Family Physician, South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice
Jeff Harries is a physician working to change the way alcohol use disorder (AUD) is perceived in our society and treated by health care professionals. He tirelessly champions hope and appropriate care for those suffering with AUD and spreads awareness about new forms of effective treatment.
Three years ago, Jeff realized that most clinicians were unaware of the literature and research supporting the use of medications in AUD and the dramatic difference it can make in people’s recovery. Jeff was inspired at Quality Forum 2017 and made it his mission to teach clinicians about AUD and its treatment. In the past two and a half years he has spoken to over 100 groups and over 3,000 clinicians in BC and Alberta.
Using a proven framework, Jeff has facilitated an awareness campaign by leading accessible, interactive, small-scale Continuing Medication Education (CME) events within a wide variety of communities, as well as a presentation to more than 300 people at Quality Forum 2019. He is using a rigorous evaluation model to monitor the impact his CMEs have on physician prescribing practices, ER use, acute care admissions and re-admissions, and is also collecting and evaluating physician feedback. His findings are in the publication process.
By educating clinicians about these new, inexpensive treatments and urging them to educate patients and other care providers, Jeff is helping to improve the accessibility and adoption of AUD medications. At the same time, his work with clinicians to destigmatize and reframe how they view AUD, and subsequently how their patients, families and colleagues view AUD, ultimately means more patients will receive better and more hopeful care.
Despite being diagnosed with ALS a year after starting this AUD initiative, Jeff is still actively spreading the word about this new standard of AUD care and its dramatically improved outcomes. While he has encountered challenges in his own health, he continues to fight for the well-being of others and is leading a shift in attitudes towards AUD and treatment that is making a difference in the lives of patients and families in BC and beyond.