Dr. Miriam Komaromy Dr. Miriam Komaromy
Credit: Project ECHO

Delivering better addiction treatment in rural and underserved areas

Project ECHO helps primary care doctors help their patients

Primary care providers are the key to delivering badly needed addiction treatment in rural and underserved areas, a University of New Mexico researcher has found.

Miriam Komaromy, MD, associate director of Project ECHO at the UNM Health Sciences Center, presented an abstract of her research, ECHO-Model Case-Based Learning Enhances Primary Care Treatment of Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorders, during the 2016 Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) annual national conference in Washington, D.C., at a special session on November 5.

Komaromy’s abstract received the Best Program/Curricula Abstract Award from the national substance use education and research organization.

In her abstract, Komaromy describes the value of providing primary care providers with ongoing education and mentorship in behavioral health and substance abuse disorders, enabling expanded addiction treatment in rural and underserved areas, where care is needed most. 

“Dr. Komaromy and her team have developed a methodology to deliver best-practice care for addiction to even the most remote part of New Mexico” said Project ECHO director Sanjeev Arora, MD.

A 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report ranked New Mexico among the top five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose. The report also found that between 2013 and 2014, overdose deaths increased by more than 20 percent, making expansion to addiction care a critical health care need for New Mexicans.

Komaromy, an associate professor in UNM’s Department of Internal Medicine, has been the medical director of Project ECHO’s substance use disorder programs since 2005. 

Her research in addiction and the ECHO telehealth model was also recently recognized when she won best manuscript from the prestigious academic journal Substance Abuse.

Categories: School of Medicine, Community, Research

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