Women and Addictions

The current opioid crisis in the United States has shed light on the great burden of opioid and substance use disorders (SUD). Even though men are statistically more likely to have a SUD, recent years have shown a much more rapid increase in morbidity and mortality due to alcohol and drug use among women.

An Interdisciplinary Approach

Caitlin E. Martin, M.D., MPH [View Image]

Caitlin E. Martin, M.D., M.P.H., Director of OB/GYN Addiction Services in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is leading research and education efforts as a physician-scientist to improve gender-informed treatment approaches for people with SUD. In doing so, her work spans across translational science, provider education, clinical care and research. For example, she is investigating how an individual’s sex and gender modifies treatment assessment tools and responses to different treatment regimens for opioid use disorder (OUD).

The Women & Addictions team is developing and evaluating modalities to improve the quality of integrated substance use disorder treatment with reproductive and sexual health (RSH) care. They also are studying how to effectively equip providers across specialties to understand addiction as a chronic disease and to provide compassionate, evidence-based, person-centered, trauma and gender-informed care for this patient population.

Read about the MOTIVATE Clinic, led by Dr. Martin and her team

Dr. Martin is the lead investigator for the IVY (In Recovery) Lab, whose long-term goal is to improve the evidence base for gender-informed care and treatment for people with SUD across their lifespan. The overall aim of the IVY Lab’s research is to elucidate how biological factors, such as pregnancy and the postpartum state, and psychosocial contexts play together with sex and gender in the achievement of recovery among people with opioid and other SUDs.

The lab has three key research areas:

  • The intersection of addiction and reproductive and sexual health across the lifespan
  • Sex and gender differences in biological and psychosocial factors impacting substance use disorder treatment and recovery
  • Recovery of women with opioid and other substance use disorders, including during pregnancy and through the postpartum period

The IVY Lab is always open to working with undergraduate, medical and graduate students interested in addiction recovery research. For more information about joining the IVY Lab, please contact:

Bhushan Thakkar
IVY Lab Research Coordinator
IVY@vcuhealth.org 

Ongoing Projects

Research Support

Recent Publications

Martin, C.E., Shadowen, C., Thakkar, B. et al. Buprenorphine Dosing for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder Through Pregnancy and Postpartum. Curr Treat Options Psych (2020).

Martin CE, Scialli A, Terplan M. Unmet Substance Use Disorder Treatment Need Among Reproductive Age Women. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Jan 1;206: 107679.

Olsen N, Eagan A, Romutis K, Terplan M, Martin CE. Evaluation of a New Departmental Policy to Decrease Routine Opioid Prescribing After Vaginal Delivery. In Press with American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology MFM.

Keiser V, Parlier-Ahmad A, Beck L, Martin CE. Menstrual poverty among women in substance use disorder treatment. In Press with Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Martin’s complete list of published work is available here.

Education

Dr. Martin’s team provides education to colleagues and trainees across medical and social specialties involved in the care of people with SUD focused on the following:

  • Addiction within the chronic disease model
  • How to eradicate stigma and discrimination of people with addiction
  • The provision of compassionate, person-centered, recovery-oriented, gender and trauma-informed care to people with SUD.

Dr. Martin has created and begun testing the feasibility of novel curricula for first-year OB/GYN residents and third-year medical students aimed to improve clinical skills related to caring for women with SUD. As one of the core teaching faculty for the VCU Addiction Medicine Fellowship, she focuses on fellow education in perinatal addiction. Lastly, the team provides education year-round to colleagues within both VCU and VCUHS as well as local, regional and state venues on gender-informed approaches to clinical care of people with SUD.Learn more about the department’s residency

        

Principal Investigator

Caitlin E. Martin, M.D., M.P.H., FACOG
caitlin.martin@vcuhealth.org

Research Assistants

  • Anna Beth Parlier-Ahmad
  • Madison Maxwell
  • Bhushan Thakkar
  • Sumaya Smarony
  • Medical Students
  • Laura Ellis
  • Kara Hostetter
  • Vashali Jain
  • Maya Johnson
  • Liz Kazarian
  • Emily Lee
  • Maia Mandel
  • Andrea Nguyen
  • Maja Radic
  • Geetika Reichman
  • Caroline Shadowen
  • Sudeepti Trivedi
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