It’s the end of the week! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

Jan. 15, 2021

The NCMS Center for Leadership in Medicine office will be closed and your NCMS Morning Rounds will not be published on Monday, Jan. 18, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Have a meaningful holiday!

CDC Issues Advisory on Increase in Overdose Deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory is to alert health care professionals to four trends to be aware of:

(1) substantial increases in drug overdose deaths across the United States, primarily driven by rapid increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids excluding methadone likely illicitly manufactured fentanyl;
(2) a concerning acceleration of the increase in drug overdose deaths, with the largest increase recorded from March 2020 to May 2020, coinciding with the implementation of widespread mitigation measures for the COVID-19 pandemic;
(3) the changing geographic distribution of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, with the largest percentage increases occurring in states in the western United States;
(4) significant increases in overdose deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential such as methamphetamine.

Read the full CDC advisory here.

The newly released provisional fatal overdose data, coupled with the known disruption to public health, health care and social services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related mitigation measures, highlight the need for essential services to remain accessible for those most at risk of overdose, the advisory states. Recommendations include expanding provision and use of naloxone and increase access to treatment for substance use disorder.

Learn more about how the NCMS Foundation is working to address access to treatment for substance use disorder through Project OBOT (now available virtually) here.

Also, keep in mind this webinar on ‘Adolescent Substance Use: Current Trends and the Impact of COVID-19’ to be held on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. The session will provide an overview of current trends in psychoactive substance use among adolescents, including current data about what substances are being used and how trends differ across the country. The mechanism of action and associated impact of each major drug category will also be detailed. Additionally, time will be dedicated to discussing COVID-19 and its impact on rates of use and access to treatment. Learn more and register here.

Spreading the Word about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The newly installed president of the Durham-Orange County Medical Society and longtime NCMS member, Keely Godwin, MD, recently went on the radio to speak about the COVID-19 vaccine to offer the facts about the vaccine to the general public in the Durham Orange County area.

The 14-minute interview on WCHL’s Aaron Keck Show aired on Wednesday, but you can listen to it here.

Thank you Dr. Godwin!

In Memoriam: James Bryan, II, MD

Distinguished and highly respected physician and teacher, James Bryan, II, MD, passed away last Friday, Jan. 8. He was 88 years old.

Dr. Bryan, a life member of the NCMS, had a distinguished career as a clinician and teacher at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, that spanned 50 years. In noting his passing, the UNC Department of Medicine’s website said: “During his time as a physician and leader at UNC, Dr. Bryan set an example of humane and compassionate care that made him legendary and beloved at the university, in the community, and across the state. As one of his former colleagues said, ‘Dr. Bryan was the Bill Friday of medical practice and education in North Carolina.’”

When hearing of his death, there was an outpouring of fond memories from Dr. Bryan’s NCMS and NC Chapter of the American College of Physicians colleagues. They remembered him as a ‘great teacher and inspiration;’ as a ‘role model’ and ‘hero.’

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Bryan was influential in bringing hospice care to North Carolina, as part of a small group of advocates who helped establish a model for palliative care here. Within a few years, hospice care was available at locations throughout the state. And in 2017, the SECU Jim & Betsy Bryan Hospice Home of UNC Health opened in Chatham County.

To learn more about Dr. Bryan and his distinguished career and life, read his full obituary here.

Our sympathy and condolences to his family and many friends.

In the News

Data Fuel Debate Over Whether J & J’s One-Dose COVID Vaccine Will Measure Up, STAT, 1-13-21

Learning Opportunity

‘You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have: Self-Care Strategies for the Busy Health Professional’ a webinar and interactive workshop will be held Wednesday, Jan. 20 4p.m. and again on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 11a.m. This session will help you identify and manage stress. You’ll identify common stress reactions and how our nervous system reacts to stress. You will also learn strategies for handling and preventing emotional distress and regulating the nervous system. Register for the Jan. 20 session here; and the Jan. 27 session here.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!