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Fellowship-Trained Interventional Pain Management Specialist and Anesthesiologist Spearheads Greenwich Hospital’s Cancer Pain Management Program

Monday, May 9, 2016

Greenwich, CT – Julie H. Huang, MD, MBA – a board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional pain management specialist and anesthesiologist – has joined the Greenwich Hospital medical staff to lead the development of a premier Cancer Pain Management Program as part of the hospital’s Sackler Center for Pain Management to serve Westchester County and Southern Connecticut.

“The establishment of a cancer pain management program is a critically important enhancement to the comprehensive pain management services already provided at the Sackler Center for Pain Management,” said Gary Kalan, MD, director of the Anesthesiology Department. In addition to treating cancer-related pain, the Sackler Center for Pain Management offers a variety of therapies to relieve back pain, sports injuries, arthritis and other conditions caused by surgery, accident or illness.

Dr. Huang meets with patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital, Greenwich Hospital Campus (77 Lafayette Place). “Half of all cancer patients have pain at the time of diagnosis and another third can experience pain during therapy,” she said. “Sixty to 90 percent of people with advanced cancer will report having some form of pain.”

Advances in interventional cancer pain management use imaging to intercept pain at its source. Options for treating pain include single interventions (medication or numbing agents injected directly into the source of pain), neurolysis and/or radiofrequency ablation (to selectively destroy nerve cells carrying pain signals), and continuous interventions (implanted devices for continuous delivery of medication or technology to release natural pain-relieving hormones to relieve pain).

“Decreasing the level of pain leads to increased comfort and reduced stress, which lessens the psychological impact of the disease,” added Dr. Huang. “Proper pain management can boost an individual’s immune system, ward off infection, and potentially limit cancer progression while reducing the need for narcotic pain medication. Most importantly, controlling pain allows patients to continue their treatment plan – whether it’s chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery – to improve their overall prognosis while restoring and maintaining a quality of life.”

Holistic approach to care

Committed to patient care, Dr. Huang takes a holistic approach and works closely alongside specialists in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, neurology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, palliative care, radiation oncology, rehabilitative medicine and alternative medicine specialists.  Integral to her practice are cutting edge pain treatments, including minimally invasive fluoroscopic and ultrasound-guided treatments to improve quality of life and reduce cancer-related pain for a broad range of cancers.  

Dr. Huang’s passion for cancer pain arose from a combination of her clinical expertise and several years of translational research during college and through the Medical Scientist M.D, Ph.D. Training Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She earned her medical degree with letters of distinction and has published several studies regarding cancer genomics and targeted kinase drug discovery for variety of cancers with collaborations at Stanford, MIT, and UCSF. 

She completed her anesthesiology residency at John Hopkins Hospital, while serving as a medical officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in drug, device and biologics regulatory review to understand how to bring healthcare advances to the bedside.  She completed her interventional pain management fellowship at Harvard Medical School – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, while serving as chair of the Fellows and Residents Section Committee for the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. In Boston, Dr. Huang worked with oncology (medical, surgical and radiation) and palliative care colleagues at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in treating cancer pain. She has developed a special interest in establishing a comprehensive cancer pain program with colleagues. She is furthering these efforts as part of the Cancer Pain Research Consortium to foster awareness and establish national clinical guidelines for cancer pain management.

An accomplished entrepreneur, Dr. Huang obtained an MBA with honors through the medical leadership program at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  She has received numerous small business grant funding and venture competition awards for medical device development in collaboration with UCLA Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology.

As a pain medicine expert, Dr. Huang has been involved in clinical trials and basic science research for drug discovery and technology development. She has published numerous articles in national journals and has presented at many national and international conferences. She is the chair-elect of the Women in Neuromodulation Executive Board for the North American Neuromodulation Society, which seeks to bring women with diverse training together to build scholarly networks and increase leadership roles in the global neuromodulation community.

Greenwich Hospital is a member of Yale New Haven Health. Greenwich is a 206-bed (includes 32 isolettes) community hospital serving lower Fairfield County, Connecticut and Westchester County, New York. It is a academic affiliate of Yale School of Medicine. Since opening in 1903, Greenwich Hospital has evolved into a progressive medical center and teaching institution representing all medical specialties and offering a wide range of medical, surgical, diagnostic and wellness programs. Greenwich Hospital is recognized throughout the healthcare industry as a leader in service and patient satisfaction excellence. Greenwich Hospital has the prestigious Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence.

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