Seminar: 'Public Health Approaches to Address the Opioid Epidemic'
January 30, 2018
12:00 pm-1:00 pm
UMass Amherst Campus
The College of Nursing’s Spring Seminar Series opens with Elizabeth Evans, assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, speaking on “Public Health Approaches to Address the Opioid Epidemic.”
Evans investigates how public policies, health care systems and community organizations can better promote health and wellness among vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly in relation to individuals at risk for opioid and other substance use disorders, mental illness and infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis C). People with opioid and other substance use disorders face enormous social stigma, discrimination, and other barriers that prevent their utilization of needed health and social services. For individuals who are managing what is often a chronic relapsing condition, these social forces can create inequitable life chances that contribute to risk factors for preventable morbidity and premature mortality. One of Evans’ primary interests has been to apply a public health approach to investigate how individual-level and environmental-level factors interact to impact the health and well-being of individuals with this condition over time. In this talk, she will first summarize the life course approach to understanding opioid use disorder. Next, she will present preliminary findings on gender differences in exposure to childhood adversity and mental health comorbidity among a nationally representative sample of adults with opioid use disorders. Evans will end by describing two opioid intervention development pilot studies that she is currently leading.