AAFP: Executive Order Sets Path for Opioid Crisis Response
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017
Michael Munger, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians
“The American Academy of Family Physicians welcomes the additional focus on the opioid crisis that has afflicted millions of Americans. By declaring a public health emergency, the Trump Administration has further drawn the nation’s attention toward this crisis and the need for a comprehensive and coordinated response. While we applaud this designation, we are concerned that the nation still lacks the necessary financial resources to truly combat this epidemic.
“A key mission of the AAFP is to protect the health of the public, and we are deeply aware of the critical and devastating problem of prescription drug misuse and the resulting deaths. Opioid misuse is destroying the fabric of the lives of too many of our patients, their families and their communities. At the same time, we must provide patients with adequate pain management. Chronic pain is a serious health issue with tremendous economic, social and medical costs.
“The dual goals of providing individualized and appropriate pain treatment while preventing opioid misuse underpin AAFP advocacy activities. We have called for policies that support preventive tactics such as the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs that inform physicians about opioid prescriptions written by all health providers and alert them to potential prescription drug misuse.
“Family physicians also recognize the need to medically intervene when patients develop addiction disorders. The AAFP also has long been committed to expanding access to Medication Assisted Treatment by increasing the number of patients a physician can treat with buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride. Medication Assisted Treatment has been shown to be highly effective in treating opioid addiction.
“We appreciate the President’s commitment to the nation’s opioid crisis and we look forward to working with the Trump Administration to identify the funding necessary to support a comprehensive and meaningful response that ensures appropriate pain treatment, prevents misuse and responds effectively to addiction disorders.”
Dr. John Cullen MD – AAFP President-Elect
John S. Cullen, MD, FAAFP, a family physician in Valdez, Alaska, is president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors. The AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. As AAFP president-elect, Cullen advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.
Cullen has practiced the full scope of family medicine in a rural community of 4,000 people in Alaska for the past 21 years. Cullen works in a small group practice and is director of emergency medical services at Providence Valdez Medical Center.
He has been actively involved in residency and medical student teaching for more than 18 years, providing comprehensive training in rural health care. He is an associate clinical professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
From 2007 to 2013, Cullen served on the Alaska State Medical Board. During this time, he also served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He has visited several states to evaluate their rural health care systems and critical access hospitals.
A member of the AAFP since 1994, Cullen has served on numerous commissions and committees, including the Committee on Awards, the Commission on Government and Advocacy, the Commission on Chapter Affairs and the Commission on Member Services. Prior to his election to the board, he served as both delegate and alternate delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates. Cullen has also served on the AAFP’s Working Group on Rural Health and the AAFP’s task force on emergency medicine. He is the co-author of the AAFP’s position paper on emergency medicine entitled, “Critical Challenges for Family Medicine: Delivering Emergency Medical Care – ‘Equipping Family Physicians for the 21st Century.’”
At the state level, Cullen is an active member of the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians. He has held numerous leadership positions, including president and president-elect.
Throughout his career, Cullen has received several awards. In 2010, he was a finalist for the AAFP’s Family Physician of the Year award. He received the Alaska AFP’s Family Physician of the Year award in 2008.
Cullen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson. Cullen completed his residency at the Stanislaus Family Medicine Residency Program in Modesto, California, in 1994. Cullen is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.