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2023 New York State Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Conference


Published Date: 11/16/2023

Expiration Date: 09/19/2026

CE Credit: CME:6CNE: 6CPE: 6


The 2023 annual Hepatitis C and Drug User Health conference provides key clinical updates for clinical prescribers throughout New York State. Topics include: Harm reduction; point-of-care hepatitis C virus testing; ambulatory alcohol withdrawal; hepatitis C care for people who use drugs; buprenorphine initiation; complex hepatitis C cases; and emerging substances in New York State.


Jonathan Giftos,MD

Jonathan Giftos, MD is the Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Use: Prevention, Care and Treatment at the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. In this role, he oversees NYC’s investment in public health interventions to reduce drug related harm.

Dr. Giftos’ work is broadly focused on improving health care delivery for people who use drugs. This work includes improving care “accessibility” and “acceptability” for people who use drugs, including enhancing low-threshold treatment options; defining and developing a continuum of care that reflects the fluctuating nature of many patient’s drug use and recovery; reducing barriers to methadone and buprenorphine for justice-involved patients; and partnering with impacted communities to identify challenges, set priorities and develop strategic plans for meaningful systems change. Previously,

Dr. Giftos served at the Medical Director of Addiction Medicine & Drug User Health at Project Renewal and the Clinical Director of Substance Use Treatment for NYC Health + Hospitals, Division of Correctional Health Services at Rikers Island. He completed medical school at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed residency and chief residency in the Primary Care & Social Internal Medicine Residency Program at Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Giftos is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Addiction Medicine.

Daniel Raymond,

Daniel Raymond has a three-decade history of working in harm reduction programs, promoting the rights and dignity of people who use drugs, and advocating for policies to protect and advance drug user health. He has served as past chair of the Injection Drug Users Health Alliance, the Washington Heights CORNER Project Board of Trustees, and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Steering Committee. Daniel has also served on Governor Cuomo’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force, the Food and Drugs Administration’s Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee, the AASLD/IDSA Hepatitis C Guidance Panel, and the New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Task Force.

Jennifer R Havens,PhD, MPH

Jennifer Rochussen Havens, PhD, MPH is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Dr. Havens trained in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and has been continuously funded by NIH since 2008. Dr. Havens studies the infectious complications of drug use among Appalachian populations and is the PI for a NIDA/NCI-funded hepatitis C microelimination trial in rural Eastern Kentucky.

Benjamin J. Eckhardt,MD

Benjamin Eckhardt, MD received his MD degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at NYU. After completing residency, he worked in Rwanda for Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima with a clinical appointment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He returned to New York to complete his fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College while concurrently receiving a MS in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research. He joined the faculty at NYU/Bellevue in 2016 with a clinical focus in HIV and hepatitis management.

Benjamin’s research interest focus is on studying models of care to improve health outcomes of people who inject drugs. His current work includes, evaluating low-threshold HCV treatment models specifically geared toward marginalized people who inject drugs, and understanding the injection risk behaviors associated with severe bacterial infections and improving their long-term clinical (infection and substance use disorder) and injection behavior outcomes.

Colleen Flanigan,RN, MS

Colleen Flanigan currently serves as the Director of the Bureau of Hepatitis Health Care and Epidemiology at the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute. Ms. Flanigan has been involved in hepatitis C-related work for two decades. She directs the hepatitis C programmatic and policy work and the hepatitis B and C surveillance activities for New York State. Ms. Flanigan is also responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the NYS Hepatitis C Elimination Plan.

