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Alain H. Litwin, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Psychiatry
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Project Title: "Directly Observed Hepatitis C Treatment in Methadone Clinics"
About the Project:
This goal of this study was to determine in a randomized trial whether modified directly observed HCV treatment provided on site is more efficacious than self administered HCV treatment.
Alain H. Litwin, M.D., M.P.H., M.S. is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Litwin graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Neurobiology in 1992 and from Tulane University School of Medicine and Public Health with degrees in both Medicine and Public Health in 1997. He completed a residency in primary care internal medicine at the New York University School of Medicine in 2000 and received certification in Addiction Medicine in 2004. In 2006, Dr. Litwin completed a formal training program in research methods through the Clinical Research Training Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Since 2000, Dr. Litwin has been providing care in the South Bronx to drug users with complex social, psychiatric and medical needs within an integrated primary care and methadone maintenance treatment program. Dr. Litwin led the development of an on-site HCV treatment program with a focus on support groups and peer educators in order to increase access to HCV-related care for methadone-maintained drug users. Dr. Litwin educates other medical students, residents and medical providers, including substance abuse treatment providers, to provide comprehensive HCV evaluation and treatment to their patients. Dr. Litwin has worked with government and community organizations on community efforts to expand access to HCV treatment for citizens of New York City. He has worked on policy statements, clinical guidelines, treatment improvement protocols, and educational curricula with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Department of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Litwin is currently the Site-PI of two federally funded programs focused on improving HCV-related care for drug users in and out of treatment and on improving HCV screening in urban primary care clinics.
To date, his research has focused on HCV treatment outcomes of methadone-maintained drug users; drug interactions between pegylated interferon and methadone; and HCV-related attitudes, knowledge and practices of drug users, medical providers and non-medical staff.
Dr. Litwin’s PFSP research proposal was entitled, "Directly Observed Hepatitis C Treatment in Methadone Clinics." The project was a randomized controlled trial of directly observed HCV treatment in both HCV and HIV/HCV coinfected methadone-maintained patients. In this trial, he and his colleagues investigated the effect of modified directly observed HCV treatment on improving adherence and virological outcomes. In addition, he prospectively evaluated HCV treatment outcomes and determine correlates of adherence with HCV treatment. Dr. Litwin examined differences in adherence rates and correlates of adherence between HCV and HIV/HCV coinfected patients initiating pegylated interferon in combination with ribavirin. Findings from this study will add to knowledge of how to best care for HCV-infected drug users and provide pilot data for future interventions designed to improve both rates of initiation of HCV treatment, completion and sustained virological response. Dr. Litwin’s overall career goal is to develop and evaluate innovative models of care for providing high-quality care to drug users.
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