Medical Students Take Their Bass Connections Research Further

March 19, 2019

Alexander Gunn and Zachary Smothers.

Alexander Gunn and Zachary Smothers

Two medical students are the lead authors on a new paper, “The Emergency Department as an Opportunity for Naloxone Distribution: A Systematic Review,” published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Currently M.D. students at the Duke School of Medicine, Alexander Gunn and Zachary Smothers were graduate students in Duke’s Master of Biomedical Sciences program when they took part in a Bass Connections project team called Stemming the Opiate Epidemic through Education and Outreach.

“The article we wrote was a direct result of our Bass Connections work and the ideas it gave us,” Smothers said.

“One interesting solution that came out of our [team] discussions was the opportunity to use the Emergency Department as an action point to distribute the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone,” Gunn said. “We utilized the many different perspectives on our team to synthesize the best evidence available so that groups around the United States could see the potential of distributing naloxone from the ED.”

The paper, coauthored by Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, Caroline Freiermuth, Mark MacEachern and Andrew Muzyk, concludes that the systematic review supports the ED as a potential setting for naloxone distribution for overdose reversal in the community. Because implementation methods vary, more research is needed to determine the most effective practices.

Members of this project team have also published articles in the North Carolina Medical Journal and Nurse Educator, written opinion pieces for The Hill and the Durham Herald Sun, appeared on a WNCU radio show and podcast and participated in the Health and Human Services Opioid Symposium and Code-a-Thon in Washington, DC.

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