Health Sciences Administration

November 23, 2016

Research Scientist at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, awarded the state’s Public Health Leadership Award

Caleb Banta-Green’s extensive work in drug abuse epidemiology and prevention of opioid overdose has awarded him the state’s Public Health Leadership Award. Presented to him by John Weismen, the Washington Secretary of Health on October 7th, acknowledging him as “a leader who turns data into action,” “collaborates and builds bridges,” and “understands equity and health disparities.”

Banta-Green is pictured here with Secretary Wiesman and State Health Officer Kathy Lofy.

The award presentation came shortly after Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order to fight opioid abuse in Washington state. “Today is a day of solidarity, a day of renewed resolution and a day of action where we stand together to say enough is enough,” Inslee said. “We all have an important role to play in the statewide movement to fight one of the most devastating crises facing our communities today—the public health crisis of opioids and heroin.”
Inslee ordered state agencies to work with local public health, tribal and other officials to respond to the growing problem of overdoses of opioids such as heroin and prescription narcotics. The agencies must work on the state’s response plan and report on its progress by the end of this year.

Last year, 718 people died from opioid overdoses in the state. While prescription opioid drug deaths have declined, heroin overdose deaths are increasing, particularly among young people.“Opioid abuse is an equal opportunity killer that threatens all of our children, all of our families, in every corner of this state, at every economic level,” Inslee said. “It demands a community and public health-related response.”

Banta-Green is a member of the Seattle and King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force and he has studied the epidemiology of drug use for nearly two decades. Banta-Green has an MSW, an MPH and a PhD in health services research, all from the UW. He also served as senior science advisor for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office of the President in 2012.