Chalk Talk w/ Jasmin E. Charles, PA-C MPAS
The Greater Intermountain Node was founded in 2019 to expand the existing National Institute of Drug Abuse Clinical Trial Network (CTN) infrastructure by developing and testing innovative interventions for opioid use disorder, preventing overdose, expanding the settings for Network research, and bringing new research expertise to the Network. The GIN is housed within the Program for Addiction Research, Clinical Care, Knowledge, and Advocacy (PARCKA) within the Division of Epidemiology within the Department of Internal Medicine within the University Of Utah School Of Medicine.
This is "Chalk Talk", where each month the Greater Intermountain Node speaks with a different investigator, clinician, researcher, or coordinator from one of our various studies.
GIN: Hi Jasmin, thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a dedicated individual who gives 100% to everything I do. I am a certified Physician Assistant. My areas of clinical interest and expertise include all aspects of women's healthcare with particular interest in substance use and prevention in pregnancy, mental health disorders in pregnancy, caring for incarcerated women, pediatrics, family planning and preventative health care. Prior to joining the OBGYN Department at the University of Utah, I practiced family medicine primarily in Spanish with the Community Health Centers. I have a passion for underserved and underrepresented members of the community. When not practicing with the OBGYN department I am a Clinical Associate teaching clinical skills to PA students at the University of Utah. In my minimal free time I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, working out at the Bar Method SLC and spending time with my family and my furry critters.
GIN: You are one of the clinicians on the Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Expectant Mothers (MOMs) Study. MOMs will evaluate the impact of treating opioid use disorder (OUD) in pregnant women with extended-release (XR) buprenorphine (BUP), compared to sublingual (SL) BUP. Can you describe your role in this study?
As a medical clinician on the MOMs study, I will assess, evaluate and treat the health of each MOMs participant. I will also provide education on the medication. I will prescribe and administer or dispense the medications whether it be the oral or injectable formulations.
GIN: What do you hope will be the positive impacts of the MOMs Study?
My hope would be that at the conclusion of this study we will find that the injectable formulation of Buprenorphine is equally as effective and safe (if not superior) to the oral making it possible to become FDA approved in pregnancy offering an additional and or alternative option for medications as well as helping with compliance by decreasing the patient specific need to manage and administer their own medications throughout the day.
GIN: This study speaks to your expertise in women’s health. What drew you to women’s health?
When I was in third grade, we made T-Shirts for an I Have a Dream contest. Mine read, “I have a dream to deliver babies in Africa.” A lot happened and evolved since I was 8 however saving the world remained a priority. After working as a community domestic violence advocate and a program manager for an inner city Boys and Girls club the same barriers kept confronting my ability to make an impact in lack of health care and autonomy for the underserved and I continued to see PA’s providing care in these communities. I battled through PA school for 27 months and came out the other side with my same 8 year old dreams- to care for women. To empower women to have full autonomy to make choices regarding their health care and life decisions from contraception to preventative care to reproductive rights. As a PA, I am afforded the privilege to provide cradle to grave care to women and with my specialty clinic, I am able to do so to an often underserved and misunderstood population of women.
GIN: You have done a lot of work to ensure that those in need can access healthcare, including bringing care to incarcerated women and experience in community clinics. What do you think are some ways we can all be doing more to ensure this care remains accessible, especially during COVID-19?
We can offer more access into care. Break down the walls and the barriers by taking health care out of the brick and mortar and into the real world. Mobile clinics for care in parks, outside of schools, in encampments and under viaducts. (Those who know me know I dream of a Gynebago to take health care and contraception to women everywhere). Expand the access to virtual care using the technology that has been afforded to us for those who are privileged to have access to virtual care. Training and teaching. I am only one person but if I give of my knowledge and share of my skills, I can empower others to use their skills and gained knowledge to continue to provide care. Lastly, especially in a time such as now where COVID-19 has produced sheer and utter fear in the lives of so many we in health care can to what we took an oath to do- provide care to any and all who seek it and need it without judgement or bias. Build safe and inclusive spaces where people can engage in shared decision making for their health care choices and most of all remember the privilege we have been granted to have individuals show trust in us to guide them through the winding path of health care.
GIN: You are one-half of the force that started the Substance Use in Pregnancy Recovery Addiction Dependence (SUPeRAD) clinic. We have seen that SUPeRAD has grown to two clinics and has expanded to research in rural Utah. What are you most proud of when looking back on SUPeRAD?
Being a part of defining the care for women with substance use disorders in pregnancy including decreasing the stigma of addiction, spreading the word regarding this chronic illness and providing women a place for comprehensive care without judgement. Doing all this with a small paid staff and a large network of learners and volunteers. As we like to say in SUPeRAD we “beg, borrow and steel to get the resources we need” and in the end, the women we care for “always come home.”
GIN: If you could only describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Assiduous, dedicated, resourceful