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National Academy of Medicine Launches Opioid Collaborative

February 14, 2019
Comprised of several working groups, the first meeting of the committee is set for April 2019

A PPM Brief

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has launched an Action Collaborative on Countering the US Opioid Epidemic in hopes of countering the public health risk of the opioid problem currently affecting the United States. In an introductory webinar,1 NAM shared a few of its initial goals, inviting the healthcare and supporting community to join in their efforts.

The Collaborative

Composed of a steering committee led by chair Victor Dzau, MD, and co-chairs ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, Ruth Katz, JD, MPH, and Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, the collaborative has established four working groups:

  • The Health Professional Education and Training Working Group, with co-leaders Kathy Chappell, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP, and Steve Singer, PhD
  • The Opioid Prescribing Guidelines and Evidence Standards Working Group, with co-leaders Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, and Debra Houry, MD, MPH
  • The Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Working Group, with co-leaders Jay Bhatt, DO, MPH, MPA, FACP, Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, and Alonzo Plough, PhD, MPH
  • The Research, Data, and Metrics Needs Working Group, with co-leaders Carlos Blanco, MD, PhD, and Kelly J. Clark, MD.

Partner sponsors range from managed care companies like Aetna to research institutions and philanthropic organizations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the VA.



The collaborative outlined three core goals that they wish to accomplish, including:

  1. Identifying and raising the visibility of complex challenges, outstanding research gaps, and the needs of the opioid crisis that require a collective, multisectoral response
  2. Elevating and accelerating evidence-based, multisectoral, and interprofessional solutions to improve outcomes for those affected by the opioid crisis
  3. Catalyzing action on shared priorities and solutions to help overcome the crisis and improve outcomes for all.

In particular, the Opioid Prescribing Guidelines and Evidence Standards Working Group aims to:

  1. Collate and compare existing opioid prescribing and tapering guidelines
  2. Highlight the value of non-pharmacologic treatments as complements to opioids for pain management
  3. Support the incorporation of prescribing guidelines into clinical workflow.

The Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Working Group also outlined its goals:

  1. Curate and disseminate the essential elements and components of the continuum of care for opioid use disorder
  2. Share best practices and bring awareness to the barriers to implement, evaluate, scale, and sustain successful prevention, treatment, and recovery approaches
  3. Accelerate improvements in prevention, treatment, recovery care and services for vulnerable and high-risk populations.

The first public meeting of the collaborative is scheduled for April 20, 2019, at the National Academies’ Keck Center, in Washington, DC. Learn more at nam.edu/opioidcollaborative.

The work of the new NAM Opioid Collaborative is complemented and reinforced by the ongoing efforts of the HHS Pain Management Inter-Agency Task Force and NIH’s implementation of the National Pain Strategy. See AAPM President’s Jianguo Cheng, MD, PhD, FIPP, take on these efforts in the latest issue of PPM.

Overall, these groups hope to put a major dent in the opioid epidemic while also meeting the needs of patients with chronic pain.

Last updated on: February 21, 2019
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