Wright State University exploring partnership opportunities with Verily Life Sciences to combat opioid crisis

Julie Gentile, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry

While numerous local efforts have been implemented and are making great strides to address the opioid epidemic in Montgomery County, the supply of local addiction services cannot meet the current need. To further assist in reducing the hardship impacting Dayton communities, Wright State University is exploring partnership opportunities with Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc., focused on life sciences and health care.

Wright State University will join numerous community organizations to collaborate with Verily Life Sciences in the launch of a new, full-service treatment ecosystem based on the critical need in local communities.

Wright State faculty and students in the College of Education and Human Services, School of Professional Psychology, and medical students and resident physicians of the Boonshoft School of Medicine will participate in the effort. If the approach is successful, the project could serve as a prototype for similar efforts to combat the opioid crisis in other cities around the United States.

“Through this opportunity, we can leverage our existing presence on the front lines of service for those struggling with addiction,” said Margaret Dunn, M.D., dean of the Boonshoft School of Medicine. “This effort will help us expand our delivery of care while engaging learners at all levels.”

The treatment ecosystem will likely be based in a high-addiction area of downtown Dayton where its reach can be maximized. Partners in the project will develop a technology-informed recovery system capable of delivering evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders along the entire continuum of care.

The ecosystem will help address patients’ medical and psychosocial needs and also serve as a hub for outcome data that will inform future care. The use of technology will contribute to fewer access problems and make it simpler to connect people with the resources they need.

Services involved may include everything from acute assessment and integration into a detoxification system, inpatient services, or outpatient and recovery services. There is also interest in linking individuals struggling with addiction, and who are in recovery, with public assistance programs and educational or residential resources in the Dayton community.

“A geographic review indicates that the devastation caused by addiction is evident in every segment of every neighborhood,” said Julie Gentile, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry. “Community partners such as Wright State University can provide personnel and linkages to assure that these new and expanded services will reach all those struggling with addiction.”

Wright State’s commitment to clinical, educational and research programs, as well as its connection to the Dayton community, are closely aligned with Verily’s mission and vision. The university will streamline the formation of multidisciplinary teams needed for the treatment of substance misuse.

Margaret Dunn, dean of the Boonshoft School of Medicine

These teams will be comprised of nurses, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, behavior specialists, counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists and many others. The extensive network involved will provide opportunities for departments and colleges at Wright State to increase their existing efforts to address the struggles facing Montgomery County residents.

Verily Life Sciences will also link to existing addiction resources and involve educators in the community, physicians and other professionals. Experts working in other cities facing the opioid crisis will advise best practices. Anonymous data also will be gathered to inform future care and add to the growing knowledge on the most effective practices and evidence-based principles.

“This effort will implement tangible and realistic community solutions,” Gentile said. “A collaborative effort between Wright State University and Verily Life Sciences, in concert with many other community agencies, is certain to propel us forward in the pursuit to save lives and connect individuals struggling with addiction to the care they need.”

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