MEDtalks – Emergency: Drug Use and Addiction in the 21st Century

MEDtalks - Emergency: Drug Use and Addiction in the 21st Century

Presented by UBC Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Faculty of Arts, in partnership with alumni UBC

In April 2016, BC declared a public health emergency in response to the rapid rise of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in the province. Since then, the problem has only worsened, with the number of overdose deaths in 2017 exceeding 2016’s totals by a significant margin. What are the factors contributing to this crisis and what are the consequences of this increase in drug use and addiction? How can we support individuals at higher risk and can changes to policy mitigate overdose risk?

Hear from four top UBC researchers and clinicians from UBC Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, Arts and Pharmaceutical Sciences as they present their research in a series of short MEDtalks.

The program was moderated by Gurdeep Parhar, MedRes’95, Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Partnerships and Professionalism, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

MEDtalks Titles and Presenters

Mental health, addiction and oral health
Leeann Donnelly, BDSc’02; MSc’05; PhD’12 – Assistant Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, UBC

Pharmacists’ response to the opioid crisis
Tamara Mihic, BSc’13, PharmD’16 – Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Mental Health, St. Paul’s Hospital; Clinical Instructor & Lecturer, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UBC

Socio-economic drivers of substance use and overdose.
Lindsey Richardson, BA’01 – Assistant Professor, Sociology, Faculty of Arts, UBC; Research Scientist, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

The overdose crisis in Canada. Preventable or predictable?
Mark Tyndall – Executive Director, BC Centre for Disease Control; Deputy Provincial Health Officer; Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UBC

This program took place April 19, 2018, at UBC Robson Square in downtown Vancouver, BC.



MEDtalks - Emergency: Drug Use and Addiction in the 21st Century

Presenter Biographies

Gurdeep Parhar, MedRes’95

Gurdeep ParharDr. Gurdeep Parhar is the Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Partnerships and Professionalism for University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine. His current role combines two portfolios in the Faculty of Medicine for which he had previously been responsible for: Executive Associate Dean –Clinical Affairs and Associate Dean –Equity and Professionalism.

Until March 2015, Dr. Parhar served as the Acting Associate Vice President –Equity and Inclusion for the University of British Columbia. Previously, Dr. Parhar served as Co-Acting Head and Associate Head of the UBC Department of Family Practice.

Dr. Parhar’s clinical practice focuses on immigrants, refugees, workers’ health and patients with severe disabilities. His teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate programs includes: professionalism, equity, cultural safety, psychosocial aspects of healthcare, and medical disability. He is currently the principal investigator on educational innovation grants employing interprofessional models to address issues important to underserved populations, particularly Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees and those belonging to lower socio-economic communities.

For MD Curriculum Renewal, Dr. Parhar chaired the Working Group on Social Responsibility and Accountability. Dr. Parhar also chaired the development of Professionalism Standards for Faculty and Learners in Medicine and Dentistry. He served as the national Co-Chair for the Group on Equity, Diversity and Gender (EDG) for the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) and currently serves as the national Co-Chair of the Professionalism Group for the Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

Dr. Parhar coordinates mandatory annual Avoiding Mistreatment and Anti-Harassment workshops addressing racism, homophobia, and bullying for the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry. In May 2016, Dr. Parhar delivered a Tedx Talk entitled “Fixing Racism” that was live streamed to over 100 countries and within 4 weeks of being posted online has been watched by over 1 million viewers. You can watch it on YouTube by searching for “Fixing Racism”.

Leeann Donnelly, BDSc’02; MSc’05; PhD’12

Leeann DonnellyDr. Leeann Donnelly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Biological and Medical Sciences, teaching in the dental, dental hygiene and graduate programs at UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry since 2002. Dr. Donnelly is also the Community and Special Care Coordinator for the Dental Hygiene Degree Program and oversees multiple community-based preventive dental programs and related curriculum. She recently became an Associate Member of the School of Population and Public Health, in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC.

Leeann received not only her Bachelor of Dental Science from UBC but also her Master of Science and a PhD in Craniofacial Science. Continuing on from her PhD work, her primary area of research and teaching focus on the oral health needs of vulnerable and marginalized populations, in particular the development, implementation and evaluation of outreach health services focused on further understanding and addressing oral health inequities among persons with a history of incarceration, mental illness, substance use, homelessness, HIV and adverse childhood experiences.

Tamara Mihic, BSc’13, PharmD’16

Tamara MiihicDr. Tamara Mihic completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degree both from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She currently works as the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Mental Health at St. Paul’s Hospital, and is involved in the care of patients with mental health and substance use disorders on two inpatient units. Tamara is also a Clinical Instructor and lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC. As a clinical pharmacist, she works as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team to optimize drug therapy, provide education, and ensure seamless care for patients admitted to hospital. She is also involved in clinical projects and research through the Pharmacy and Mental Health departments at St. Paul’s Hospital to improve patient care.

Lindsey Richardson BA’01

Lindsey RichardsonLindsey Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UBC. Lindsey gained her undergraduate degree at UBC, and then went on to the University of Oxford to complete her Masters and Doctoral work.

Lindsey is a medical sociologist specializing in socio-economic determinants of health among people who use illicit drugs and other vulnerable and marginalized populations. Her mixed-methods research links observational, intervention and research participation studies in efforts to critically increase understandings of the determinants and health consequences of socio-economic (in)security. Her research has been published in numerous journals and has received multiple grant, salary, scholarship and research awards. Prior to her time in academia, Lindsey worked on social development as well as health and drug policy for the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver.

Mark Tyndall

Mark TyndallInfectious Disease specialist, epidemiologist and public health expert Mark Tyndall has dedicated his career to studying HIV, poverty and drug use, starting in Nairobi, Kenya, and now in Vancouver, Canada. An early advocate for harm reduction programs, Mark was at the forefront of North America’s first legally sanctioned supervised injection facility, INSITE, established in Vancouver in 2003. Since then, studies have shown that safe injection sites save lives, reduce transmission of disease and help people access addiction treatment and other medical services. An advocate for evidence-based public health policy and interventions, Mark has been an author on over 250 academic papers, and has received several honors for his work. He is currently the Executive Director of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control, deputy Provincial Health Officer and a Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health.

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