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Medical Advisory Board

The following individuals make up ARPO’s Medical Advisory Board:

Medical Advisory Board Biographies:

Irfan Dhalla, MD, MSc

Irfan Dhalla, MD, MSc, is a lecturer in the Departments of Medicine and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is also a staff physician in the Department of Medicine and a scientist in the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Stephen G. Gelfand, MD, FACP

Stephen G. Gelfand, MD, FACP has practiced rheumatology for 35 years and is now semi-retired. A graduate of Albany Medical College of Union University in Albany, N.Y. he trained in Internal Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Queens General Hospital in New York City, and in Rheumatology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis. He served with the U.S.Army as major and Chief Internist at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. American board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, he is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and American College of Rheumatology.

Before moving to the rural South where he practiced rheumatology for the last 15 years, Dr. Gelfand spent almost 20 years practicing rheumatology and internal medicine in Southern California, during which time he established the first rheumatology practice in the City of Anaheim, spent three years with Kaiser-Permanente, and served as Director of Rheumatology at both the White Memorial Medical Center and CIGNA Healthplan in Los Angeles. He has been on the teaching faculties of the University of California School of Medicine, Irvine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Peoria.

Public and physician education has always been a major priority of Dr, Gelfand, who over the years has given numerous lectures and written many articles on arthritis and related rheumatic disorders, while actively promoting multidisciplinary treatment strategies and the Arthritis Foundation’s self-management programs to improve patient care, well beyond the benefit of medications alone. Over the last 6 years, he has also served as a national independent disability peer-reviewer in rheumatology and has done numerous medical record case reviews of rheumatologists throughout the nation.

His published articles, case reports, letters and commentaries have appeared in popular medical journals, magazines and internet publications such as the Annals of Internal Medicine, The Rheumatologist, PainMedicine News, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Arthritis Care & Research, The Journal of Rheumatology and Medscape Rheumatology. Over the last 10 years, he has written about the pitfalls and consequences occurring from the over-marketing and over-prescribing of opioid analgesics for chronic noncancer pain, as well alternative beneficial non-narcotic therapies incorporating mind/body principles. This issue has become his major interest, especially after coming in contact with many of the dedicated individuals of this group, most of whom have experienced personal tragedies related to prescription opioids. This has provided the major drive and motivation to continue to educate both physicians and the public, with the goal of eventually reducing the mounting toll of opioid-related addiction, overdose and death which has become a true public health crisis.

David Juurlink, MD, PhD

David Juurlink, MD, PhD, is head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario. He is a medical toxicologist at the Ontario Poison Information Centre, a scientist at ICES and associate professor of medicine, pediatrics and health policy, management and evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Andrew Kolodny, MD

Andrew J. Kolodny, M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer of Phoenix House, a nonprofit addiction treatment organization and he is President of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP). Dr Kolodny was previously the Chair of Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Kolodny has a long standing interest in Public Health. Prior to his position at Maimonides, he was the Medical Director for Special Projects in the Office of the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. For New York City, he helped develop and implement multiple programs to improve the health of New Yorkers and save lives, including city-wide buprenorphine programs, naloxone overdose prevention programs and emergency room-based screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) programs for drug and alcohol misuse.

Art VanZee, MD

Art Van Zee is a primary care general internist that has worked in a Community Health Center in a small coal mining town in southwest Virginia since 1976. He became interested in pain and addiction issues when OxyContin brought a tsunami of opioid addiction into the coal fields in the late 1990s. Dr. Van Zee uses opioids liberally in treatment of acute pain, and the pain of a terminal illness, and very selectively for patients with severe chronic non-cancer pain. He has been using buprenorphine to treat opioid addicted patients since 2003. He is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. He authored “The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy” published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2007.