CHERISH Appoints Margaret Lowenstein as the Dissemination and Policy Core Co-director

By Bonnie Tse

April 14, 2022

Profile image of Margaret Lowenstein

Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MSHP, is a former pilot grant recipient and CHERISH Research Affiliate. Follow her on Twitter @m_lowenstein.

The Center for Health Economics of Treatment Interventions for Substance Use Disorder, HCV, and HIV (CHERISH) is proud to welcome Margaret Lowenstein, assistant professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) at the University of Pennsylvania, as the new co-director of the Dissemination and Policy Core. Lowenstein succeeds Janet Weiner who retired earlier this year.

“I appreciate the opportunity to amplify the important research at CHERISH and work alongside colleagues with diverse and complementary expertise in substance use disorder research. I’m going to miss Dr. Weiner because her work is incredible. The latest CHERISH and Penn LDI brief distilling complicated research and policy questions is a great example of Janet’s contributions,” Lowenstein said.

Lowenstein’s interest in substance use disorder care took off during her Internal Medicine residency training at the University of California, San Francisco. “I really loved caring for patients with substance use disorders. Working as a primary care doctor, I’m excited that people get their blood pressure or their diabetes under control. That’s important, but when you get somebody’s substance use disorder under control, their life is immediately changed. I find the clinical work incredibly gratifying.”

Drawing from her experience as a general internist and addiction care physician, Lowenstein’s research focuses on expanding evidence-based treatment and harm reduction strategies for patients with substance use disorders, and particularly on leveraging ‘reachable moments’ to engage patients in care.

“I’m excited about low threshold treatment strategies in non-traditional settings,” she says. “It goes back to how I got interested in this work. Many patients who are struggling with substance use never made it to my primary care clinic. But there are reachable moments in the emergency department or community settings like libraries where patients may go to address immediate needs or access resources. These are important opportunities to meet patients where they are and offer treatment and harm reduction.”

Her latest work with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania appeared in JAMA Open Network and highlights an opportunity to support emergency department-based naloxone distribution efforts. Lowenstein also received a 2022 Junior Faculty Scientific Presentation Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine for her paper, “Exploring Patient Perspectives on Low-Threshold Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.”

Working alongside Dissemination and Policy Core Director Zachary Meisel, Lowenstein will continue to increase the visibility and impact of health economics research on substance use treatment policy. Outside research, Lowenstein enjoys indulging in Philadelphia’s diverse cuisines and embracing the growth of her two-year-old daughter.