Canada-US Roundtable on Strategies to Combat the Opioid Crisis

September 24, 2018
Event Overview and Agenda


The Canada-U.S. relationship is one that is unique in the world, marked by a shared border, common values and deep economic, security and cultural ties. Unfortunately, in recent years our two nations have begun to share a devastating trend: the rise in opioid-related deaths and opioid substance use disorders.

Canada and the United States benefit from substantial coordination in other shared priorities: public health surveillance in emerging infectious disease, border security, and traceability in other sectors.

There is great potential to build upon and expand existing relationships within each government to address this growing crisis, along with a broader community of stakeholders on both sides of the border. To this end, the Canada-U.S. Roundtable will assemble federal and state health professionals, members from law enforcement communities, policy makers and advocates from both countries.

The goals of the event are the following:
1. Exchange best practices in innovation to address problematic opioid use, including prevention, treatment and recovery.
2. Identify opportunities for collaboration, such as surveillance, research, training, and standards.

Ultimately, the Roundtable could help encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between each country to confront this urgent issue in public health.

Event timing and location

The event will take place on September 24th, 2018 in Washington D.C. at The Pew Charitable Trusts, 901 E Street NW.




Welcome Remarks


Panel 1: The Opioid Crisis: Views from the Ground and 10,000 Feet

Facilitated by Stephen Morrison, PhD, Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center

  • Mitch Wolfe, MD, MPH, Director (interim), Center for Disease Control, Washington Office
  • Senior Health Officer, Health Canada (invited)




Opening Remarks

Christopher Jones, Pharm. D., Director, National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


Panel 2: The Bright Lights: Innovation in Prevention, Treatment and Recovery

Facilitated by Anne Snowdon, PhD. Academic Chair, World Health Innovation Network, Scientific Director and CEO, SCAN Health

  • Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Rhode Island Department of Health
  • Ann Griepp, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Project ECHO
  • Karen Grimsrud, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Province of Alberta
  • Robert Strang, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Province of Nova Scotia
  • Barbara Bazron, PhD, Deputy Secretary and Executive Director, Behavioral Health, State of Maryland and Clay Stamp, Executive Director, Opioid Operational Command Center, Senior Emergency Advisor, State of Maryland




Open Forum

This session will bring forward the perspective of individuals with lived experience with substance and opioid addiction and recovery, to engage Roundtable participants on personal stories and provide meaning to Canada-U.S. dialogue on the opioids crisis.

Facilitated by Tom Hill, Vice President of Practice Improvement, The National Council for Behavioral Health


Breakout Sessions

The Roundtable will hold two concurrent breakout sessions, and attendees will have the option to select their preferred breakout session while registering for the event. Each breakout session will identify and note opportunities for further Canada-U.S. collaboration beyond the event.



Breakout Session 1

1a. Fostering Cross-Border Coordination between Public Health and Law Enforcement: Case Examples and a Way Forward

Facilitating questions:
a) How are public health and law enforcement authorities currently working together to address common priorities, with respect to the opioid crisis?
b) Canadian and U.S. public health officials have demonstrated close coordination in areas such as emerging infectious disease. How could existing Can-U.S. coordination in public health be applied to address common priorities under the opioid crisis?
c) What are the opportunities and obstacles to fostering greater Canada-U.S. cross-coordination and information-sharing between public health and law enforcement?

Facilitated by Regina LaBelle, Principal, LaBelle Strategies

  • Allie Hunter McDade, Executive Director, Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative, Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Scott Allen, Chief of Police, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
  • Michael Botieri, Chief of Police, Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Bill Spearn, Inspector, Vancouver Police Department
  • Stephen McConachie, Chief Operations Manager, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency
  • Van Ingram, Executive Director, Office of Drug Control Policy, State of Kentucky


1b. Primary Prevention, Secondary Prevention and Treatment: Applying Lessons Learned

Facilitating questions:
a) What are the lessons learned from promoting non-opioid treatment options and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder?
b) How are health systems working together with prescribers to encourage appropriate prescribing and the expansion of medication-assisted treatment (both in Canada and the U.S.)? 

Facilitated by Allan Coukell, Senior Director, Health Programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts

  • Norm Buckley, MD, Chair, Department of Anesthesia, Scientific Director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care, McMaster University
  • Tom Hill, Vice President of Addiction and Recovery, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Seonaid Nolan, MD, Clinical Researcher, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use
  • Two additional panelists to be announced shortly.




Breakout Session 2

2a. Access to Care and Population Health: A Perspective from Rural and Urban Communities

Facilitating questions:
a) What novel approaches are being used to better service needs of rural communities?
b) How can we apply successes from urban settings to rural settings?
c) How are we examining the underlying causes that lead to addiction, and considering social determinants of health?
d) What are best practices with respect to social housing and treatment support?

Facilitated by Michael Petersen, MD, Health Innovation Lead, Accenture Health and Public Services

  • Jay Butler, MD, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

  • Kathryn Dong, MD, Director, Addiction Recovery Community Health Team (ARCH) and Inner-City Health and Wellness, Alberta

  • Bonnie Henry, MD, Provincial Health Officer, Province of British Columbia

  • Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Addiction Treatment Center, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

  • Steve Williams, Mayor, Huntington, West Virginia


2b. Data, Surveillance and Research: Where We Are At, and Where We Need to Be

Facilitating questions:
a) What are the benefits and challenges associated with establishing standards for data collection, monitoring, sharing and research?
b) What informatics tools are being utilized to address the opioids crisis?
c) What are the lessons learned and way forward for Prescription Drug Monitoring? How can Canada and the United States work together to promote greater data sharing, research etc.?
d) What other kinds of data and information are critical for ensuring an effective opioid response?

Facilitated by Michael Green, CEO, Canada Health Infoway

  • Jessica Halverson, Director, Opioid-Related Harms, Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Elaine Hyshka, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta; and Scientific Director, Inner City Health and Wellness Program, Royal Alexandra Hospital

  • Steve Kearney, Pharm. D., Medical Director, SAS Institute

  • Alana Vivolo, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Concluding Remarks











December 14, 2016

Canada-US Connected Health Workshop

Gaylord National Harbor

The Canada-US Connected Health Workshop, organized by Cross-Border Health, assembled interested stakeholders and government from the US and Canada to identify common priorities with a view to fostering greater regulatory and policy coordination in connected health.

Connected health stands to improve care while reducing health system costs, through better communication between patients and providers using mobile devices. International regulatory coordination is important to the scale-up adoption of connected health technologies. Such coordination between nations is complex. Canada and the United States not only share the friendliest border in the world but also have a uniquely close partnership in regulatory and policy cooperation. Ultimately, a deeper level of Canada-US cooperation in connected health could provide a foundation for greater harmonization with other trusted nations.


The Canada-US Connected Health Workshop featured a number of key speakers from both countries, covering topics that include:

  • Regulatory harmonization
  • Privacy and security
  • Common registries
  • Critical infrastructure
  • Governance over big data for research



November 2/3, 2015

Canada-US Health Summit 2015

the Wilson Center

On November 2 and 3, 2015, more than 100 senior healthcare stakeholders—government officials, health professionals, academics and patient advocates—gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate in the inaugural Canada-US Health Summit, a meeting dedicated to sharing information and building cross-border collaborations around common health priorities.

Hosted by the Wilson Center, together with Oliver Kim and Dani Peters of Cross-Border Health, the event covered priority topics in health in both nations, including delivery system reform, health information technology, public health, regulatory cooperation, and research. Funding support for the Canada-US Health Summit was made possible through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.