The Department of Public Health and Community Medicine is an academic department within the Tufts University School of Medicine located on the Health Sciences Campus in Boston. Technical and academic assets within the department provide a strong research support system for federally-funded research. Its 30 full-time faculty members hold advanced degrees in epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, anthropology, law, medicine, nutrition, biology, engineering, health policy, economics, social policy, education, social work, and the behavioral sciences. Department research includes a focus on the following thematic areas: health equity, health communication, nutrition and infection, infectious disease epidemiology, health policy and health care delivery, environmental health, the opioid epidemic, and global health. Department faculty are methodologically strong and diverse, with expertise in biostatistics, survey research, program evaluation, qualitative methods, dietary assessment and spatial epidemiological analysis.
A major driver of the U.S opioid crisis is limited access to effective medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) that reduce overdose. Traditionally, jails and prisons in the U.S. do not initiate or maintain MOUD for inmates with OUD prior to their return to the community, which places them at high risk for fatal overdose. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose risk among former inmates has shown signs of increasing further. A 2019 law (“Chapter 208”) made Massachusetts (MA) the first state to mandate that five county jails deliver all FDA-approved MOUDs (extended-release naltrexone [XR-NTX] buprenorphine-naloxone [BUP-NX], and methadone). Chapter 208 establishes a 4-year pilot program to expand all FDA-approved forms of MOUD at five county jails; SEVERAL more county jails in MA voluntarily joined this initiative. The law stipulates that MOUD be maintained in individuals receiving it prior to detention and initiated prior to release among sentenced inmates where appropriate. The jails must also facilitate continuation of the medication in the community on release.
The Massachusetts Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network proposes to partner with these seven diverse jails and community treatment providers to conduct a Type 1 hybrid effectiveness-implementation study of Chapter 208. We will: (1) Perform a longitudinal treatment outcome study among inmates with OUD who receive MOUD, or no MOUD in jail utilizing MA’s powerful and innovative Public Health Data Warehouse, a collection of over two dozen linked state administrative data sets, to examine post-release MOUD initiation, engagement and retention, as well as fatal and non-fatal overdose and recidivism. (2) Conduct an implementation study that will incorporate qualitative and quantitative research methods to understand contextual factors that facilitate and impede delivery of MOUDs in jail and community care coordination, and best practice strategies that optimize MOUD delivery in jail and coordinated care with community partners. (3) Calculate the cost to the correctional system of implementing MOUD in jail, and conduct an economic evaluation from state-policymaker and societal perspectives to compare the value of MOUD prior to release from jail to no MOUD among matched controls. The Chapter 208 initiative has important implications for future policy and practice in the justice and OUD treatment systems at the local, state, and national levels. This study’s insights into Chapter 208’s implementation will inform the efficient development of future strategies to address OUDs in jail populations nationwide.
What You'll Do
Under the supervision of the Tufts Principal Investigator and Program Manager, assists with data processing focused on MOUD initiation and adherence in Houses of Corrections (HOC) in Eastern Massachusetts, onsite or remotely from home as feasible given the study needs and COVID-19; data extraction and data entry using study instruments provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH); data management; transfer of data from HOCs to the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) with MDPH; collaboration with local HOC staff and leadership; and helping with other tasks as needed.
What We're Looking For
- Knowledge and skills as typically acquired by a Bachelor’s degree with 0-2 years research experience
- Must be comfortable working in a secure, correctional environment
- Solid computer skills and proficiency (Excel) and strong organizational skills
- Careful attention to detail is essential
- Ability to conduct repetitive tasks with accurately and efficiency
- Ability to think critically about data processes
- Ability to follow and develop study protocols, taking initiative as needed
- Work independently and as part of a team, communicating well with a study manager and local supervisor
- Must possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation and be able and willing to travel throughout the state and work at multiple correctional facilities as needed
- Ability to work successfully and patiently under pressure, be flexible and accommodate change
- Preferred experience handling confidential materials with discretion
- Knowledge of the criminal justice system and correctional facilities desired
- Due to COVID-19 and the capacity of the correctional facilities to provide safe working space, schedules may vary. Shifts may be irregular (potentially including weekends and off-hours) and may therefore require schedule flexibility.
- Training in related fields such as public health or social sciences (e.g., sociology, anthropology, social work, criminal justice)
- Experience working with community members with opioid use disorder (OUD)
Special Work Schedule Requirements:
The Program Director and manager will work closely with the Tufts Site PI, and the study PIs to carry out and oversee all elements of the JCOIN study in Eastern MA.
An employee in this position must complete all appropriate background checks at the time of hire, promotion, or transfer.
Equal Opportunity Employer – minority/females/veterans/disability/sexual orientation/gender identity.