University of Charleston

WV Drug Intervention Institute and UC School of Pharmacy

Present “Change the Stigma” Conference for Future Health Professionals

 

Charleston, WV (March 3, 2020) – Health professions majors from all West Virginia campuses are invited to join more than 100 University of Charleston students pursing degrees in the pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant and health promotions programs on Saturday, March 21, 2020  in the Geary Auditorium (Riggleman Hall) to address negative perceptions surrounding opioid addiction within the healthcare profession. The conference is sponsored by the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, Inc., the UC School of Pharmacy, the Student Social of Health-System Pharmacy, and the ACES Coalition of West Virginia.

“Stigma associated with drug addiction can interfere with prevention, treatment and recovery efforts,” said Dr. Susan Bissett, President of the WV Drug Intervention Institute.  “The Change the Stigma Conference aims to help health professions students overcome stigma so that they can effectively assist patients in managing the disease of addiction.”

The conference will include discussions around the role of healthcare professionals in combatting the opioid epidemic as well as conversations about helping children and adults overcome adverse childhood experiences (or ACEs). Participants will learn how to address stigma within the profession and manage the effect negative perceptions about addiction can have on patient care. In addition, participants will receive Naloxone training, so they are prepared to respond to drug overdoses in the community.

“As future healthcare professionals on the frontlines of providing care to patients suffering from the disease of addiction, it is our responsibility to respond with compassion and competence,” Zachary Harris, UC pharmacy student (Class of 2022). “We will play a crucial role in challenging these negative perceptions and advocating for equal, high quality care regardless of their health condition.”

The conference will be held 8 am until 1 pm. Sessions will include a panel on overcoming ACEs sponsored by the ACES Coalition of West Virginia as well as an interprofessional discussion on how health care providers (pharmacists, nurses, doctors, etc.) can work together to help eliminate the stigma of addiction and treat substance use disorder.

Registration is free to all health professions majors throughout West Virginia and is open until March 14, 2020.

To view the program and register visit: www.wvdii.org. Media is also welcome to attend. For more information, including a schedule of events, contact Dr. Susan Bissett at 304-357-4879 or susanbissett@dii.ucwv.edu.