Student Research Spotlight August 21, 2018
Samuel Schadt (DO '19)
Samuel Schadt's (DO '19) research will provide insight for establishing a comprehensive
user engagement site (CUES) in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia to help
battle the opioid epidemic.
Samuel Schadt (DO ’19) was as an undergraduate research fellow at the Institute of
Clinical Bioethics (ICB) at Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) under the direction of
Peter Clark, SJ, PhD. While at PCOM, Schadt has continued to assist in projects centered
on health promotion and the evaluation of the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia.
What are you studying?
We have comprised an Opioid Research Team at the ICB (led by Peter Clark, S.J., PhD;
Marvin Lee PhD; and Terri O’Doherty MS) that consists of three Mercy Catholic Medical
Center residents (Sonul Gulati, DO; Arun Minupuri, MD; and Pavan Patel, MD), four
PCOM medical students (Matt DiMeglio (DO/MBA ’20); John Dubensky (DO ’19); Siddardth
Umapathy (DO ’19); and myself) and four SJU undergraduate research fellows (Olivia
Nguyen; Priscilla Rodriguez; Kevin Cooney; and Sara Lathrop). We have received a generous
donation from the Dooner Family to evaluate and implement a site for helping to combat
the opioid epidemic. Our research is taking a look at Insite, a Safe Injection Facility
(SIF) in Vancouver, Canada.
A SIF, also known as a Comprehensive User Engagement Site (CUES), is a safe space
where drug users can inject themselves while having access to a sterile environment,
supplies and the ability to get medical assistance should the need arise. We are exploring
the feasibility of a CUES site in Kensington, Philadelphia, as a part of a harm reduction
technique modeled after the successes in Vancouver. Harm reduction is an approach
focused on minimizing the negative results that go hand-in-hand with drug abuse.
What prompted you to pursue research?
Having the opportunity to contribute to medical literature provides a means of giving
back to the medical community as well as becoming a part of its history. My current
experience with the Opioid Research Team is unique in that it is a partnership between
a University, a Medical School and a Health Care Network. I also get to work with
my classmates and future colleagues which is exciting!
What experience do you have conducting research?
I have had the privilege of working with Saint Joseph’s University for the past 6
years participating in research as both an undergraduate and graduate student. The
project I am most proud of was the Mercy Health Promoter Model which continues to
thrive today. PCOM’s Latino Medical Student Association and SJU have partnered in
providing preventative screening exams to patients of St. Patrick’s Church, a predominantly
Spanish speaking community with many undocumented and underinsured immigrants from
Mexico. I have also participated in several projects with St. Luke’s University Health
Network in their clinical trials department and Opioid Task Force. Currently, in addition
to our opioid studies, I am fortunate to be participating in a research elective with
the Ocular Oncology Service at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia looking at management
outcomes for choroidal hemangiomas.
What were your responsibilities in this research project?
Matt, Sid, John and I have researched Insite, Canada’s first supervised injection
facility. The other members of the Opioid Research Team are looking at the opioid
crisis in Philadelphia—planning, costs, governance and legal issues, describing the
location and layout of the CUES, in addition to a medical and an ethical analysis
of a CUES site in Philadelphia. I currently serve as the coordinator between team
members. In addition, Matt, Sid, John and I also serve as graduate research fellows
in the Institute.
What is the broader impact of your research?
Widespread education and advocacy is important for creating an informed community
which shapes the mindset regarding one’s approach to the opioid epidemic as a whole.
In the face of this public health emergency, it is easy to first accuse those who
are responsible. However, it is the vulnerable populations and ethnicities who are
often accused leading to incarcerations and stigmatism. The opioid effects compounded
with the incarcerations have broken individuals and their families leaving them subject
to criticism and pushed to the wayside. Therefore, acknowledging that the opioid epidemic
is a multi-faceted systemic issue and providing education and awareness through research
is a critical component to the public understanding of the harm reduction theory and
taking the necessary steps to address this crisis. Nevertheless, it is efforts such
as a Comprehensive User Engagement Site that may become an effective paradigm for
Recently members of the Opioid Research Team presented our poster titled, The Safe Injection Site Project for Philadelphia at the International Opioid Conference at Harvard Medical School. HBO’s Vice News has also included us as a part of their upcoming documentary, “World of Hurt,” which
will air later this year.
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