Katherine Wen and Melissa Zielinski, PhD Awarded CHERISH Enhancement Funding

Katherine Wen is a doctoral student in the Department of Policy Analysis at Cornell University. Ms. Wen is working with CHERISH Research Affiliate and Cycle 1 Pilot Grant recipient, Dr. Yuhua Bao, to assess the effects of state policies and practices aimed at improving prescriber use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) on opioid prescriptions that put patients at high risk of opioid misuse and overdose (“high-risk opioid prescriptions”). With CHERISH enhancement funding, Ms. Wen will use Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) data to assess the effects of PDMP policies on opioid overdose and other opioid-related inpatient admissions and emergency department (ED) visits with a focus on the privately insured and Medicare Advantage populations. Findings of this study will inform future policy-making for safe prescribing of pain medications for effective management of pain.

Dr. Melissa Zielinski is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas. She completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arkansas and pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship in Addiction Research at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences. Dr. Zielinski serves as the evaluator for the Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit (PCRCSU), one of Arkansas’ four state-mandated crisis stabilization units intended to aid in diverting people who come into contact with police due to acute mental health crises from jails and into a medically-appropriate level of care. Dr. Zielinski, CHERISH Research Affiliate Dr. Joshua Barocas, and colleagues will use CHERISH enhancement funding to conduct a preliminary economic evaluation of the PCRCSU to provide timely information on the budget impact of the unit to the state of Arkansas as it considers expanding the number of units throughout the state.