Board of Directors
Anika Alvanzo, MD, MS, FACP, DFASAM
Anika Alvanzo, MD, MS, DFASAM, FACP is the Eastern Region Medical Director for Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., a physician consultant to the Behavioral Health Administration in the Maryland Department of Health, and the Managing Partner of Uzima Consulting Group, LLC, which provides addiction-related consultation, training, and expert witness testimony.
Dr. Alvanzo is a graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, holds a master’s degree in biostatistics from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. She is a Distinguished Fellow of ASAM, a Past President of the Maryland-DC Society of Addiction Medicine, and currently serves as Chair of the ASAM Annual Conference Program Planning Committee and Region V Director for the ASAM Board of Directors.
At Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., Dr. Alvanzo’s role is to optimize and standardize medical care, with emphasis on substance withdrawal management and pharmacotherapy treatment of addiction, in residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs in Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Prior to this, Dr. Alvanzo spent twelve years as faculty in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she held a variety of clinical leadership roles, including Associate Medical Director and Medical Director of the comprehensive, opioid treatment programs, and for eight years she directed the multidisciplinary inpatient addiction consultation service serving the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Medicine.
During this same time period, Dr. Alvanzo directed the Addiction Medicine rotation for the Department of Medicine Urban Health residents. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Alvanzo has served as an expert on National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, National Quality Forum, and PEW Research Center panels regarding opioids and integration of recovery-oriented care in various settings.
Candidate Questionnaire Response
1. What have been your greatest contributions to ASAM or to the field of addiction medicine over the last 10 years?
I have been a member of ASAM since 2008. My initial service to ASAM started on the local level where I have served as Secretary, President-Elect, President, and continue as a Board Member of the Maryland-DC Society of Addiction Medicine. In 2017, I was elected to the ASAM Board of Directors where I proudly represent Region V. In addition to serving on the ASAM Board, I have served on various councils and committees. Currently, I am a member of the Ethics Committee and for the last two years have served as Chair of the Annual Conference Program Planning Committee. Finally, I have contributed to several important ASAM documents. I was a member of the guideline committee for the updated ASAM Alcohol Withdrawal Management Guidelines, which were published in 2020 and I was one of the editors of the inaugural edition of Pocket Addiction Medicine, which was released earlier this year. Currently, I am a member of the writing committee for ASAM’s policy statements on racial justice, a section editor for the 7th edition of ASAM’s textbook, Principles of Addiction Medicine, and a member of the work group working on withdrawal management levels of care for the 4th edition of the ASAM Criteria.
For the last 14 years, I have contributed to the field of addiction medicine in the areas of clinical care, education, and research. Currently, I am the Eastern Region Medical Director for Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., where my role is to optimize and standardize the medical care in the residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs in Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland. Prior to this, I spent twelve years as faculty in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, holding a variety of clinical leadership roles, including Associate Medical Director and Medical Director of comprehensive, opioid use disorder treatment programs on the Johns Hopkin Bayview and Johns Hopkins Hospital campuses. From 2011 – 2018, I directed the Substance Use Disorders Consultation Service (SUDS), a multidisciplinary addiction consultation service providing clinical consultation, brief intervention and substance use disorder treatment linkage services for patients admitted to the Department of Medicine general and subspecialty services. As the Director of the SUDS, I took leadership roles in the development of hospital order sets and policies for the purpose of standardizing the management of patients with substance withdrawal.
High-quality, evidence-based education is critical to ensuring development of the addiction medicine workforce and ensuring quality care for the patients we serve. In addition to my clinical leadership activities, for seven years I directed the Addiction Medicine Rotation for the Urban Health Internal Medicine and Medicine/Pediatrics residency tracks, designing a diverse, highly rated 4-week experience that included didactic lectures, online modules, completion of buprenorphine waiver certification training, and placements in a variety of addiction treatment clinical settings. Additionally, I have presented regionally and nationally on a variety of addiction-related topics. Finally, I have served as faculty for ASAM educational activities, presenting lectures in the ASAM Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders, Fundamentals and ASAM Criteria courses.
Finally, I have contributed to the field of addiction medicine via my research. My research interests included gender and race and ethnicity differences in the risk for substance use disorders and the association between psychological trauma, posttraumatic stress, and substance use, particularly in women, and I have authored over 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts in these and other areas. While my current participation in the conduct of research is limited, I continue to contribute to addiction-related research by serving as a member of the Clinical, Treatment and Health Services Research Review Study Section (AA-3) for the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a result of the aforementioned experiences, I have had the opportunity to serve as an expert on NIH, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), National Quality Forum (NQF), and PEW Research panels regarding opioids and integration of recovery-oriented care in various medical settings.
2. How would your election to the ASAM Board of Directors benefit ASAM and the field of addiction medicine?
ASAM is my professional home and I am running for the position of Secretary so that I may continue to serve the organization and its members. My varied addiction-related teaching and research experiences, my clinical experiences in treating largely underserved populations of persons with substance use disorder, as well as my prior experience working at the ASAM chapter and Board of Directors levels make me an ideal candidate for this position. I would bring to the position established leadership skills, a strong work ethic, a willingness to learn, and a collaborative spirit. I have applied these characteristics to the position as Regional Director for Region V over the last five years, establishing regular regional email communication, leading ad hoc regional meetings to share information during the early period of the Covid-19 pandemic, and organizing and facilitating regional meetings at in-person ASAM events (e.g., Chapter Leadership Summit and Annual Conference). Serving as the Region V Director on the ASAM Board of Directors for the last five years has been an amazing educational and professional development experience for me. It has enabled me to learn more about ASAM as an organization as well as about the field of addiction medicine in general. The opportunities to work with and learn from established leaders in the field has served to make me a better addiction clinician, educator, administrator, and advocate.
By running for an officer position, I am taking the next step to continue my service to the field and organization that has been so integral to my professional life. If elected, my goals would include assisting in the facilitation of organized Executive Committee and Board of Director meetings, consistent with parliamentary procedure; ensure adherence to ASAM’s by-laws and policies and procedures; and maintenance of accurate meeting records. In closing, my election as Secretary would continue ASAM’s efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive professional society, reflective of the patients, families, and providers for whom we serve and advocate. I hope that you will seriously consider my candidacy, giving me the opportunity to further learn from and contribute to this dynamic organization.