Timothy J. Wiegand,MD, FACMT, FAACT, DFASAM

Tim Wiegand is the Director of Toxicology and of the Toxicology & Addiction Consult Service at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York and he is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester New York. I also serve as adjunct faculty and consultant toxicologist for the SUNY Upstate Poison Center and SUNY Upstate Medical Toxicology Fellowship Training Program. In addition to these positions I am the Medical Director for Huther Doyle (a New York OASAS-certified outpatient substance use disorder treatment program) and I serve as expert consultant related to intoxication, impairment, drug testing interpretation and on standards of practice in addiction medicine and for the treatment of intoxication and withdrawal. For my Medical Toxicology training I completed a combined fellowship at the University of California San Francisco in Medical Toxicology & Clinical

Pharmacology and I have since become boarded through the practice pathway in Addiction Medicine through both ABAM and ABPM. Prior to fellowship I completed a categorical Internal Medicine residency training program at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Medical School at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Dentistry, Madison, Wisconsin.

Aarathi Nagaraja,MD

Aarathi Nagaraja, MD is the Quality Medical Director of HIV and Hepatitis Programs at Sun River Health. She is an Infectious Disease physician who provides HIV, Hepatitis B and C care, Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder within an integrated primary care model. She works closely with her care teams to oversee the quality of the HIV and Hepatitis programs for Sun River throughout Hudson Valley, Long Island New York City regions.

Dawn Harbatkin,MD

Dawn Harbatkin, MD is the Director of Addiction Medicine at DENT Neurologic Institute in Amherst, NY. Prior to this she was the Director of Addiction Medicine at BestSelf Behavioral Health, utilizing a harm reduction approach to providing medication for addiction treatment and hepatitis C in the OTP and outpatient programs. She had relocated from California in 2022 where she had been the Director of Addiction Medicine for HealthRIGHT 360 in San Mateo county. Prior to her work in Addiction Medicine, Dr. Harbatkin spent 20 years as the Medical Director for Federally Qualified Health Centers in New York City and San Francisco with a special interest in LGBT Health. She is board-certified in addiction medicine and internal medicine.

Chibuzo Enemchukwu,MD, MS

Chibuzo Enemchukwu, MD, MS is an infectious disease physician and Director of Viral Hepatitis and HIV-clinical care coordination, as well as Director of Clinical Education and Population Health Initiatives with the Correctional Health Services of NYC Health and Hospitals. Dr. Enemchukwu graduated from Duke University with a BS in psychology and earned her medical degree at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine training at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and went on to complete a fellowship in Infectious Disease at the Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Enemchukwu was an NIH-funded KL2 Clinical Scholar at The Rockefeller University, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Science with a focus on implementation science and health equity. She is passionate about using her clinical and research background to lead evidence-based clinical and programmatic initiatives that empower patients and their communities while working to advance health equity.

Tiffany Lu,MD, MS

Tiffany Lu, MD, MS is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Lu is the Director of the Montefiore Buprenorphine Treatment Network, where she oversees multiple grant-funded initiatives and leads an interdisciplinary team of primary care providers and treatment coordinators to deliver opioid use disorder treatment and overdose prevention in community health centers. She also leads Montefiore-Einstein's Addiction Medicine Curriculum and co-directs the Addiction Medicine Rotation for Internal Medicine Residents. Dr. Lu's research focus is on buprenorphine treatment delivery and outcomes in low-income and minority communities disproportionally affected by the opioid epidemic. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine.

Samara Touchton,FNP-C, CARN-AP

Samara Touchton, FNP-C, CARN-AP, works as a provider for primary care and Addiction Medicine at REACH Medical. She also works with Cayuga Health Center as a hospitalist and in the development of an Addiction Medicine hospital based consult service. Samara also serves on the Tompkins County Health Department Advisory Board and has been a nursing clinical instructor in the surrounding communities. 

Sara Lorenz Taki,MD

Sara Lorenz Taki, MD is Chief Medical Officer of Greenwich House Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, an opioid treatment program in New York City that has been providing treatment for people with opioid use disorder for over fifty years. She provides oversight for all health services including medication management, hepatitis c treatment, overdose prevention, psychiatric services, and the Greenwich House COVID-19 vaccination program. Dr. Taki completed her internal medicine residency in the Social Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center. She is board-certified in addiction medicine and internal medicine. Dr. Taki currently serves on the Medical Advisory Panel and the Clinical Advisory Panel for the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). She also serves on the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute’s Substance Use Guidelines Committee. Dr. Taki is a frequent speaker for the Empire Liver Foundation on hepatitis c treatment in people who use drugs. She trains addiction medicine fellows on the treatment of opioid use disorder in the OTP setting. Dr. Taki has special interest in the integration of harm reduction into opioid treatment programs, treatment of hepatitis c, addressing social determinants of health as part of addiction treatment, and creating low threshold treatment for patients with substance use disorders.

