TSRG Annual Letter 2021

January 1, 2021

Welcome 2021!   As I reflect on 2020, a time of COVID, uncertainty, and great achievement, I am humbled by what the new year may bring.  Each year, I write my achievements from the prior year and my aspirations for the next.  This year, I contemplate what it means to continue working towards finding solutions to the opioid crisis now that TSRG is securing funding and experiencing a growth phase.  One of our goals in 2020 was to have more engagement with people on the ground.  Historically, our projects looked at an academic, 30-thousand-foot of the crisis. In 2020, we made a deliberate pivot to test our assumptions and findings by pursuing work that enabled us to work alongside practitioners who are involved in community-based (local) activity.  Today, we are deep in the middle of both approaches and face the challenge of building relationships and collaboratives via Zoom rather than face-to-face.  Despite the limitations of this medium, we are undeterred given the needs that persist and the support of our community partners.  Thank you, Pueblo!

While living with a global pandemic’s impact on daily life, I am struck by an idea I have heard that all public policy issues will invariably make it to your doorstep.  While COVID has not yet arrived at mine, the opioid crisis landed on my doorstep years ago and has shaped my purpose ever since.  It is my sincere hope that in the months and years ahead, we will find a way to end the trajectory of greed, neglect, injustice, and stigma that have brought this country to an unsustainable level of suffering due to the overprescription of medications and a culture that commonly teaches us to look outside oneself for solutions. 

Despite the challenges we face, I sit in gratitude for all TSRG accomplished in 2020.  Our success would not be possible without the support of friends, family, community partners, the Microsoft Alumni Network, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the University of Colorado, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, the Colorado Rural Health Center, the Colorado Attorney General’s Director of Opioid Response, Delta Awesome, On the Bit Strategy, the Steadman Group, and the entire TSRG team and Board of Directors. Thank you all!

I wish you good health and strength as we face what awaits for the coming year.

My best,
Terri

Publications/Research  

  • Swann, W. L., Schreiber, T. L., Wright, S. L., Davis, M. W., Kim, S., Kim, S. Y., & Lamiotte, M. (2020). Local Policy and Programmatic Activity to Address the US Opioid Crisis: A Cross-Sectional Survey of County Governments. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: JPHMP.
  • Swann, W. L., Kim, S., Kim, S. Y., & Schreiber, T. L. (2020). Urban‐Rural Disparities in Opioid Use Disorder Prevention and Response Activities: A Cross‐Sectional Analysis. The Journal of Rural Health.
  • Wright SL. Limited utility for benzodiazepines in chronic pain management: a narrative review. Adv Ther. 2020;372604-2619. DOI: 10.1007/s12325-020-01354-6
  • John F. Peppin, Joseph V. Pergolizzi (Jr.), Robert B. Raffa, Steven L. Wright. The Benzodiazepines Crisis: An Overview of the Down-side of an Overused Drug Class (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • Presented virtual posters at four conferences:
    • Rx and Heroin Summit (April)
    • NACCHO – National Association for City and County Health Officials (July)
    • Pain Week (September)
    • Colorado Consortium from Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Annual Symposium (November)

Fundraising

  • 100% participation from Board of Directors
  • Participated in Giving Tuesday
    • Received amplification from Microsoft’s Alumni Network
    • Given the opportunity to use the Microsoft Alumni Network’s new giving platform
  • Participated in a Facebook birthday fundraiser
  • Raised funds to pay for honoraria for Benzodiazepine Work Group members with lived experience when they give presentations
  • Received donations from 30 individual donors
  • Secured two government grants:
    • University of Colorado, Office of Research Services (ORS)
    • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in partnership with the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Selected as one of the 2020 AlumniHEROes and received an award for unrestricted funds and raised additional funds that were amplified

New Projects

  • Local government survey work Phase 2
    • National study of county, regional, and district public health responses to the opioid crisis
  • HRSA Planning Grant with Conejos, Crowley, and Otero counties
    • Community Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis

Community Outreach/Training

  • Accelerating Social Transformation (AST) participant, University of Washington
  • Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership participant
  • Participated in creating a Benzodiazepine Work Group through the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
    • Participated in the Peer Support Sub-Committee activities to develop a mission, vision, and handout materials as we prepare to secure funding for a pilot location
  • Created vignettes on opioid tapering with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Provider Education Workgroup
    • Interviewed by Dr. Josh Blum
    • Available in 2021
  • Tri-County Overdose Prevention Partnership participant

Microsoft AlumniHero Event Video

On October 28, 2020, I participated in the Microsoft AlumniHero Ask Us Anything Event. I had the privilege of appearing with other AlumniHero’s who are doing amazing work in their communities and throughout the world. During the event, I had the opportunity to discuss the work of The Schreiber Research Group, running a nonprofit, and giving back to the community.

The video is available below to view, if you are interested. Carol Van Noy, our board member, can be seen on the video between 1:03 and 1:09. Yay, Carol! My remarks are peppered throughout the recorded event.

