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This seminar provides a forum for the scholarly exchange of information among key representatives of the chemical dependency research, treatment, prevention, and policy development communities. It seeks to address the important and complex questions relating to the root causes of chemical dependency and abuse, to examine and evaluate epidemiological studies, to determine the effectiveness of various treatment and prevention strategies, and to discuss the wisdom and value of current international, national, and local policies. Membership is comprised of prominent researchers, established leaders in the treatment and prevention fields, and government policymakers. Speakers in the seminar are drawn from the membership itself and by invitation from other institutions.

Dr. Frank McCorry

Carolina Leiva Ureta

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020-2021 academic year. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

09/15/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Retaining Access While Protecting Public Health – Changes to the NYS Addiction Treatment System During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Marc Manseau, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports

10/20/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Measuring Addiction Treatment in New York State and Beyond: Shatterproof ATLAS Update October 2020
Leah Kaufman, Shatterproof


The national non-profit organization, Shatterproof, launched, an addiction treatment locator, analysis and standards platform on July 21st, 2020. Join us for a demo of the platform, which will include highlights of key features, as well as a discussion of website traffic in New York and other pilot states. This session will also cover next steps for the ATLAS project, the launch of the Addiction Treatment Clinical Quality Improvement webinar series, and expansion of ATLAS to a second cohort of states in 2021.

11/17/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
COVID-19 and Substance Use: NYC’s Response
Gail Goldstein, New York City Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Use Prevention


On Sunday, March 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in New York City and by March 20, when the Governor issued the statewide PAUSE, there were 4,408 confirmed cases. Eight months later, the total number of COVID-19 cases in NYC exceeds 250,000 with 19,376 laboratory-confirmed deaths. This presentation will describe New York City’s responses to COVID-19 and substance use, particularly efforts to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on people who use drugs and alcohol, maintain or restore services, develop and support new mechanisms for care and services, ensure equitable access to COVID-related resources and provide guidance to people who use substances in New York City and the specialty systems that support them.

12/15/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Identification and Treatment of Substance Use in the time of COVID-19 Collaborative Care in a Federally Qualified Community Health Center
Joseph Lurio, Institute for Family Health

Abigail Herron, Institute for Family Health


The Institute for Family Health, one of the largest FQHCs in NY State, has pioneered the collaborative health care model (initially with Major Depression and later with Opioid Use) to promote its mission of delivering first class primary care to underserved and indigent communities in NY City and the Hudson Valley. With the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 in NY this past Winter the Institute was faced with the dual challenges of continuing to serve our existing patients during lockdown while simultaneously addressing burgeoning demand for physical and mental health services. During this presentation Drs. Lurio and Herron will describe IFH's collaborative care approach to treating people with substance use disorders and how we met the challenges of converting to a care model that incorporated telehealth, detailing the administrative, regulatory and practical hurdles that we faced along with future challenges.

01/19/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
harps at 5 years: what have we learned?
Mike Fagan, Consultant and Project Manager


In 2015, New York State initiated a dramatic shift in how Medicaid funded behavioral health services would be managed. The state obtained approval from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to redesign and expand behavioral health services for people living with the most serious behavioral health and physical health challenges, under a specialized insurance product called Health and Recovery Plans (HARPs).

The core changes involved the provision of care management services as the foundation of HARP, which evolved to be offered by care managers (CMs) employed by a managed care organization (MCO), a care management agency (CMA) in the Health Home program. In addition, Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) would be accessible to all eligible HARP members.

The statewide behavioral health community showed vested interest in making these changes a reality. However, problems quickly emerged and HARP continued to face significant challenges as it approached the end of its initial five-year demonstration period. These challenges, together with some new found "pandemic time", led Mike Fagan to compose a discussion paper on the topic and then distribute it throughout the behavioral health community.

02/16/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Stigma and MAT 101+
Sy Demsky, Stop Stigma Now and National Development Research Inc.

Joe Lunievicz, Stop Stigma Now and National Development Research Inc.

03/16/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
Epidemic in a Pandemic: What Happened to Substance-Use Disorder Services During COVID-19?
Patricia Strach, Rockefeller Institute

Katie Zuber,


In early 2020, as COVID-19 spread to the United States, federal and state policymakers responded with extraordinary changes to policy, regulations, and guidelines, including those directly affecting substance-use disorder service providers. What effect did the pandemic and policy changes have on the range of substance-use services? What policy changes allowed for the safe and efficient provision of substance-use services and which ones did not? And, what practices should be pursued moving forward? To find out, we conducted nine focus groups (eight with providers and one with clients) with 81 individuals in New York State in the summer of 2020. We find: Substance-use service providers faced a similar set of challenges. Yet, what they did to adapt to the pandemic, the relative weight of the challenges, and the effect on services varied by type of service provider. Across the board, providers appreciated the flexibility of relaxed regulatory guidelines, but they noted frustration with aspects of policy and policy implementation, including lack of guidance, essential-worker status, and fiscal constraints. COVID-19 offers policymakers and providers the opportunity to make changes to better provide substance-use services in the future.

04/20/2021 Online Meeting
7:00 PM