About Us

Biography - Miriam Komaromy, MD, FACP, DFASAM

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I am an Internist and Addiction specialist, practicing at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. I grew up in Albuquerque, but did all of my training in the Bay Area at UCSF. I became interested in addiction medicine as an intern at San Francisco General Hospital, when my clinical practice was filled with impoverished young men who were dying of AIDS and were addicted to a number of different substances. Getting to know them as they tried to make peace with their illness and impending death gave me a window into a reality that I had never understood: addiction can happen to anyone, and wonderful, warm, talented people can fall victim to this disease. I returned to New Mexico 15 years ago and practiced in several community-based settings before coming to the University full time. These settings included an FQHC where I established an OBOT practice, the state-funded addiction-treatment hospital where I was medical director, and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, where I established a large program to provide buprenorphine treatment, counseling, and case management for individuals with opioid use disorder who were being released from incarceration.

Since returning to NM 15 years ago I have held a part-time position with Project ECHO at UNM, and 5 years ago I came to the ECHO Institute at UNM full time. ECHO is a model for training PCPs to care for common complex diseases such as hepatitis C, rheumatologic disorders, and SUDs. ECHO uses video conferencing technology to connect multiple PCPs with a team of specialists at a central hub, which is typically an academic medical center, for weekly video conferences. PCPs then present cases from their own practice, and receive mentorship and practice guidance from the specialists. Over time this results in the development of confidence and expertise, and PCPs become able to offer treatment in their own communities. I established at Integrated Addictions and Psychiatry teleECHO clinic at UNM 14 years ago, and since that time I and colleagues have hosted a weekly 2-hour session to help PCPs learn to treat SUDs. We have also been responsible for offering the buprenorphine waiver training to more than 500 NM physicians (in collaboration with ASAM, AAAP, etc). Within ECHO my primary focus has continued to be on the treatment of SUDs, including a national addiction treatment teleECHO that I am conducting in collaboration with ASAM for trainees who have completed the ASAM one-day Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine live course. This exciting teleECHO clinic is bringing together PCPs from around the country who want to increase their addiction medicine skills and a number of ASAM members who have been contributing their expertise to help with case discussions and addiction medicine updates. I also focus my efforts on supporting other groups around the world who are using the ECHO model to treat a wide variety of diseases, and it has been very exciting to see a number of groups begin to use this approach to provide training and support for PCPs who are interested in treatment of SUDs.

I am currently spending 6 months in Hanoi, Vietnam as a Fulbright Scholar, helping to set up educational networks to teach health care providers to treat addiction. Interestingly, Vietnam is struggling with an epidemic of heroin and increasingly, of methamphetamine use. I hope to return with insights that can also be applied to the challenges that we face in the US.

Disclosure of Interests and Affiliations