We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce our new patient care navigator for New Jersey, Derek Pagaduan. Derek was previously a substance abuse counselor at Delaware Valley Medical, our opioid treatment center in Pennsauken, and has transitioned into this new role because he wants to be able to reach more people. “I enjoyed my time as a counselor and working with patients, but felt like I could be doing more. This position gives me the opportunity to help people all across the state.”
In his outreach representing all of our programs throughout the state, Derek will work closely with hospital systems and ERs; EMS, fire and police, homeless and domestic violence organizations, drug courts, community health centers, and many others.
Here is what Derek had to say when we caught up with him about his new role:
What do you love about your work?
I love that I will be one of the first interactions people may have with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and that I get to them in the beginning of their hopefully successful recovery journey.
What’s something you wish every patient knew before coming to treatment?
I wish they knew that treatment doesn’t mean instant success. But if they give it time, work on their treatment plan with their counselor, and are open with the medical staff, they can get to where they want to be.
What is your hope for our patients?
I hope they all get access to the care they need to recover for the long term. Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard of care for a reason. Medications for opioid use disorder combined with psychosocial therapies and community-based recovery support systems are scientifically proven to help. People need the ability to access all forms of treatment. Sometimes that’s us, sometimes it’s someplace else.
What makes our New Jersey programs special?
Jersey people are passionate; those in this field of helping others care with everything they have. Patients see and feel that.
Why is the combination of medicine with psychotherapy and counseling so important in MAT?
The medication helps patients physically while the therapy helps mentally and spiritually. It targets addiction on multiple fronts which is the most effective approach to combat it.
Derek is excited to make a difference and hopes to help more people in the communities we serve. He looks forward to connecting with you in the coming months, but in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to him directly:
Patient Care Navigator, New Jersey