Amjad to push for more substance abuse treatment availability in West Virginia’s jails, prisons

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dr. Ayne Amjad says she plans to step into her new role with the state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation with a similar mindset she had as state health officer for West Virginia during the COVID years.

Dr. Ayne Amjad

“When we have big groups of populations of people, whether it’s the state during COVID or inmates in different facilities, we have to pay attention to even that one that might be needing something instead of just glossing over and doing it so black and white because it’s not,” Amjad recently told MetroNews.

Last week, Amjad was named director of correctional health care for DCR and an assistant professor of medicine at the Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Amjad will provide medical oversight for the state’s jails and prisons in partnership with Wexford Health.

“It’s an oversight in a way. Not playing Monday night quarterback and going in saying ‘you did this wrong, we need to do it this way’ but kind of tying up any things that need improvements on and bringing those together, so it’s a third eye to look at stuff,” she explained.

Amjad said partnering with Marshall Health will create access to consult a network of specialists in order to offer the best care available.

“It’s the idea that Marshall Health has clinics and providers across the state whether I’m off for a few days or if we need to consult someone or ask someone for help, we have that connection with a health care university,” she said.

During her time as state health officer from July 2020 to Oct. 2022, Amjad said she visited correctional facilities. One of the issues she wants to address is making substance abuse treatment more available to inmates.

“I think that’s a big issue too because a lot of people coming in, if they’ve been on drugs or in a treatment program, those need to be continued and followed up when they leave,” she said. “We need to continue that care for them.”

Amjad has earned her Doctor of Medicine from Marshall University. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. She also holds a Master of Public Health from West Virginia University.

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