URMC professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Strong Recovery medical director Gloria J. Baciewicz, M.D., has received one of the nation’s top honors in the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction, for her 25 years as a star-clinician, leader, and innovator in the field.
Last week, the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) presented Baciewicz with the Nyswander/Dole “Marie” Award at the AATOD international conference in New York City. Named after the two researchers (Vincent Dole, MD, and Marie Nyswander, MD) who founded methadone maintenance treatment in the 1960s, the award is the preeminent recognition in the field of opioid use disorder treatment. Every state is restricted to submitting one nominee for the award, and a committee then selects a handful of national honorees. New York State’s nomination process, which began last summer, is particularly rigorous.
“It compares to winning an Oscar in the field of chemical dependency, and we are beaming with pride for our very own “Dr. B” being recognized on a national level for her years of exceptional work in this field,” said Patrick Seche, M.S., C.A.S.A.C., director of Strong Recovery/Addiction Psychiatry Division in Department of Psychiatry.
Board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine, Baciewicz has worked in the field of opioid treatment for nearly three decades, as a dedicated champion, educator and supporter of medication-assisted treatment. Some of her accomplishments include expanding the capacity of Strong Recovery’s outpatient opioid treatment program in 2016 (from 650 to nearly 1,000 slots); providing outreach and consultation to residential treatment agencies and the Rochester Drug Treatment Court; incorporating medication-assisted treatments into the traditional “drug-free” outpatient clinics; the development of an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at URMC, and providing free Narcan kit distribution and education across the Rochester area.
A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Baciewicz has chaired the Addiction Medicine Committee of the Monroe County Medical Society since 1998.
“Gloria has been THE dedicated addiction-treatment champion in our area for many years and has repeatedly broken ground in her field,” said H. Benjamin (Ben) Lee, M.D., the John Romano Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at URMC. “Many Upstate New York localities and politicians were steadfastly opposed to the use of methadone to treat addiction 25 years ago, and she regularly encountered much of the same resistance that Drs. Nyswander and Dole experienced in New York City during the late 1960s, when they first put forth their findings.”
Beyond opioid addiction, Baciewicz has dedicated her career to engaging and treating individuals suffering from a broad array of addictive conditions, said Lee.
“The quality of addiction treatment in upstate New York simply would not be what it is today without Gloria’s efforts, and she is relentless at working to improve access to care and explore new treatment options,” said Lee.
Baciewicz earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Rochester in 1974, and her medical degree from Stony Brook University School of Medicine in 1978. She completed her residency in Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at URMC in 1982.