Einstein/Montefiore Department of Medicine

Department Faculty

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

Dr. Joanna L. Starrels

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (General Internal Medicine)


Professional Interests

Dr. Starrels is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center. Her research, clinical, teaching, and policy-related activities focus on the safety and effectiveness of opioid analgesics for management of chronic pain. 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 in the Division of General Internal Medicine. She is teaching faculty in the Internal Medicine and Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine residency training programs, and attending physician at the Montefiore Family Care Center. She is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. 

Dr. Starrels' research focuses on defining best practices for managing chronic pain in primary care and HIV treatment settings. She studies the benefits and harms of using opioid management tools such as treatment agreements, urine drug testing, and prescription monitoring programs; the effectiveness of collaborative care models for integrating behavioral health care and pain management; treatment of opioid use disorders in primary care settings; and the impact of opioid analgesic use, misuse and disorders on HIV outcomes.  Her work has been funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Society of General Internal Medicine, the New York Community Trust, and the Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research.


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.


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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