Dr. Leveroni is striving to bring what he learned and practiced during his residency in Lawrence to the community of Santa Ana. He is currently the medical director of the family medicine clinic at the UCI family health center in Santa Ana. The clinic is a residency clinic, serving as a training site for family medicine residents. When he first started at the clinic in September 2020, it did not offer MAT services. Since then they have built the program up and are now seeing and treating over 30 patients with opioid use disorders. Dr. Leveroni and the MAT team work to counsel patients and deliver MAT services.
One of the biggest challenges of treating patients with OUD is retention. To address this, Dr. Leveroni believes that it is the providers’ responsibility to keep the door open but not push patient’s through the door, or in other words to be available to support patients when they are ready. The clinic pushes to increase retention by including multidisciplinary support staff who are involved with following up and further consulting with
Dr. Leveroni’s efforts have allowed for the clinic’s retention of a steady stream of patients with OUD which has now opened the door to resident training in MAT services. Dr. Leveroni is at the forefront of developing a curriculum for training family medicine residents in MAT. He emphasizes that learning how to treat OUD involves a multi-faceted approach including medication, counseling, and motivational interviewing. In the short term, training residents in MAT will increase the scope of practice of physicians in the community of Santa Ana. But
perhaps a broader goal is that some of these residents will move on to other places where they will be able to spread their knowledge and practices to their future communities just as Dr. Leveroni has done for the community of Santa Ana.
Opioid Hero of the Month: January 2023
Dr. Matteo Leveroni
Dr. Leveroni is a board-certified family medicine physician. He attended medical school at Boston University, a tertiary care center dedicated to the underserved community of Boston. Such a mission and environment encouraged him to pursue a career in family medicine where one’s scope of practice must expand to fit the needs of the people. With this mission in mind, he went on to train as a resident at the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency program in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a relatively small town which had a lack of family medicine physicians until the residency was formed. His time in residency coincided with the opioid
epidemic boom in the Northeast. Lawrence was a community that was greatly affected due to its location which laid on the direct path where the drug trade was being shuttled through. As one of the community’s only health centers, the attendings of Lawrence Family Medicine program had to adapt to meet the needs of this oncoming public health issue. Dr. Leveroni observed his attendings and mentors expanding their practice by learning to help patients with opioid use
disorder (OUD) using medication assisted treatment (MAT) and further passing their knowledge on to the residents as part of their training.