Candidate for Secretary
1. What are your greatest contributions to ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?
As an internist trained in addiction medicine, I have devoted my career to helping complex patients who suffer both from substance use disorders and multiple medical and mental health conditions. Typically, care for such patients is fragmented, and our patients often endure significant stigma when seeking services in healthcare settings.
At Johns Hopkins, I established a substance use disorder consultation service on the medical and psychiatric floors, and I expanded a day program that integrated medical, psychiatric, and substance use disorder care for medically complex patients with addiction. As a local deputy health officer in charge of a county’s treatment system, I created protocols to attend to the medical needs of our patients. In Baltimore City, I helped the medical system expand its role in identifying and helping to treat patients with substance use disorders. Now, I am the medical director of an opioid treatment program that has integrated a health home into its array of services.
As a longtime ASAM member and as the Immediate Past President of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine, I have shared my experience and knowledge through professional events, publications, lectures, and teaching. As a current ASAM Board member and Chair of ASAM’s Public Policy Committee, I work to further the critical role addiction medicine physicians play in advocating for high quality patient care, and addressing the challenges of the rapidly changing health care system.
2. How would your election benefit ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?
As an internist, addiction medicine specialist, and public health professional, I am ready to advocate on behalf of our field for a growing role in the health care system.
Across the country, hospital and physician groups are recognizing that progress in health (and payment based on outcomes) depends on effectively addressing the behavioral health needs of patients. By countering the stigma and misunderstanding associated with substance use disorders, and by communicating effectively about basic and clinical research, I can help position our field to take advantage of this opportunity. Addiction medicine specialists should expect to have critical roles caring for patients and advising health care delivery systems and public officials across the country.
I have the experience and drive to advocate for national policies that ensure access, parity, and recognition of addiction medicine specialists and the critical services they provide for people with, and those at risk for, substance use disorders.
If we are ever to change the face of addiction and recovery, we need a strong ASAM. I believe I have the background and experience to help keep ASAM strong and vibrant in a changing world.
Dr. Yngvild Olsen graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1997, from the residency training program in internal medicine at Boston Medical Center in 2000, and from the Fellowship in General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2001. From July 2000 through June 2001, she served as Primary Care Chief Resident at Boston Medical Center. During her fellowship, she received a Masters in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Olsen currently serves as Medical Director of the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc/REACH Health Services in Baltimore City. This is an outpatient substance use disorder treatment program that provides a broad range of services and includes a health home.
She has previously served as the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, where she played a central role in the expansion of buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction in both the treatment and medical systems. She also has served as the Deputy Health Officer for the Harford County Health Department, where she oversaw local substance use treatment services, and as the Medical Director for the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s outpatient substance use treatment services.
Dr. Olsen has written and lectured extensively on opioid use disorder and its treatments. She has published in numerous journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of Addictive Diseases, on such topics as smoking in substance use treatment programs, the public health impact of buprenorphine treatment expansion, the stigma associated with medication-assisted treatment, and the dual challenges of pain treatment and addiction.
As an addiction medicine specialist trained in internal medicine, she teaches appropriate opioid prescribing to primary care physicians and instructs on medical co-occurring conditions to psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers.
Dr. Olsen currently serves as an At-Large-Member to the ASAM Board of Directors and as Chair of ASAM’s Public Policy Committee. She is the Immediate Past President of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine, Immediate Past President of the Maryland Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, and a Board member of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-MD (NCADD-MD).