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Secretary of PA Department of Health to address opioid abuse in state during on-campus forum
Posted 01/06/2017 03:00PM

The College of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University will host a special program addressing opioid abuse in Pennsylvania featuring Karen Murphy, R.N., Ph.D., secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The public forum will take place Friday, Jan. 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. in Dudrick Room 216 of Insalaco Hall. All those sharing a concern for the individuals, families, and communities devastated by opioids, and a commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation are encouraged to attend.

"Misericordia University is pleased to host Secretary Murphy and this timely discussion as it leads regional collaborative efforts to address opioid abuse in Northeast Pennsylvania," said Leamor Kahanov, Ed.D., A.T.C., L.A.T., dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education at Misericordia University.

Among those scheduled to attend include Cassandra Coleman, director, Northeast Regional Office of the Governor, along with state Rep. Karen Boback, R-117, Harveys Lake, and state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, Lehman Township, who will both offer remarks.

The opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania has been termed the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania by the State Department of Health. It is cited as a top priority of the administration of Governor Tom Wolf, who signed five bills into legislation in November to battle heroin and opioid addiction. The efforts included establishing a prescription drug monitoring program that collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances, and creating the Get Help Now toll-free, 24/7 hotline 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) to call for help with opioid treatment.

Prior to assuming her role in the governor's cabinet in May 2015, Murphy served as director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million investment by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation aimed at accelerating health care innovation across the nation. She formerly served as president and chief executive officer of the Moses Taylor Health Care System. Prior to becoming CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System, Murphy held various roles in health care administration. As founder and chief executive officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc. (PHA), she led an integrated medical group practice within the Moses Taylor Health Care System.

Murphy currently serves as a clinical faculty member in the Medicine Department at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in business administration from Temple University, a Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Scranton, and a diploma as a registered nurse from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing. She is an author and national speaker on health policy and health care innovation. Murphy will address the state's efforts and regional collaborations regarding opioid abuse.

An example of local collaboration in the battle against drug addiction, the Department of Social Work at Misericordia University, in partnership with Wilkes and Marywood universities, recently received a $100,000 grant from the AllOne Foundation to create the Addiction Counseling Education and Interprofessional Treatment (ACE‐IT) program. ACE-IT will provide direct access to counseling and pharmacy services for children and families affected by addiction through the Domestic Violence Service Center and Children's Service Center, both in Wilkes‐Barre.

The services are seen as critical to addressing the epidemic of drug‐related overdoses and its psychological impact, both locally and nationally. The grant money will also be used to support Misericordia students in social work, Wilkes students in pharmacy, and Marywood students in psychology to obtain clinical experience as a component of their education to specialize in addiction counseling and pharmacy.

Misericordia University also will provide the coursework needed for graduate health care providers to obtain addiction counseling certification through its Addiction Counseling Certificate Program.

Reservations for the opioid abuse forum are encouraged, but not required. To reserve a seat, please contact Rebecca Ferris in the Misericordia University College of Health Sciences and Education at (570) 674-6441 or

Misericordia University Students Walking
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