2019 Rachel Hutzel Prevention Partner Award - Dr. Kathy Wedig-Stevie
This year’s Rachel Hutzel Prevention Partner Award was presented to Dr. Kathy Wedig-Stevie. This award is presented to an organization or individual from the tri-state region that has demonstrated notable progress, results and/or innovation in substance use prevention. Mrs. Wedig-Stevie of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center VanOflen of Fairfield Prevention Coalition worked for 25 years as a neonatologist and did not treat one baby with symptoms of withdrawal from maternal opioid use disorder. In the past 10 years she has seen over 500 infants who have been affected by maternal substance use disorder and recognized that we know little of the outcomes of the children and their families related to in-utero opioid exposure.
For the first 25 years of her career as a neonatologist, Kathy Wedig-Stevie did not treat one baby with symptoms of withdrawal from maternal opioid use disorder. In the past 10 years she has seen over 500 infants who have been affected by maternal substance use disorder. In that time she has recognized that we know little of the outcome of the children and their families related to in-utero opioid exposure, treatment of mother and infant or the chaos that can ensue when parents are struggling with substance use disorder.
When Dr. Bea Lampkin approached Dr. Wedig-Stevie in 2012 to consider founding a collaborative of regional care providers to explore what could be done to break the intergenerational cycle of addiction, she happily accepted. From this initial meeting she has widely broadened her contacts with people in the field. This has occurred during 3 regional conferences organized by the Collaborative for Children of Addicted Parents in conjunction with GLAD House and CCHMC.
Dr. Wedig-Stevie has been honored to be asked to speak at many regional conferences regarding the effects of in-utero opioid exposure and neonatal abstinence syndrome on the children, their families and our community. This week she was fortunate to be able to present this topic in Atlanta at the Rx Drug and Opioid conference. She currently sits on the boards of GLAD House and the Community Health Alliance in Butler County and on the Partner Committee at First Step Home.
In order to stop the intergenerational cycle of addiction we must prevent the adverse effects on the children. By working together we can achieve an understanding of the needs and best treatments in order that no child needs to experience adverse childhood events secondary to parental substance use disorder. There are no “bad” children, but bad things can happen to any child.