West Virginia Academic Mentoring Partnership
WV AMP is a free telementoring partnership designed for primary and addiction care providers to link with disease experts for training. WV AMP is designed to build a mentorship platform that is accessible to primary and addiction care providers caring for high-risk individuals throughout West Virginia, so that individuals with diseases can be cared for and cured in their own community.
These numbers demonstrate that with guidance and support, PCPs who have never previously treated HCV can achieve the same rate of cure as a specialist (95-99%).
As a medical student, I was torn between specialties for some time. The decision seemed daunting – to make a choice of one type of medicine to make a career out of. I was edging towards becoming an ophthalmologist until I spent time on my family medicine rotation, where one of my mentors relayed something to the effect of “you can be the person who checks blood pressure and cholesterol, or you can be the person who builds a practice that fits you” – which, for me, would mean a practice that involved much more than Lipitor.
Fast-forward from school to my time as an attending, I now practice at an FQHC (Community Care of West Virginia) where the company has graciously enabled me to build a practice that fits me. I practice primary care that includes addiction treatment and am based in a clinic with on-site behavioral health services, which enables a degree of care integration that can be difficult to achieve in an underserved setting. Though integrated care is often interpreted as “primary care and behavioral health”, I’ve personally sought to apply an integrated approach to the care of patients with substance use disorders – aiming to take care of the whole patient, rather than only their SUD. Thus, thanks to WVHAMP, CCWV, and my training at WVU, I now find myself treating SUDs comprehensively – I treat chronic conditions that contribute to relapse, counsel on preventive care, drain abscesses, close lingering wounds, engage in harm reduction principles, and attempt to deal with the other sequela of substance use.
Perhaps the most symbolic is the treatment of hepatitis C. For many patients, especially those who have achieved sustained sobriety, the hepatitis C diagnosis remains a sort of scarlet letter – a badge not reflective of their true self. Helping patients to remove this stigma from their problem list has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my time in practice so far, and I am proud to have over 20 patients in some stage of the treatment process.