lecture-pollak-sheftell“The National Opioid Crisis: 100 years of U.S. Drug Policy”

The Fred Sheftell / Edward Pollak Inaugural Lecture

Thursday, November 9, 2017
7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Hilton Hotel, One First Stamford Place, 
Stamford, CT 06902
Continental Breakfast

Moderator – ­­­­­­Larry Kudlow, CNBC Senior Contributor

Speakers – ­ Robert G. Newman, MD, MPH and Yngvild K. Olsen, MD, MPH

About the Series:
Liberation Programs is proud to launch this new series of lectures as an outgrowth of its foundational belief in the effectiveness of community mobilization and action to address local issues.  The lecture is aimed at fostering candid discussion among Fairfield County’s leadership (including mayors, chief executives and medical officers at hospitals/community health centers, directors of public health and emergency medical services, philanthropists and foundations, school superintendents and police chiefs).  It will include a look at new strategies being considered or adopted to improve the lives of residents.

Inaugural Lecture Topic:
Since the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. has had no fewer than five epidemics involving the use of mood-altering substances (including crack cocaine, prescription sedatives, prescribed and non-prescribed opioids), each lasting between one and two decades before subsiding. In addition to prolonged duration, each epidemic has resulted in a significant diminishment in quality of life and longevity, loss of human life, dysfunction to family and community life, and loss in public and private treasure.

Why does the U.S. experience continual relapses to epidemic rates of drug use and the related negative consequences?  What can be done on a systemic level to prevent future epidemics and blunt the negative impacts that typically result? How might we more swiftly and effectively reverse the unacceptable upward shift in opioid-related overdose deaths that has plagued the U.S. for over a decade?

Guests Lecturers: Dr. Robert G. Newman, MD, MPH and Dr. Yngvild K. Olsen, MD, MPH

Dr. Robert G. Newman - croppedDr. Robert G. Newman
is the former President and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, Inc., a $2.2 billion hospital network in New York City. Prior to the creation of Continuum in 1997, he was CEO of the Beth Israel Health Care System for 20 years. He is now President Emeritus of Continuum and until June 2013, was the Director of The Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute of Beth Israel Medical Center.

For over 45 years Dr. Newman has played a major role in planning and directing some of the largest addiction treatment programs in the world – including the New York City Health Department Methadone Maintenance and Ambulatory Detoxification Programs, which in the mid-‘70s treated over 33,000 patients annually. He has also been a strong addiction treatment advocate in Europe, Australia, and Asia.   Throughout his career, he has championed the right of drug-dependent persons to treatment access and choice of provider, and the right to be cared for under the same conditions as apply to the management of all other chronic medical conditions.

Dr. Newman graduated with honors from the University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  He was Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) in New York until June 2013, when the Continuum hospitals announced they were ending their affiliation with AECOM.


Yngvild K. Olsen, MDYngvild K. Olsen, MD, MPH, FASAM, is the Medical Director of the Institutes for Behavior Resources Inc., Baltimore, Maryland and past chair of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (ASAM) Public Policy Committee. She currently serves as Secretary for the ASAM Board of Directors. She has written and lectured extensively on opioid use disorders, provides training to primary care physicians on prescribing opioids and medical co-occurring conditions to psychiatrists, and serves as Medical Consultant on addiction-related issues to the local behavioral health authority for Baltimore City and Maryland’s Behavioral Health Administration.  Dr. Olsen has published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Addictive Diseases. Dr. Olsen graduated Harvard Medical School, completing her residency training in internal medicine at Boston University’s Boston Medical Center, and a Fellowship in General Internal Medicine at John Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Olsen received her Masters in Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University.


Moderator: Lawrence Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow, CNBC Senior Contributor - croppedLawrence Kudlow is CNBC’s Senior Contributor. He is also the radio host of the nationally syndicated Larry Kudlow Show.  Mr. Kudlow is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of the recently released JFK and the Reagan Revolution.  During President Reagan’s first term, Mr. Kudlow was the associate director for economics and planning in the Office of Management and Budget.


 The Sheftell / Pollak Public Policy Lecture is Sponsored by

stop stigma now

The Sheftell / Pollak Public Policy Lecture honors the memory of two extraordinary individuals, Dr. Fred Sheftell and Edward Pollak, whose service to Liberation Programs and the Lower Fairfield County region saved and improved the lives of thousands of individuals who otherwise would have been lost and their families destroyed due to substance use disorders.

Dr. Fred Sheftell, M.D. (January 1941 to April 2011), a highly respected psychiatrist and addiction expert was the founder and director of Liberation Programs (then named Drug Liberation) from 1971 to 1981.  Dr. Sheftell was a driving force in creating the State of Connecticut’s first medication assisted treatment program responding to the opioid epidemic of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s through a federal grant. Dr. Sheftell pioneered the provision of long-term inpatient (residential) drug treatment by creating Liberation House, which has operated continuously for the past 46 years in the city of Stamford.  Prior to leading Liberation Programs, Dr. Sheftell developed some of the first drug treatment programs for the U.S. Army, helping combat soldiers returning from the Vietnam War.  Dr. Sheftell is survived by his wife Karen Sheftell of Stamford.

Edward Pollak, M.B.A., (September 1934 to August 2015), served Liberation Programs as chair of the board of directors from 2002 to 2015, and as interim president and CEO in 2005, helping to stabilize the agency during the year’s time it took to recruit a new CEO.  Edward was an extremely savvy business leader who served as senior vice president of Olin Corporation and president and CEO of Olin Hunt Specialty Products; he was president and CEO of Yellow Cab Management Inc. He was chair of the World Affairs Forum and served in leadership positions in community and business organizations too numerous to name here.  Edward received a B.A. in chemical engineering and M.B.A. from Cornell University.  He is survived by his wife Marianne Pollak of Stamford.