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CORE (Center for Opioid Recovery and Engagement) provides comprehensive peer support for individuals struggling with opioid use, as well as their loved ones. Our mission is to support all pathways to recovery, remove barriers, and inspire hope. Our services are free for all patients, regardless of insurance. 

Opioid Treatment at Penn Medicine

Our services are available on-demand at Penn Medicine’s downtown facilities.

  • Peer support – Our certified recovery specialists engage patients in a conversation about opioid use and treatment options.
  • Clinical support – We guide inpatient, emergency room, and outpatient care teams in the use of evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. This includes medications for opioid use disorder like buprenorphine, methadone, or Vivitrol (also known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT).
  • Discharge planning – Our certified recovery specialists will support discharge planning and provide patients with a warm hand off to continued treatment.
  • Ongoing engagement – We provide patients with peer support and care coordination over the long-term.

Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs, also known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT) include the three FDA-approved medications: Methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), and extended-release naltrexone (Vivtrol).

These medications work by alleviating opioid withdrawal and reducing cravings. Methadone is an opioid agonist, and buprenorphine is a partial agonist. Both medications can be rapidly initiated and continued for maintenance treatment. Extended-release naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and can also be used for maintenance in patients who gone through withdrawal and have been off opioids for a sufficient time. The right medication will depend on the individual patient and may change over time.

Use of all three of these therapies for maintenance have been shown to reduce ongoing drug use, and use of methadone and buprenorphine have been shown to lower the risk for overdose by two thirds. Medications for OUD have also proven to improve retention in treatment and to reduce rates of infections like HIV.

Finally, medications for OUD improve patient’s quality of life, function, and integration into family and community.

CORE counselor with patient in carFor more information, see these helpful resources:

Questions about MOUD? Contact us to connect with one of our clinical partners.

Our Team

CORE operates under the Department of Psychiatry’s Outpatient Services at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and serves all patents within Penn Medicine.

Executive Management Team

  • Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD – Chair Department Psychiatry
  • Juliette Galbraith, MD – Vice Chair, Clinical Operations
  • Gene Gofman, MBA – Associate Chief Financial Officer
  • James Ballinghoff – Chief Nursing Officer, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC
  • Rayek Nafiz, MD, MPP – Chief Medical Director, Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Programs, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Angela M. Burdick-McPhee, LPC, CAADC, LCADC, ACS – Director of Behavioral Health (IOP/OP, W4 & W5) 

Collaborative Contributors

  • Kyle Kampman, MD – The Charles O'Brien Center for the Treatment of Addictions
  • Jeanmarie Perrone, MD – Professor of Emergency Medicine, Penn Health System

Program Managers

  • Devin Yastro, MA, CAADC – CORE Program Manager
  • Lauren Carbone, MA – CORE Program Coordinator
    Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist


  • Rayek Nafiz, MD, MPP
  • David Weiss – Psychiatrist

Certified Recovery Specialists

  • Nicole O’Donnell, CRS – Certified Recovery Specialist
  • Bryant Rivera, CRS – Certified Recovery Specialist
  • Kelli Murray-Garant, CRS – Certified Recovery Specialist

Care Coordinators

  • Jasmine Feagins, AA – Care Coordinator


We are proud to share some early outcomes from the implementation of CORE:

  1. More eligible patients are starting buprenorphine. 68% of eligible patients are starting on buprenorphine in our three central Emergency Departments (ED), compared to <20% prior to implementation of the CORE program.
  2. Fewer patients are returning to the ED. 22% of patients consulted by a CORE Certified Recovery Specialist returned to the ED within 30 days, compared to 35% at baseline.
  3. More patients are in treatment. When patients receive a CRS consult and are started on buprenorphine, 68% are engaged in treatment at 30 days, compared to <5% at baseline.

Contact Us

Disclaimer: Patients with symptoms of an urgent nature should go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

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