PCOM Receives $5.5 Million Research Funding Award by PCORIOctober 2, 2019
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has been awarded a $5.5 million contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
Institute (PCORI) to study the effectiveness of psychosocial treatments for individuals
receiving medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) at four
federally qualified health centers. The study will examine the effectiveness of two
psychosocial treatments – cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and peer recovery support
– individually and in combination.
“Psychosocial treatments including CBT and peer support have shown great promise in
treating addictive disorders, but have not been extensively studied in combination
with MAT for OUD,” said David Festinger, PhD, director of substance abuse research and education at PCOM, and the study’s principal
“Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating opioid addiction, just
as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating any other disease,” he added.
“This study will help to determine which psychosocial approach works best for different
types of patients, allowing us to tailor treatment more effectively.”
The project will follow 440 patients receiving buprenorphine/naloxone, a partial opioid
antagonist, randomized into one of four conditions: (1) Medication alone, (2) Medication
with CBT, (3) Medication with peer support, or (4) Medication with CBT and peer support.
Study outcomes will include opioid abstinence, treatment retention, quality of life
and emergency hospitalizations.
“This program of research will examine the utility of a multidisciplinary approach
to treating this major public health crisis,” said Michelle Lent, PhD, associate professor, clinical psychology and co-investigator. “We are finding that even the most promising pharmaceutical
treatments benefit from behavioral strategies to promote adherence and sustain positive
“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and
commitment to engaging patients and other healthcare stakeholders in a major study
conducted in real-world settings, but also for its potential to answer an important
question about the treatment of opioid addiction and fill a crucial evidence gap,”
said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. “We look forward to following the
study’s progress and working with PCOM to share its results.”
The study was selected through a highly competitive review process in which patients,
caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals. The
study is expected to begin enrollment in spring of 2020.
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PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its
mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians
with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.
For more information about PCORI’s funding, visit www.pcori.org.
About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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