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Dr. Chinazo Cunningham to Advise CDC on Opioids

Chinazo Cunningham, M.D., M.S., professor and associate chief of general internal medicine at Einstein and Montefiore and an expert in opioid-use disorder, has been selected to serve on a board advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Dr. Cunningham has led multiple clinical studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, and the New York State Department of Health, among others, to investigate treatments for substance-use disorders and develop new protocols for existing medications, particularly buprenorphine, a highly effective drug used to treat opioid addiction. She is currently leading the first long-term federally funded study to test whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic pain.

She will be one of 18 members of the CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). The NCIPC deals with unintended overdoses as part of its oversight of injury- and violence-prevention research. During her four-year board appointment, which began in September, Dr. Cunningham will serve on at least two working groups convened by the CDC, including one addressing opioid prescriptions.

Dr. Cunningham served on the New York City Mayor’s Heroin and Prescription Opioid Public Awareness Task Force and was previously a member of the CDC’s Opioid Guideline Workgroup. She also was recently appointed by New York’s governor to a working group charged with drafting legislation for regulated adult-use marijuana, including medical marijuana.

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