clinical Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health at UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Medical School. He joined the department in his current role in 2006, after almost 25 years in private practice in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Dr. Dimitri has a long history of participation with the Massachusetts Medical Society. He was an officer of the organization for the last three years, serving as president, president-elect and vice president, respectively. He has been a member of the society’s House of Delegates, its governing body, since 1989 and a member of committees emphasizing issues of advocacy, legislation and regulation, and physician workforce. He has served as an officer of the Worcester District Medical Society and chaired its legislative committee. In 2011, he was honored with the Worcester District Medical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kenneth Duckworth, MD
Medical Director
National Alliance on Mental Illness

Kenneth Duckworth, MD., serves as the medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He is double board certified in adult and child and adolescent psychiatry. He has also completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship. Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Jessie M. Gaeta, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine

Jessie M. Gaeta, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, where she has practiced internal medicine since 2002. She oversees the clinical practice of this unique community health center that serves 12,000 people annually across dozens of clinical sites including homeless shelters, the street, and one of the first medical respite programs in the country. Dually board certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine, Dr. Gaeta trained in internal medicine at Boston University Medical Center, and served as Chief Resident in 2002. Her work with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance to implement a statewide Housing First model was supported by the Physician Advocacy Fellowship of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons from 2005-2007. Dr. Gaeta has a long history of advocating for the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. She has been published and spoken widely on the intersection of homelessness and health and she directs BHCHP’s Institute for Research, Quality, and Policy in Homeless Health. She has led BHCHP’s efforts to respond to the opioid overdose crisis, which has been magnified among people experiencing homelessness in Boston. Her passions include ending homelessness and bending the curve on overdose deaths.

James S. Gessner, MD
Massachusetts Medical Society

James S. Gessner, MD, is a physician with Anesthesia Associates of Massachusetts, one of New England’s largest private practice anesthesiology groups serving major academic and medical centers throughout the Northeast. Board-certified in anesthesiology and pediatrics, he holds appointments in anesthesiology at the New England Baptist Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and Mount Auburn Hospital.

A member of the Massachusetts Medical Society since 1982, he has served the organization in a variety of capacities, most recently as President-Elect and Vice President, respectively, over the last two years. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2006 and the Society’s governing body, its House of Delegates, since 2003. Dr. Gessner chaired the Task Force on Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication for one year and  the Committee on Finance for nine years, from 2005-2014.  He has been a member of the Committees on Administration and Management, Strategic Planning, Legislation, Bylaws, and Member Services. From 2001-2003, he was president of the Norfolk District Medical Society.

Barbara L. Herbert, MD, FASAM
Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Commonwealth Care Alliance

Barbara L. Herbert, MD, is the president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Commonwealth Care Alliance.  Since 2003, Commonwealth Care Alliance has been nationally recognized for highly individualized, compassionate healthcare programs. Step by step, Commonwealth Care Alliance has helped Massachusetts to become the first state in the nation to fulfill the promise of effective healthcare reform, a goal that is enshrined in national law through the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Herbert graduated from The School of Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center in 1980 and has been in practice for 36 years.

John F. Kelly, PhD
Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Director, Recovery Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital

John F. Kelly, PhD, is the Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, the founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Program Director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH.

Dr. Kelly is President of the American Psychological Association (APA) Society of Addiction Psychology, and is also a Fellow of APA. He has served as a consultant to U.S. federal agencies such as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH); to non-Federal institutions, such as the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; and internationally to foreign governments. His many research endeavors have focused on the translation and implementation of evidence-based practice, addiction and criminal justice, addiction treatment theories and mechanisms of action, and reducing stigma associated with addiction.

Peter J. Koutoujian, JD, MS
Middlesex County

During his nearly five years in office, Sheriff Koutoujian has focused on launching a new era at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office with a series of initiatives aimed at increasing public confidence and improving the lives of those in its custody. The Sheriff has also prioritized the need to provide innovative treatment and programming for those in the custody of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, underscoring this important window of opportunity to address the factors that led to the criminal behavior of those who are incarcerated. As a former public health official, Sheriff Koutoujian recognizes the essential role of health care in continuing to rehabilitate the justice-involved.

Sheriff Koutoujian is a member of several local and national organizations including the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association, the National Sheriffs' Association and the Major County Sheriffs' Association.  Additionally, he is a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration.

Colleen T. Labelle, BSN, RN-BC, CARN
Program Director
Boston University Office Based Opioid Treatment Buprenorphine Program

Colleen T. Labelle is the Program Director at the Boston University Office Based Opioid Treatment Buprenorphine Program (OBOT). The OBOT Program serves over 450 patients in the Boston Medical Center (BMC) outpatient general medicine practice.  OBOT provides consult and services to BMC’s family medicine, infectious disease, psychiatry, homeless, and obstetrics departments.  Additionally, OBOT provides training and technical support to 14 community health centers in the State of Massachusetts that are also funded by this grant.

Colleen’s specializations include Addictions Certification, Pain Certification and training and technical support office based practice with buprenorphine using nurse care managers. She attended St. Elizabeth School of Nursing (RN) in Brighton, MA and earned a BSN from Grand Canyon University. Colleen has received several awards, including the 2016 Excellence in Nursing Award: Modern Healthcare IntNSA Management Award and she was named the 2015 MVP General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center. She serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of Registration in Nursing (MA) and the Governor’s Opioid Working Group.

