Division of General Internal Medicine

Dr. Joanna Starrels Receives First-Time NIH Research Project Grant

Dr. Joanna Starrels General Internal Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Joanna Starrels, MD, MS

Dr. Joanna Starrels recently received her first R01 grant, a four-year, $2.3 million award for her study on opioid analgesic use and HIV.

The United States is facing an epidemic of opioid analgesic misuse, disorders, and overdose. HIV-infected patients are greatly impacted because half have chronic pain and up to 30% are prescribed opioid analgesics. Although it is well established that illicit drug use leads to poor HIV outcomes, it is unknown how prescribed opioid analgesic use, misuse, and disorders influence HIV and pain outcomes in HIV-infected patients with chronic pain. Dr. Starrels’ four-year study will examine patterns of prescription opioid use in HIV-infected patients with chronic pain, and the complex biopsychosocial and medical context in which they occur, to understand their relationship with HIV and pain outcomes over time. Findings from this study will help to guide clinical care, develop interventions, and improve outcomes for HIV-infected patients with chronic pain. This project will also provide a model for future studies to examine the consequences of other types of prescription drug use and misuse.

Dr. Starrels is Associate Professor of Medicine (General Internal Medicine), and is board-certified in both internal medicine and addiction medicine. Her particular expertise is in the safety and effectiveness of opioid analgesics for patients with chronic pain. Her previous research has examined use of treatment agreements and urine drug testing for patients with chronic pain, a collaborative care intervention to integrate behavioral health and pain care, and treatment for opioid use disorders in primary care settings.

Posted October 4, 2015 

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