Dean Attends National RX Abuse and Heroin SummitApril 5, 2016
GA-PCOM Dean and Chief Academic Officer H. William Craver III, DO, joined American
Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO Stephen
Shannon, DO, and American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Board of Trustees member Barbara
Walker, DO, at the National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit.
Due to U.S. President Barack Obama’s recently announced pledge concerning opioid prescription
education and his additional public and private sector actions to escalate the fight
against prescription opioid abuse and the heroin epidemic, Georgia Campus – Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) Dean and Chief Academic Officer H. William Craver III, DO, was invited as a guest of the White House to attend the National Rx Abuse and Heroin
Summit held in Atlanta recently. Earlier GA-PCOM had pledged to join other medical
schools across the nation in support of the White House’s initiative on chronic pain
opioid prescription education. The White House pledge includes incorporating new federal
guidelines that urge doctors, especially those in primary care, to be more cautious
when prescribing potentially addictive narcotics.
“As part of AOA’s ongoing collaboration with the White House to address the opioid
epidemic, we’re pleased to announce that 27 colleges of osteopathic medicine will
require their students to receive prescriber education prior to graduation,” John Becher, DO, President of the AOA, said. “By teaching and reaffirming appropriate prescribing
throughout the continuum of osteopathic medical education, DOs are working to improve
the quality of care now and for future generations of physicians,” he said.
GA-PCOM has been working on this initiative all year. Through its Interprofessional
Education (IPE) program, the college has developed a curriculum that involves osteopathic
medical and pharmacy students working together throughout all four years of their
education. The curriculum teaches future healthcare professionals the importance of
collaborating and communicating to deliver the best patient-centered care. This year the theme revolved around drug addiction.
On April 7, a team from GA-PCOM including Assistant Dean of Clinical Education Paula
Gregory, DO, MBA; Professor and Assistant Dean for Curriculum Bonnie Buxton, PhD; and Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Jennifer Elliott, PharmD;
along with “Addiction on Trial” author Steven Kassels, MD, will be presenting the
college’s IPE data at the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Vice-Chair and Assistant Professor, Department
of Pharmacy Practice, Sara Reece, PharmD, is also part of the IPE team, but will not attend the meeting. This year, first-year
students worked together in five-member teams to explore aspects of ethics and professionalism,
particularly surrounding issues of drug abuse.
As the culmination of this year’s IPE work, Dr. Kassels spoke to students, faculty
and staff members. With the assistance of Dr. Kassels, a curriculum had been designed
to guide students in exploring the psycho social and ethical issues affiliated with
According to Dr. Kassels, the annual cost to society for drug and alcohol addiction-related
issues is $400 billion which includes crime, health care and lost worker productivity.
The disease affects all socio-economic groups. “We’ve tried to cut supply for years,”
he said, “but it has not worked. We also need to cut the demand.” He added, “We as
Americans have a desire to take away the pain, and physicians need to be more cognizant
of best prescribing practices for pain medications.”
Dr. Kassels believes that the gateway drugs to heroin include opiates, alcohol and
marijuana and that physicians and pharmacists have an obligation to monitor usage.
He encouraged students to screen, intervene and refer to treatment when they are practicing
providers. By learning to recognize the signs of drug abuse and how to communicate
with other disciplines, these future doctors will be able to effectively use treatment
resources in caring for patients.
About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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