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Albany Med Today

Albany Med Partners to Address Pervasive Community Health Problems

For years Stanley Glick, PhD, MD, an Albany Medical College addictions scientist, has trained Capital Region health providers to prevent, recognize and treat addiction in their patients. Now Dr. Glick said he is “thrilled” that an important community health initiative has declared this issue a priority.

A needs assessment by the Healthy Capital District Initiative (HCDI), an organization committed to improving the health of residents in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties, identified three prevalent concerns — addiction, asthma and Type 2 diabetes — and created regional health improvement task forces to address them.

“As an HCDI partner, Albany Med is working together with dozens of area health organizations to address health issues in our community,” said Pamela Sawchuk Brown, Albany Med vice president for community development. “We realize our expertise is a significant resource to the community and can help alleviate these problems.”

Dr. Glick, who is helping shape an action plan, pointed out that addiction is underdiagnosed and undertreated in our community. “Only about 15 percent of addicted patients who need treatment receive it,” he said.

“And substance abuse screening is still far from a routine medical practice,” he added, pointing to another complication — an epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

Similarly, the goal of the diabetes task force is to reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes through community education. Albany Medical Center members of the Diabetes Regional Health Improvement Task Force include endocrinologist Jessie Block-Galarza, MD,

Marie Schongar, F-NP, a certified diabetes educator, and Diane McAlpine, director of planning.

Pediatric pulmonologist Robert Kazlovsky, MD, who is serving on the asthma task force, said that the condition disproportionately affects children in inner cities and poorer neighborhoods. His group will raise awareness of asthma triggers in the home and of the proper use of asthma medications.