April Wilson Smith, MPH, is a PhD student in Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Her research focuses on harm reduction approaches to people who use substances when they enter the healthcare system.
April's other interest in healthcare is interprofessional education and teamwork. Her work with the Jefferson Center for InterProfessional Education won the 2016 James B. Erdmann PhD award for Excellence in Interprofessional Education. She is currently building a large, multidisciplinary coalition to create an interprofessional education module for healthcare professionals in best practices for the care of people who use drugs when they present in the acute care setting.
April is a Certified SMART Recovery facilitator and founded the first SMART Recovery meeting in the Philadelphia city limits. She is also co-founder of the only Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support meeting in Philadelphia.
April recently accepted a position as Harm Reduction Epidemiologist with Families for Sensible Drug Policy, which is a non-profit dedicated to helping families advocate for drug policies that save drug users' lives and keep families together and healthy. Co-founder and President, Barry Lessin, is also a Pro Talk columnist .
April graduated from Yale University in 1996. She was a union organizer for healthcare workers for 18 years before going back to school for her Master of Public Health, and spent ten years as Director of Organizing for Pennsylvania's largest nurses' union. She lives in West Philadelphia with her beautiful black cat, Loviefluffy.
Master of Public Health
PhD candidate in Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University
Recipient of the 2016 James B. Erdmann PhD award for Excellence in Interprofessional Education
Certified SMART Recovery facilitator
Harm Reduction Epidemiologist with Families for Sensible Drug Policy
Co-founder of the only Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support meeting in Philadelphia
Interprofessional education and teamwork in the healthcare setting
Research focuses on harm reduction approaches to people who use substances when they enter the healthcare system
￼￼While methadone and Suboxone are the medical gold standard for people with addictions to opiates, nursing facilities are routinely refusing to admit patients who need this treatment. This practice is likely illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which recognizes opioid addiction as a medical condition, and moves are underway to take legal action. As usual, stigma, not science, pervades the medical community, putting the most vulnerable at risk.
Gas station bathrooms have become a common place for IV drug users to inject themselves. They’re often unlocked, can be accessed without making a purchase, and provide a place out of sight from police.
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