Community-based Opioid Use Disorder Research Program to Improve Retention and Recovery Outcomes Among Homeless People

Travis Baggett, MD, MPH
Travis Baggett, MD, MPH
MGH Research Scholar 2021-2026
Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

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.