Alumni Hero – video

https://player.vimeo.com/video/473228855

My best,
Terri

Ask Us Anything: 2020 AlumniHeroes

Dear colleagues, friends, family, and supporters,

Join me and my fellow 2020 Microsoft AlumniHEROes at 9 a.m. (PDT) this Wednesday, October 28 during a 90-minute virtual event where you will get to learn more about what I do with THE SCHREIBER RESEARCH GROUP and about the work of the other seven AlumniHEROes. #SupportOurAlumniHEROes

In 2000, I was a Microsoft Loaned Executive during the Alumni Heroes Giving Campaign where Microsoft employees donated $20 million towards the overall $93 million that was raised in King County, WA. 

Every one of those $20 million dollars of donations started with ask. This year, I am asking you to give during the 2020 AlumniHEROes event on October 28, 2020 to help us solve this horrible scourge – the opioid crisis – on American society. I hope you will give in whatever capacity you are able.        

Please join me in this worthy endeavor on October 28 at 9:00 a.m. (PDT). Learn more and register:

Sincerely,

TERRI SCHREIBER

#AlumniHero

#MSFTAlum

Battling to end the opioid crisis

By Kennedy Byrne and Terri Schreiber


Not only does Terri Schreiber have professional research experience in public health, but she also has lived experience which drives her to achieve even more within her nonprofit work.  Terri was prescribed opioid medication for pain during the peak of opioid prescribing. She sought medical attention for facet joint damage, a fractured spine, and three torn discs weeks before starting a PhD program.   Her experience is intended to create the opportunity for others who experience chronic pain or who have been touched by the opioid crisis to have open discussions about stigma and the difference between dependency and opioid use disorder (OUD).  Terri is willing to come forward because more people in the United States have lost their lives to opioid-related overdose than all the people that lost their lives during the AIDs epidemic; we need to find a venue for changing the conversation.   

The initial ideas for The Schreiber Research Group came during her taper off all medication.  From the earliest days, she could feel her mind and body begin to heal.  There were moments of clarity, and whether it was for 5 minutes or 30 minutes, she created PowerPoints about what a public health research-focused nonprofit would accomplish.  She set out to help other chronic pain sufferers avoid the challenges of a treatment regimen that did not address the root cause of the pain response. Currently, she is working with the Provider Education network in Colorado to create recorded vignettes on her success tapering off medication and managing pain without pharmaceuticals.  The target audience is opioid prescribers and pain patients so they may learn tapering techniques and that healthy outcomes are possible.  Terri created her own personal guide for living with injuries that are chronic and degenerative. She then educated herself on the opioid crisis by reading journal articles, reviewing websites, watching documentaries, and identifying who else in the community was working to solve the problem. She would attend meetings at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus, where various work groups from the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention convened to solve the opioid problem across the state. She sat in to listen and learn in preparation for her own venture.

“I thought to myself, ‘if I can get better and find alternative solutions, I need to go out into the world and make this happen for others’” said Terri, while reflecting on her pain journey.  She did exactly that. Terri is the founder of The Schreiber Research Group, a nonprofit focused on research, prevention, and intervention regarding public health issues. The group’s main area of research is the opioid crisis. Terri originally started her work in Colorado, but has since expanded her reach nationwide.

She has been named one of Microsoft Alumni Network’s 2020 AlumniHEROes and earned a $15,000 grant for her continued work.

Terri was a senior manager at Microsoft in Human Resources Information Systems from 1997-2001. She left the company to pursue a Master of Public Administration degree in Leadership Development at the Harvard Kennedy School.     

Terri used her collaborative skills to hand-pick a diverse, skilled team to join her research group, including another Microsoft alum, a former United Way of King County fundraiser, and a former classmate.

The Schreiber Research Group has partnered with and secured funding from her alma mater, the University of Colorado. Terri said it was gratifying when the university that she was once a part of started funding her work on a national study to understand what policy programs and activities are happening in response to the opioid crisis and how these efforts have been impacted by COVID-19.  Also, the group recently learned that their project with Pueblo County Public Health and Environment will be funded by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program.  Her team will be working with hard-hit rural counties in Colorado as part of a collaborative multi-partner effort to find on-the-ground solutions with Colorado Rural Health Center and the Colorado Consortium

Terri spends her days doing a multitude of tasks, including participating in collaborative efforts to develop a clinic for benzodiazepine tapering and healing, building public health datasets for all United States counties, presenting at national conferences, and working with grant writers to secure funding.  

One of Terri’s goals is to raise awareness about the magnitude of the opioid problem.  We know that before the pandemic, 128 people were dying each day.  Recent reporting indicates these numbers are going up. To make a dent in this issue, prescribing practices need to change, treatment options need to become more widely available, insurance coverage for non-opioid treatments is needed, and stigma needs to be removed.  Substance use disorder is a disease, not a moral failing.    

An additional goal is to change the conversation around this issue within the context of Microsoft.  During her time there, she knew a co-worker who was prescribed medication because of a chronic back condition, but Terri did not understand substance use disorder or dependence, nor the daily struggles her co-worker experienced.  Others at Microsoft may also have challenges with pain management or rely on prescription medications while trying to work while seeking the right treatment plan.  It is her belief that at all levels of American society we need to bring these issues out of the shadows.  They need to be front and center so we can find solutions.   

She hopes the Microsoft Alumni Community and everyone impacted by this issue will join her in her effort.