10th Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health spotlights implementation science; Voices of the justice-involved

March 06, 2017

The 10th annual Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health will include a peer session on implementing medication assisted treatment for opioid abuse, and a town hall featuring the perspectives of justice-involved individuals when it convenes March 16-17 at the Atlanta Airport Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia.

The conference is hosted by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health (ACCJH), which is supported by UMass Medical School, and co-hosted this year by Emory University. The mission of ACCJH is to improve the care and outcomes of justice-involved individuals.

This year’s keynote address, “Mass Incarceration and Our Nation’s Health—Maximizing our Impact,” will be presented by Warren J. Ferguson, MD, director of academic programs for UMass Medical School’s Health and Criminal Justice Program and co-founder and chair of the ACCJH. His address will kick off the conference at 8:30 a.m. on March 16.

“While we have made a lot of progress, we must increase our efforts to end mass incarceration across the country and, in turn, the effect justice involvement has on health,” said Dr. Ferguson, also a professor and vice chair of UMass Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine & Community Health. “We created this conference 10 year ago to assist correctional administrators in their daunting task of providing health care to inmates while ensuring safety and managing tight budgets.”

The interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed conference on correctional health care and policy draws participants from more than 100 academic and correctional institutions around the world.

Seminars, lectures and peer sessions on such topics as mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and dependence, infectious disease, juvenile justice, the aging of inmates and re-entry will be included in the two-day conference.

A key component of this year’s conference is a peer session from 1-2 p.m. on March 16 that focuses on medication assisted treatment for inmates with substance abuse disorder. Participants in a correctional health practice collaborative led by UMass Medical School and Ferguson will present on treatment options at their facilities. The partners are the departments of corrections in Connecticut and Rhode Island and the sheriffs in the Massachusetts counties of Middlesex and Barnstable.

Also on March 16, the conference will host the town hall “An Emerging Blueprint for Change – The Corrections/Academe Nexus: Voice from Justice Involved Social Offenders” 4:30-6 p.m. The event will feature the individual experiences of those who have been involved with the justice system.

This year’s plenary speaker, Dr. Fred Osher, director of health systems and health services policy at the Council of State Governments Justice Center, will discuss implementation science strategies from 9:45-11:00 a.m. on March 17. Osher is a psychiatrist with extensive experience in the development, delivery, evaluation, and adaptation of evidenced-based practices within community settings, including correctional facilities.

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