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Dr. Judith Feinberg

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In 2005, Dr. Judith Feinberg was the first physician in metropolitan Cincinnati to recognize that opioid injection drug use (heroin, prescription painkillers) had emerged as a health threat, based on increased admissions for a serious heart infection (“endocarditis”). She became involved in harm reduction efforts and, in 2014, she established Ohio's 1st syringe services program, the Cincinnati Exchange Project (CEP). Conceived as a broad public health initiative, CEP not only exchanges sterile syringes for used ones, but also provides many other services: clean injection materials (cottons, cookers, etc) to prevent hepatitis C; overdose prevention education and naloxone to reverse overdoses; condoms and safer sex and safer injection education; on-site rapid testing for HIV and hepatitis C; enrolling clients for Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) insurance; referral and linkage to drug treatment programs, medical and mental health care, and social services as desired. West Virginia has the highest rates of hepatitis C and overdose deaths in the U.S. After a long career in HIV/AIDS, she came to WVU in 2017 to focus on ending these opioid- related epidemics at their epicenter. Currently Professor of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry and Professor of Medicine/Infectious Diseases, she is working hard to turn the tide on opioid-related epidemics.