West Virginia – Day 1 Summer Immersion Trip

by Aliza Lurie

From Cabin Creek Health Center in Dawes, West Virginia

I had the privilege of joining a meeting that was focused on implementing research initiatives in primary care organized by a group of collaborating providers from clinics in various counties.  This group was called WVACHS which stands for West Virginia Alliance for Creative Health Solutions and the preceptor I worked with was the nurse practitioner representative from her clinic.  Her proposed topic was on water quality and its impact on health of individuals in the community.  The group spent the meeting brainstorming topics to implement and develop a white paper to submit for publishing.  The most popular and decided on topic was barriers to accessing opioid addiction treatment and implementation of MAT, which is Medication Assisted Treatment, for management options.   This topic proved to be most popular and pertinent to the population in West Virginia given the epidemic of opioid addiction and deaths from overdose.  It was quite inspiring to see the impact of research outside of the academic setting and the impact it can have on quality improvement in clinics and in the care provided to patients.  This group of interdisciplinary providers recognized a need for change of practice and patients’ needs that weren’t being addressed and were not sitting idly by.   It was valuable to experience the discussion about the topic of choice and witness the process behind recognizing a health-related need and working towards a plan to address this.  

I plan to attend a MAT group therapy session later in the week to experience the process patients endure when adhering to this treatment plan.  This will hopefully shed some light on the need for this treatment plan and how successful it can be in addressing the patient need when properly executed. 

This process of integrating evidence-based practice into a clinical setting caused me to reflect about some of the clinical guidelines or processes that are implemented and if they truly are patient centered, proven to be effective and produce successful outcomes.   Experiences like this are chances for professional growth and development as I am coming into a provider role and will soon have to make evidence-based decisions, nevertheless, have a chance to change protocol and implement innovative guidelines. 

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