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Baltimore Business Journal: Leaders in Health Care 2022: Dr. Sarah Kattakuzhy and Dr. Elana Rosenthal, UM School of Medicine

October 07, 2022 | Debbie Funk

Sarah Kattakuzhy, MD, (left) and Elana Rosenthal, MD

Drs. Sarah Kattakuzhy and Elana Rosenthal were in the early stages of their careers when medications to cure hepatitis C had come to market, and at the same time, the opioid epidemic was exploding.

They hadn’t yet met, but they’d each realized the same thing: they were treating patients for infections brought on by injecting opioids, but not getting to the root cause of infection, which was drug use.

Today they lead a University of Maryland School of Medicine outreach program aimed at improving patient health and community outcomes for people who often fall through the cracks. It combines compassionate, nonjudgmental clinical care with research to improve care delivery to marginalized populations. They work at the intersection of infections and substance use disorders.

“It is our responsibility to treat the root cause of these infections,” Rosenthal said.

The outreach program, called The Research Initiative on Infectious Diseases and Substance Use (RIIS), is within the medical school’s Institute of Human Virology. Kattakuzhy is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of RIIS’s Baltimore program. Rosenthal, an Associate Professor of Medicine, is Director of RIIS’s Washington, D.C. operation. Both doctors joined the staff in 2014. They have a combined staff of 12, including nurse practitioners and study coordinators. All of the research and medical care is done in the communities where patients live.

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Vanessa McMains
Director, Media & Public Affairs
Institute of Human Virology
University of Maryland School of Medicine

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