Rhea-Lanee Lansang Tran

Rhea-Lanee Lansang Tran PHAP 2016 Minnesota Department of Health

As a public health associate at the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Injury and Violence Prevention program, I have gained frontline experience turning policy into public health practice. For example, I’ve coordinated the implementation of a statewide opiate antagonist (naloxone) protocol by communicating directly with public health leaders and pharmacists. Naloxone is used to reverse opioid overdose. The protocol MDH implemented authorizes pharmacists in Minnesota to dispense naloxone vials (shown in this photo) to family members or friends of people at risk for opioid overdose. To accomplish this transformation, I worked with MDH leaders, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, 52 local public health boards, and local pharmacies to expand naloxone access throughout the state. As a result of our efforts, 100% of Minnesota’s local public health boards now have adopted an opiate antagonist protocol.

Equipping first responders with naloxone is another way Minnesota is working to prevent opioid overdoses. To examine the impact of this approach, I analyzed data on first responders’ administration of naloxone to people having overdoses. MDH provides funding to Minnesota’s eight regional emergency service providers to purchase naloxone. In return, first responders voluntarily report when they administer naloxone to people having overdoses. These data helped illustrate how much naloxone people need, where the overdoses take place, and how people immediately respond. It was reassuring to find, through my analysis, that a majority of people were revived after receiving naloxone.

I was thrilled when the Minnesota Commissioner of Health held a press conference showcasing our work! Needless to say, having our naloxone protocol efforts recognized at such a high level has been a highlight of my PHAP experience. Being a part of this work has reaffirmed my career goal of public service.

Up Next: Jordan Burton, Opioid Overdose PreventionRight Arrow