MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Community-based Opioid Use Disorder Research Program to Improve Retention and Recovery Outcomes Among Homeless People
About 568,000 people are homeless in the U.S. at any given time. My research focuses on the health of these individuals. Working in close partnership with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, I have conducted numerous innovative studies describing the burden, consequences and management of conditions seen commonly in homeless health care settings.
I am the principal investigator of two large intervention trials for homeless individuals: one examining financial incentives for smoking cessation and one examining patient navigation to promote lung cancer screening. In parallel, my epidemiologic studies have highlighted the impact of the opioid epidemic among people experiencing homelessness, who die of opioid overdose at rates 16-30 times higher than non-homeless individuals.
Combining these lines of work, I plan to conduct a community-based program of research to improve treatment retention and patient- centered recovery outcomes among homeless-experienced individuals with opioid use disorder, with an emphasis on three care delivery innovations: financial incentives, care navigation and telehealth.
This work aligns with Mass General’s mission to improve the health and well-being of diverse communities and has the potential to inform health care delivery efforts at the 300 U.S. Health Care for the Homeless programs that serve over 1 million patients annually.