Division of General Internal Medicine

Joanna L. Starrels, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Joanna L. Starrels

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (General Internal Medicine)


Professional Interests

As a clinician-investigator and educator, Dr. Starrels aims to improve the quality of chronic pain management in primary care settings, through helping to define and promote evidence-based use of opioid analgesics. Her work focuses on opioid management practices, including use of treatment agreements and urine drug testing, and on evaluating collaborative care models of pain management.

Dr. Starrels received her BA from Wesleyan University, where she majored in the Science in Society Program, and her MD from Jefferson Medical College. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a MS in Health Policy Research.  Dr. Starrels joined the Einstein/Montefiore faculty in 2008 as an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine. In addition, she is teaching faculty in the Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine training programs, where she co-directs the Chronic Pain Curriculum (with Dr. Aaron Fox), facilitates Resident Seminars in Clinical Epidemiology, and serves as faculty mentor for resident projects.


Selected Publications

Recent Publications

  1. Fox AD, Anderson MR, Bartlett G, Valverde J, Starrels JL, Cunningham CO. Health outcomes and retention in care following release from prison of an urban post-incarceration transition clinic. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 Aug;25(3):1139-52.
  2. Starrels JL, Wu B, Peyser D, Fox AD, Batchelder A, Barg FK, Arnsten JH, Cunningham CO. It made my life a little easier, primary care providers’ beliefs and attitudes about using opioid treatment agreements. J Opioid Manag. 2014 Mar-Apr;10(2):95-102.
  3. Fox AD, Shah PA, Sohler NL, Lopez CM, Starrels JL, Cunningham CO. I heard about it from a friend: assessing interest in buprenorphine treatment. Subst Abus. 2014;35(1):74-9

Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.


Montefiore Medical Center
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Pubmed Search
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Media Coverage

U.S. News & World Report (via HealthDay) features new research by Dr. Joanna Starrels that found patients on painkillers, such as oxycodone, are frequently not closely monitored by the primary care doctors who prescribed the drugs.

More media coverage

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