Melissa B. Weimer,DO, MCR, DFASAM

Melissa B. Weimer, DO, MCR, DFASAM is a nationally recognized educator and clinician who is board certified in Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine and the Medical Director of the Yale Addiction Medicine Consult Service. Dr. Weimer has a clinical and research focus on expanding access to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, particularly in the hospital setting. Dr. Weimer is the chair of the American Society of Addiction Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline Methodology and Oversight Committee.

Jess Tilley,

Jess Tilley was introduced to harm reduction in 1996 and has dedicated her life to the movement. Her expertise in the field of Harm Reduction has garnered her an international reputation. In her nearly three decades of being on the harm reduction community, she has been on the frontlines of syringe access and overdose prevention, as well as drug policy. She is the Executive Director of the New England Users Union, one of first drug user unions in the country. She has occupied and explored many roles in typical non profit structures but her passion remains community driven front line service provision.

Currently she is working to discover and educate drug using leaders in the disciplines of outreach, community building, advocacy for basic human rights and nuances of human connection. She is also the co-founder of HRH413, providing best practice trainings to service agencies in the true meaning of harm reduction. HRH413 provides services to individuals who cannot or will not access traditional fixed sites. Jess is co-creator of Harm Reduction Works (HRW), a fully scripted mutual aid harm reduction meeting model which is now being implemented all over the country. The script is available in Spanish as well as French. More information on the project can be found at harmreduction.works.

Presently, Jess is the coordinator of Manna Community Center, a no barrier harm reduction model drop in center, complete with two resident elderly tree frogs, located in Northampton, MA. She describes the center as the "true definition of radical love and acceptance". When she's not nerding out around all things drug policy related, she's kicking against the proverbial prices while making smoking kits.

Tatyana Kushner,MD, MSCE

Tatyana Kushner, MD, MSCE is Associate Professor in the Division of Liver Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai here in New York, with a joint appointment in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Kushner’s clinical and research interests focus on clinical predictors, epidemiological trends and outcomes in viral hepatitis and in liver disease during pregnancy. Her clinical practice encompasses the full spectrum of liver disease from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) to cirrhosis and decompensated liver disease. She is a member of the AASLD/IDSA HCV Guidance committee, advisor to the CDC Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination Tip-HepC Registry and advisor to the Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group.

Seun Falade-Nwulia,MD

Seun Falade-Nwulia, MD is an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed internal medicine and Infectious disease fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a critical care fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. She previously served as medical director of the Baltimore City Health Department HIV care programs and led the design and implementation of the Baltimore City Health Department HCV testing, linkage to care and treatment programs. She served on the AASLD/IDSA HCV guidance panel from 2015 to 2020 and continues to serve as PI/co-PI on several projects focused on improving viral hepatitis C treatment outcomes. She is an active HIV, HCV and substance use disorder care provider

Jennifer Love,MD MSCR

Jennifer S. Love MD MSCR is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She received her MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania and completed her residency training in emergency medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She completed fellowship in medical toxicology at Oregon Health & Science University and a master's in clinical research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research interests focus on improving emergency department care for people who use drugs, and she is currently working on studies related to xylazine-adulterated fentanyl.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe clinical strategies to optimize hepatitis C and drug user health care and treatment across New York State.
  • Formulate the importance of implementing harm reduction approaches to hepatitis C and drug user health care.
  • Identify and disseminate clinical recommendations for hepatitis C and drug user health among New York State-based medical providers.

Continuing Education Credit Information