3 Questions with Dr. Jane Schwartz, Medical Director, Gloucester Office Based Opioid Treatment Center
1. Was medicine your first career choice and what attracted you to the field?
No. Actually I planned to be an artist and studied painting. However, as I worked to support myself as an artist, I moved through various medical fields from E.M.T. to physician assistant, to physician. I found caring for patients to be extremely rewarding.
2. Name one thing that you wish more people understood about the clinical role and the daily work of a physician practicing in addiction medicine?
Because I work in this field it is important that I create a nonjudgmental and safe environment for my patients. It is also important that I work closely with a multidisciplinary team to treat the whole patient. Outside of the treatment community, I see my role as an educator. I want people to understand how easy it is to become addicted and the struggle and daily hard work it takes to become abstinent from substances. I also want it to be understood that addiction is a chronic illness that may require ongoing treatment rather than something that one should just “get over.” That understanding could reduce stigma and increase resources.
3. Dr. Schwartz, how does your past practice and board certification(s) guide your current work at Lahey Health Behavioral Services?
I was trained in psychiatry and spent many years working with severely mentally ill patients. This informs my work with the patients we treat with co-occurring disorders. Also, I have always chosen to work with people who have the fewest resources and have been outsiders even to the field of medicine. Addiction treatment is a timely and natural fit for me.