Last week, we held the 8th Annual VCBH Conference virtually due to COVID19. This year’s theme, Rural Addiction and Health, “could not be timelier with the emergence of COVID-19 and the ripple effects we have seen, from health disparities to increased opioid overdoses and the use of telemedicine,“ noted VCBH Director Stephen T. Higgins in his welcome letter to attendees.
Our two-day conference opened on October 8th and included a special welcome from U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy and UVM Vice President for Research Kirk Dombrowski. Steven Woolf, MD, MPH from Virginia Commonwealth University gave a keynote presentation on “The Decline in US Life Expectancy: Are Deaths of Despair Responsible?”
We gathered outstanding speakers from universities, state health departments, and federal agencies to present on topics ranging from substance abuse disorder and adverse outcomes to cancer and cardiac events. Our conference culminated with a day dedicated to challenges of opioid use disorder in rural settings.
We were also pleased to host two live virtual poster sessions with six themes that included opioids, alternative tobacco products, and marijuana. These live sessions allowed for increased engagement between poster presenters and attendees.
If you missed our conference or would like to revisit portions, you can now access videos and presenter slides on our conference website and our YouTube channel.