James J. O’Connell, MD
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program

James J. O’Connell, MD, began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program which now serves over 12,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics (Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital) and in more than 60 shelters and outreach sites in Boston. With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons in 1985, with 25 beds nested within the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This innovative program now provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in BHCHP’s 104-bed Barbara McInnis House.

Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program in 1995. From 1989 until 1996, Dr. O'Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. O’Connell is the editor of The Health Care of Homeless Persons: A Manual of Communicable Diseases and Common Problems in Shelters and on the Streets. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and several other medical journals.

Dr. O’Connell has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and in a feature-length documentary entitled “Give Me a Shot of Anything.” His first book, Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor, was published in 2015. He has received numerous awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award in 2012 and The Trustees’ Medal at the bicentennial celebration of MGH in 2011. Dr. O’Connell is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Michael Otto, PhD
Boston University Psychological and Brain Science

Michael Otto, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Boston University and Director of the Translational Research Program at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Dr. Otto specializes in the cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) of anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders. An enduring theme across these disorders is the role of exposure-based emotional tolerance/acceptance strategies in improving mental health. Dr. Otto has current and past federal funding from NIMH and NIDA, and his research focuses on difficult-to-treat populations, including the application of cognitive-behavioral strategies to patients who have failed to respond to previous interventions, as well as developing novel strategies for bipolar disorder and substance use disorders. His current research includes investigations of potential moderators of CBT efficacy, including several translational-research agendas ranging from studies of de novo fear conditioning to the application of putative memory enhancers to facilitate exposure-based treatments. Dr. Otto also focuses on health behaviors ranging from medication adherence to engagement in exercise. Dr. Otto has published over 270 articles, chapters, and books spanning his research interests, and was recently identified as a “top producer” in the clinical empirical literature. For clinical training, he has numerous treatment manuals published in the Treatments That Work series for Oxford University Press. Dr. Otto is past President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (formerly AABT), a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. 

Josiah (Jody) D. Rich, MD, MPH
Brown University Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights 

Josiah D. Rich, MD, MPH, is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and a practicing Infectious Disease Specialist since 1994 at The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center, and at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections caring for prisoners with HIV infection and working in the correctional setting doing research. He has published close to 190 peer-reviewed publications, predominantly in the overlap between infectious diseases, addictions and incarceration. He is the Director and Co-founder of The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital.  He is also a Co-Founder of the nationwide Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) collaboration in HIV in corrections (CFAR/CHIC) initiative. Dr. Rich has advocated for public health policy changes to improve the health of people with addiction, including improving legal access to sterile syringes and increasing drug treatment for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations.  His primary field and area of specialization and expertise is in the overlap between infectious diseases and illicit substance use, the treatment and prevention of HIV infection, and the care and prevention of disease in addicted and incarcerated individuals. He has served as an expert for the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and many others. He has been appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island to the Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Expert Team, selected to advise the task force and formulate a strategic plan to address addiction and stop overdose in Rhode Island.   

Luis T. Sanchez, MD
Addiction Psychiatry

Luis T. Sanchez, M.D. received his undergraduate degree from the United Stated Military Academy and his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School.  He completed a general medical internship and psychiatric residency at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Former positions include: Medical Director of the Special Treatment Team for Addictions, Cambridge-Somerville Unit at Westboro State Hospital; Chief of Psychiatry at Central Hospital; Associate Medical Director at Pembroke Hospital; Medical Director of the Addictions Treatment Program at Waltham Weston Hospital; Director of the Division of Addictions at Cambridge Hospital; Medical Director of the Addictions and Dual Diagnosis Unit at the Arbour Hospital.

He served as the Director of Physician Health Services (PHS), a corporation of the Massachusetts Medical Society for 15 years from 1998 to 2013 and continues in an advisory role.  PHS has the mission of providing education, support and monitoring for physicians and medical students with a range of health issues including substance use disorders, mental health and medical problems.

Dr. Sanchez was President of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs from 2005-2009. From 2013 to 2014 he was the Medical Director of the North Charles Institute for Addictions, a methadone treatment program and continues as an Associate Director. From 2014 to 2015 he was the Medical Director of the Dimock Community Health Center detoxification unit and continues in an associate role. He currently is the President of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR), an outpatient treatment program. He also has a private practice in psychiatry. Dr. Sanchez is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has Added Qualifications in Addiction Psychiatry.

Alexander Y. Walley, MD, MSc, 
Medical Director
Opioid Overdose Prevention Pilot Program
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Alexander Y. Walley, MD, MSc, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and a general internist and addiction medicine specialist at Boston Medical Center.  He is the director of the Boston University Addiction Medicine Fellowship program, which trains addiction medicine specialist physicians. He is the director of Inpatient Addiction Consult Service at Boston Medical Center. He does clinical and research-related work on the medical complications of substance use, specifically HIV and overdose.  He provides primary care and office-based addiction treatment for patients with HIV at Boston Medical Center and methadone maintenance treatment at Community Substance Abuse Centers. He is the medical director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Pilot Program. Since 2007, the MDPH program has trained over 44,000 people in Massachusetts’s communities, including people who use opioids, people in recovery, and their social networks. 

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