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Town Hall Meeting Speakers

Prescription Drug Overdose
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
2:00PM – 3:00PM EST

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Speakers' Biographies

Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH
New York State Commissioner of Health

Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH is the 15th New York State Commissioner of Health. As Commissioner, Dr. Shah heads one of the nation's leading public health agencies, with a budget of more than $50 billion. Under his leadership, the New York State Department of Health administers the state's public health insurance programs, which cover 5 million New Yorkers in the Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and Child Health Plus programs. The Department also regulates hospitals and other health care facilities; conducts research in a premier biomedical laboratory; and supports public health prevention initiatives related to HIV/AIDS, tobacco use, obesity, and other public health priorities.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Dr. Shah is an honors graduate of Harvard College and received his medical degree and master's degree in public health from the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Shah is board-certified in Internal Medicine and prior to becoming Commissioner, was a primary care provider at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and researcher for New York University and the Geisinger Health System.

His vision for New York is a state where every resident has access to affordable health insurance coverage, high quality care, early screenings, and other services to prevent chronic disease and improve overall health.

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photo of Jennifer Sabel Jennifer Sabel, PhD
Injury and Violence Prevention Program, Washington State Department of Health

Jennifer Sabel, PhD, has been an epidemiologist at the Washington State Department of Health in the Injury and Violence Prevention Program since 2003. In this position, she focuses on prescription drug overdoses. For the past three years, Dr. Sabel has been co-chairing, with the State Health Officer, an interagency workgroup focused on preventing overdose deaths involving prescription pain medication. She has been involved in several epidemiology projects on prescription pain medication abuse and overdose.

Prior to this position, Dr. Sabel was an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assigned to the Washington State Department of Health. She received her doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis in nutritional epidemiology.

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Photo of Leonard Palouzzi Leonard J. Paulozzi, MD, MPH
Medical Epidemiologist
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Leonard J. Paulozzi, MD, MPH, is a medical epidemiologist in the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention within the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His area of concentration is drug overdoses, especially those due to prescription drugs.

Dr. Paulozzi began his career at CDC in the Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1983 as a field officer assigned to Washington State to work on injuries and chronic diseases. He subsequently worked in the state health departments of Washington and Vermont for 10 years before returning to the CDC. He joined CDC's injury center in 2000, where he had a leading role in the design and startup of the National Violent Death Reporting System and other surveillance systems. He has been concentrating on the drug overdose problem since 2005.

Dr. Paulozzi has authored and coauthored more than 90 publications during his 27 years working in public health. He has testified at Senate and House hearings related to prescription drug use, and his work is frequently cited in both the popular press and scientific literature.

Dr. Paulozzi received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1974, and his medical degree from Ohio State University in 1979. He also received a master's degree in public health from the University of Washington in 1981. He is board certified in preventive medicine.

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Michael Landen, MD, MPH
Deputy State Epidemiologist
New Mexico Department of Health

Michael Landen, MD, MPH, is the Deputy State Epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health. His principal areas of professional interest include tribal epidemiology, substance abuse epidemiology, injury, and health status disparities. Dr. Landen has worked as a family physician and clinical director for the Indian Health Service in Arizona and New Mexico, and as a volunteer physician in Belize.

In 1995, he began work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer assigned to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. In 1997, he moved back to New Mexico to work as an epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health, first in Las Cruces and then in Santa Fe.

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